Arctic conditions have been forecast for the beginning of next week and officials have warned the elderly and those with health conditions take extra care.
It’s been forecast that temperatures during the day will struggle to get above freezing as bone-chilling winds sweep in from the Russian Arctic.
While many will be excited over the high chance of snowfall in Britain, the cold blast could put some people at risk of hypothermia.
What causes hypothermia, what are the symptoms, and how can you treat and prevent it?
Causes of hypothermia
Hypothermia occurs when your body gets too cold and your temperature drops below 35C.
It can be caused by:
- Inadequate clothing in cold weather
- Falling into cold water
- Getting cold in wet clothes
- Living in a cold house
- Being very tired and cold
What are the symptoms?
According to the NHS, the early signs include:
- Cold and pale skin
- Slurred speech
- Fast breathing
The health body adds: “These are symptoms of mild hypothermia, where someone’s body temperature is between 32C and 35C.
“If their temperature drops to 32C or lower, they’ll usually stop shivering completely and may pass out. “This is a sign that their condition is getting worse and emergency medical help is needed.”
How should you treat hypothermia?
If someone has hypothermia you should call 999 then give first aid.
The NHS outlines five steps to perform first aid for hypothermia:
- Move them indoors
- Remove any wet clothing and dry them
- Wrap them in blankets
- Give them a warm non-alcoholic drink, but only if they can swallow normally
- Give energy food that contains sugar, such as a chocolate bar, but only if they can swallow normally
How to prevent hypothermia
To prevent hypothermia you should make sure to stay warm indoors during cold weather.
Keeping your home at a temperature of at least 18C and wearing warm clothes can help.
If you have to go outdoors, carry extra layers in case the weather changes and change out of what or sweaty clothes as soon as possible.
Those with a particular inflammatory disease should take extra care as the sudden change in weather could trigger asthma symptoms.