Friday, March 21, 2008

Hypothermia
















Two presentations were made last night at one of our regular association meetings related to Hypothermia. Information and knowledge on a range of topics like these always provides for a good discussion and ultimately allow us to better make decisions on the water. I was particularly intrigued by the concept of Cold Shock.

Prior debates on the risks inherent in paddling pale in comparison to the overall risk as described by the experts. As one presenter (an expert in cold water survival) reminded us - once you start paddling in water 60F or lower, you enter the danger zone.

Part of the discussion centred on training and acclimitization to cold water. Apparently you can do it.

A few highlights:
1. recognition of a problem > yourself or others in your group, be on the look out for the UMBLES - stumbles, mumbles, fumbles; these are manifestations of a problem with muscle or nerve function.
2. body temperature less than 35 degrees celsius, start action look to going to a hospital.
3. rewarming - handle gently at all times; discussion in the group made us rethink how well we are prepared as a group for initiating treatment if needed. the group should have at least one of everything needed - sleeping bag,tarp...
4. after drop - once assisted and helped, it is not over
5. not dead until warm and dead

check out: www.hypothermia.org
http://www.celticseakayaking.com/coldwatershock.html
http://www.atlantickayaktours.com/Pages/ExpertCenter/coldwater/Coldwater-2.shtml