The diagnosis of hypothermia is usually apparent based on a person's physical signs and the conditions in which the person with hypothermia became ill or was found. Blood tests also can help confirm hypothermia and its severity.
A diagnosis may not be readily apparent, however, if the symptoms are mild, as when an older person who is indoors has symptoms of confusion, lack of coordination and speech problems. In such cases, an exam may include a temperature reading with a rectal thermometer that reads low temperatures.
June 18, 2014
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 9, 2014.
- Hypothermia. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/cold_injury/hypothermia.html. Accessed Feb. 10, 2014.
- Brown DJA. Accidental hypothermia. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;367:1930.
- Mechem CC, et al. Accidental hypothermia in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 6, 2014.
- Auerbach PS. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 9, 2014.
- Extreme cold: A prevention guide to promote your personal health and safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/guide.asp. Accessed Feb. 10, 2014.
- Hypothermia. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/print/health/publication/hypothermia. Accessed Feb. 12, 2014.
- Hypothermia prevention: Survival in cold water. Minnesota Sea Grant. http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/coastal_communities/hypothermia. Accessed Feb. 12, 2014.
- Cold water survival tips. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. http://www.army.mil/article/51309/cold-water-survival-tips-from-usace-and-uscg/. Accessed Feb. 12, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.