What is hypothermia?

For swimmers, kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders and others out on the water, and volunteers at the finish line, please be aware of the signs of hyperthermia.

Shivering is your body’s automatic defense against cold temperature — an attempt to warm itself. Constant shivering is a key sign of hypothermia.

A person with hypothermia usually isn’t aware of his or her condition, because the symptoms often begin gradually and because the confused thinking associated with hypothermia prevents self-awareness.

Early symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Shivering.
  • Cold, pale, or blue-gray skin.
  • Lack of interest or concern (apathy).
  • Poor judgment; difficulty thinking.
  • Mild unsteadiness in balance or walking.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Drowsiness, low energy
  • Numb hands and fingers and problems performing tasks.

Late symptoms of hypothermia include:

The trunk of the body is cold to the touch.

Muscles becoming stiff.

Slow pulse.

Breathing that is shallow and slower.

Weakness or sleepiness.


Loss of consciousness

Shivering, which may stop if body temperature drops below 90°F (32°C).

Here are tips about open water swimming