Chris Choi suffers mild hypothermia in simulation of fuel poverty conditions

ITV Tonight

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi put together a log of his experience in a cold chamber to simulate the conditions experienced by those living in fuel poverty.

Chris Choi with Professor Bailey in the cold room. Credit: ITV Tonight
  • 20 minutes in:

Chris Choi: "I've been in here less than an hour. I feel shivery and uncomfortably cold already. The professor has just left having taken new readings. They showed big changes of my blood pressure, heart rate and thermal image. All put together it shows my body is now under pressure to cope."

"Professor Bailey looked at my arms and said he could see the artery changing.

"My muscles are beginning to twitch as they begin to shiver. At the moment it's not constant shivering but more like intermittent involuntary spasms."

  • 1 hour 30 minutes:

Chris Choi: "I've been at about 12 degrees for 90 minutes. Nose running a little, shivering more and feeling gloomy. Mainly just feeling how horrid that many people are living like this as their everyday life."

After nearly two hours, Chris described feeling "drained and gloomy".

  • 2 hours 30 minutes:

Chris Choi: "I've tried walking around and putting my hands under my armpits but it's not really working. The ends of my fingers have definitely gone numb."

"A GP has come to visit me in the cold chamber. She says that she often visits patients in their own homes and discovers they are living at these temperatures - cold is so cruel it goes for the most vulnerable.

"She says the very young and much older people along with those who have underlying conditions are worst hit.

"She squeezed the end of my finger and it went white - it took ages for the blood to get back into the area she has squeezed and for it to get its colour back, she explained that shows that my circulation is being affected."

Checks keep track of Chris Choi's progress. Credit: ITV Tonight
  • 4 hours 30 minutes:

Chris Choi: "Feeling better, but the measurements show quite clearly that I have lost a lot more core temperature.

"In fact all the monitoring showed a further decline as my body fights against the stress of the cold.

"What worries me is that this shows people may feel they are getting warmer when they are really getting a colder."

"We'd intended for the experiment to run longer, but after five and half hours Professor Bailey decided we had to stop. I was showing signs of mild hypothermia."

  • Watch Tonight: Energy Bills - the Cold Facts on ITV at 7.30pm.