Weather-related health emergencies that may affect hunters include hypothermia, frostbite, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing your core body temperature to fall. Hypothermia is often induced by cold, wet conditions, such as rain, snow, sleet, or immersion in water.
- Hypothermia can be prevented by dressing properly, by avoiding potentially dangerous weather conditions, and by drying out as quickly as possible when you get wet. High-calorie foods, such as chocolate, peanuts, or raisins, provide quick energy that helps your body produce heat.
- Uncontrolled shivering is usually the first obvious symptom, but ceases as hypothermia progresses. Additional symptoms include slow, slurred speech; memory loss; irrational behavior, such as removing clothing; lack of body movement; sleepiness; and unconsciousness, which could lead to death.
- Treat hypothermia by finding a shelter for the victim.
- Remove wet clothing, and replace with dry clothing and other protective covering. If there is no dry clothing, use a fire to dry one layer at a time.
- Give warm liquids to rehydrate and rewarm, but never give the victim alcohol to drink. Quick-energy foods also produce inner body heat.
- For mild cases, use fire, blankets, or another person’s body heat to warm the victim.
- In more advanced stages, rewarm the victim slowly by placing one or more persons in body contact with the victim. Place canteens of hot water insulated with socks or towels on the groin, armpits, and sides of the neck of the victim.
- A victim at or near unconsciousness must be handled gently and not immersed in a warm bath or exposed to a large fire, which can lead to traumatic shock or death. Immediately contact emergency medical personnel to evacuate the victim to a hospital for treatment.