Minus temperature and wind – a dangerous enough combination for the human body. Our body is not designed for adaptation to extreme cold, and staying in such conditions without protective means can lead to really terrible consequences, when the word “freeze” gets the most extreme meaning.
Here are the main ones:
1. Freezing of the cornea of the eye
If you are outdoors in cold weather for a while and run or go, your eyes will water, lowering the freezing temperature, and regular flashing will keep the visual organs in working order. But if you like active leisure and engage in winter sports, spending a lot of time in the cold with the wind in your face – do not forget about goggles.
Experts recommend warming up the frozen eyes with a warm hand or with the help of a compress, but this will not help to avoid short-term blurred vision. In addition, under the influence of wind and cold, contact lenses can freeze to the eyeball.
Typically, the eyes thaw by the time the injured person goes to the doctor, and any damage usually heals within a few days or weeks. But in severe cases, tissue loss may occur, requiring reconstructive surgery.
2. Freezing of the skin, muscles and tissues
Unlike the eyes, your limbs can completely freeze, because of what you can fall or even lose your leg, ear or finger.
Frostbite causes not only burning or tingling of the skin, but often affects the muscles, tissues and fat under it. The risk is especially great if your clothes do not match the weather. When the temperature drops below -40 ° C, the skin may freeze for several minutes.
The longer you are exposed to extreme cold, the more likely the organ freezes to a condition requiring amputation. This applies not only to people, but also to animals, which in winter also have a hard time, despite their fluffy coats.
If frostbite spreads into the body, there is a threat to life.
3. “Disconnection” of the body
The human body is adapted to maintain the internal temperature at 37 ° C. Any deviation causes serious problems, and when the body temperature begins to fall, hypothermia occurs, or hypothermia.
A decrease in temperature to 32-35 ° C triggers a process accompanied by constant tremor, fatigue, rapid breathing and other symptoms. Cooling to more than 32 ° C is called moderate hypothermia. In this case, the respiration of the victims is slowed by hypoventilation of the lungs, and their actions resemble the state of alcohol intoxication with poor coordination and slurred speech. Termination of trembling is an alarming sign.
When the body temperature drops below 28 ° C, the risk of death is increased. Looking at a person in this state, you might think that he is already dead. Approximately at the same mark, there is a loss of consciousness, pupils dilate, and breathing and pulse become hardly noticeable. The severe stage of hypothermia requires immediate resuscitation.
4. Confusion of consciousness
Rarely, but it happens that people who die from hypothermia, in the last agony, take off all their clothes. There are stories telling about whole groups that were found dead and completely naked on the mountainside, and their clothes neatly lay side by side. Sometimes the police mistakenly accept such pictures for a robbery.
Hypothermia weakens mental abilities and confuses thoughts. In the later stages, the blood flow slows down and the blood vessels expand, which causes the injured to feel as if they are engulfed in a flame, although in fact their body is rapidly losing heat. As a result, they throw off their clothes and condemn themselves to death.
Another strange reaction to hypothermia can be the so-called “behavior of instillation.” As scientists believe, in the human brain, under the influence of cold, an autonomous process, similar to the instinct of animals, which before winter digs themselves holes, is activated. Of the last strength, the unfortunate try to protect their bodies, as much as possible buried in the snow.
5. Transformation into a mummy
If a person died where the frost is strong enough and his body is unlikely to be found by someone, then in due course he will most likely turn into a frozen mummy.
George Mallory, Everest researcher, was missing in 1924. The team found his body only in 1999. Most of his clothes were torn, but the flesh frozen under it was surprisingly well preserved. In 2004, tourists on the border with Italy and Austria found the surviving bodies of three Austro-Hungarian soldiers, who had been in the glacier since 1918. And this is not the limit. In Italy, at an altitude of 3,200 m, a mummy of a Stone Age man named Etzi was discovered as a result of melting ice. Although the sight of this body can not be called primordial, without cold conditions nothing would be left of it except bones.
To ensure that these nightmarish nightmares do not become a reality, remember the precautionary measures during your stay in the cold and winter sports, especially in the coldest corners of our planet. Choose the right clothes, do not neglect protection and take seriously the warnings of the authorities about extreme weather conditions.