Bushcrafting, Survival & Tracking Message Board › Hypothermia Outline and Cold Water Immersion
|A former member||
Stages, Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment
Because the human brain requires such a delicate balance of pressure, oxygen, temperature, etc., noticing behavioral changes in yourself or others is one of the best ways to catch hypothermia early on.
It is very difficult to recognize hypothermia in oneself, and the further hypothermia advances, the less one is able to self-treat eventually getting to the point of not protecting oneself from the cold. This is why adequate preparation and group awareness are so important.
Being equipped with the right clothing—layers of non cotton and extra insulating long underwear, hat, and mittens—is another essential preventative measure.
Be prepared for surprise weather even in the spring and summer.
It is very difficult to recognize hypothermia in oneself, and the further hypothermia advances, the less one is able to self-treat, and eventually get to the point of not protecting oneself from the cold, which is why adequate preparation and good group awareness are so important.
Some Factors that Exacerbate Hypothermia: Dehydration, fatigue or exhaustion, being immobilized from a previous injury, and alcohol consumption.
** Never give alcohol—the fabled “shot of whiskey”—to a hypothermia victim. **
Mild Hypothermia Symptoms
Moderate Hypothermia Symptoms
Treatment for Mild and Moderate Stages
Severe Hypothermia Symptoms
Treatment for Severe Hypothermia
The Hypothermia Wrap is a portable structure proven to provide the best rewarming environment. Always leave the victim’s face exposed.
Cold Water Immersion
The Cold Shock Response
The initial response to cold water is that blood in the capillaries cools very rapidly and rushes inward to the core of the body, to the heart, and causes gasping, hyperventilating, and tension. If this happens while your head is underwater, you’ve got a problem.
The shock usually lasts the first minute of exposure and if a person is able to relax, stay still, and slow his or her breathing the chances of survival are extended. Instead of battling to get out of the water in the first minute, let yourself adjust to the cold water, focus on not drowning, get your bearings, then calmly plan your exit from the water. (Maybe easier said than done, of course.)
In extreme cases, the cold shock response can cause cardiac arrest. This, “Immersion Syndrome” is rare and not completely understood but it is most likely connected to the rapid constricting of blood vessels (vasoconstriction) combined with inhaling frigid water.
Persons immersed in cold water should be treated gently, dried off, and insulated (hypothermia wrap) before being exposed to high external heat. In most cases, careful rewarming with the person’s own radiative heat is the first, best treatment.
How long can a person survive in cold water?
Water Temp Exhaustion/Unconsciousness Time of Survival
32.5° 45 Minutes
32.5 - 40° 15-30 Minutes 30- 90 Min.
40 – 50° 30 – 60 Minutes 1 – 3 Hours
60–70° 2 – 7 hours 2 – 40 hours
70–80° 3 – 12 hours 3 hours – indefinite
> 80° Indefinite Indefinite
Here are a couple of links to Cold Water Survival Sites: