Canyoning, Medical, Safety

UNPLEASANT SITUATIONS DURING CANYONING – HYPOTHERMIA

Canyoning.ai portal would like to list some points we need to keep in mind for our safety and the safety of our partners. They relate to unpleasant situations that may happen to us and a rudimentary way of dealing with them. As you will have realised while involved in canyoning we are moving in a demanding field where the intervention of a potential rescue team is very difficult and time consuming. That is why it is necessary to follow all the safety rules we have been taught and to be prepared.

Hypothermia can become an unpleasant situation during canyoning.

The body temperature drops below 35 degrees Celsius. In severe hypothermia, below 32 degrees, mental functions are affected.

Canyoner with early symptoms:

– Feeling cold with numb or sore limbs.

– Uncontrollable trembling.

– Reduction of the movement rate and possible instability.

– Loss of muscle coordination and inability to perform fine movements e.g. tying shoelaces.

Canyoner with symptoms of severe hypothermia:

– The trembling stops.

– Mental functions are affected.

(The person becomes irritable, anxious or apathetic, his speech is difficult to understand and his reactions to external stimuli become slow)

– Inability to support, muscle weakness.

– Inability to see or focus.

– Absence of crying (for children).

– Amnesia, lethargy.

– Loss of consciousness, lack of reaction to external stimuli. At this stage, breathing and heart rate can be difficult to detect.

How to treat hypothermia:

We do everything we can to reheat the “victim”.

– Air protection.

– Hot drinks and foods rich in carbohydrates.

– No alcohol and coffee. They intensify heat loss.

– Insulation from the ground with a karimat or whatever else we have.

– If possible, remove wet clothes and wear dry.

– Wrap with aluminum blanket.

– If possible, place the canyoner in a sleeping bag. If necessary, one more person comes in to offer body heat.

– We make hot water heaters with hot water in water bottles or whatever bottles we have, we wrap them with a cloth and place them in the armpits, in the sternum, in the groin.

– We do not rub the victim’s hands and feet.

– We do not give fluids if the canyoner is semi-unconscious or unconscious.

– We transport the patient only on a regular or improvised stretcher.

– We protect both head and neck from the cold and possible bumps.

– We control breathing and heart rate.

To avoid hypothermia we must:

– Use always the right equipment.

– Eat regularly and drink plenty of fluids.

– Have extra food during the winter months.

– Do not carry unnecessary weights.

– Have studied the map, the route and times of entry and exit of the canyon.

– Know when to give up the effort and use any possible emergency exit pointed in the map and route.

– Take care of ourselves and train systematically.

– Have a good psychology.

– Stay as dry as possible. Canyoning is the best extreme sport! You can have amazing moments of fun, joy, excitement and adventure with your friends. Just follow all technical rules and don’t underestimate the power of nature.

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