Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Art of Survival #1:Hypothermia


Cause :Cold


Definition:Hypothermia is a condition in which an organism's temperature drops below that required for normal metabolism and bodily functions

Hypothermia can kill in only 30 minutes. Cold temperature, but also strong wind causes the body to rapidly lose heat. You start to shiver in order to maintain body heat from the rapid muscular shaking.

If your body temperature drops to 35C/95F, you'll get dizzy and disoriented. Then the shivering stops. The body now maintains temperature only around the important organs; heart, brain and lungs by shutting down blood circulation to the arms and legs.

At 30C/86F, your pulse is weak and slow. Your blood vessels widen. Now, you feel hot and want to remove your clothes, finally slipping into unconsciousness.

At 24C/75F your heartbeat stops. How fast you drop temperature will determine how rapidly you´ll perish. 30 minutes is more than enough!


* Low body temperature
* Abnormally low body temperature
* Drowsiness
* Slow heartbeat
* Slow breathing
* Shivering
* Weakness
* Drowsiness
* Confusion
* Purple toes
* Purple fingers

Initial Signs (Mild Hypothermia)
Bouts of shivering
Grogginess and muddled thinking
Breathing and pulse are normal

Danger Signs of Worsening Hypothermia(Moderate Hypothermia)
Violent shivering or shivering stops
Inability to think and pay attention
Slow, shallow breathing
Slow, weak pulse

Signs of Severe Hypothermia
Shivering has stoppedUnconsciousnessLittle or no breathingWeak, irregular or non-existent pulse


1. Stay dry. If you do get wet, change immediately into dry clothes.Staying wet increases your chances of succumbing to hypothermia 25 times...Remember people from Titanic were dead within 4-5 minutes of being in water of atlantic at 4 degrees.They didnt drown but froze to death

2. Do not exhaust yourself in cold weather. Avoid perspiring.

3. Dress in wool and synthetic layers. Avoid cotton because it takes a long time to dry. Adjust clothing for overcooling, overheating, perspiration,and external moisture.

4. Bring extra clothing (including wood or synthetic hat and socks) so you are prepared for the worst possible weather conditions.

5. Stay hydrated. Drink at least 3 to 4 liters of fluid daily. During extreme exercise, drink more (5 to 6 liters per day).* Ingesting snow is an inefficient way to replace water, as it worsens hypothermia. At night, fill a container with at least one quart of water,and sleep with it to keep it from freezing.

6. Do not skip meals; you need food (fuel) for your body to generate heat. Do not consume alcoholic beverages; alcohol impairs your body''s ability to remain warm.

7. Seek shelter in times of extreme cold and high winds.

8. Don''t sit on cold rocks, metal, snow or ice without insulation beneath you. Insulate yourself from the ground with a pad, backpack, log, or tree limb.

9.Cover your head with warm caps to avoid heat loss

Initial Treatment:For mild to moderate hypothermia:

1.Drink hot(luke-warm) drinks, followed by candy or other high-sugar foods

2.Increase exercise, if possible

3.Get into a pre-warmed sleeping bag or blankets

4.Full blown Hypothermia will not be improved by additional clothing since clothing doesn’t generate heat. In difficult climbing situations, you need to put hot water bottles in your armpits, to your crotch and/or stomach.

5.As a last resort, strip and get into a sleeping bag - together with another undressed person, to warm up by the others body heat (yeah, yeah - keep your dirty imagination to yourself!).

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