Brain Freeze

coldsmilieSomething you don’t want to happen but may if you get too cold.
I’ve spoken about this before when discussing the effects of a loss of temperature control and in a post called Cold Head.

Only some people still choose NOT to cover up and dress appropriately.
So coming into winter again, here’s what you may experience as your core temperature drops (AGAIN).

Caution, Dangerous advice.
Check with a healthcare professional on the accuracy of what I have written and current thinking as techniques change.

What the heck is core body temperature and how do you check that?
Core body temperature is found in the blood supplying organs such as the brain and those in the abdominal and thoracic cavities.

In other words, DEEP INSIDE YOU.
Thus you can have cold hands but provided your core temperature is high enough, you won’t be suffering from hypothermia (only frostbite or other cold related injuries)

To measure core temperature:-
A rectal temperature is probably the best.
Oral second best (right at the back under the tongue).
Arm pit the third (Holding the thermometer in place with the arm pressing into the chest wall).

Only you’ll be hard pressed to find a household medical mercury thermometer because some lame brain ex-spurt (probably in the WHO) claimed they were dangerous. Thus you will probably have to work with electronic thermometers.

Only here’s the problem.
Some of them can’t measure low enough i.e. UNDER 28 Celsius

So you need to check before the event that what you’ve got actually works.

Moderate hypothermia, your core temperature will be between 28 to 32 Celsius
All sorts of things start to go wrong and some are dead subtle.
Use the buddy check regime or, if you are on your own, schedule a self assessment check every hour. If you think you are experiencing any of the following, STOP, get under cover, and get warm. ESPECIALLY IF YOU STOP SHIVERING!

  • Inability to think or pay attention
  • Confusion
  • Loss of judgement and reasoning
    (someone with hypothermia may decide to remove clothing despite being very cold)
  • Difficulty moving around
  • Loss of co-ordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • slow, shallow breathing (hypo-ventilation) which is breathing at an abnormally slow rate, resulting in an increased amount of carbon dioxide in the blood aka acidosis.

This slow breathing can cause all sorts of physical symptoms like:

  • fatigue or drowsiness
  • becoming tired easily
  • confusion
  • shortness of breath
  • sleepiness
  • headache

Note that at a core temperature of 32 Celsius or lower a person will usually stop shivering completely. A dead give away that you’re on the way to:-

Severe Hypothermia (core temperature below 28 Celsius) and beyond self-help.
The next very few stages will be:-

  • unconsciousness
  • shallow or no breathing
  • a weak, irregular pulse, or no pulse
  • dilated pupils
  • Coma,
  • And finally death
    Only sometimes it’s not death only a form of stasis or suspended animation.
    NEVER GIVE UP when trying to resuscitate a person found like that.
    As a paramedic once told me, ‘they’ are only dead when they are dead and WARM!

So, apart from following the dictates of the acronym COLD,
Can anyone give me a good reason for not wearing warm head-gear let alone warm clothing?



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