link to Home Page


I found this in the December 1999 issue of Outside Magazine, from a book called Hypothermia, Frostbite, and Other Cold Injuries by James Wilkerson, for $13.

Stage One
Coordination declines progressively. One “gets the 'umbles," Wilkerson says, they “mumble, fumble, and stumble," indicating a loss of one to three degrees in core temperature. Get the victim dry, warm and out of the wind. And be persistent: Hypothermia victims are notoriously uncooperative.
Stage Two
“Uncontrollable shivering means you must do something immediately," Wilkerson says. Build a fire and apply heat (warm stones or water bottle with hot water) to the groin, head, neck, and sides of the chest. If you have a tent, put the victim inside, zip it up, and boil water to warm and humidify the air. If you have no stove or matches for a fire, force the victim to move around: Exercise generates more warmth than shivering.
Stage Three
If the shivering stops and the victim is both increasingly disoriented and can't walk or stand without your help, severe hypothermia has set in - a dire situation indeed. At this stage, says Wilkerson, “there is no sufficient way to rewarm someone in the wilderness." Your goal should be to limit more heat loss any way you can and get help.

I've heard that if early hypothermia has begun and there is no method available to heat the sufferer, that a non-hypothermic person can lie naked, touching him, to share body heat. This would be necessary as hypothermics cannot generate their own body heat until they recover, so any amount of blankets alone won't do.

Offered by Ted.