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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is cold exposure?
Cold exposure, sometimes known as cold stress, is the collective name for several conditions that can affect the body when it is exposed to cold temperatures.
What is hypothermia?
Hypothermia occurs when the body's core temperature, which is normally around 37 degrees Celsius, drops below 35 degrees Celsius. Symptoms of hypothermia include cold, pale skin, shivering, rapid breathing, an urge to urinate, confusion, drowsiness and unconsciousness.
What is frostbite?
Frostbite happens when exposure to the cold causes water in tissues to freeze and form water crystals. This results in tissue damage, reduced function and increased susceptibility to infections.
What are chilblains?
Chilblains are caused by cold damage to blood vessels in the skin. The affected area becomes reddish, swollen and painful. Blisters and sores can appear. Chilblains will take a few days to heal. The affected area will remain damaged and sensitive to cold.
What is cold shock?
Cold shock is the body's response to sudden cold. It is commonly the result of falling or jumping into cold water. The cold shock response is short, which can only last a few minutes. However, it can be very dangerous, since the sudden cold constricts blood vessels in …
Can cold exposure be prevented?
Cold damage is usually preventable through sensible precautions, such as planning ahead for excursions and other exposure to cold environments. Pack and use appropriate cold-weather clothes and gear, wear a lifejacket near cold water, change clothes …
Is hypothermia dangerous?
Hypothermia is a medical emergency and requires professional medical care. If not properly treated, it can lead to serious harm and death.
Is frostbite dangerous?
Frostbite causes permanent damage to the affected area or limb. For example, it can result in the loss of the use of your fingers, hands, toes, feet, or tissue loss.
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 17 Oct 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Votes: 448 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Cold exposure (hypothermia)