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How Cold Is Too Cold?

Polar PlungeWhen working or playing outdoors, always dress warm to avoid Hypothermia. When the body’s temperature goes at least 3.6 degrees below the normal 98.6 degrees, signs of hypothermia will occur. Some of the most common side affects of Primary Hypothermia are change in personality, sluggish speech, shivering and confusion.

One of the dangers of hypothermia is that it develops gradually, so it can go unnoticed for a period of time. This is due to the fact that the colder the body, the less the brain functions. As your body temperature drops your heart actually begins beating faster, but you still feel tired and confused.

At 82 to 89 degrees the body stops shriving and the heart slows and can even become irregular. When the body’s temp reaches a certain point, things go bad in a hurry. With severe hypothermia comes coma, heart attack followed by death.

Brain function stops at the core temperature of 68 degrees. Most hypothermia victims will just lay down and fall asleep, and in some cases victims have removed their clothes before this occurs. Experts suggest wearing appropriate clothing for the activity, and always prepare for the worst. If you plan on drinking alcohol make sure there is a sober person with the group in case of an emergency.

Also in severe cold weather, make sure to check in on elderly persons, as they are more likely to get hypothermia in certain situations. Be smart in cold weather, and remember you can never overdress.

However, don’t be afraid to sign up for the Polar Plunge at You can be on Team KORD, and help raise money for Special Olympics Washington. The Polar Plunge is Saturday, January 21st.

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