How to avoid accidents due to cold and hypothermia in winter sports
The low temperatures can trigger some health problems, if we do not take the necessary precautions. Pediatricians of Primary Care of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (SEPEAP) have established important recommendations that we must not overlook if we want to avoid accidents due to cold and hypothermia when outdoors or doing sports of winter.
Most common causes of hypothermia
Young children lose body temperature more easily than adults, and are more susceptible to freezing and hypothermia, as they have a large evaporation surface, an immature control of body temperature regulation and a production capacity of reduced heat.
Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops below 35 degrees. Typical signs are tremor, lethargy, and in severe cases, neurological disorders and coma. Hypothermia can occur in any season of the year by accident, but in winter, there is more risk of this happening. The most common causes of hypothermia are:
- Wear little clothesor that it is not suitable for low temperatures.
- Wet or submerge in cold waters.
- Be in wet clothes when it's cold or windy for a long time.
- Make extreme efforts without eating enough food or drink in cold climates.
If confusion or mental disorders appear, call the emergency number immediately, in Spain on 112.
Advice to act in case of hypothermia
- Protect the victim from the cold. Take the child or adult to an interior area where the temperature is warm and wrap it in blankets and coats. If we must remain outdoors, try to find an area isolated from the wind, the cold and the ground. It is very important to cover the head and neck as they are areas where a lot of heat is lost. If you can get the victim covered, you must replace your wet clothes with dry clothes.
- Try to warm the person. In case the victim is conscious and awake, and can swallow easily, it is advisable to drink sweet and hot liquids, without alcohol.
- Stay with the person until the medical support arrives.
How to avoid accidents practicing winter sports
1. The helmet is essential to prevent injuries in case of fall when practicing any snow sport.
2. Protects the eyes and skin from the sun. The reflection of the sun in the snow multiplies the risk of sunburn on both the skin and the eyes. Always use high protection sunscreen and approved sunglasses to avoid injury.
3. Wear waterproof clothing and shoes. Snow monkeys and waterproof boots are essential to prevent children from getting wet after falling. It is recommended that children wear warm clothes of their size and that they dress like an onion, that is, with several thin layers that can be easily put on and removed. Children should wear an extra layer of clothing that an adult would wear with the same weather conditions. It is recommended preferably outer windproof clothing.
4. Teach children to rest. If they are having a good time, the children do not recognize some symptoms such as cold and fatigue. It is necessary to stop are tired or wet to drink liquid, take nuts that will provide energy and put on dry clothes.
5. Stretching and heating the joints It is necessary before starting any sport activity, especially for cold sports.
6. Take advantage of the hours of light. From very early in the morning to early afternoon, when it begins to dusk as the cold begins to be more intense.
7. A good breakfast very consistent It is essential to start the day and practice any winter sport.
Marisol Nuevo Espín