GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A 17-year-old girl whose body was found Tuesday morning in rural Wrightstown likely died from hypothermia, authorities said. That is a medical emergency when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it.

It begins when your actual body temperature falls below 95 degrees. That’s when things start to happen, causing your heart and nervous system to not work properly.

“People are not making these normal decisions. They’re making these impaired decisions,” said Ashley Callaway, a physician assistant for Bellin Health.

It’s one of the tell-tale signs that someone could be suffering from hypothermia during winter.

“Brain function begins to change a little bit as we’re trying to keep the heart pumping because that’s essential,” added Callaway.

There’s another thing that happens that causes people to strip down to almost nothing.

“We see this paradoxical undressing, where you feel feverish, but you’re cold, so you’re not knowing you’re taking your clothes off for the wrong reason,” Callaway said.

The Mayo Clinic does have things to look out for including:

  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Drowsiness or very low energy
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bright red, cold skin (in infants)

If you find yourself in a situation where you might be concerned about hypothermia, one of the best things to do is to warm yourself up for a beverage that’s a little hotter than normal.

Callaway says you can actually do more harm than good by adding something warm to your skin to help heat up quicker. Hypothermia affects heavy drinkers and the elderly population a lot, added Callaway.

“There’s already an issue with the decision-making level, and now we’re just exacerbating it and making it more difficult, and they may not be able to express how they’re feeling,” said Callaway.

Doctors remind people the best defense to fight the bitter cold is to be dressed and prepared for it, whether you’re at home or in a car.