Preventing Heat Emergencies
I was hiking yesterday as I often do on Sundays. Here are some things that I have not thought about for a long time but are very important.
On the hike of one of the lesser 4000 footers about 200 yards from the top, I chanced upon a group of people all sitting down. I thought nothing of it but when I came back down they were still in the same place and I stopped to help. Apparently one gentlemen in the group had started out very fast and become overwhelmed by heat exhaustion not to far from the top and eventually had to be air lifted out. A bad end to what started out as a fun day.
During this time of year when many folks are heading back to the woods for exercise there are some import things for even healthy people to think about.
First of all, anyone can over do. It is really important to build gradually into any activity level.
Wear loose fitting light colored clothing. I feel a hat helps to give additional protection from the sun.
Drink lots of fluids. It is also important to replace salt and electrolytes and to eat.
Take regular rest breaks.
The problem with heat injuries like hypothermia is that it overtakes you over time. So you have become a heat casualty or you come across some one who is stricken. See http://firstaid.webmd.com/heat-exhaustion-treatment for reference.
Get the person to a shady area or cooler place. Sometimes this can be difficult on exposed rock. A poncho makes a great sun shade.
Re-hydrate the person with water that is not ice cold, the electrolyte replacement is a big plus.
Get some rest. The problem that I have seen in two instances hiking is that if something happens miles from a road on a rocky trail than the person generally will have to walk out or be carried out.
Prepare for emergencies by carrying adequate supplies. We have them at the Barre Army Navy Store but you can find many things at any sporting goods store.
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