How to fight hypothermia
As a hunter, I always take safety measures during hunting to avoid from accidents. But lately realized that there is also a threat to our health during hunting, I've heard of this serious condition "hypothermia" which they say is potentially dangerous. What is the best remedy should we use to fight hypothermia?
proper clothing is one of the first lines of defence against it.
if lost in the woods and it's cold or snowing or raining, shelter and a fire are the next best defences.
yes hypothermia is dangerous and can be fatal. people have died from it.
Been close a few times here are some stats for you........http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5407a4.htm
In the very simplest of terms, hypothermia means your body is losing heat faster than it can make heat. While we usually think of cold, the REAL enemies can be (a) wet (b) wind and (c) whiskey.
You can die in 50-60 degree air if you are wet, exposed to wind, and do not have clothing or a local environment that can block wind. Being submerged in water is extreme heat loss.
Booze has played a role in between 1/3 and 2/3rds of hypothermia cases. "Take a drink to warm you up"- acts as a vasodilator, speeds heat loss from skin.
Select clothing with care- many synthetics (Gore Tex) will still insulate when wet, as will wool. Others do not. Have clothing that can block wind. Gloves and a hat are important- but NOT as important as folks thought.
Getting into serious cold? Fell in the creek, got soaked, wind is up and you are shivering? GET OUT OF THE WIND. Maybe a low area, lee side of big rock, beyond a blowdown tree with a big root fan. Build a fire. Does not have to be huge. You are using it to dry as much as to warm.
Feet wet? Ages ago, I used to roll wool sox up in a tight roll, put two in a condom, knot condom- and even if I had been in water to my neck, I had a dry pair of sox when I needed them. Now you can use a ziplock baggy.
You can "bump" your metabolism just a bit with simple carbs- candy, sugar, etc. Be careful with coffee- caffeine can start to dehydrate you.
Windscreen? If you can't find a natural one- a simple sheet of heavy poly and some paracord in your pack can make one- or improve a natural one. Limit your contact with soil or rock- draws body heat. Branches, dry leaves, evergreen boughs can help. A disposable space blanket weighs less than a deck of cards- and it works.
BTW- I have slept (well) outdoors, North of Fairbanks Alaska, January, at -55 degrees. Simple shelter, good clothing.
PS- anyone a boater? 50 degree water will kill you in about an hour. Wear a life jacket, double that time. Insulates you. Says the US Coast Guard.
Wear Wool !...................
--Layers of clothing. A wool cap.
--What they many times call "hypothermia", winds up
actually being dehydration, especially in a wind. Just
a small breeze can kill you.
--Newspaper or cardboard is a great insulator. Put it in layers inside your
-- Use a plastic survival blanket, or large plastic bag as
--Duct tape works well with plastic survival blankets for making
Hunting I always carried a space blanket, large plastic bag, fire starting stuff and a whistle. People might ignore gunshots but they wont ignore a whistle. Those went into pockets not the back pack. Also carried candy or food bars in the back pack so they would not melt from body heat. One other item was a foam pellet filled cushion. It hung off of your belt in the back and gave you an insulated from the ground or whatever you were sitting on. Also made a rifle rest.
Kayaking in cold water meant a wet suit or a dry suit, no cotton and a life jacket.
Know where you are. Literally. If you aren't lost, you'll
spend less time exposed to the elements. So stay
oriented. Means maps, compass, orienteering.(in advance )
String, that nylon surveyor's stuff, strong, and
compact, great for helping cobble together windbreaks for
fire, and shelter.
Figure out where you are, and GET OUT BEFORE DARK. Otherwise,
make camp, fire, and shelter; unless you are certain where you are going.
I carry a space blanket when I am hunting in cold weather for emergencies. If I am hunting in a wet area or there is a heavy frost I put bread bags over my wool socks. My boots may be soaked but my feet are dry. I also carry a pair of heavy mittens in case my hands get cold/wet. I always wear a warm hat that covers my ears. Plus I wear a coat with a hood.
A friend fell in a creek in extreme cold weather. By the time we got a fire going his clothes had iced up. We used myrtle bushes to beat the ice off him. In 30 minutes he was ready to carry on the hunt. He is a better man than I am. I would have headed to the truck before anyone could have got a fire going. We were only a few hundred yards from the truck.
About 20 years ago I suffered from hypothermia. It was on July 4th at Lake Tahoe on an 85 F degree day. (AaronMulligan: July is mid summer for us in the northern hemisphere. Lake Tahoe sits at 6,224' (1,897 m) elevation and is a surprisingly dry climate in the summer months.)
I was out sailing with a buddy of mine, our crappy little boat capsized and was swamped without any way to bail out. The water temperature out in the lake is pretty cool, and warms somewhat as you get into shallower water. We were about a half a mile out on the lake when we capsized, where the water is very cool and very deep (the lake is 500 meters at its deepest point and averages 300 meters deep. Deeper water has a lower surface temperature away from shore. Tahoe never freezes due to its thermal mass and also never gets very warm).
We both were able to get to shore OK, but by the time I got there I was shivering uncontrollably and my limbs were turning blue. My buddy was not affected though. You will hear that an individual's build will not affect how rapidly one becomes affected by cold temperatures, but the fact is that my buddy, who is considerably thicker, heavier and fatter than me, was not affected while I, who at the time had around 6% body fat and an extremely thin build, were affected very differently despite our having been through the exact same ordeal.
When we got to shore I was treated (dried off and warmed up carefully so as to not cause further damage) and survived just fine without any lasting effects. Went out to watch the fireworks that evening, though I was very tired and had to bundle up.
One can find hypothermia or hyperthermia (overheating) in unexpected places and conditions.
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