Tuesday, July 26, 2011

#1 Killer in the outdoors: EXPOSURE!! (Cold Related)

Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia

In our English lexicon the term Exposure is a catch all phrase used in the description of cold or heat related illness, these includes hypothermia, hyperthermia and other environmental related conditions. The human body is a delicate organism, in order for our continued survival we must maintain a core temperature of around 98.6F, deviation in either direction can have devastating effects. Therefore the ability to regulate that core temperature is vital, thus exposure is the #1 killer of humans caught unprepared in the outdoors.

The following is a generalized presentation of how cold related conditions can kill you.

Mild Hypothermia

Core Temp.
99 - 97F -Normal temperature range, metabolic rate increases shivering may begin.

97 - 95F -Goose bumps and cold sensation. Unable to think or problem solve. Confusion sets in. Loss of dexterity. Shivering may be mild to severe. Skin appears pale and cool to the touch.

Moderate Hypothermia

95 - 93F -Violent shivering in waves. Apparent poor Co-ordination, stumbling. Apathy and confusion. Fatigue. Unable to walk 30-ft. straight line (best field test for early Hypothermia). Difficulty in touching pinky finger to thumb.

93 - 90F -Impaired fine motor coordination. Violent shivering, difficulty walking. Slurred speech and possible hallucinations. Lethargic.

Severe Hypothermia

86 - 90F -Shivering stops, consciousness clouded, unable to walk, exposed skin takes on blue hue, blood pressure drops.

78 - 86F -Continued progressive physical and mental deterioration resulting with a loss of consciousness and soon after, DEATH.

Treatment and Prevention

Prevention: BE PREPARED, never underestimate the weather or over-estimate your abilities. Be aware of others and yourself to recognize symptoms early, PREVENT continued heat loss by adding clothing. PRODUCE heat, internally (digest warm liquids or high carb. foods) or externally (obtain shelter, create fire). RELAX, continued physical exhaustion can accelerate core heat loss. HYDRATE, water aids in the regulation of core temperature and aids circulation.

Treatment: Reduce exposure as much as possible. Send for help ASAP. Remove wet or damp clothing; replace with dry clothing and extra insulating layers. Drink warm liquids or high-energy foods. If core temp drops below 95F, obtain medical attention as soon as possible.

*None of the foregoing is a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or medications. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on BeFoundAlive.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Stay healthy, mind-body-spirit! -Z