I am more than sure that if you have been fishing for a while in the cold weather then you have definitely heard of the term “hypothermia” from one source or the other.
Hypothermia is a condition in which your body temperature tends to fall down suddenly in such a way that your body stops generating heat essential for maintaining the ideal body temperature which is 37 degrees Celsius.
Hypothermia is mainly caused due to continued exposure of the body to extreme cold surroundings. The reason behind this direct exposure can be anything but for fishermen, this is mainly caused by being on the ice or icy water for a very long time or due to a prolonged exposure to icy winds. It may also be caused accidently due to dropping in an icy river. The risk of hypothermia is one of the biggest reason to be 2x more careful while fishing in the cold weather.
What You Should Know About Hypothermia?
Hypothermia can occur to anyone regardless of age or gender. The risk is almost equal for all but some people are more prone to this situation. In specific the following types of people on the higher risk side:
- People without enough warm clothing in the cold weather.
- Infants, children, and elderly.
- People with impaired judgment mainly because of alcohol or other drugs with a high consistency of ethanol or substances with similar effects.
Symptoms of hypothermia vary from person to person and from situation to situation. You may face only one, a couple or a higher number of symptoms. Moreover, the extent of symptoms will also depend upon the severity of your condition. Common symptoms of hypothermia include:
- Prolonged shivering and with higher extent of the condition the person may stop shivering.
- Drowsiness, partial sight loss, and confusion.
- Reduced ability of judgment and decision making due to loss of state of mind.
- Fumbling hands and loss of coordination of muscles.
- Breathing problems which mainly includes shallow breathing.
The best way to diagnose the condition of hypothermia is to diagnose its symptoms. Usually, at initial stages, the person’s body will get surprisingly colder than normal and the initial symptoms such as breathing problems, shivering, confusion, and drowsiness will prevail. On the happening of these symptoms, the person will be suffering from hypothermia most likely.
A normal thermometer which is available in almost each and every medical kit might also help you identify the situation of hypothermia. However, in order to be sure a specialized thermometer shall be utilized to note the actual core body temperature of a person.
By definition, hypothermia is a condition which results in sudden fall of core body temperature due to prolonged direct exposure of the body to cold surroundings. Therefore, the first aid for treating the condition of hypothermia should be to minimize the damage caused by its core source. In such a situation you should:
- Get the victim in a closed and a warm place.
- If his/her clothes are wet then you should immediately replace them with new and warmer ones after getting his/her body dry with the help of towels.
- More warm clothes shall be put up on the victim and he/she should be fully covered with a couple of warm blankets.
- If possible the person suffering from hypothermia should be given direct exposure to heat with the help of starting a controlled fire at the place.
- Warm drinks and soups can help retain the normal body temperature a bit faster.
- If the victim stops breathing, it is essential to immediately provide CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) to him/her.
How To Prevent Hypothermia?
A wise person once said, “It’s Better To Be Cautious Than To Be Sorry”. Following that principle, it’s better to work on the prevention of hypothermia rather than leaving its happening probability on luck or God’s mercy. If you work on a few things than you can minimize the risk factor of hypothermia by a significant number. Here are a few things that you should work on:
- When it’s come to hypothermia prevention, the idea is more about common sense rather than working on something fancy. You are going fishing in cold weather so obviously, you should pack up your supplies accordingly. It is highly recommended to pick up on a few extra warm clothes and blankets as they always come in handy in situations like these.
- Wearing a PFD (Personal Floatation Device) is a great thing to opt for while fishing especially in colder locations. Accidents always tend to happen and if by chance you fall in the river then this little device can help you a lot. You can either opt for a full suit or a partial one, it is completely your choice!
- Regular small exercises on the boat can help generate heat and warmth in your body and will also help you stay active in the cold weather. This little effort from your side is quite a necessary to do if you are to stay in open areas of your boat for a long period of time.