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Hypothermia - The Silent Killer



Hypothermia can strike in any season, especially in the high country. Keep a close eye on the weather wherever you go in the wilderness and adjust your plans as necessary to avoid risking hypothermia.

Many people associate hypothermia with winter activities such as snowmobiling and skiing or hunting. However, hypothermia is a silent killer that strikes most often in the spring, summer and fall. Defined as a drop in the body's core temperature, hypothermia is brought on by exposure to conditions that cause the body to loose heat faster than it can generate it.

The three major contributing factors of hypothermia are cold, wind and water. These factors force the body to work harder to maintain its temperature and draw heat from the body.

Wind causes heat loss due to convection. Water, whether on the skin or on the clothes, greatly increases convectional heat loss and evaporative heat loss. A combination of water and wind can provide deadly heat loss due to both evaporation and convection.

While it is easy to see that sub-zero temperatures and poor clothing can quickly bring on hypothermia, it is important to realize that it can also be brought on by temperatures in the fifties coupled with some rain and light wind.



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