A Primer on Cold Weather Injuries



Summary:  Constant exposure to cold weather can lead to many potential life threatening problems.  It is important that you know how to detect cold weather injuries properly so that you would be able to anticipate and treat it as soon as possible.

Exposure to cold weather can bring about life threatening conditions if not looked into properly.  If you are planning to go on a cold weather expedition it is only necessary that you are able to discern how to avoid some of the most common cold weather injuries lest you lose your life or limb in the pursuit of your activities.

When talking about the most common cold weather injuries to be aware of, dehydration, hypothermia, frost bite and immersion syndrome are just some of the things that you should know.  For instance, frostbite is a condition where the circulation in certain areas of the body particularly in the extremities is impeded due to the immense cold.  When this happens, the nerves and tissues die and eventually is torn off.  If you are constantly exposed to cold weather it is important that you make sure that all parts of your body are properly insulated.  Do not stay in one position only.  Make sure to move around, stomp your feet and rub your hands together so as to avoid frost bite. Another cold weather injury that you need to be aware of is hypothermia.  This is a condition where the body is not able to maintain the correct body temperature.  If the condition persists certain vital organs begin to shut down and then the person eventually dies.  In order to avoid hypothermia one must wear the proper type of clothing in cold weather.  Layering is the key in order to avoid this condition.  Do not wear cotton clothing as this allows for moisture retention and dissipation of important body heat necessary for normal organ function.

Preventive Measures

Do not allow yourself to get exposed to the cold with wet clothes as this will most certainly lead to hypothermia.  If you do not have any spare clothing, look around for dry leaves and cover your body from head to toe.  The leaves will act as insulation from the freezing cold. If possible try to start a fire as soon as possible.  Look for possible shelters around you such as a cave or a canopy from a tree to protect from the snow.

Dehydration as mentioned above is another cold weather health concern that you should be totally aware of.  Dehydration occurs when your body loses precious electrolytes either from increased urination, open injuries or vomiting.  It is important to replenish lots of fluids so as to avoid this life threatening condition.