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  #1  
Old 09-23-2012, 04:10 PM
Mr. Kobayashi Mr. Kobayashi is offline
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Exposed feet freeze death sleep horror!

There was a tale I remember from my childhood, probably told by my grandmother, of an exhausted man who goes to sleep on a cold winter night. However, the fool has left his feet exposed beyond the blankets, and he is found dead the next morning.

Could exposure of an extremity to low temperature really result in death that quickly? I'm guessing the worst you could get is frostbite on the appendage in question.
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2012, 04:27 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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I routinely sleep with my feet outside the blankets. I hereby certify that I am not dead*.

I would expect the worst to be frostbite.


* My post is my cite. Dead people don't post. Yet. Due to the miracles of social media, we may someday all post from beyond the grave. Or at least, some program pretending to be us will post us-like statements intended for the comfort** of those who knew us.
** Level of creepiness not yet established.
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  #3  
Old 09-23-2012, 04:32 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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If there was a fan on.

In Korea.
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  #4  
Old 09-23-2012, 05:08 PM
Jenaroph Jenaroph is offline
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However did the ancestors of humans survive before the invention of blankets? Or beds? Or houses? It must have been a freakin' miracle.
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2012, 05:22 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenaroph View Post
However did the ancestors of humans survive before the invention of blankets? Or beds? Or houses? It must have been a freakin' miracle.
They lived where it was warm....
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2012, 06:22 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Most people find it difficult to sleep when their core temperature is below normal - at least until one's core temp is so low that unconsciousness sets in. So you settle down for a night's sleep, comfortably warm at first, and then once your core temp drops, you involuntarily wake up and feel compelled to do something to alleviate your discomfort.

This will be true regardless of what appendage is uncovered. Even if nothing is sticking out from the blanket, but the blanket is simply too thin, the same sequence of events will occur.
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2012, 06:31 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post


* My post is my cite. Dead people don't post. .
I beg to differ.


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  #8  
Old 09-23-2012, 06:55 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenaroph View Post
However did the ancestors of humans survive before the invention of blankets? Or beds? Or houses? It must have been a freakin' miracle.
small mammals were plentiful and used as foot warmers.
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  #9  
Old 09-23-2012, 07:03 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenaroph View Post
However did the ancestors of humans survive before the invention of blankets? Or beds? Or houses? It must have been a freakin' miracle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen View Post
They lived where it was warm....
And pretty soon they invented fire, and clothing, and blankets, and clothing.

Oh, and dogs. They are not bad footwarmers.
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  #10  
Old 09-23-2012, 07:57 PM
Grateful-UnDead Grateful-UnDead is offline
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Citing from personal experience, I would say that unless the person is in some way rendered comatose, the likelihood of an appendage freezing under these circumstances is negligible.

Freezing is an excruciatingly painful experience; if someone were asleep and an appendage started to freeze, the pain would be sure to wake them and they would take whatever mitigating action is available to them.
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  #11  
Old 09-23-2012, 09:42 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grateful-UnDead View Post
Citing from personal experience, I would say that unless the person is in some way rendered comatose, the likelihood of an appendage freezing under these circumstances is negligible.

Freezing is an excruciatingly painful experience; if someone were asleep and an appendage started to freeze, the pain would be sure to wake them and they would take whatever mitigating action is available to them.
OP was not discussing frostbite on the exposed appendage; he was inquiring about the possibility of fatal hypothermia while the person sleeps due to exposure of an appendage.
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  #12  
Old 09-23-2012, 09:52 PM
wheresmymind wheresmymind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
If there was a fan on.

In Korea.
You took the words out of my mouth.

Assuming the rest of his body was adequately insulated, the story doesn't sound plausible to me. Even if he was sleeping in sub-zero temperatures, as his foot became frost-bitten its circulation would decrease until very little body heat was actually being lost. Worst case scenario, he'd lose a foot. But as others have said the pain of having your foot slowly frozen would wake up any normal human being.

In the world of mountaineering and polar exploration it is common to have one or both feet and/or hands frostbitten to the point that they are stiff and immobile. Once someone's feet were well frost-bitten, a normal course of action was to keep them frozen for the rest of the expedition, as one could still walk on stiffly frozen feet, and thawing them was A) even more painful and B) opened them up to even more risk of damage if they were re-frozen.
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  #13  
Old 09-23-2012, 10:06 PM
cmyk cmyk is offline
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Your peripheral limbs, as far as the body is concerned, are totally dispensable when it comes to survival. When you enter hypothermia, your body starts conserving energy/heat for the most vital parts; your organs.

Unless frostbite took hold, then gangrene, death isn't really a threat. And even with gangrene, you're talking days to succumb to infection.

Last edited by cmyk; 09-23-2012 at 10:07 PM..
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  #14  
Old 09-23-2012, 10:26 PM
Grateful-UnDead Grateful-UnDead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
OP was not discussing frostbite on the exposed appendage; he was inquiring about the possibility of fatal hypothermia while the person sleeps due to exposure of an appendage.
Yes, I realize that; my comment applies to both the freezing of an individual appendage and to general hypothermia.

If the individual was experiencing localized hypothermia in an appendage, the pain would wake them up and they would take mitigating action.

In my personal experience, it is physically impossible to sleep while experiencing hypothermia either in an appendage or whole body; the pain is too intense.

It is my observational experience that if a person does reach the point of sleepiness while experiencing hypothermia, they are beyond recovery and die very soon after.
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  #15  
Old 09-23-2012, 11:05 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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It seems very unlikely to me. I routinely sleep in a cold room, and if my foot is cold, I pull it under the blanket. I think you really would have to be comatose to not do that.
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  #16  
Old 09-24-2012, 11:29 AM
JKilez JKilez is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
* My post is my cite. Dead people don't post. .
I beg to differ.


True. There are lots of dead people who post on this board. Well, technically they are only brain-dead, but still...
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