Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday's Thoughts and Other Stuff (Cold Weather Injuries)

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

National Library of Norway

Winter's Cold
Winter is back.

So, ... Let us use this time to learn about ...

Windchill is defined as "a temperature that shows how cold it feels because of the wind"

As most preppers know, the wind makes us feel colder. In the summer, it is a welcomed effect. In the winter, it can be deadly.

During 'good' times that's not much of a danger because you and your family can easily rush indoors to a heated home.

But, ... During 'bad' times, you may not be able do that, so you need to learn about ... cold injuries

Hypothermia is when your body temperature drops below its normal temperature. Young children, older adults, and folks with preexisting medical conditions are at the most risk for hypothermia.

To determine "If" someone has hypothermia, take their temperature.

If their body temperature is below 98.6°F (37°C), the person is hypodermic. If their body temperature drops to 95°F (35ºC) or below; it is an emergency.

Symptoms for hypothermia include shivering, lethargy (low energy), clumsiness, fumbling hands, memory lose and slurred speech. Infants will have bright red, cold skin with very low energy. In more severe hypothermia, folks will stop shivering. In some cases, folks will remove their clothes.

My understanding, it is caused when the mentally impaired person's body makes one last attempt to warm itself. The disoriented person mistaken this 'warming' and removes their clothes.

As most preppers know, treatment for being cold is simple.

First, move the person or yourself to a warm room or shelter, remove any wet clothes, and change to warm, dry clothes or gently wrap up in dry blankets. Warm beverages (never alcohol) can be given, even if it's just warm water.

Treatment for hypothermia is similar but more intense.

First, move the person to a warm room or shelter, remove any wet clothes, and gently wrap up in dry blankets.

Next, you want to warm the center of the body (chest, back, head, neck, and groin area) There are several methods of doing this. One method is using an electric blanket. You can also use sheets or blankets fresh from your home's clothes dry. Another method is using hot (warm) water bottles placed next to the person's chest, back, neck, and groin. The last, very intimate, method is 'snuggling.' 

When snuggling, the hypothermia victim is joined under the blankets by a warm person. The most effective method requires both people to be naked with skin to skin contact while under the blankets. A third person can join, with the hypothermic person between the two warmer people.

Next, warm beverages (never alcohol) can be given, even if it's just warm water.

Lastly, seek medical care as soon as possible.

In severe hypothermia cases, aggressive rewarming techniques will be required in a hospital, emergency room, or other medical facility.

With that said, a "person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious and may not seem to have a pulse or to be breathing. In this case, handle the victim gently, and get emergency assistance immediately. Even if the victim appears dead, CPR should be provided. CPR should continue while the victim is being warmed, until the victim responds or medical aid becomes available. In some cases, hypothermia victims who appear to be dead can be successfully resuscitated."

The next cold weather injury is frostbite. It is a localized cold injury that is caused by the body freezing. Frostbite usually occurs in the fingers, toes, nose, chin, and cheeks. People with reduced blood circulation and folks improperly dressed for extremely cold temperatures are more likely to suffer a frostbite injury.

Symptoms for frostbite include redness or pain in the affected area, in the beginning. As frostbite progresses, the skin will become white or grayish-yellow. It may also feel waxy or unusually firm. The area will also become numb.

Winky from Oxford

As frostbite progresses, the skin will blacken and may blister. In severe cases, blood blisters will form with deep tissue damage. In extreme cases, muscle, bone, and other deep tissue will freeze. Yes, just like meat in your freezer.

Treatment will be determined by how bad the frostbite has affected the victim. If skin has blacken, blisters have been formed, or worst, seek immediate medical attention.

If caught early, frostbitten areas can be rewarmed by placing in warm water (over 104°F or 40ºC), but not hot enough to be painful to unaffected areas. Wash clothes or towels soaked in the warm water can be used to rewarm frostbitten lips, ears, or a person's nose.

Rewarming can also be accomplished by using body heat. One example is placing your frostbitten fingers under your armpits or someone else's armpits. Another example is placing your frostbitten toes under someone else's clothes next to chest or abdomen.

What ever method you use, do not rub, massage, or walk on the frostbite area that includes rubbing snow or ice on the affected area.

Do not use a heating pad, fireplace, heat lamp, or other source because the area could be burned. Remember? The area is numb.

Lastly, if the area may refreeze, don't thaw the affected area. It will cause more damage, long-term.

Chilblains and Frost Nip
The next cold weather injuries are similar to frostbit. They are chilblains (pernio) and frost nip. Most people categorize them as pre-frostbite.

Unlike frostbite, chilblain is caused by damp, cold weather. Its symptoms are slight swelling and redness with slight pain in the affected area.

Frost nip is caused by dry, col weather. Its symptoms are pale skin; tingling, burning, or pain; and in affected areas.

Both are treated by moving to a warm area, removing wet clothing, and rewarming the affected area.

Like most people say: 'Pre-Frostbite'

Trench Foot
The next cold weather injury can happen in cool weather, too; it is called trench foot. It affects your feet in cold, damp weather.

Symptoms of trench foot include cold and blotchy skin sometimes gray, tingling or itching sensation with a possible 'burning' feeling, numbness and loss of feeling, and blisters. In severe cases, the skin will turn white and soften. Cuts will develop, and the skin will die and fall off.

Treatment, like frostbite, depends on how early in the the condition treatment is started.

First, clean and dry the feet then place warm, dry socks on the person's feet. Keep the feet warm and dry. You can use foot powder to help keep the feet dry from sweating.

Rewarming can help, just like frostbite.

In more severe situations (blisters, cuts, and loss of skin) medical attention will be needed. 

Lastly, ...
All of these injuries are preventable by wearing proper clothing and other preventive measures.

But, ... That's another article.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary -

National Weather Service - Windchill Chart

Lapinleuku: Wilderness Hotel, Ivalo  - Weather: Ivalo

Consultants for Pediatricians 360 - Preventing Cold Injuries: Winter Safety Tips

Centers for Disease Control - Hypothermia

WebMD - Body Temperature

Centers for Disease Control - Frostbite - Chilblains: it's that time of year again

Bye Bye Doctor: Dr. Mary - Trench Foot: Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Cure

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has an informative .pdf with more information about surviving in extreme cold 

Centers for Disease Control - Extreme Cold: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Health and Safety

However, the link disappeared, but ....

Thanks to Amanda, from an e-mail, we (you and your family) have a 'new' link for the CDC guide

Centers for Disease Control - Extreme Cold: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Health and Safety

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