Frostbite is a condition where a person`s skin or tissue is damaged (sometimes permanently) due to exposure to extreme cold. The most commonly affected areas include the nose, cheeks, ears, fingers and toes. Symptoms include, tingling, burning, itching, numbness and loss of complete feeling to the area and discoloration of the skin (may appear red in milder cases, and yellow or white in more severe cases). The following actions should be taken as well as getting immediate medical attention.
- Move the person to a warm area
- Use body heat, blankets or a fire to warm up the person
- Immerse the damaged tissue in warm water (water should be just above normal body temperature)
- Avoid rubbing or massaging the affected area - this can lead to further tissue damage
- Take the person to a medical facility as soon as possible
To reduce the risk of frostbite before heading to the field, use some of these suggestions:
- Dress for the weather
- Layer your clothing
- Wear waterproof boots
- Cover your head, face, nose and ears at all times
- Always hunt with a friend or family member
Hypothermia is a condition where the body loses heat faster than it creates it. During hunting, it occurs when a hunter is not dressed properly or does not dry off quickly after getting wet. The symptoms of hypothermia are uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, slow rate of breathing, loss of coordination, and skin that is cold and pale. When this happens, immediate action must be taken. You can do any or all of the following to help the person get warm, but most of all, seek medical help as quickly as possible.
- Keep the person warm with a blanket or coat.
- Build a fire to keep the person warm.
- Give them warm liquids to drink.
- Remove their wet clothing.
- Seek medical help.
Be sure to carry a cell phone with you, and know the emergency numbers in the area where you will be hunting. Also, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to take a class in first aid and CPR. Contact your local health department and join a class.
THE LIFE YOU SAVE MAY BE YOUR OWN!