Hypothermia is when the body’s internal temperature is lowered to an unhealthy degree. The body loses heat and is, for what ever reason (varying factors can be involved), is unable to produce adequate heat to sustain itself. Organs begin to fail and rational thinking is impaired severely. Hypothermia can happen fast, and if it is not treated can result in death. Hypothermia can occur when the body is exposed to severely cold climes, icy winds and by getting wet.
The symptoms are typically weakness, absentmindedness, confusion, uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, semi consciousness of unconsciousness. Basically, the body is breaking failing itself due to the incredibly low temperature it has reached. While some animals like polar bears and wolves can thrive in the cold, humans, not really equipped with thick fur coats, typically need to be well prepared for extreme climes or potential hypothermia-like scenarios.
Layering up in clothing is the no-duh approach at avoiding Hypothermia. Always protect the head, as fifty percent of body heat is lost from the head. Remain dry, being wet is only going to hurt your chances for getting warmer. Be smart about it, too. Wear a personal flotation device if you are near cold water and always carry matches in a waterproof container.
If you fall in water, keep your clothing on and your head above the surface. Since the head is such an eminent factor in avoiding Hypothermia, it should remain as warm as possible. If it is a short distance, try and swim to shore. A whistle could also help identify someone near by of your where abouts.
The basic rules are obvious: stay warm and be prepared. Knowing where you are going and maximizing your defenses for the scenario ensure a positive, Hypothermia-free experience.