What Happens to Your Body When You Freeze to Death

Freezing to death is something that you never want to experience. Even if you like the cold, this list of the things that happen to your body when you get hypothermia will definitely convince you to bundle up. Here you'll find all the terrifying information you need about what happens when you freeze to death, from the early stages of hypothermia to the bitter frozen end.

The body has ways of trying to protect itself from the cold, but if you're exposed to freezing temperatures for too long, it's game over. You can even get hypothermia when it's not freezing outside, if you're wet or if you've been drinking alcohol. Remember that the next time you go out for a night of drinking without a jacket.

From the first few minutes when your extremities feel frozen, to the last seconds before death, these are all the changes your body goes through when it gets too cold to function. Frostbitten fingers aren't the only thing you have to worry about! Learn form the frozen people who've gone before, and don't let these things happen to you. 


  • Blood Flow in Your Capillaries Constricts

    In cold temperatures, your body prioritizes keeping your internal organs warm. Blood flow in your capillaries (which are close to the surface of your skin) constricts, and blood flow to the vital organs increases. This has the unfortunate affect of making your extremities even colder.
  • Your Heart Rate and Respiratory Rate Accelerate

    Restricted blood flow to the extremities is just one response of the sympathetic nervous system. Others include faster heart rate, faster respiratory rate, and higher blood pressure.
  • You Start to Shiver

    You Start to Shiver
    Video: YouTube
    Shivering is the body's way of generating additional heat by contracting your muscles rapidly. Mild hypothermia is characterized by violent shivering.
  • You Lose Your Color

    With blood flow diverted away from the surface of your body, your skin will probably turn white. This is the beginning stage of frostbite