Hypothermia is a serious health condition that comes as a result of prolonged exposure to cold. Your body loses heat at a faster rate when exposed to freezing temperatures eventually using up the stored energy in your body. When your body temperature is abnormally low, it significantly affects the brain resulting in motion difficulties and inability to think clearly.
It is always important to be aware of Hypothermia whether you are going out for hiking, skiing or camping. The best thing you can do to prevent this condition during your adventure is knowing how to stay safe. In this article, we will be looking at the top 3 ways to prevent hypothermia.
1. Cover Yourself from the Cold
In order to prevent your body heat from escaping into the cold environment, it is advisable to wear protective clothing that covers your head, face, and neck. Depending on your outdoor activity, you may need a warm hat, scarfs, mittens wool socks, warm waterproof boots, and ski masks. Instead of using gloves to cover your hands, use mittens as they help keep your fingers in close contact making it more effective in retaining heat. Wearing the right clothes and shoes helps protect you from cold air, rain, wind, snow or cold surfaces.
It is also important to dress in layers as it helps trap your body heat inside your clothes. You will need at least three layers of clothing to keep you warm during cold weather; an inner layer to wick sweat away from the skin, a middle layer to help retain heat and insulate the body, and an outer layer to repel rain, wind, and snow. These layers can be taken off when you warm up and back when you cool down.
2. Eat Plenty of Food and Fluids
Foods and fluids not only fuel your body but also helps keep you warm during cold weather or freezing temperatures. Skimping on either increases your risk for frostbite or hypothermia. A snack bar can keep your energy going if you are out for a short period of time. Foods rich in carbohydrates provides quick energy to the body and releases heat during the process warming you from the inside. If you are working, hiking or skiing the whole day, then you can bring along foods rich in fat and protein to keep you going over many hours. Although you may not feel thirsty during cold weather, it is still advisable to drink plenty of fluids before and during the activities. However, it is important to avoid alcohol as it widens your blood vessels and increases heat loss.
3. Watch out for Early Signs of Hypothermia
Another way to prevent hypothermia is to watch out for mild symptoms. Despite the measures taken to prevent yourself from hypothermia, there may be situations where your body can lose heat when balancing the layers during warm up and cool down. Early signs can also be caused by wearing poor weatherproofing clothes or gear. These symptoms include shivering, feeling cold, or difficulties in speech. Individuals with early signs of hypothermia may experience grumbles, stumbles or mumbles which means that your body and brain is being affected by the extreme cold. In order to prevent serious health problems and complications, it is important to take action as soon as these symptoms begin to manifest. This involves adding warm layers of clothing, eating carbohydrates and getting out of the cold if possible.
When to Call a Doctor
If you have tried everything you can to prevent hypothermia but you or one of your partner’s health seems to be hanging on the balance, it is recommended to call for immediate medical help. This should be done if the affected individual gets worse or does not seem to get better after attempting warm up. A doctor can also be involved in situations where you are experiencing frostbite or showing extreme signs of hypothermia.
It is very important to be aware of how to prevent hypothermia during cold weather especially when out alone on an adventure. The best way you can protect yourself and others from this health condition is through early preparation and having an idea of the dangers you may encounter along the way. Always avoid alcohol in freezing temperature as it increases the risk of developing hypothermia. Always choose the best gear for cold weather to avoid being compromised when you are still far away from home or getting quick assistance. Once you have prepared adequately and you have considered all the risks associated with hypothermia, you can easily keep it at bay.