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You can still get Outdoor Hints &Tips
-------------------------Seasonal Reminder: Dress for the weather, not the car.
You can't always avoid the emergency room. But there are simple things to do that can make the best of a bad situation. Click here for tips to deal with trauma (e.g., broken bones, bleeding, etc), chest pain, abdominal pain, respiratory difficulty, and high fever. More info....
Firewood is always a challenge, especially during wet or wintery conditions. Click for a tip...
Always be prepared for survival situations.
Be Safe Out There. Driving to the trailhead, hiking along the trail or bushwhacking and camping in the backcountry need some special techniques and good equipment. Keep your tent, sleeping bag, backpack and other gear in tip top condition.
Safe drinking water is one of your main concerns. Water filters and water purifiers provide safe and convenient water wherever you are.
Be aware of hypothermia whenever in cool, moist windy situations.
So pack up your tent, sleeping bag, and camping gear on your pack frame and get out there.
THE WINTER DANGER OF
By: Ned Vasquez, MD
Winter is close at hand and many of us will be venturing outside to enjoy Montana as we ski, snowshoe, sled, skate, hunt, and snowmobile. Awareness of the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and how to deal with this potentially deadly condition is an important tool to utilize to bring us back safely from our winter adventures.
Our bodies' temperatures are normally regulated within a very narrow range, between 97.2 and 99.5 degrees. When our temperature drops below this level, we are at risk of organ damage and even death.
Hypothermia is most likely to occur when we are exposed to cold environments for long periods of time without adequate protection. Becoming wet from rain, snow, or even sweat greatly increases the risk, as does exposure to windy conditions. If a person is injured and unable to move, their risk of hypothermia also greatly increases.
Symptoms of hypothermia usually begin gradually; recognizing them early and intervening before they become severe can be life-saving. The first symptom is simply feeling cold, followed by shivering as the affected person's body attempts to generate increased heat.
If measures are not taken at this point to warm the individual, more severe symptoms can develop, including fatigue, drowsiness, and confusion. The hypothermic person becomes incapable of making rational decisions to correct the situation and is at high risk of dying. Further symptom progression will include loss of coordination, muscle stiffness, and slowed breathing and heart rate followed by coma and death.
The best approach to hypothermia is to prevent it.
Measures to do so include:
• Dress appropriately for your winter activity and have extra clothing available. These should include adequate insulating layers, protection from moisture, and warm head, hand, and foot protection.
• Consider carrying space blankets or even a sleeping bag on longer day trips.
• Carry matches and fire starters with you and know how to use them to build a fire in winter conditions.
• Stay hydrated with non-alcoholic fluids.
• Avoid overextending yourself or others in your party.
• Pay attention to your companions, watching for early signs of hypothermia and deal with them early and aggressively.
If hypothermia does occur, treatment should include the following:
• Remove cold, wet clothing and replace with warm, dry garments.
• If the situation allows it, build a fire to provide a heat source.
• Wrap the person in blankets or place in a sleeping bag to retain heat. Insulate them from the ground and protect from wind. If possible,
another individual may share the sleeping bag.
• Provide warm liquids if the individual is alert and capable of drinking. Alcohol should be avoided!
• Place heat sources such as warm water bottles or heat packs around the victim to provide warmth. These will especially help if placed in the arm pits and groin areas, close to major arteries.
• Move to a warm place as quickly as possible but do not delay initiating treatment in the field as soon as symptoms appear.
• Call 911 if the victim's symptoms are progressive and emergency care is available. Severe hypothermia requires specialized care in a hospital to prevent complications and death.
We are fortunate to live in a place with an abundance of exciting winter activities. Knowledge regarding hypothermia and its prevention and treatment will help to keep you safe this winter.
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