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Hypothermia Demystified: How To Protect Yourself

Hypothermia could easily be considered a silent killer. Many people die from hypothermia simply because they haven’t taken the time to educate themselves about the risks, or they think it couldn’t possible happen to them.

The problem that many outdoor enthusiasts face is that they ignore the signs from their body and instead focus on the adventure of whatever activity they are partaking in at the moment. This can end up costing you your life. If you continually ignore your body, eventually those impulses that tell you that you are cold become less and less felt by you. As humans we like to push our limits and exert ourselves in order to become stronger, but in this case, you need to know your limits and listen to your body. If it says stop, I’m cold, then you need to turn around and head back to safety. You can always head out another day.

What happens during the hypothermic process? Your body is essentially cooling faster than it can produce heat. If you body continues to cool too much, eventually your organs will stop responding and shut down.

What are some signs and symptoms that tell you that you should turn back and go inside? You will start to stumble, mumble, and have a hard time focusing. This should be your first warning that you really need to protect yourself from the elements.

What can you do to treat hypothermia? Seek shelter and if you are with a friend, then huddle and share body heat to try to stay warm. If you are trapped outside then you should continue to do this until help arrives. If you have food you should eat it because it can help preserve your body, and assist it in the heat generating process. If you can turn around and head back inside then do so. Don’t wait thinking the feelings will pass. They won’t. In extreme cases, seek medical attention immediately after your return to warmth. Hypothermia isn’t something to be taken lightly. Let your body guide you, and don’t ignore its warnings. Stay safe, and stay warm.

Source: Outside Online


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