One of the first priorities you must consider in a survival situation is your core body temperature. Your mind has probably already conjured up images of freezing temperatures. While this is true, what many people seem to overlook when taking body temperature into consideration is the opposite end of the spectrum. Hypothermia is not the only danger. Hyperthermia is a possibility in hot temperatures. When your body temperature rises over 98.6 degrees, you are at risk of hyperthermia.
Hyperthermia is broken down into three categories. In order of severity they are; heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The symptoms, listed in order of severity again, are your first clues that your body is getting too hot.
- Sweating profusely
- Complex motor skills may decline
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sense of awareness decreases
There may be other symptoms, but these are some of the ones you will need to be aware of. As soon as you notice yourself experiencing the first few symptoms or somebody in your party complains of a headache, take immediate action. You don’t want the symptoms to progress until you or your friend has a seizure. It is pretty simple to treat the hyperthermia at the first signs. It is equally as easy to prevent hyperthermia in the first place.
- Some treatments for staving off the progression of hyperthermia symptoms include;
- Getting out of the sun and into the shade or another cool place
- Put water or ice on the base of the spine and the neck
- Lay down
- Soak in a cool bath or take a cool shower
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
Whatever you do, please stay away from the wicking garments that seem to be so popular today. These draw sweat away from the skin. This is dangerous because the sweat works to cool your body. Choose cotton garments to help beat the summer heat. They stay damp and help keep your skin cool.
Craig Caudill is an outdoors instructor with Dan’s Depot. He emphasizes personal safely in his survival instructions and knows the importance of survival first aid kits. He is also the chief instructor at his Nature Reliance School.
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