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Kea
2005-12-11, 20:32
Worth having in the First Aid kit or not?

The main advantage to having them is that with strategic placement on the body, they might help stabilize someone suffering hypothermia while you're doing the 10 other things on the treatment list. Possibly useful to save your own hide, if you have the presence of mind to use them.

Comments? Jeers? :)

Turk
2005-12-11, 21:12
Personally, I can't think of one good reason to carry a chem. hand warmer.
oh ...
wait ...
wait .....
I ....got it.
If you find yourself in need of napalm, ... You know for
whatever reason... your 50 cal. desert eagle hand cannon couldnt obliterate
the squirrel that just stole your cracker. The jellied concoction in those
hand warmers should burn him out of his hole. Just typical daily trail stuff
you know.


But ya.... other than that. Not a big fan of hand warmers. Besides I like
the skin-to-skin treatment of hypothermia. :biggrin: I won't tell you
what we call it here in Canada. But it has its perks ;) ...besides
saving your life and/or appendages.

In all seriousness though ...
Weight, bulk, "burn time". usefulness, multi-usability ..
All crappy statistics in those categories. And very easy to
duplicate with gear you probablly already carry.
Container + water + fire = warm water in container = good

incognito
2005-12-11, 21:31
Not worth it.

But!!!!!!!!!!!! If it makes you feel more secure, carry one.


But!!!!!!!!!!!! Learn all you can to prevent hyp.

Just Jeff
2005-12-11, 22:02
I slept with one in Yosemite...didn't put out as much heat as boiling water in a bottle. I guess it was quicker since I didn't have to wait for the water to boil, but it only had a minor effect. Not worth the weight, IMO.

dropkick
2005-12-11, 22:13
But ya.... other than that. Not a big fan of hand warmers. Besides I like
the skin-to-skin treatment of hypothermia. :biggrin: I won't tell you
what we call it here in Canada. But it has its perks ;) ...besides
saving your life and/or appendages.

But what do you do if the man your hiking with won't believe that you have hypothermia and doesn't want to get naked with you? :reddy::reddy:
And what are the perks? :confused:

Iceman
2005-12-12, 00:44
Worth having in the First Aid kit or not?

The main advantage to having them is that with strategic placement on the body,....

Comments? Jeers? :)

Strategic placement in the case of hypothermia would be to add the heat pack to the core of the hypothermic person. Many experts warn against placing hot packs againts the extremeities to minimize the chance that the patient experience afterdrop, a condition where very cold blood from the arms or legs returns to the core of the body causing even more of a reduction in core body temperature, irregular heartbeat and possibly death. This can be caused by placing heatpacks on a persons hypothermic extremeities. (Fools the extremity, opens the capillaries, and viola' cold blood flow...)

I provided my father with some of the reuseable type heat packs, to warm his little fingers so he could pull the trigger next time, so I would have no more nightmares of huge Muley bucks waltzing away from him "unperforated." And no, I wasn't trying to do him in...I have since bought him a nice down vest...

I have found that if cold, you should place additional insulation to your chest/abdomen/head/neck, in order to preserve core temperature, which will naturally provide more warming bloodflow to the extremities.

There I go again, sorry...

Kea
2005-12-12, 01:11
Strategic placement in the case of hypothermia would be to add the heat pack to the core of the hypothermic person.

[snip]

I have found that if cold, you should place additional insulation to your chest/abdomen/head/neck, in order to preserve core temperature, which will naturally provide more warming bloodflow to the extremities.

Strategic, to me, is lower abdomen near the groin, the region of the armpits, and maybe the throat. Used the same way that you use those areas to cool the body during heat exhaustion and stroke. Out of wet, into dry, get a dry hat on their head and do your level best to bundle them up while you build the fire and prepare warm and warming foods. In no way would this ever be a substitute for the tried and true methods, and I am not sure I'd use them if there were a second set of hands available, just because you'd have someone who could do skin to skin contact while the other person built/prepared/whatever.

Was a thought, since the darn things are being treated like some panacea for hypothermia. For sure, I would not want them to be the only trick that someone helping me had...because we both would be in a lot of trouble.

KLeth
2005-12-12, 02:06
We carry one because my girlfriend always freezes, never needed it though.
It's probably not in the pack on our next trip, since a lexan bottle and the weight of the chemical handwarmer in fuel will be more efficient.
Most of those chemical handwarmers releases heat for 15-60min and then has to be boiled for 5-10min to restore it capabilities. Very inefficient, but it's a nice comfort! Wouldn't count on one of those keeping me alive one freezing night. For emergencies we carry a alu-coated mylar sheet in our first aid kit.

It is dangerous to apply a source of heat to a person suffering from hyperthermia, since it could cause freezing cold blood to rush to brain and heart sending the person diretly into shock followed by death. Alcohol has the same effect since it opens op the capillaries.
Hospitals can heat a patient in the emergency rooms due to equipment and staff, but sometimes also they loose their patients.

My medics handbook states that a person suffering from hyperthermia should be undressed (especially if wet), wrapped in blankets and then wrapped in an extra layer e.g. a rain-poncho to keep vapor (heat) from escaping the patient. The key-issue is to either let the person warm up slowly by himself or to warm him up very slowly. Never ever give the patient alcohol!!!!!!!

A Dane in Norway died of hyperthermia in june this year. He was heading for a hut in the mountains, wearing denims and cotton t-shirt. Apparently he was surprised by the cold weather and amount of snow, but he managed to get to the hut. Since the hut was closed and locked, he entered it through a window that he broke, by then he was too exhausted and cold to get his pack inside nor light a fire in the stove. He just fell asleep on the floor in the hut, where he was found dead about a week later.

Hyperthermia kills slowly and silently - Be prepared!

deadeye
2005-12-12, 16:21
Lousy as first aid, not enough heat/mass to warm a body, so ditto to the above comments - learn to recognize, prevent, and treat hypothermia, and these things won't help.

But... they are great for simple comfort, and I always carry a supply when winter hiking. The HotHands brand works very well.

Icemanat95
2005-12-12, 18:19
I used the iron and charcoal dry versions daily when working construction, they kept my toes warm and my fingers nimble enough to function. That's about the extent of their real usefullness. But that can be REAL useful. Have you ever tried starting your stove when your fingers were numb from cold? It ain't easy and can be impossible if your fingers are starting to frostbite. With a warming pack you can keep your fingers or toes warm enough to function so you can manipulate your gear and get your shelter up, close your sleeping bag zippers, etc.

Don't rely on 'em, but I keep one in my first aid kit, especially for winter trips, as a just-in-case.

Consider this...many of us hike alone. You fall into a hidden stream and your hands and toes start to freeze You are soaking wet and need to get dry and warm, but your fingers are failing you in the manipulations that need to take place. Get out some chemical hand warmers and viola, warm fingers. It makes it a HELL of a lot easier to get all the substantive things done and can keep these critical extremities from freezing before it becomes a serious issue. Pop 'em in your boots to help dry them out or to keep your toes warm until you can get into shelter.

But no, they suck as first aid for hypothermia, unless you catch it real early on, before the extremeities become dangerously cold and the shock danger sets in.

A water bottle filled with boiling water will warm up a sleeping bag fast.

incognito
2005-12-12, 21:13
[quote]Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed in Nomine Tua da gloriam
"Not unto us oh Lord, not unto us, but to Thy name give glory"
[quote]
"AMEN"
[quote]Don't rely on 'em, but I keep one in my first aid kit, especially for winter trips, as a just-in-case. [quote]
"AMEN"

Seeker
2005-12-13, 10:48
Consider this...many of us hike alone. You fall into a hidden stream and your hands and toes start to freeze You are soaking wet and need to get dry and warm, but your fingers are failing you in the manipulations that need to take place.


anyone ever read "To Build a Fire" by Jack London?

Just Jeff
2005-12-13, 11:05
I read that as a kid...great story. Maybe I'll look it up again. Thanks for reminding me!

Seeker
2005-12-13, 16:50
ack! i thought it was a horrible story... well written, but still not something i'd read again...

for those who don't know the story, it's about a guy mushing his dogs along a frozen river in alaska during the winter... it's about 20 below zero when he hits a thin patch (from a small stream running in from the side) and gets his feet wet... it then details his slow death by hypothermia, with all the gory details of getting numb, loosing the dexterity in your hands, etc... oh, and in true jack london fashion (man is small and weak, nature is big and strong, and life just really sucks), he gets a good fire going for awhile... only to have melting snow from an overhead branch fall onto it and crush out the last bit of hope he had...

again, i didn't like it much (i know, ignoring it won't make it go away... but i've had enough drama in my life that i don't go looking for more in books...)

The HotDog
2005-12-13, 20:08
Hi, If you want to read the book anyway you can read it here free.To Build A Fire (http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/Jack_London/To_Build_a_Fire/To_Build_a_Fire_p1.html) I don't know if it's the whole book, it looks like tho.

KLeth
2005-12-14, 03:33
Well, wouldn't it be more efficient to keep your roll of toilet paper (in a plastic bag), fuel and firesteel/lighter/weaterproof matches at hand ?
- Presto, instant fire. All dual purpose and if there are branches, twigs ect. at hand this could grow into a full size fire.

To activate the chemical hand and footwarmers, you have to flick that little metal disc to get the reaction going - I don't think that will be very easy after crawling up from a dive into a freezing stream.

Just my thoughts.