7 ways to avoid hypothermia while hikingby Reshma Rajendran Digital Marketing Enthusiast
Hypothermia is a medical emergency wherein your body temperature dips below 35°C. This happens when your body loses heat at a much faster rate than it can produce. When the outside temperature is much colder and your body is not able to regulate the body temperature,, mild symptoms of hypothermia start popping up. Hiking is one activity that requires a lot of energy and as most hiking trails are at a high altitude region, exposure to cold is also high which makes hikers exposed to hypothermia.
Here are some easy ways to avoid hypothermia while hiking.
Not your regular jacket!
One thing you absolutely cannot predict on a hike is the weather fluctuation. You cannot expect your regular jacket to protect you through all the mood swings of the weather. Especially as the altitude increases, chances of rain and cold wind are high. Having a wet jacket cling to your body is an open invitation for hypothermia or in worse condition even chilblains. So be smart and invest in a weatherproof jacket that can protect you from the cold wind and the rain as well.
High-Calorie food is your buddy!
It is quite normal to feel tired or energy drain during a steep hike. The problem arises when this is preceded by shivering or breathing trouble. These are the clues through which your body is telling you to refill your energy or you may experience hypothermia. The best way to regain your energy is by having some high-calorie food or drink. Chocolates or energy bars can act as your lifesaver here(literally!!). I ensure I munch on dry fruits or snacks every 30 minutes on a trek, to keep my body’s metabolism active.
Know your layers
It is a common myth that the higher the number of clothing layers, the safer you are from the cold. It is important to focus more on the quality than on the quantity.
According to Gurkirat Singh, the trek leader in India Hikes, “Layer up according to the temperature. During excursions don't wear too many clothes as that will produce sweat which is not ideal”.
When you wear too many layers for a hike, chances are that your body will start sweating. If your base layer does not have the quick-dry formula, you will find yourself in a wet base layer underneath all the layers you have donned. This causes your body to lose heat swiftly and you start shivering and if you do not change into dry clothes quickly, you will feel hypothermic. Kosha has a range of thermal wears that are made from a unique blend of Merino Wool and Bamboo. The unique properties of both materials provide comfort and are quick-dry. Their reinvented thermal tops can be used as thermal wear when it is cold under your jacket. When it is warmer, it acts as a cool T-shirt and hence provides you a smooth hiking experience.
Don’t forget the thermal flask
Many people often find it difficult to carry a thermal flask with water as they think it will add on to the weight. But it is important to have them when you are hiking, especially on winter hikes. You never know when you would get the next source of water when hiking. If you are hiking a mountain, it is common to feel tired and dehydrated both of which can cause hypothermia. So if you have a thermal flask you can always keep the fluids warm and ready when you want it.
Say no to cotton while hiking
Cotton is great for summer wear. It absorbs the heat easily and you will feel much lighter. Even though a natural fiber, it’s not an ideal material for hiking as it’s inherent absorbent properties make it stay wet for a longer time. So when you sweat or if you get wet from the rain, it might make you even colder.
Accessories are important
Good shoes and socks are one of the most important accessories for a hiker. While most people give utmost care to the hiking shoes, many people forget the socks. Socks not just protect your soles but also keep your legs warm. So, go for some high utility socks that are quick-dry and keep your legs warm. Also, don’t forget to bring your caps to protect your ears and throat from the chill wind.
Listen to your body
The last but the most important way to avoid hypothermia is by remaining conscious about your body. Hypothermia is not a sudden condition, the body gives out clues in the form of symptoms to let you know that you need to take care. If you start shivering, feel tired, short of breath, or nauseous, take a break. Hiking is not just about the destination, it is about the journey as well. So take breaks, gain energy, make sure you are warm, and then continue.
Remember these are some of the ways in which you can avoid hypothermia. Mild hypothermia can be treated by self-care but don’t forget to reach out to the medical authorities if you find the situation grave.
Created on Aug 26th 2020 23:20. Viewed 314 times.