Many people believe that the weather must be extremely cold in order to develop hypothermia. This is not true; hypothermia can happen any time a person is exposed to cool, damp conditions. Motorcyclists are especially at risk because of the wind chill generated when they ride their bikes. The wind carries heat away from the body producing the effects of a much lower atmospheric temperature.
Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it is produced and the core body temperature drops below 95ºF (normal is 98.6º F). The low body temperature affects the brain, circulation and heart.
Hypothermia symptoms begin slowly. As his body temperature drops, the motorcyclist’s ability to think and move will become impaired, but he may be unaware that he is getting colder and needs help.
Hypothermia symptoms in motorcyclists may include:
- Pale, cold skin
- Blue skin
- Dilated pupils
- Uncontrollable shivering
- Loss of coordination
- Poor judgment
- Difficulty speaking
- Slowed breathing
- Slowed heart rate
If hypothermia is not treated, it can result in cardiac arrest, shock, or coma. Hypothermia can be fatal.
If you notice that a motorcyclist you are with is showing signs of hypothermia, get off your bikes immediately and get into a warm building. Remove any wet clothing and focus on warming the center of the body. It is okay to give the victim a warm drink, but no alcohol. Call 911.
Remember, hypothermia is a risk to motorcyclists even in temperatures above freezing. Always remember the wind chill and dress accordingly.
The Milwaukee motorcycle accident attorneys at Hupy and Abraham offer information for motorcyclists and Wisconsin motorcycle accident victims. Request your free copy of The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims by following the link in the side bar. If you’d like to discuss your accident with a Milwaukee motorcycle lawyer, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 and ask to schedule a free consultation.