How long does it take to freeze to death?

Posted at 6:04 PM, Dec 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-19 18:04:22-05

Now that the temperatures are dipping below freezing, we need to be aware of how much time we spend outdoors - especially at night. 

For many of us, we’re used to coping with the cold weather, but we must all be reminded of winter dangers like the possibility of freezing to death.

Our normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees, but the body starts shutting down when it hits 95 degrees. That’s called hypothermia and it’s a real danger. 

Once your body hits 82 degrees, you can become unconscious. Death can happen when your body temperature goes below 70. In dangerous weather conditions this can take less than an hour.  D

Death can happen faster if you fall through ice into freezing water below.

Watch first for frostbite. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes in freezing temperatures with a wind chill factor. Monitor your nose, cheek, chin, fingers and toes for looking colorless and feeling numb. And pay attention to your eyes, they’re also vulnerable to the cold and can get frostbite as well.

If you experience any frostbite signs or feel like you can't focus, get inside quickly.You can drink a warm beverage to warm up your core temperature.

Partha’s RX:

  1. If you’re heading outside, make sure your clothes are dry. You’ll lose heat 20 times faster if your clothes or skin are wet.
  2. Be sure to wear layers that absorb and draw away sweat. Put on a hat and scarf as you can lose 20 percent of body heat from your head.
  3. Know the temperature doesn’t have to hit zero for a person to get hypothermia. And get immediate help if you suspect anyone is experiencing hypothermia.
  4. Don’t drink and drive. You can end up in the ditch and not be found for hours.  This can lead to frostbite, lost limbs and hypothermia.

Many people are on the roads in wintry conditions, shopping or visiting loved ones- any advice to them?

With the holidays and this weather, you can experience unexpected car troubles and find yourself in some very dangerous winter conditions. Drive with a full tank of gas, blankets, water and snacks. 

Make sure your phone is charged. That way you encounter car troubles, you can wait a few hours for help.