The Coast Guard Auxiliary recommends you use the 50-50 rule to emphasize how rapidly hypothermia can occur. You have a 50-50 chance to swim 50 yards in water at 50 degrees. Another rule is that a 50 year old person has a 50-50 chance of surviving 50 minutes in 50 degree water.
Watch for initial signs of hypothermia such as goose bumps and shivering. Shivering may slow down or stop as hypothermia increases. Speech becomes slurred and incoherent, you become lethargic and uncoordinated. Respiration becomes shallow and erratic.
- Can occur in a strong wind,
- Occurs more rapidly in women than men and most rapidly in children,
- Occurs more rapidly when you are wet than dry,
- Occurs more rapidly when you are immersed in water, and
- Occurs more rapidly swimming or floating without a life jacket.