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Maintaining body temperature

When things go wrong - hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when the core body temperature falls below 35°C.

It happens when the body is losing heat faster than it can make it.


Hypothermia is caused by:

  • extreme cold
  • taking sedatives or alcohol when cold
  • certain medical conditions such as heart problems
  • being very young or very old - these people cannot regulate their body temperature very well


The symptoms of hypothermia are:

  • violent shivering, which stops as hypothermia becomes more severe
  • confusion
  • difficulty in moving
  • memory loss
  • tiredness
  • slurred speech
  • slow, shallow breathing
  • weak pulse.


  • Move the person somewhere warm.
  • Change them out of wet clothing.
  • Wrap them in warm clothing.
  • Give them warm drinks, but not alcohol.
  • Give them food that is rich in carbohydrates.

Read on if you are taking the Higher paper.

Back to Homeostasis index

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