from Ready Nutrition:
ReadyNutrition Readers, this installment on our Winter First Aid preparation will cover first aid procedures to follow, as well as different types of cold weather injuries. We will be listing them and glancing over them, as we will be covering each injury in depth in future installments. The previous article covered some equipment that will be essential in the coming months when the temperature renders first aid more difficult. You can master these complexities by being properly prepared and when you are aware of the dangers you face during the winter months.
Hypothermia (injury by heat loss) is one of the most obvious drawbacks in the winter, but there is one that should bear mention before it: dehydration. Yes, something you would normally associate with the summer months also comes to bear in the winter. Why? It is because people drink less water in a cold weather environment. In addition to this, your body requires a larger volume of water than normal due to the calories spent in physical activity and the amount of stress your body suffers to keep it warm.
Your key indicator is thirst, and this is a late sign of dehydration. When you are thirsty, your body has gone beyond the point where it needed water. Such is why you must have canteens that can deliver, and just as important: you must use them. If normal requirements are a gallon a day per person, you need roughly 25% more, or 1 gallon + 1 quart to maintain yourself in a cold weather/winter environment.
Another sign of dehydration is the color of your urine. The darker the color, the more dehydrated you are. Now, there is another phase that you need to be aware of with the human body, and that phase is indicated by urine that is dark, the color of pancake syrup. This condition is called acute myoglobinuria, and it is an indicator that you are in serious trouble and about to go into renal failure. Usually this condition arises as a result of trauma, especially burns, however, it can also be from severe dehydration.
Here is a list of several injuries and problems encountered in a cold weather/winter environment that we will be covering individually and in detail:
- All stages of hypothermia
- Snow glare and snow blindness
- Life threatening storms
- Immersion foot
- Vitamin deficiencies (long-term situations)
- Stranded/transportation break down
- Lack of food and water
The list is not comprehensive; however, these cover many of the situations you will find yourself in when in the wilderness. Here are the first aid basics to follow when in a survival situation in the wilderness during the winter:
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