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In a screening survey for hypothermia carried out amongst the elderly population of an island in the Orkneys, in which a 96 per cent response rate was obtained, oral temperatures were recorded using standard and low-reading thermometers. Out of 77 patients who entered the survey, only three had an oral temperature of 37°C or higher. Six patients (eight per cent) had a temperature of 35°C or lower, and these, depending on diagnostic criteria, could be considered to be suffering from hypothermia. A low body temperature was unsuspected in all six.