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Thread: Wiskey and hypothermia, how much?

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    Default Wiskey and hypothermia, how much?

    For many years I have read where people drink whiskey to stay warm and I was even on a S&R looking for three snowmobilers who were lost. One guy made sure he had a bottle of whiskey for his lost friends. How much whiskey should a person drink to stay warm? If you found a person who was hypothermic how much whiskey should you give him?

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Ummmmm, NONE! That would be one of the last things I would give them and here is why;
    If you have Hypothermia to the point that you need medical attention and they pop a I.V. into your arm with alcohol in your system it will "intensify greatly" the affect of the alcohol and I don't think you really need to become ****faced while trying to "recover".

    Warm or hot liquids are another bad idea for a hypothermia patient. Room temp liquids are recommended in small doses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    For many years I have read where people drink whiskey to stay warm and I was even on a S&R looking for three snowmobilers who were lost. One guy made sure he had a bottle of whiskey for his lost friends. How much whiskey should a person drink to stay warm? If you found a person who was hypothermic how much whiskey should you give him?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDSLDOG View Post
    If you have Hypothermia to the point that you need medical attention and they pop a I.V. into your arm with alcohol in your system it will "intensify greatly" the affect of the alcohol and I don't think you really need to become ****faced while trying to "recover".

    What is your not that hypothermia? Or real cold?

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    What is your not that hypothermia? Or real cold?
    Can't answer that RM, everyone's body is different and responds differently. For me personally, I have handled stage I & II fine, still had my wit's about me to understand "what was going on".

    I just don't think alcohol is a great thing to give a hypo patient.

    I would have to double check this on a medical board, but, if a person is in severe hypo stage and you give them "hot" coffee/water/tea/cocoa it increases the oxygen level in the blood stream so fast that they with actually go into cardiac arrest or could have a stroke. Again, I need to look this one up to make sure but, I remember reading a story in the paper a few years back about a fishing boat going down in Russia. The crew was plucked from the waters by another fishing boat in severe hypo stage. They were given hot coffee and 5 out of like 8 died before rescue could get there due to heart attacks.

    Again, you never know what a persons body will tollerate and or react to.

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    When you get cold, your body stops sending blood to the arms and legs. Alcohol opens blood vessels, so if you drink alcohol or hot liquids in a hypothermic state, cold blood from your extremities(sp?) can get sent back to the heart, which will kill you.

    This is how I've always understood what's going on, but I could be wrong.

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    Thumbs up according to my last training

    which was a wilderness 1st responder, the latest treatment was food. high calorie, easily metabolized simple sugars,like snickers.
    make 'em eat, make 'em move.
    "feed 'em and beat 'em" was the mnemonic.
    it makes sense, what you need to do is fuel the furnace that provides central heat. as far as alcohol (and pot, for that matter) it will open the capillaries and add to heat loss.
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    taking whisky or similar out with you on a backcountry trip for a nip by the campfire, etc is fine. but..

    i would not give this to a hypothermic patient. it will contribute to heat loss, induce dehydration, and possibly alter the person's mental status, which can get bad if the patient is pretty hypothermic. if you are by yourself and are hypothermic, i would not drink any alcohol, unless you want it to be your last drink. if frost bite is an issue, alcohol will make things a whole lot worse.

    the patient needs sugar first. cold gatorade is better then a cup of warm water. if you can heat up a cold sugar drink like gatorade, that is best. it is also better then warm caffeinated tea or coffee, as the caffeine will induce dehyrdration as well. the person needs calories first, then you help them rewarm by giving them a warm drink. a good thing to have in a small med kit is a couple of packs of high sugar high calorie energy gel/goo.

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    Default Homerdave nailed it

    RM,

    Homerdave hit this one in the bull's eye. The reason alcohol is NOT such a great idea is that it opens capillaries, thereby contributing to heat loss. It also contributes to heat loss simply because it is usually a cold liquid entering the core of your body. Your body has to warm the liquid at a time when it is working overtime simply to keep the core warm. This is true of any cold beverage.

    Slow warming is the best remedy it seems. This is accomplished with warm driinks, food, and some external warmth (blankets, body heat, etc.)

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    Being cold is a comfort issue. Hypothermia is a medical condition that requires treatment. Your body temperature has dropped and your metabolism isn't capable of restoring it. Sugar and exercise may help prevent it but it will not cure it. I've been hypothermic. External heat was the cure. I remember the convulsions, hallucinations, and vomiting. I couldn't hold down anything liquid or solid. I was warmed with heated blankets and eventually a warm bath. Then the priority was getting fluids to treat dehydration.

    Get the hypothermic patient warm. Body heat may be the only thing you have. A healthy person may be required to cuddle with the sick one. Skin to skin. No joke.

    Do some reading. Google it.
    http://www.natureskills.com/hypothermia_treatment.html

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    I agree never give alcohol to a person who is cold much less hypothermic for several reasons. One reason that is seldom mentioned is alcohol does not freeze. If the bottle was in your back pack and the temperature was -20* the person could take a drink of -20* liquid.

    If you have a person who is hypothermic, the proper treatment depends on what stage of hypothermia they are in, mild to moderate or severe. The treatment for all stages is.

    1. Reduce heat loss.
    2. Add fuel & hot fluids.
    3. Add heat.

    This is not as simple as it sounds. Can you tell if a person is moderate or severe hypothermic? His life could depend in it. The safest thing to do is treat all hypothermic people as if they were severe. A person who is severely hypothermic, the stomach has shut down and will not digest solid food but can adsorb warm water and sugars. In removing wet clothes you must be very, very gentle with him. It could cause cold blood to trigger a heart attack.

    I have been reading about hypothermia for a long time and have carried equipment to save a hypothermic person. This is the first time I have heard to "feed 'em and beat 'em". The number one cause of death from hypothermia is a heart attack caused by cold blood getting to the heart because of movement.

    Warm water with lots of sugar, (Jello has 500 kilocalories of heat). Do not give full strength Jello even in liquid form it is too concentrated and will not be adsorbed.

    Do not use your naked body to warm a person, the reason is you can not generate that much heat and you could become extremely cold and if he really, really likes you the last thing you want to do is too drain what little blood he has in his brain. It is going to take 6-10 hours of 110* heat to warm a person who is in severe Hypothermia. The best method I read about is using a tent and steam to help warm the inside core.

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    Rutting Moose is right.

    Another way to help warm is if you have some of those pocket hand warmers you can place them under the armpits to warm the brachial artery, on the kidneys or near the groin to warm the femoral artery. This heat source will help warm the blood which in turn will help re-warm the core. Hot water in bottles will work too. Just some kind of safe heat.

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    Referring back to AKDSLDOG in the 4th post of this thread, the reason the Russian fisherman died after being rescued was most likely how they were removed from the frigid waters. Nearly 100 oil derick workers in the North Sea were removed from the water in a hypothermic state and placed on the deck of the rescue ship. Rescue workers placed the initial victims on the deck and went back to rescuing the other victims. By the time the last victim was out of the water, the first victims were dead. All in all, nearly 100 of the 120 victims that were rescued died.

    It took awhile for our colleagues in Europe to figure out how the oil workers died but here it is:

    Hypothermia victims in the water need to be removed from the water in a horizontal position. Bringing them out vertically causes the blood to pool in the lower extremities and drops the blood pressure.

    To combat hypothermia, the body shunts the blood away from the extremities in order save the vital core organs; i.e. heart, lungs, liver, brain. With the major blood vessels "clamping down," the blood cannot return to the heart in a timely manner.

    Like the Boy Scouts moto, when going into the wilderness, "BE PREPARED"

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    Here's a little story about myself. Myself and a friend were bou. hunting down by northway about 8 years ago, went up on this hill and seen a herd about 6 miles away, made our plan to intersept them and took off. By the time I thought we were getting close, darkness was setting in. My partner was calling it a done deal, but I was'nt. So he headed back to the truck and I went on, ( I was on a snowmachine trail ) Now mind you I have spent most of my life in Alaska, and have been in alot of bad situations, this one however was the worst. When I thought about turning around and going back, I knew I was looking at a good 5 or 6 miles walking in the dark, and -30. Instead of doing the right thing and staying on the trail, I thought it would be a shorter trip heading to the highway which I knew was on my right. So here I go, 5 miles -30 and left the trail, and I was heading off into nomans land. Snow was up to my knees and I was wearing carhart bibs and coat,and a Lynx fur hat and sweating like you would'nt believe, take the hat off and instant ice all over the head, not good. Thought about building a fire under some spruce, because that was where I was stopping a lot, but something said to keep moving because I knew if I stopped THATs where they would find me. I ended up making a circle and coming out on the same trail that I went in on about 2 miles from the truck, When I got back to the truck my partner was kinda beside himself, he went up to the highway and drove back and forth, stopped and talked to F&G nobody had seen anything. After I got back to the truck I was so hypothermic water would'nt stay down, tried food no way heat from the heater of the truck made it worse, but I endured and made it back to Delta without going to the doc. was sick for 3 days but I did make it

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    just a warning .. alcohol does not freeze... but can freeze everything in your body going down ...

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

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    Oh thats what I left out , You don't even want to think about taking a swig off the bottle after something like that. If your partner even trys to offer you one pull out your gun and shoot him in the hand that holds the bottle. My thoughts

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    Whiskey works great for hypothermia!!! Take the bottle pour it on something combustable and hit it with a match!! Continue to add fuel untill you are warm. Then use the empty bottle and fire to melt snow to drink.

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    I would be surprise if it work's. In fact why don't you try it.

    Report back in 15 min., that should give you enouth time.

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    I know this is a somewhat old thread, but there's a good point that hasn't been mentioned. All hypothermia victims are also dehydrated: bloodflow to the limbs diminishes and gets shunted to the torso... the kidneys read this extra blood as a rise in blood pressure, so they try to compensate by filtering out more water. That means as people get colder, they urniate more. Since alcohol is a diuretic, it would cause the victim to lose even more liquid rather than rehydrate them.

    As mentioned, giving a hypothermic victim water & sugars is more important. This replaces fluid and gives them energy to warm up with. One easy way to administer sugar is by using one of those "goo" packets that some joggers and hikers use. Honey packets are also good.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock_skipper View Post
    .....If your partner even trys to offer you one pull out your gun and shoot him in the hand that holds the bottle.......
    I would like to announce to all that you may offer me whiskey at any time.

    I will not shoot the hand that feeds me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    Whiskey works great for hypothermia!!! Take the bottle pour it on something combustable and hit it with a match!! Continue to add fuel untill you are warm. Then use the empty bottle and fire to melt snow to drink.
    I would be surprise if it work's. In fact why don't you try it......
    I will be tempted to shoot any hand that pours good whiskey out and sets it on fire.

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