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If someone fell through a frozen lake how long would it take for them to die from hypothermia?

1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Eric L. Weiss
Travel Medicine

In brief: Trick Question ; )

Someone falling into very cold water would likely die in a few minutes, but from drowning, hot hypothermia.
If that same person was wearing a personal floatation device (pfd, or life jacket), they wouldn't die from hypothermia for more like an hour. Cold water causes a gasp reflex and quickly progressive loss in muscle strength - drowning happens quickly. Core temperature falls much more slowly.

In brief: Trick Question ; )

Someone falling into very cold water would likely die in a few minutes, but from drowning, hot hypothermia.
If that same person was wearing a personal floatation device (pfd, or life jacket), they wouldn't die from hypothermia for more like an hour. Cold water causes a gasp reflex and quickly progressive loss in muscle strength - drowning happens quickly. Core temperature falls much more slowly.
Dr. Eric L. Weiss
Dr. Eric L. Weiss
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