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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Six rescued from Cumbrian fells suffering from hypothermia

Freezing temperatures on higher ground are set to continue as mountain walkers are being warned they run the risk of developing hypothermia.

Snowy fell photo
Walkers are warned to be prepared

Rescue teams in the Lake District have dealt with six cases involving hypothermia in the last week alone.

Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team was called to Langdale on Saturday after a 60-year-old man with the onset of hypothermia had to be evacuated by air ambulance.

It followed another call-out on Thursday when a girl, aged 17, and her two companions were also found suffering from hypothermia near Red Tarn.

Then on Monday mountain rescuers from Keswick were called after a 59-year-old diabetic woman fell awkwardly and seriously injured her ankle. Poor weather at Greenup Edge could have led to hypothermia so the woman was quickly air-lifted to Cumberland Infirmary by RAF helicopter.

Later the same day a Coast to Coast walker was treated by paramedics in Honister, again suffering from hypothermia.

With forecasters predicting no immediate improvements in the cold conditions throughout Cumbria’s mountainous areas as well as recent snow flurries, rescuers have issued a red alert to anyone thinking of heading uphill. A spokesman for Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team said: “Don’t be fooled by the word summer.

“The effects of hypothermia are insidious and can creep up on people.

“Have spare, warm clothes, and carry plenty of high energy food to keep glucose levels topped up.

“Beware of wet clothes exposed to the wind. The cooling effect is much greater through wet clothes.”

The Met Office says weather in Cumbria will remain unsettled and cold for the rest of this week and throughout the weekend, with on and off rain, sleet and hail showers expected.

A spokesman said temperatures on higher ground will remain “unusually” low for this time of year and the added wind chill will make it feel even colder.

Health experts say mild symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, tiredness and confusion, but as the temperature drops shivering becomes more violent and the person is more likely to become delirious, struggle to breathe and could become unconscious.

Dr Rebecca Wagstaff, Cumbria County Council’s acting director of public health, advises wearing a warm hat and several thin layers when out in cold weather.

Meanwhile, mountain rescuers and police were called to help a 59-year-old man who slipped and dislocated his knee while out walking with friends between Howtown and Patterdale on Saturday afternoon.

He was given first aid and carried away on a stretcher before he was later taken to hospital.

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