Frostbite and Hypothermia Self Help

Two common cold injuries are frostbite and hypothermia. Taking precautions during winter weather can help you avoid them. First, never push yourself to exhaustion when exercising or working in cold weather. When you are worn out, you’re more likely to fall or suffer injury.

Take hourly breaks during long treks, skiing expeditions, or work that takes you outdoors for several hours. Second, drink plenty of water when exercising in the cold, just as you would in warm weather. You can become dehydrated if you neglect to replace fluids, especially when sweating. This reduced blood flow to the skin, which could lead to cold injury.

Remember the wind chill factor when exercising outdoors on a cold windy day. Windchill means that a calm, subfreezing weather can do less damage to skin than a warmer, windy day. When exercising outside, head into the wind first, when you are fresh and dry.

If you exercise awhile and become sweaty, the dampness will magnify the windchill factor. Rain, even a cool drizzle, causes greater heat loss when you skin stays wet. Snow, even though it has a special charm and beauty, can making walking or running hazardous. During a snowstorm your ability to see is limited.

Driving visibility is reduced. Wear reflective clothing when walking. Wear appropriate clothing for winter, but not too much. Exercise generates a lot of body heat. However, be sure your extremities are well covered. Heat can be rapidly lost via exposed skin. The smartest dress code is the layered look.

Layers of clothing trap air to increase insulation and keep you warm. The inner layer should insulate and draw moisture to the outer layers where it can evaporate. Wool is good for the middle layer because it serves as a good insulator even when wet. The outer layer of clothing should be windproof, breathable, and water-repellent.

Especially, cover your extremities, including fingers, toes, nose, and ears. These are the parts most vulnerable to frostbite. Because you can lose up to 40% body heat through your head, it’s important to cover it. Wear a wool or fabric hat that covers your ears.

Even a mask or scarf may be helpful in very cold weather. Your body needs extra fuel when exercising in the cold. So eat highcalorie foods when on the trail. And, never drink alcohol. It contributes to dehydration and widens (dilates) the blood vessels. This means more heat loss.

Alcohol, moreover, impairs judgment and reduces sensitivity to cold. If frostbite nips you or a friend, get indoors as soon as possible. Warm the affected area, using towels soaked in warm water. You may feel pain during rewarming. Never rub the affected area.

Frostbite occurs when skin temperature (normally about 93° F.) drops below freezing. In very cold or windy weather, flesh can freeze in under a minute. Pay close attention to how your skin feels. Watch for burning sensations and whitening of skin. If you ignore these signs, you may get full-blown frostbite.

Frostbitten areas may turn red, then blue, and blisters may form. Digits, both fingers and toes, have been lost through this type of thermal injury. Exposure to cold also increases the risk of hypothermia. When your core body temperature drops to 95° F. from the usual 98.6° F., your life is in danger.

If this loss of body temperature is not reversed, you may simply stop breathing and die. Furthermore, it may be difficult to tell that your body temperature is dropping. Heed symptoms like intense shivering, slurred speech, and disorientation. Emergency treatment focuses on elevating body temperature.

Provide warm (not hot) drinks, remove wet clothing, and warm your friends body as soon as possible. You can do this with blankets, your own body, or any other means possible. Get medical help as soon as possible. However, continue the warming efforts meanwhile. You may save a life.