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Knowledge: how to protect yourself against hypothermia

Ski accident

The ski season is almost upon us, and the pristine white snow lures us outside to indulge in various leisure activities. However, the cold winter air can be a dangerous adversary. For in an emergency situation, exposure to the cold can have dramatic consequences. Our ten tips tell you how to protect yourself from hypothermia. 

  • 1) Keep moving

    If the situation permits (injury, risk of falling risk), moving about helps your body to generate heat. 
  • 2) Sit or lie on insulating material

    Lay blankets, jackets, fallen leaves, etc. under your body. This reduces the amount of warmth being conducted away from your body.
  • 3) Use a rescue blanket

    In an emergency, wrap yourself up tightly in it. This reduces heat radiation.
  • 4) Put on dry spare clothes

    Change out of damp or wet clothes as quickly as possible. In addition, loosen any tight clothing - this promotes circulation.
  • 5) Reduce the surface area of your body

    Draw yourself up into a ball or, if you are with a group, huddle closely together.
  • 6) Stay awake

    When you are asleep, your body produces less energy and therefore also less heat.
  • 7) Consume calories

    Do you have to face waiting a long time in the cold? A cereal bar or chocolate is a good energy booster.
  • 8) Seek protection from the wind

    Shelter in a building or behind a rock or tree, or dig a hole in the snow.
  • 9) Consume hot drinks

    You should, however, dispense with alcohol. This relaxes the blood vessels, causing a greater heat loss. 
  • 10) Refrain from smoking

    While smoking briefly makes you feel warm, it causes the blood vessels in your hands and feet to restrict to such a degree that it could result in frostbite.

Illustration

You can read what causes hypothermia and what Rega does to minimise it when out on a mission in the issue 83 of our Rega Magazine 1414:

Rega Magazine, Issue 83

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