It is during this time of the year when Hypothermia can take your life. Ironically, many Hypothermia incidences occur over 75 degrees. Throw in some cold water, temperatures, extreme conditions, and bad choices will make things worse.
In Montana, Spring runoff will quickly change water temperatures. Exposure to wet conditions or changing weather and temperatures can create a dangerous situation. Wet wading is fine on a sunny day but when the sun sets, temperatures can drop dramatically. You can quickly become Hypothermic after swimming and skiing. Transition to dry garments soon after.
Length of exposure and temperature trigger hypothermia. One of the first symptoms is uncontrollable shivering. Muscle spasms in your arms and legs often follow. The victim will also become confused as their core body temperature begins to fall. Pulse and breathing will decrease along with a uneven heartbeat. Respiratory or heart failure can occur if the symptoms are not addressed.
Here are some Hypothermia Tips!
- Get the victim out of the water or cold and into a protected space.
- Replace wet clothing with dry garments and wrap them in a sleeping bag or blanket.
- Cover the head with a hat or wrap. Most heat is lost here.
- Transport the victim to a hospital
- Handle hypothermia victims gently. Do not allow them to walk unless absolutely necessary.
- If semi-conscious or worse, try to keep them awake. Ensure that their air passage is fully open. If breathing stops, you will need to perform CPR.
- If you encounter a victim that has been immersed in cold water, or conditions, for a long period of time, they may not be breathing. Start CPR. In some cases, these victims can be resuscitated without brain damage even after an hour of underwater or snow immersion.
Carrying a Space Blanket or small tarp is a good idea. Fire fixins are also helpful. Get trained in CPR and basic First Aid. Knowing the treatment and care often helps to prevent situations ahead of time.
Stay warm and healthy!