Hypothermia Education and Survival

Hypothermia EducationHypothermia Education: Survival in an Extremely Cold Environment

Heat causes hyperthermia*, but today I’m going to share some facts about hypothermia, caused by the cold.

Symptoms of Hypothermia

Hypothermia can be distinguished into three stages – mild, moderate or severe. The signs and symptoms can be approximately grouped with the temperature ranges of the different stages:

For mild hypothermia (35-32 oC), signs and symptoms include:

  • pale and cool to touch as blood vessels constrict in the skin
  • numbness in the extremities
  • sluggish responses, drowsiness or lethargic
  • shivering
  • increased heart rate and breathing.

For moderate hypothermia (32-28 oC), signs and symptoms include:

  • decreasing conscious state
  • may have been incontinent of urine as a result of an increased workload on the kidneys related to blood being shunted to the major organs
  • no longer shivering
  • slowed heart rate, breathing rate and low blood pressure.

For severe hypothermia (below 28 oC), signs and symptoms include:

  • unconscious and no longer responding
  • the heart beats more slowly and may become irregular before ultimately stopping if the person gets too cold
  • no response to light in the pupil of the eye
  • rigid muscles – the person might feel like they are in rigor mortis
  • pulses and respiratory effort may be present but hard to detect.

Treating hypothermic patients can be done by providing shelter and applying gradual heat. Close body contact with a companion and sipping warm sweet liquids can help the patient get re-warmed. Hospitalization may be needed for moderate to extreme conditions. Medication should only be administered by qualified medical personnel.

As is the norm with any type of situation, prevention is key:

Hypothermia Prevention – Mayo Clinic:

  1. Cover. Wear a hat or other protective covering to prevent body heat from escaping from your head, face and neck. …
  2. Overexertion. Avoid activities that would cause you to sweat a lot. …
  3. Layers. Wear loose fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. …
  4. Dry. Stay as dry as possible.

Wearing dry suits when engaging in water activities – particularly scuba diving, snorkeling and kayaking – can bring warmth in cold water environment.

Education is needed, particularly for individuals engaging in outdoor activities. This could help individuals survive an extremely cold environment, especially at night, in the wild.

Managing the risks that can come with outdoor activities can be a part of the education and survival training. Individuals should realize that aside from fearsome creatures and hostile environment, harsh and cold weather conditions can also be an adversary in the wild.

Hypothermia education includes information about the condition, causes, signs and symptoms, risk factors, complications, treatment, and prevention. It will also teach you when medical intervention is needed. You can ask a specialist or can consult a website for hypothermia education.

*Hyperthermia is elevated body temperature due to failed thermoregulation** that occurs when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates. Extreme temperature elevation then becomes a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment to prevent disability or death.

**Thermoregulation is a process that allows your body to maintain its core internal temperature. All thermoregulation mechanisms are designed to return your body to homeostasis.

Prepare For An Emergency On The Road

Emergency on the RoadPrepare For An Emergency On The Road

Emergencies on the road are inevitable. If you drive at all, at some point in time you will be faced with a roadside emergency. A flat tire, a broken fan belt, a leaking radiator, or a dead battery are just a few of the common occurrences we can expect when we travel. No one can predict when they’ll have an emergency on the road. The best we can do is to be prepared at all times.

Having a minor emergency, such as a flat tire in the middle of the day when you have a cell phone handy and a friendly neighborhood mechanic on the way, is one thing. Having a major emergency, such as the same flat tire in the middle of the night in a blizzard with no cell phone service, well, that’s the sort of emergency on the road for which we want to be prepared. Even if you’re not a mechanic, there are certain things that you can use to help yourself during a roadside emergency.

When preparing for an emergency on the road, you want to think of two emergency kits – a car kit and a personal kit.

Your Car Kit should include:

Your Personal Kit should include:

  • Walking shoes
  • Warm boots during winter months
  • A pair of socks
  • Drinking water
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Non-perishable foods such as granola, snack bars, nuts, etc.
  • Blanket
  • Warm gloves
  • Coat
  • Hat
  • Rain Boots during warmer months
  • Rain poncho
  • Hand warmers

First aid kit

Pack a personal kit for other family members, as well. If you’re traveling with children you will want to pack the items they may need if you are stranded for a period of time. Remember items such as:

  • Formula
  • Baby food
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Extra clothes
  • Diapers
  • Blankets
  • Warm shoes and boots
  • Hats
  • Mittens
  • Stroller or other carrier
  • Games

When preparing your kits, try to imagine if you were stranded and couldn’t get home for hours. Remember, you will be without heat, electricity, or other comforts of home. What would you want in your car if that were the case? Even a minor emergency on the road can be difficult. And, even a short trip across town could leave you stranded if something happened to your car. Prepare the best you can for these situations so you can return home safe and sound.

Catchment System Rain Barrel

Catchment System Rain Barrel

At its simplest, rainwater harvesting consists of a rain barrel placed under the downspout of your home to collect rainwater for garden irrigation. In advance of or in preparation for emergencies or disasters, a catchment system rain barrel setup would be a good decision.

Larger, more sophisticated, systems can be incorporated into your home’s plumbing system to provide water for a variety of household needs, from toilet flushing to laundry, and even drinking water (in these instances the rainwater will be treated prior to use).

All rainwater harvesting systems, simple or complex, have the same basic components:

  • A catchment area to capture the rainfall — this is typically the roof of the house.
  • A conveyance system to move the water from the roof to a storage area — eavestroughs and downspouts, and maybe piping.
  • A storage system to hold the rainwater for future use — a barrel, a cistern or a tank.
  • A distribution system to get the water from storage to where it is being used — this can range from a watering can to full integration with the existing plumbing system in the house.

You can get more information on catchment system rain barrel at the Canada Mortgage and Housing site.

Here’s a great DIY design for a catchment system rain barrel to set up in advance of any disasters or emergencies:

This DIY rain barrel costs less than $100 and works just as well as the expensive one you can buy. Get complete how-to instructions and start saving water with the next rainfall.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine