What are the causes of sudden drop in body temperature?

Updated March 23, 2017

Body temperatures vary from person to person. Numerous factors can alter a person's body temperature, such as the weather, gender and age, medication and health. According to the American Medical Association, a person's body temperature usually falls between 36.5 to 37.2 degrees C, which is equivalent to 36.5 to 37.2 Celsius. When a person's body temperature exceeds or falls below normal, he faces certain medical risks. A sudden drop in body temperature is more commonly referred to as hypothermia, and numerous triggers can cause it.


According to Mayo Clinic, hypothermia happens when the body loses heat faster than it can replace it. This condition requires immediate medical attention. If you are exposed to extremely cold weather or you are submerged in cold water, these commonly cause hypothermia, dropping your body temperature below 35 degrees C.

Hypothermia Symptoms

Hypothermia symptoms include shivering, slurred speech, stumbling, confusion or inability to think, fatigue, shallow breathing, and a weak pulse. You should never disregard a low body temperature as just being cold. Seek medical attention if your body temperature falls below 35 degrees C. If it falls below 32.2 degrees C, you definitely need a medical professional.

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning can also cause your body temperature to drop. Hypothermia provoked by alcohol poisoning should be treated the same way as hypothermia brought on by cold weather or cold water. It is also a medical emergency. Alcohol acts as a depressant to your nervous system so if you consume alcohol faster than your body can get rid of it, you are at risk of alcohol poisoning.


Your body temperature can also drop in normal weather. For example, if you are stuck in a rainstorm and you neglect to remove the wet clothing or dry off immediately, the wetness of your skin can cause you body temperature to drop.

Who Is at Risk?

According to NHS Choices and the Mayo Clinic, certain groups are more susceptible to hypothermia than others: a baby if left in a cold room; elderly people who are inactive or take medication that alters their body temperature; homeless people who have a poor diet and poor shelter. Also, alcoholics and drug users are prone to sudden drops in body temperature because alcohol and certain drugs can prevent the body from retaining heat.

bibliography-icon icon for annotation tool Cite this Article

About the Author

LaShon Fryer began freelance writing in 2006 while pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Temple University. Her articles have been published on the Web sites: Spend On Life, Powerful Voices for Kids and The Media Education Lab. Currently, Fryer is pursuing her Masters Degree in Broadcasting Telecommunications and Mass Media at her Alma Mater.