Hypothermia is a serious concern in Alaska during the winter months. Hypothermia occurs whenever the body’s temperature plummets to extremely low levels, and has the potential to be deadly. Preventing hypothermia is much easier than treating it afterwards, and here are some tips you can use to help avoid this condition from happening.
Dress in multiple layers in order to keep yourself as warm as possible. You should be especially concerned with covering your head, as a great deal of heat can escape your body if it isn’t covered. Whenever possible, choose wool for inner layers, and a waterproof material for your outer ones in order to keep yourself dry and promote good airflow.
Avoid getting wet as much as possible. If you do wind up getting soaked, remove wet articles of clothing as soon as possible. This is another good reason to dress in layers, because it could become necessary for you to remove some of them in order to stay dry. Carrying extra socks with you can ensure you are able to change them if needed, and could also help you avoid frostbite.
Limit the amount of time you spend outdoors when the wind chill is especially cold. Ideally, you should spend no more than 30 minutes at a time outside whenever the temperatures dip to below zero. When warming yourself up, take care not to do so too quickly, as this could cause your body to go into shock. Instead, warm up gradually in order to ensure your blood flows quickly so that you can prevent tissue damage.
Use the buddy system when spending time outdoors so that the two of you can keep an eye on one another. Pay attention for signs such as confusion, a lack of shivering and increased urge to urinate. Should either of you exhibit any of these signs, come inside and then call for help immediately.
Although anyone can be subject to hypothermia, children and the elderly are especially vulnerable. Those who are at a heightened risk for hypothermia should be monitored more carefully than others so that everyone can remain free of cold weather injuries the entire season.