Don’t be afraid to speak up and take action.
With the early spring like conditions and increase of boaters and swimmers on the river this year, I thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone to be on the lookout for those that may be in distress due to the cold water and air temperatures, this may even include yourselves at some point.
This type of distress is called Hypothermia and can have very negative consequences if not treated rapidly.
The human body needs to maintain a regular temperature of 98.6 degrees F in order for all of its organs to function at their optimal performance.
If the body temperature drops below 98.6 degrees, the body will attempt to warm itself and this is known as the early stages of Hypothermia.
Early stages of Hypothermia are indicated when the person begins to jump up and down, shaking their arms and hands about or blowing warm air on their hands (trying to keep warm) and when they begin to shiver. If these warming attempts are not successful the body can rapidly advance to the next stages of hypothermia which are generally indicated by cold, pale or blue skin and mental disorientation (confusion or erratic behavior).
There are also advanced signs to Hypothermia but we do not want to bore you with too much medical talk. If you are interested in more information there are some very informative web pages or you can contact your local fire department, they would love to educate you and know that there are people out there willing to help. And for those that want to take these lifesaving safety tips even further I recommend taking a Swift Water Rescue course and Wilderness First Aid/ CPR.
If you witness anyone (especially young children, the elderly or those that have been partaking in cocktails while enjoying the river) in the early stages of hypothermia, don’t be afraid to send them a friendly reminder of the importance of staying warm (they may ignore you, but you did the right thing). If you witness anyone in the later stages of Hypothermia call 911 immediately or send someone to call, remove them from the water, and remove wet clothing and attempt to warm them in direct sunlight, with towels or blankets (no rubbing or shaking). Do not give them anything to drink and do not try to make them walk around, be very careful with the force in which you handle them as they are at risk for cardiac complications at this stage of hypothermia.
The colder the water, the faster the body cools…
Let’s all continue to do our part to, help others and keep our waterways safe and fun for everyone.