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12-21-2007, 11:02 PM #1
Things to know about Hypothermia.Things to know about Hypothermia.
An average of 600 people in the US die from Hypothermia each year. The highest percentage of which are recreational outdoorsmen (hunter, fishers, hikers, campers). It doesnít have to be freezing temperatures for Hypothermia to take effect. Most reported Hypothermia cases occur between 30 & 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothermia is caused by the cooling of the core body temperature. Wet & windy conditions as well as fatigue contribute Hypothermia occurring. Hypothermia can be recognized by shivering , slowness of pace, clumsiness, disorientation, muscle un-coordination, and irrational behavior.
Some of the causes of Hypothermia one encounter are: Being stranded un prepared for dropping temperatures, Being dunked into cold water, Loss of heat source or shelter, etc.
3 Stages of Hypothermia
The normal core temperature in humans is 98.6 degrees F. A core temperature drop to between 96.8 & 95 degrees F places a person in Stage 1 Hypothermia. Hands become numb & unable to perform complex task (tying knots etc). Quick & shallow breathing begin. Chill bumps raise hair to try insulate the body. As the core temperature continues to drop a person often may feel as if they are warming up, but they are actually heading into stage 2. Try touching your thumb to your little finger, if you canít you are headed into stage 2.
A core temperature drop to between 95 & 91.4 degrees F places a person in Stage 2 Hypothermia. Uncontrollable shivering starts. Muscle un-coordination becomes apparent & motor skills are slow. Disorientation sets in & lips, ears, fingers, & toes may become blues.
A core temperature drop to below 90 degrees F places a person in Stage 3 Hypothermia. The shivering stops. Confusion , stumbling, & difficulty speaking occur. When the core temp drops below 86 degrees F skin turns blue and walking is near impossible. Major organs start to shut down & clinical death occurs.
Treatment consist of sheltering and warming the core temperature slowly. Dry off as soon as possible because water conducts heat away from the body 25 times faster than air. Dry blankets insulate the body but want produce heat , a heat source must be added (heat from another person, warm drinks, hand warmers). If stages of Hypothermia continue to climb seek medical attention quickly. If a person is clinically dead continue to seek help , there have been cases where hypothermic victims have been clinically dead for up to 2 hours then revived with medical help.
Prevention consist of being prepared for sudden drops in temperature. Multiple heat sources readily available. Properly layered clothing (cotton clothing in not a good choice as it retains water). Take notice of temperature forecast before your outing and add in the wind chill factor then plan on a lower temperature. A 20 mph wind change can cause a 20 degree drop in the temperature. Keep an extra set of dry clothes near by ( in camp, vehicle, water tight pack). Plan ahead for condition changes, quick retreats to shelter, and medical assistance.
Fishermen keep in mind that in America 4000 people die each year from drowning and it is not known how many of these drownings are caused by Hypothermia.
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12-23-2007, 10:54 AM #2
Very good post.
The 50/50 rule comes to mind here.
You have a 50% chance of surviving for 50 minutes in 50 degree water. The water does not have to be near freesing to cause some serious problems, and the problems are NOT over once you are out of the water.
Life jackets are a minimum when fishing alone in colder tempertures. Ideally a floatation jacket is what you need. While more expensive than a normal jacket, they do provide a great degree of warmth without the added bulkiness of having to wear a life jacket on top of a heavy coat.
Another thing to keep in mind is how you will get back in the boat if you accidentally fall out. Some boat have ski platforms at the read which make things easier, but most folks who have fishing boat do not have this.
Self rescue in 45-55 degree water, and in heavy wet clothing, may be near impossible. Keeping a cell phone in the upper breast pocket of your jacket may be a lifesaver if you fall overboard.
The biggest thing is to think these situations out in advance, that way when something happens you have a plan in your mind to get out of danger. This goes a LONG way to keep panic from setting in.