It's too warm to get hypothermia in Hong Kong, say expat friends hailing from nippier climates. But it's not only sub-zero temperatures that induce the condition - it can happen any time the air or water temperature takes one's core body temperature below 35 degrees Celsius.
Cold water, in particular, robs heat from the body 32 times faster than cold air. The body also loses heat through metabolism, conducting heat to colder objects through contact, and perspiration.
From 2001 to 2010, there were 111 deaths due to hypothermia in Hong Kong - 78 per cent of victims were aged 75 and above - according to the Census and Statistics Department and the Health Department. The elderly are particularly sensitive to weather changes because of decreased ability in temperature control and less fat beneath the skin. But in recent weeks, even people as young as 25 have been treated for hypothermia.
The Hong Kong Observatory forecasts normal (16.3 to 17.1 degrees) to below-normal temperatures for this winter.
To stay warm, you need to be winter smart. Test yourself here:
1. The lowest temperature ever recorded at the HK Observatory is
a. minus 2 degrees Celsius
b. 0 degrees
c. 2 degrees
2. The part of the brain that regulates core body temperature is called the
3. Symptoms of severe hypothermia include rigid muscles, cessation of shivering, blue skin, erratic heart beat and coma. This happens below a core body temperature of
a. 20 degrees Celsius
b. 26 degrees
c. 28 degrees
4. A good drink for someone with mild hypothermia (32 to 35 deg C) is
a. hot chocolate
5. The HK Observatory issues a cold weather warning for a forecast of
a. 5 degrees Celsius and below
b. 10 degrees and below
c. 12 degrees and below
1. b (though sub-zero temperatures have been recorded on Tai Mo Shan); 2. a; 3. c; 4. a (caffeine and alcohol make your blood vessels expand, causing your body to lose heat faster); 5. c.