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Guide to hypothermia and how to prevent it

Updated: Mar 23

Some nights, and even days during the later months, can see temperatures as low as -3c (26F). It’s very important to prepare adequately for these low temperatures.

The body works hard to maintain its temperature in the cold. As the surrounding cold air draws heat away, the body works to keep the internal core, the chest and abdomen, warm. This shifts blood flow away from the skin, hands, arms, feet, legs, and brain, making it difficult to think clearly or move properly. This makes it especially difficult to even know these effects are happening and the risk for hypothermia increases.

Make sure you keep an eye on others around you and ask that they do the same for you.

Some early symptoms of hypothermia can include;

  • Shivering

  • Trouble speaking

  • Fatigue

  • Hunger

  • Loss of coordination

  • Confusion and Disorientation

Later symptoms, and a clear sign of danger can include;

  • No shivering

  • Slurred speech

  • Sleepiness

  • Blue skin (especially around the lips)

  • Dilated pupils

  • Slowed pulse and breathing

  • Loss of consciousness

At Mournfall, it’s especially important to prepare for the weather because there are no buildings on-site to warm up in. Here are some tips you can follow to stay warm during your event.

Two characters facing off in a sparring round.
Two characters facing off in a sparring round.

1. Weather Forecast and Event Planning:

  • Check the weather forecast before the event and prepare accordingly.

  • Make sure to plan what you’ll be wearing each day and what your backups will be. Then, pack more than that.

2. Dress in weather-appropriate layers:

  • Wear moisture-wicking base layers to keep sweat away from your body.

  • Bring extras to change when they get moist. Sweating in cold weather can be extremely dangerous and will make your clothes wet, making you colder.

  • Use insulating layers like fleece or thermal clothing to trap heat.

  • Add costume layers for aesthetics, but ensure they don't compromise warmth. Choose costumes that suit the weather conditions. For cold or rainy days, opt for warm and waterproof attire.

  • Use costume accessories like cloaks and scarves that not only enhance your character but also provide warmth.

  • A suitable hat or headgear can help keep you warm by preventing heat loss from your head. Even better if it covers your ears.

  • Use gloves or mittens to protect your hands from the cold.

3. Footwear:

  • Wear insulated, waterproof, and comfortable footwear.

  • Use moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry and warm.

  • Change your socks OFTEN! As often as you physically can, at least every few hours. I can’t emphasize this enough. Change your socks!! Even if they don’t feel “wet”, change them.

4. Stay Dry:

  • Keep your costume and gear dry. Wet clothing can lead to rapid heat loss.

  • Use rain gear or tarps to protect yourself during rainy conditions.

  • Extra clothes. Can’t say it enough times.

5. Warm Sleeping Arrangements:

  • Tent heaters are a great way to stay warm at night. Be sure to use them safely though. When shopping for propane heaters be sure to get one with a “low oxygen sensor”.

  • Choose a warm and insulated sleeping bag. Cold weather sleeping bags can be expensive but they are worth every penny.

  • Use a good-quality sleeping pad or insulated mat to insulate yourself from the cold ground. Using a cot with a sleeping pad can help a lot when it comes to keeping the ground from sapping your heat.

  • Bring lots of extra blankets in case you’re still cold or your current arrangements get wet.

  • This may sound odd, but make your bed when you wake up. I noticed a huge improvement when I started closing my sleeping bag and placing my pillows all the way inside. I came back to my tent to warm pillows and blankets.

  • Change your clothes, and socks, before going to sleep. No matter how tired you are. Take the time to change your clothes.

An Out of Game player in costume warming up with some coffee.
An Out of Game player in costume warming up with some coffee.

6. Hot Meals and Drinks:

  • Consume hot and energy-rich meals during breaks to maintain your body's heat production. Our tavern is great for this!

  • Drink hot beverages like tea, coffee, or hot cocoa to stay warm from the inside.

7. Rest and Warm Up:

  • Find shelter from the wind or rain to relax and recover.

  • Take breaks as needed to rest and warm up if you feel too cold.

  • Hand and foot warmers are great for staying warm during quiet periods and are fairly inexpensive.

  • Make sure you use the washrooms as needed. Your body wastes a lot of energy keeping its waste warm.

8. Monitor Yourself and Others:

  • Pay attention to your body's signals, such as shivering, numbness, or confusion.

  • Keep an eye on fellow players and assist them if they show signs of hypothermia.

  • If you feel you’re having trouble getting warm, feel free to take the time to warm up in a vehicle if one is available to you.

In the event that the cold still gets to you, you can make your way to NPC camp and ask to speak to a medical marshal. They will be able to help make informed decisions on what steps to take next.


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