Science Illustrated

What is the lowest temperature a human being can survive?

PHYSIOLOGY At a temperature of-40°C, a healthy human being should be able to go for a run for three minutes without any consequences, even without clothes. But if naked skin is subjected to temperatures below-60°C, it will immediately freeze, and the cells die. If the entire body is exposed, a person will die almost immediately. Even with a thick layer of clothing, areas around the eyes and nose will be under risk of severe frostbite.

Breathing freezing cold air can certainly harm airways and lungs: the Inuit and other people who live in very cold climates often experience lung injury. Inhaling through the nose is better than the mouth, as cold air will be warmed and moisturised as it passes through the nose, throat and upper airway. Scientists in Antarctica often breathe through a kind of snorkel that passes through their jackets

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