Victims who are just feeling cold, or only suffering mild hypothermia (core temperature greater than 34 degrees), shivering and fully conscious can generally be rapidly re-warmed without risk. A bath of hot water (40 degrees Celsius) under supervision is the best way to do this.

Hot showers are less effective, but often a more practical or available option. Showers have the added risk of rewarming collapse because of low blood pressure. Victims must be supervised and warned to alert the supervisor if they feel even slightly dizzy. If so, they should be removed from the shower to continue rewarming more slowly, e.g. wrapped in warm blankets, sipping warm drinks.

The advantage of active re-warming in a hot bath or shower is that it re-warms the victims quickly, restores the feeling of well-being and reduces the time spent shivering which is both unpleasant and a physiological stress.

Victims of more severe hypothermia or with altered conscious state should not be placed in baths or showers.

Reference: Essentials of Sea Survival (2002) Golden F, Tipton M. pp 272-273

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