Make sure that you are paying attention to this article because if you have to watch your toes turn black and fall off, you are going to regret it for the rest of the time that you can walk. Also, your penis will turn black and fall off if you get extreme hypothermia, PAY ATTENTION!
So you are dreaming about going out into the freezing temperatures and being a real mad that braves the elements to provide food for your family? Guess what? You will be useless to them if you get hypothermia, have your toes fall off, or even worse, you could die from it.
That is why knowing the symptoms of hypothermia and how to treat hypothermia a extremely important topics that every ice angler should know.
SIGNS OF HYPOTHERMIA
The first thing that you want to watch out for and notice before it is too late is extreme shivering. This does not mean that you are on deaths door step or anything like that, it just means that you should be looking for ways to warm your core temperature before you get to the next stage of hypothermia.
Shivering is the first sign of hypothermia, but the second stage is not shivering. It may sound kind of weird but shivering helps you stay warm by getting your blood circulating, much like exercise, but when you stop shivering, your body knows that it is in rough shape and that it needs to protect your core. You blood is going to recede out of your limbs to protect your vital organs as long as possible.
Once the blood in your body is leaving the limbs and other penile extremities, you are going to notice that they are going to hurt. The early stages of frost bite feel like your feet are being held too close to an open fire. It is weird that your feet feel like they are on fire when they are freezing off, but that is just how the body lets you know where the areas that really need your attention are.
Upon closer inspection, you will notice that the frost bitten area are turning bright pink and red. If you are at this stage it is not too late, get to cover and treat this injury before it gets much worse.
If you spend too much time in the second stage of hypothermia, it is going to lead you to the last and sometimes fatal stage, black toes. So once again, treat frost bite and hypothermia immediately.
CAUSES OF HYPOTHERMIA
Well, being cold obviously. There is more to it than that. If you fall into ice cold water and don’t do anything about it immediately, you are going to freeze to death. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it really needs to be to get the point across. It is not going to happen immediately though, you will have a few minutes before you die.
Here’s what happens if you fall into freezing cold water. You are more than likely going to gasp because of the shock of the cold water hitting your skin. This is going to suck air into your lungs. Under normal circumstances, that is something that is easily dealt with by coughing and treading water. Unfortunately, these are not normal circumstances, your limbs are going to be numb from the cold water and not function properly. You are going to be shivering uncontrollably so coughing water out of your lungs is out of the question.
If the water is cold you are going to only have a few minutes to get out and dry off. If rescue is not possible, either by others of by yourself, you only have a few minutes so be sure to make you peace with what ever God that you subscribe to.
You don’t need to be submerged in water to get hypothermia though, if you are constantly damp and the air around you is chilly, it is going to suck the heat right out of your body. As unusual as it sounds, there have been cases of hypothermia in tropical regions of the planet. This is why you always what to sleep in dry clean clothes if you are in a tropical climate.
Another way that you can get hypothermia is by sweating. This is a natural function of the human body and the ability to sweat through pores in our skin is one of the biological advantages that this species had been blessed with, but in cold temperature it can kill.
If You are cold and making a lot of sweat, that sweat is going to cool you off further by doing what it is supposed to be doing and evaporating, or it is going to freeze onto you. Once you are covered in frozen sweat, you have absolutely no choice but to warm up and get into dry clothes or die of exposure. Now I wouldn’t mind if my tombstone says “Died of Misadventure”, but I sure as shootin’ don’t want it to happen on something as tame as a winter hike or as avoidable as hypothermia.
If you are by yourself you are going to have to get yourself warm however you can. You need to know that if you are wet, it might seem counter intuitive to roll in the snow, but if you take off your wet clothes and roll in the snow, the snow is going to absorb the moisture that is on your body. This is only the absolutely first step in the process of heating yourself though.
You also need to keep your blood flowing. Do some really hard cardio like jumping jacks or running on the spot to get that blood flowing to your extremities. This is going to keep your fingers and toes from turning black and needing to be amputated.
If you can make a fire, do it. Just remember that your icy cold fingers and toes are not going to have the same sensitivity in them that they normally would so you are in danger of getting too close to the fire. Use some common sense and know that you are going to warm up decently if you are one foot away from the fire. Don’t hold body parts directly over the fire or you might accidentally cook yourself.
If you are with someone else and they have frozen toes and fingers, be a nice person and offer your armpits to them. Take their frozen bits and hold it inside of your jacket, in your armpit for it to warm up. It is probably the easiest way to help save some one from hypothermia.
If your companion is in real danger and their body temperature is dangerously low, you are going to have to use your entire body to heat theirs. This means that the two of you are going to have to strip both of your clothes off and get into the same sleeping bag to share body heat. This technique is an absolutely essential way of saving someones life so don’t be bashful about it, be a hero about it.
Hypothermia is not just a cold climate problem, so be sure to keep dry and warm up frequently to prevent it. The best way to treat hypothermia is to prevent it, so make sure you know the signs before it happens and make sure you are prepared if it does happen.