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Heat & Cold Exposure

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Instruction on how to deal with heat and cold related conditions ... Hypothermia, Hyperthermia



HYPERthermia due to a body temperature that is too high

signs and symptoms- Hot dry skin; Nausea; Headache; Dizzyness; High pulse rate; Casualty may appear drunk; Unconsciousness; Coma; Death. Also linked to heat stroke through dehydration.

Treatment - Check for danger; Check response; Remove casualty from the source of heat, ie shade, and also rest the casualty. Wipe down with a cool damp cloth or even sit the casualty in cool (not cold) water. Give the casualty cool water to drink. Treat for shock. The casualty should return to normal with no ill effects if treated early. If the casualty becomes unconscious this is a medical emergency.

HYPOthermia - due to a body temperature that is too low

signs and symptoms - shivering; loss of fine motor skills; numb extremities; quick shallow breathing; nausea; tiredness; muscle mis-coordination; slow laboured movement; confusion; pale waxy skin; cyanosis (blue colour) to lips, tip of nose and ears; slurred speech; irrational behaviour; may appear drunk; Unconsciousness; Coma; Death.

Treatment - Check for danger; Check response; Remove casualty from the source of cold, get shelter immediately (survival bag/emergency shelter/tent/building); remove any wet clothing and replace with dry; Re-warm at the same rate as the casualty cooled down (so not in a hot bath if they gradually cooled down); Use lots of layers of clothing, sleeping bag; Use also the heat of another person, get into the sleeping bag/bivvy bag with them. Give warm drink. Treat for shock. Get medical help

Prevention is better than cure. Regulate your body temperature by wearing the appropriate clothing for the terrain and weather conditions. Remember base layer, mid layer, outer shell. Lots of thin layers are better than one thick one. Take off or put on layers as needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. Keep dry, even if it is hot and sunny, the weather can change in minutes. Keep well hydrated, drink plenty of water and keep your energy levels up using snacks such as boiled sweets.


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