Backpacking Tip of the Week

Backpacking puts you out into the wilderness, away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.. away from cars and phones and immediate care.

It is important that we enter the wilderness area with a solid foundation of camping skills.
First Aid, Fire building, Orienteering and most important Common sense.

As we entering the winter months it is always worth revisiting common first aid issues.

So this weeks Backpack tip is about Common signs of Cold weather injuries.

Common cold weather injuries when backpacking are Hypothermia, Frost Bite, and Frost Nip.

Symptoms of hypothermia are:
Signs and symptoms include: Shivering, Slurred speech, Abnormally slow breathing, Cold, pale skin, Loss of coordination, Fatigue, lethargy or apathy, Confusion or memory loss.
To treat a Scout with hypothermia, first move the person out of the cold. If going indoors isn’t possible, protect the person from the wind, cover his head, and insulate his body from the cold ground.
Remove wet clothing. Replace wet things with a warm, dry covering.
Don’t apply direct heat. Don’t use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp to warm the victim. Instead, apply warm compresses to the neck, chest wall and groin. Don’t attempt to warm the arms and legs. Heat applied to the arms and legs forces cold blood back toward the heart, lungs and brain, causing the core body temperature to drop. This can be fatal.
Offer warm drinks like hot chocolate or even just warm water, unless the person is vomiting.
Don’t massage or rub the person. Handle people with hypothermia gently, because they’re at risk of cardiac arrest. Monitor breathing, be prepared to administer CPR.

The key is prevention. Stay dry, change your socks often and when you do get wet, change right away.

When exposed to very cold temperatures, skin and underlying tissues may freeze, resulting in frostbite. The areas most likely to be affected by frostbite are your hands, feet, nose and ears.
You can identify frostbite by the hard, pale and cold quality of skin that has been exposed to the cold. As the area thaws, the flesh becomes red and painful.
If your fingers, ears or other areas suffer frostbite:
Get out of the cold.
Warm your hands by tucking them under your arms. If your nose, ears or face is frostbitten, warm the area by covering it with dry, gloved hands.
Don’t rub the affected area. Never rub snow on frostbitten skin.
If there’s any chance of refreezing, don’t thaw out the affected areas. If they’re already thawed out, wrap them up so they don’t refreeze.
Get emergency medical help if numbness remains during warming. If you can’t get help immediately, warm severely frostbitten hands or feet in warm — not hot — water. You can warm other frostbitten areas, such as your nose, cheeks or ears, by covering them with your warm hands or by applying warm cloths.

Recognizing the symptoms of Hypothermia and Frost bite will keep you and your buddies safe. Cold weather injuries are painful and can result in loss of limbs, fingers, and death. Prevention of these symptoms, knowing how to prevent falling victim to the cold can save your life.

Your experiences camping in the winter can fun and enjoyable.. as long as you are watchful for cold weather injuries. Don’t let the cold scare you off.


Have a Great Scouting Day!

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