Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Hypothermia can happen even in the summer, so always be prepared!
Hiking: You never know what the weather might do, so always be prepared for the possibility of cold and wet weather.
• Always take an extra pair of dry clothes, especially dry socks. If your cloths become wet, replace them.
• Always pack a sweater or jacket, warm hat, and rain gear for any hike.
• Wear clothing that wicks away moisture
• Avoid sweating by dressing in layers
Boating: No matter how warm it is outside you are likely to get wet, so wear appropriate clothing.
• Wear quick drying clothing (such as nylon).
• Also take a quick drying jacket, one made for rain or water.
• DO NOT wear cotton or jeans. They will hold the water and make you very cold.
• Have a pair of dry clothes where you will be getting out, including dry socks, shoes, and a jacket.
Symptoms of Hypothermia • Uncontrolled shivering
• Loss of coordination; clumsiness and stumbling
• Slurring of speech
• Confusion or difficulty thinking
• Drowsiness and very low energy
• Shallow breathing, weak pulse, loss of consciousness.
Treatment • Move person out from the cold, take them into a dry warm place.
• Remove the person's wet clothing.
• Cover the person with dry blankets, or coats.
• If victim is outside place something on the ground underneath them to help warm the body.
• Monitor breathing; if victim has lost consciousness make sure to contact emergency services.
• If the person is conscious have then drink warm beverages, non alcoholic with no caffeine.
• Do not apply direct heat, do not use hot water or a heating pad, the direct heat will damage the skin.
Last updated: January 30, 2015
Gauley River National Recreation Area
P.O. Box 246