What is hypothermia and its symptoms? London lido deals with at least one case a day

Lifeguards at Parliament Hill Lido are warning of daily hypothermia cases
Lifeguards at Parliament Hill Lido are warning of daily hypothermia cases

Warnings of people suffering from hypothermia after using Parliament Hill Lido have been reported. This is due to a recent and sudden drop in water temperatures, which are reportedly 8C colder than the previous week.

However, many swimmers at the north London lido have ignored this and are not taking it seriously. Lifeguards are now dealing with “at least one hypothermic swimmer every day”, said staff at the outdoor pool in Hampstead Heath on social media. The medical emergency could lead to a complete failure of the heart and a respiratory system breakdown potentially leading to death.

“This is significantly colder than it was just a week ago, yet a number of swimmers are still trying to stay in the water for as long as they did last week,” staff warned.

What are the early warning signs you or someone you know may be suffering from hypothermia?

What is hypothermia and why does it occur?

When the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, body temperature dangerously lowers. Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature falls below 35C with a normal temperature being around 37C.

This drop in heat may be caused by either exposure to cold weather or when people immerse themselves in cold water.

Symptoms of hypothermia

Early warning signs of the condition may include:

  • Weak pulse

  • Shivering

  • Low energy

  • Slow, shallow breathing

  • Slurred speech, mumbling

  • Confusion or memory loss

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Clumsiness

  • Drowsiness

  • Bright red or cold skin (as seen among infants).

What to do if you or someone else is suffering from hypothermia

The NHS advises moving the person indoors as quickly as possible and removing any wet clothing, wrapping the person in a blanket or towel. Patients should be kept awake and someone should stay with them at all times.

If possible, you should also try to give them a warm drink or sugary foods.

The NHS advises not to rub their body, not to use a hot bath or place them near a heated area and also not to give them any alcohol.