Care and Treatment of outdoor diseases & Medical KIt

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Care and Treatment of outdoor diseases & Medical KIt

Postby TRMichels » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:00 pm

Here is an excerpt from my book Hunting Northern & Western Big Game of North America.

It was compiled by Mike Brooks and myself. Mike's expertise as a former sports medical physician was invaluable in this. My experience as a professional wilderness outfitter and guide helped too.

Medical Care
I strongly suggest each member of the hunting party take First Aid, CPR, and Survival Training, and be able to read a topographical map and triangulate using a sighting compass. If something goes wrong you probably will have to handle it yourself, or rely on your hunting partners.

Thanks to Dr. Mike Brooks for providing much of the following information on medical conditions, prevention and treatment.

High Altitude Sickness
High Altitude Sickness (HAS) usually occurs above 8,000 feet. As you reach higher altitudes barometric pressure decreases, and the air has less oxygen. As the air becomes thinner blood becomes less efficient at acquiring and transporting oxygen; which results in hyperventilation (rapid breathing), shortness of breath, thirst, frequent urination and difficulty sleeping. If you are not acclimated to high altitude it doesn't matter how fast or deep you breathe, you will not be able to get enough oxygen into your blood stream. Drink lots of water and take frequent rest stops. The prescription medicine Diamox may help.

Acute Mountain Sickness
If you don't rest often enough when you are at high altitudes, or if you continue to climb higher, you may develop Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). AMS is the body's inability to function with the low levels of oxygen at high elevations. The symptoms include confusion, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fainting, exhaustion, staggering and feeling tired. If you suffer from AMS slow down. If the symptoms subside you may be able to continue to climb. If they don't subside, take time to get to a lower elevation and become acclimatized. The treatment for AMS is to take aspirin, drink lots of fluids and rest.

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema
In extreme cases a person may experience High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), in which their lungs begin to fill with fluid. The symptoms of HAPE are difficulty breathing, tightness of the chest, coughing, frothy/bloody spit, gray or blue fingernails and lips. These symptoms often occur in the evening. The best possible treatment for HAPE is to get to a lower elevation, and then see a doctor. Delaying treatment could be fatal. A person who has HAPE may not know it; they may need help getting to a lower elevation. Anyone experiencing HAPE should refrain from using sleeping medications, cough medications and alcohol. Other treatments include aspirin, fluids and rest.

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Heat Exhaustion occurs when your body is unable to deal with an excess loss of water/sodium. The symptoms of HE are thirst, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting. In some cases the person's pulse may increase, they may feel confused, and have difficulty standing. Heat Stroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself. The symptoms of person with Heat Stroke are the same as Heat Exhaustion, with the exception that they will stop sweating, and they may be disoriented.

The treatment for these two diseases are; slow down, get out of the sun or heat, rest and drink lots of fluids. The affected person should not drink fluids containing stimulants (caffeine in tea, coffee, hot chocolate or pop) or alcohol f they can be avoided. The best fluids to drink are sports drinks containing electrolytes, water or milk. A person suffering from these diseases may become nauseated when they drink liquids, and they may refuse to drink; you should insist that they keep drinking. They should get to an air-conditioned area if they can, or to a cool/windy location. They can also be treated by splashing water on them; and packing ice or other cold objects around their neck, armpits and groin. If the person is disoriented they should receive medical assistance as soon as possible.

Hypothermia is caused by exposure to low air temperatures, low windchill factors or low water temperatures; often when the temperature is between 30 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit; it can also be caused by exhaustion. Hypothermia is the result of body losing heat faster than it can produce it. One of the best ways to increase body temperature is exercise; shivering is the body's attempt to increase its own heat. However, a person who shivers has no control of their muscles, which causes them to lose energy quickly. This often results in confusion or poor judgement, because the body has very little energy left to fuel the brain.

The symptoms of mild hypothermia include shivering or uncontrolled shaking, slurred speech, mental slowness, lethargy/tiredness, muscular stiffness, inability to stand, and difficulty in getting up after resting. The symptoms of severe hypothermia include mental confusion, loss of memory, disorientation, stupor or coma, absence of shivering, stiff hands, fingers or muscles, shallow and slow breathing, weak pulse and a fall in blood pressure. You can prevent hypothermia by wearing several layers of warm, loose-fitting clothes, avoid the use of alcoholic beverages, eat hot, nutritious meals, change into dry clothes, know how to build a fire and take along proper fire-starting materials, look for shelter and keep out of the wind. Hypothermia may also result in frostbite.

Frostbite can be dangerous, especially when the wind chill factor is low. Symptoms of frostbite include numbness, stiffness, rigidity or swelling of the skin, and changes in skin appearance such as and reddish, bluish or whitish coloring. If, frostbite is untreated it can lead to loss of frozen fingers, toes or other affected skin areas. To prevent frostbite, protect skin from direct exposure to cold air, and from exposure to intensely cold wind. When you are hunting or traveling, even in mild weather you should carry appropriate supplies, have regular check-in times with companions, and wear clothing appropriate for weather conditions that might be encountered. This equipment should include extra warm clothing, water, food, fire-building materials, a map, and a compass or GPS equipment.

The treatment for hypothermia is to get the person out of the cold air, out of the wind or out of the water, so they don't continue to lose body heat. The next step is to raise their body heat. If their clothes are wet, get them into dry clothes. Get them into a heated area if you can. If you can't get them into a heated area, cover them with several layers of insulation material; sleeping bag, clothing, blanket, space blanket or survival blanket. Be sure to cover their head. Build a fire if possible. If there is no other source of heat available you can warm them up by lying down next to them, with skin to skin contact if you have to. You can also place heat packs on their neck, under their armpits or in the crotch area. Give them small amounts of warm liquids: coffee, tea, hot chocolate. Any person suffering form Hypothermia should get professional treatment as soon as possible.

Dehydration is the result of low levels of water in the body; it happens when the body loses more water than it takes in. Your body loses water through urination, sweating and exhaling. Dehydration often occurs when the body experiences higher levels of exertion than what it is accustomed to, or when it experiences longer periods of exertion than it is accustomed to. Hunters, especially those from low level elevations, often exert themselves more than normal when they are hunting, particularly when they are in the mountains. Because the air is thinner and less humid at higher elevations your lungs take in less water when you breathe, which increases your chances of becoming dehydrated. The symptoms of dehydration are dark or milky colored urine, a feeling of weakness and confusion. The treatment for dehydration is to take in more fluids such as water, Pedialyte, Lytren or Rehydralyte. In an emergency you can make a re-hydration drink by mixing 1 quart water, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon table salt and 3-4 teaspoons of sugar. You should always carry a two-quart canteen of water with you when you are at high altitudes. And you should drink from it frequently. If you are exerting yourself you should have 8-10 glasses of water per day; a glass of water ever hour during activity.

Water Treatment
If you run out of water, and have to drink ground water, try to find a source of free flowing water. But remember; most ground water is contaminated, some of it with giardia lamblia which causes diarrhea. Before you drink it, decontaminate it. You can decontaminate water by boiling it for at least 20 minutes. You can also use Chlorine or Iodine to purify water. You can also use filters, but there can be problems with them. They may have micro-cracks or eroded channels that allow unfiltered water to pass through, and many filters do not remove Hepatitis A, Rotavirus, Norwalk virus, Polio virus and

Eating Habits
I was always told that you should have a big breakfast before you hunt, so you have enough energy to keep you going during the morning. Now I'm told that having a big breakfast is not a good idea, because it puts a lot of pressure on the heart, especially if you exert yourself. It is now suggested that you eat a small breakfast, which can consist of a carbohydrate drink like Ensure or Sustacal. You should also eat light snacks throughout the day; these snacks can include bagels, granola bars, hard candy, chocolate candy, iced tea and hot chocolate. If you feel the need for a big meal, have it at night.

First Aid Kit
Be sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit in camp, plus any prescription medications you need.

Fingernail clippers
Band-Aids (various sizes)
Latex Gloves (six or more pairs)
Medical Tape (one 1/2 inch roll)
Sterile dressings (4x4 inch and 5x9 inch, six each)
5X9 sterile dressing
Gauze (2 inch, four rolls)
Super Glue
Suture Kit
Elastic wraps (2 inch and 4 inch)
Cervical collar
Lumbar support belt
Ice packs (6)
Heat packs (12)
Burn ointment
Peroxide (12 oz.)
Dental floss
Moleskin (for blisters on feet)
New skin (for burns)
Baby powder
Suntan lotion (SPF 45 or higher)
Space blanket
Wool blankets (3)

Over the counter medications:
Instant Glucose (for low blood sugar, energy boost)
Eye wash (4 oz.)
Aspirin (500 mg. for pain) (80 mg. for high blood pressure or heart attack)
Acetaminaphen/Tylenol, Ibuprofen or Naproxen (500 mg. for pain and swelling)
Ben Gay, Mineral Ice, chemically activated Hot Packs (for arthritis, backache, muscle and joint pain)
Antihistamine (Benadryl, Coricidin, Claritin/Loratidine for watery eyes, runny nose and allergic reactions)
Sinus Medications (Pseudaphedrine/Sudafed spray or pills for stuffed up nose)
Saline Nasal Spray (for dry nose)
Decongestant (Dayquil, Nyquil, Alka-Seltzer Cold Plus for congested chest)
Cough syrup (Robitussin, Vicks 44 to suppress a cough. Vicks E to promote a cough and to thin and help clear mucus)
Antacids (Rolaids/Tums, Baking Soda for acid indigestion)
Pepto Bismol or Mylanta (for upset stomach)
Laxative (Metamucil for constipation)
Syrup of Ipecac (to induce vomiting if poisoned)
Diarrhea medication (Kaopectate, Imodium)
Hydrocortisone cream (Cortaid for dry itchy skin, poison oak/ivy)
Antibiotic ointment or spray (Bacitracin, Polysporin to reduce infection of cuts, scrapes and burns)
Eye ointment (Mycitracin for scraped eye or eye infection)
Absorbine Jr. (for jock itch and athletes foot)
Ambasol (for tooth pain)
Anusol (hemorrhoids)
Ear drops

Physician prescribed medications:
(Check with your doctor to see if he will prescribe these medications in case they are needed in an emergency)
Tylenol 3, with codeine (for pain)
Cold or upper respiratory antibiotics (Zithromax)
Allergy Medication (Allegra)
Regularly taken medications (2 week supply)
Quinine tablets for treatment of cramped muscles (or Potassium pills, bananas, apples)
T.R. Michels
Trinity Mountain Outdoors Hunting Magazine Website
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Postby 45auto » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:58 am

Good Information to use out in the woods!!!!

Postby Mike Brooks » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:17 am

What's the cost for a good medical kit?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not into your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5
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