We tend to forget that cold can cause death. The dangers that we are facing are becoming evident during an ice storm like the one that struck the east of the country last year or when people are caught off guard when they are left in the water or fall into cold water.
Hypothermia, sometimes called exposure, occurs when the body can no longer produce more heat than loses. The internal temperature of the body then falls below 35 ° C. or 95 ° C.
We need to know the causes of hypothermia. Wind, moisture and cold are all factors that can cause hypothermia. The wind has the effect of cooling the body as it moves over the body. As for water, it quickly absorbs heat from the body. Remember that wet clothing often causes hypothermia and that the loss of life in lakes and rivers is often due to hypothermia and not to drowning. The cold air cools the body, even in the absence of intense cold. Hypothermia can occur at temperatures below 10 ° C. Hypothermia is a problem, even if temperatures are above normal in winter.
Protect yourself from hypothermia if you have to work outdoors or engage in outdoor activities:
- Wear a warm hat (the body loses the most heat through the head).
- Dress as an onion, because every thickness of clothing holds air, while letting perspiration on the skin escape.
- Protect your feet and hands. Wear large waterproof boots. If the boots are lined with felt, take another pair of liners to replace those that are wet. Wear mitts, as they warm the hands more effectively than gloves. Take a spare pair.
- Do not forget that dehydration and exhaustion can cause hypothermia. Drink lots of non-alcoholic liquids. Put the pedal soft when you are doing vigorous activities.
- Stay fit with regular exercise and a good diet. People in shape are less prone to hypothermia. Do not let exhaustion weaken you.
- Try to stay in a heated environment that will not make you sweat too much. You may be hypothermic if you leave a warm environment to cool yourself.
- Eat foods high in energy, such as nuts and raisins.
- Do not consume alcohol, tobacco, or caffeinated drinks. They can cause heat loss.
- If you’re on the road or venturing into remote areas, do not forget about emergency supplies.
Symptoms that originally manifest (mild hypothermia)
- Shivering Periods
- Weakness and weak reasoning
- Normal breathing and pulse
Symptoms of a case of ‘ hypothermia s ‘ worse (moderate hypothermia)
- Shivering or stopping chills
- Inability to think and concentrate
- Slow and weak breathing
- Slow and weak pulse
Symptoms of a serious case
- Chills stop
- Loss of consciousness
- Low or no breathing
- Pulse weak, irregular or null
What to do in the event of hypothermia?
If you think someone is suffering from hypothermia, take measures to stop any heat loss and get medical attention without delay. Keep trying to warm the person, even if the pulse or heartbeat is weak or null. It is sometimes easy to confuse a case of severe hypothermia with death.
Take the victim to a dry, warm place whenever possible or shelter from the wind. Keep the person in a horizontal position. If you can not replace wet clothing with dry clothing, cover the person with dry, warm clothes or blankets. Do not forget to place something hot and dry under the victim. If she is conscious, have her drink a hot beverage (avoid alcohol and caffeine).
Knowing first aid is a valuable addition. Remember that the majority of deaths due to hypothermia can be prevented through common sense.
Wear sweaters to keep warm
Wearing inadequate clothing allows the heated air around your body to come out. The proper clothing and protection traps the air around your body. The important thing is to stay warm and dry.
The first edge leaves the skin to breathe. Undergarments, stockings and glove linings made of polypropylene or silk leave the perspiration out. The second edge absorbs perspiration without letting out the heat. Wool is ideal because it stays warm even when wet. It also comes in several thicknesses. The third slide traps the heat without allowing the water to return too. A quilted jacket filled with down or a lightweight microfiber is ideal. If it is not waterproof, wear a water resistant shell or windbreak.