Letter Re: Cold Weather Survival

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Hugh,

The poster of this article did a good job overall. One thing that was mentioned in brief was dehydration in cold weather. In the Army, while stationed in Germany on a few tours during the winter, I helped to assist fellow soldiers who were in fact dehydrated due to “not feeling thirsty”. Thirst is a lousy gauge of hydration. By the time you are thirsty, it is too late.

One item not mentioned was how to make sure that you have plenty of potable water. In cities, snow melt can be contaminated with the exhaust of automobiles, and if you ever treated your roof with moss killer or the like, it may not be potable. So be careful. Most folks may not understand that while eating snow is not a good idea, as mentioned by the person who posted this article, the drinking of cold water (under sixty five degrees Fahrenheit, especially in the cold winter) can be just as harmful.

The author did make some solid comments as to what may be reasonable alternatives for staying mobile. I would add check your gear, before the weather hits. This includes and is not limited to such things as: Do boots need to be treated with products like “SnoSeal” or the like. Sno Seal is a brand name for a semi waxy covering for boots. I do not have a financial interest in the company. I have used the product for several years and believe in its effectiveness. Be careful about so called “Water Proofing” sprays or coating. Once treated, the fibers or material becomes highly flammable. Also such treatments can cause moisture from sweat to coat the interior of the material or clothing. This has its own hazards, such as the possibility of inducing hypothermia and degrading the thermal protective qualities of your garments.

Take time to review your sweaters and other weather clothing. Learn to mend it if at all possible. Be sure to take care about avoiding over layering, as this can also induce dehydration and other heat-related injuries, in some conditions. The usual precautions stand, like not using propane stoves or charcoal grills indoors. Neither carbon monoxide nor a fire in your home, other than in a well maintained fire place with an annually inspected chimney, are your friend. – grog

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