Protect Yourself from Hypothermia

Edited by Rubilyn Valdez, Graeme, Melvin Magadia, Robbi and 1 other


Hypothermia is characterized by the sudden drop of body temperature, and is caused by prolonged exposure to elements like wind, air, and snow. When a person's body heat reaches below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the body cells lose their ability to function well. Severe hypothermia can lead to frostbite and worse, death., Proper layering is advised especially if you are engaged in an outdoor activity that involves unpredictable weather conditions. Here are a dozen ways that you can combat hypothermia.


  1. 1
    Know your biological capacity and facts about hypothermia and frostbite
    Knowledge is power and you can only protect yourself from imminent danger if you know how to prevent it. Before engaging in a cold-climate activity, do research about your destination and the weather forecast on the date you wish to travel. Determine if you are physically fit enough to undergo a strenuous activity at a very low environmental temperature.

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  2. 2
    A few hours before the activity, eat loads of carbohydrates and fat
    This increases the energy supply taken from grains and helps the body produce internal heat, which is derived from eating nuts and butter-based food. You should also be conscious about proper hydration and appropriate intake of fluids. Excessive water intake can make you feel bloated, especially if you are going into a higher altitude. On the other hand, shortage of fluid supply in the body will make you feel nauseous and severely exhausted, and suffer other effects of dehydration.

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  3. 3
    Apply proper layering
    Layering is the method of wearing different kinds of clothes as protection for very cold weather and rain. The base layer, which is the closest to the skin, should be light and have the ability to wick away water and perspiration easily. You can use dri-fit or Climacool clothes as a base layer. The second layer should be a fleece. This is made up of thick material designed to trap heat in the body. Wearing a fleece is not advisable when it is raining because it can accumulate too much water to drain. The last layer is called a windbreaker or a rain jacket. Use either or both of the two, depending on the weather condition. Windbreakers and rain jackets are made up of water-resistant to waterproof material to prevent water from getting inside. It also needs to have a hood to protect your head from external elements.

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  4. 4
    Keep moving
    When you are already shivering from the extreme coldness or heavy rain, always remember that being stationary prevents the continuous flow of blood throughout the body. So keep moving, no matter how freezing it gets. Any physical activity, including simple hand shakes and stretching can pump up adrenaline.

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  5. 5
    Determine your breathing pattern
    When it gets extremely cold, especially at higher altitude, it gets difficult to breathe properly. If this happens, you may have to reestablish your breathing patterns and intervals.

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  6. 6
    As much as possible, keep yourself dry
    When you are submerged in water or wet under severe rain, it is crucial to dry yourself out before you develop the first signs of hypothermia. The combination of cold winds and water is a fatal formula for death. Wear base clothing that is easy to dry, and change clothes immediately when you are already wet and exposed to an open area.

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  7. 7
    There may be incidents that make you have to take adrenaline shots
    In very cold temperature, your body heat level decreases rapidly preventing it from producing the hormones that trigger adrenaline. When this happens, you have to take adrenaline injections as an emergency procedure.

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  8. 8
    Get a medical clearance, especially if you are suffering from risk factors such as diabetes, thyroidism, or drug abuse
    Bearing any serious medical conditions makes the body weaker and more vulnerable to infections.

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  9. 9
    Have a stash of chocolates and energy bars, and splurge on some sugar rush item
    Trail foods like granola bars, chocolates, and biscuits are packed with energy-boosting ingredients to keep you going. You may also want to bring with you energy drinks to supply electrolytes in your body that are eventually lost as you perspire. However, you have to be conscious on the volume of energy drink that you consume because excessive amount of this takes out the natural body fluid enabling dehydration.

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  10. 10
    Stay away from open spaces
    If you are doing a bivouac or an emergency shelter, make sure that you are protected against chilling winds and rain. The best spots are inside a forest or in a bunker.

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  11. 11
    Know the signs of hypothermia
    Make yourself aware of some biological signs of hypothermia and how you can counter-attack it.

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  12. 12
    Conduct a hypothermia wrap or the application of heat to the person's body
    If you do not have an insulated wrap or an emergency blanket, apply body heat by embracing the victim without clothes on.

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Signs of Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a fatal condition that is caused by overexposure to very cold elements. By knowing the signs, you are helping yourself overcome death. The following are the symptoms of hypothermia:

  • Shivering
  • Vague and slow speech
  • Memory lapses, incoherence, abnormal behavior
  • Immobility and fumbling hands
  • Undue and frequent stumbling
  • Severe exhaustion
  • Unnoticed actions like loss of clothing and other things

How to Know if it is Frostbite

Frostbite is caused by direct and prolonged exposure to cold environments and freezing materials such as ice. In most cases, hypothermia and frostbite can occur simultaneously, which is why it is important to know its first symptoms.

  • Slightly painful or itchy sensation, especially on exposed body parts such as fingers, limbs, legs, toes, and nose
  • Red, pale white, or yellowish skin color
  • Hard and wax-like skin
  • Burning sensation
  • Numbness
  • Severe blistering

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Robbi, Melvin Magadia, Graeme

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