How to fight hypothermia

Discussion in 'Hunting Forum' started by AaronMulligan, May 7, 2014.

  1. AaronMulligan

    AaronMulligan New Member

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    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?
     
  2. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    depends on the situation and the environment and what you have available to you.

    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.
     

  3. Pasquanel

    Pasquanel Proud to be an American Supporter

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  4. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  5. 303tom

    303tom Well-Known Member

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    Wear Wool !...................
     
  6. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    --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

    clothing.

    -- Use a plastic survival blanket, or large plastic bag as

    a windbreak.

    --Duct tape works well with plastic survival blankets for making

    a shelter.
     
  7. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  8. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    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.
     
  9. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

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    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.
     
  10. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    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.
     
  11. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    Its a scary condition especially when you realize its not just a thing that happens in NY in February. Our bodies are amazing environmental engines but dangerous extremes are less extreme than we might guess. Think about it, 98.6 your body is perfect, a few degrees higher and your nearly dead, a few degrees colder, same thing! The balance can be upset much more easily than we would imagine. Although Ive had frostbite and chilblain, Ive never reached a point of hypothermia even living in the North East my entire life and training in Fort Drum in the middle of the winter every year.


    A healthy body is not as prone to Hypothermia but not exempt either. Our engines need fuel and hydration to create heat, when they run low, so does the heat. Nearing Hypothermia can be halted by early detection and reversed by exercise, nourishment and hydration. Once the signs begin, your on borrowed time unless you can get your motor running and fast!

    Fight the cold by being prepared for it first, like others have said layers and materials that wick away sweat and dont absorb it are key to sustained exposure. More folks get hot and cold weather injuries when they didnt expect they could happen. Elderly and children with dementia or developmental disabilities that get disoriented and lost, Car breaks down, rapid weather changes while out for a short bike or hike or injuries sustained prior to hypothermia that immobilize you away from assistance are far more common than a prepared hunter getting lost and becoming Hypothermic.

    My wife and I keep a good blanket in our vehicles year round, I used mine last winter when my thermostat stuck closed on my PU last winter 4 miles down the road from home, it was 20 below and 7:00 in the morning! I wasnt in danger cause I had a cellphone and could have called for help if I needed it or just flagged down a car. The cheap stubborn German in me made me wrap up in the blanket, hold on and try starting it every 10 or 15 minutes and wait for the heat of the engine block to pop the thermostat open. About half an hour later, I heard a little ping, pop and trickle as the fluid started circulating through the system. 2 minutes later there was heat! Then my blood started circulating and all the sudden, life was good. If I hadnt had the blanket, gloves and a little patience, I would have been regretting that "should have been a 10 minute drive" in big ways.

    Boy Scouts say "Be Prepared" for a reason.
     
  12. JimRau

    JimRau Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I spent 8 years in an SF Unit which specialized in winter warfare and the most miserable nights I have ever spent in my life was training with them 'freezing'.:eek:
    One of the little tricks I used was to keep a squeeze tube of honey on me (close enough so my body heat kept it liquid) and when I could feel hypothermia setting in (uncontrollable shivering) I would take a mouth full of honey and wash it down with a long drink of water. In about a minute I could feel the 'warmth' spreading though my body. This accomplished two things which are REQUIRED to fight hypothermia, one the 'energy' needed to produce the heat in the muscles and to keep me hydrated.
    Hope this helped.
    Jim
     
  13. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The worst part of hypothermia is that you lose the ability to think rationally. You wont realize what is happening and you will make mistakes that can make things a lot worse. I saw one young fit guy that could not get back on his jet ski. His buddies were just laughing at him until I told them what was going on. Then they helped him and got him onto a boat where they took care of him. All the time he was insisting he was OK. I was in a kayak so there was not much else I could do.
    Tahoe is a very dangerous place for hypothermia. The water rarely gets over 50 degrees and it does not take long to get in serious trouble. Fat people stand a better chance than slim people. 6 percent body fat is not your friend in cold water.
     
  14. JimRau

    JimRau Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That is why I referred to 'shivering uncontrollably' as the time to do something, because at that point you can still think straight and are physically able to take action.;)
     
  15. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The mental effects will kick in before you start shivering uncontrollably. I have seen it and I know a couple that almost died because of it.
     
  16. hairbear1

    hairbear1 Active Member

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    2 of the biggest places that you'll loose body heat from is the head and the "private parts" if that's any help to you.
     
  17. AaronMulligan

    AaronMulligan New Member

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    So now I see how dangerous this condition is. Though I've heard about this thing before but didn't really mind it. Thanks to all for the informative and helpful answers :)
     
  18. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    IIRC, one way to also fight hypothermia is with food. food equals calories and calories equal internal heat.
     
  19. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    a lot of folks like to drink alcohol at some point on hunting trips. alcohol consumption will speed up hypothermia by many orders of magnitude. the feeling of warmth you get when you drink is your circulatory system sending a lot of blood to the skin.

    its why habitual drunks have ruddy cheeks, reddish skin, swollen noses and ears, its from blood forced to the skin over and over at higher pressure bursting capillaries.

    in terms of the cold your skin is how you cool, when blood is at the skin ambient air cools it. it is then returned very cold to be warmed by core organs cooling them. the cucle repeats and you freeze to death.

    do not drink alcohol before during or after exposure to prolonged cold temperatures.

    smoking and tobacco consumption has a similar but lesser effect.

    if your out of water do not eat snow. put snow in a container and put it in a inside pocket allowing external body heat to melt it not your core.
     
  20. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    a lot of people also don't realize that dehydration occurs in cold temperatures as well as it does in hot temperatures. just because it's cold doesn't mean you're not sweating and need to rehydrate.