Most Wyoming and Colorado residents are aware that in the Rockies it is always possible to experience all four seasons in one day. So, we need to be extra vigilant to the effects of extreme weather on our bodies. Since cold is the major issue during this time of the year, we wanted to take the time to familiarize yourself with the dangers related to hypothermia.
A Union Wireless Construction foreman, who worked outdoors for the majority for the year, encountered the symptoms of hypothermia in its various stages. After years of working in all kinds of weather, one of the main things he stressed is that “Hypothermia is a real phenomenon that is at play even in above freezing temperatures.” Some of the experiences he has had while working are:
- I was working with two other people in -58º weather trying to complete a splice in an aerial telephone line. Each person was only able to climb and work on the pole for 15 minutes at a time before having to warm up. It took three trips up the pole by each person to complete a single splice.
- I was working cattle on a June day. It was rainy, cold, and windy, but above freezing. When hypothermia started to set in, my lips started to turn blue, I couldn’t speak clearly, and I started shivering severely.
- We were digging snow caves during survival training and working vigorously in -20º F weather. I started experiencing a combination of hyperthermia Never underestimate the power of water and sweat to make hypothermia set in faster.
Hypothermia is a serious condition that can come into play at any time during the year. One of the best ways to protect oneself is to know the signs. How well do you know them? See how many correct pairings you can make: