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Medical & Safety Alerts

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is the lowering of the body's core temperature to a level which impairs normal muscle and brain activities. It is serious and can be fatal.

Hypothermia is generally brought on by exposure to cold, and is greatly accelerated by wet and windy conditions, which are common to the mountains. Under these conditions, hypothermia can develop at temperatures as high as 50 degrees F(10 degrees C).

Preparation is the best prevention for hypothermia. Always carry adequate equipment for rapid weather changes, including rain gear, extra clothing for layering, a hat, and gloves.

Watch for these symptoms of hypothermia in yourself and members of your party:

  • drowsiness

  • loss of judgment or coordination

  • reduced dexterity

  • slurred speech

  • uncontrolled shivering

If these signs appear begin immediate treatment. Eliminate exposure to cold and wet conditions, move out of the wind, add layers of warm, dry clothing, and begin to re-warm the individual by administering warm, non-alcoholic liquids.

Acute Sunburn

Ultraviolet radiation is more intense at high elevation. It is much easier to get severely sunburned at high elevation than at sea level.

Protect your skin with long sleeves and pants, a hat, and frequent applications of sunscreen. Protect your eyes with sunglasses. Keep a watchful eye on infants and children as even slight redness can indicate sunburn.

 


Dehydration

The low humidity and high winds common at high elevation can quickly dry out your body.

Dehydration can increase your risk of fatigue, hypothermia, and altitude sickness. Drinking plenty of water is the best protection against dehydration. It's best to take regular small drinks, even if you don't feel particularly thirsty, than to wait until you are "dying of thirst" and then drinking a lot of water all at once. Hydration systems are really handy, and can help you overcome the temptation to keep going without a drink for too long.

Visit Bear Trek Wilderness Gear for high quality hydration equipment.

Giardia

Giardia is a parasitic protozoan found throughout the mountain west in lakes, streams, and possibly snow. It also lives in the digestive system of wildlife, livestock, and humans.

In cyst form, giardia enters surface water when animals or humans defecate in or near water. Within one to two weeks after ingestion, giardia can cause diarrhea, cramps, bloating, and weight loss. Giardiasis requires treatment by a physician.

To prevent giardiasis, boil all untreated water for three to five minutes to kill giardia cysts and other harmful microorganisms.

 

 

Medical Alerts

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