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Seasickness — How to Avoid it & Treat it

Friday, August 19th, 2016

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Plan on sailing this summer and fall? Before you do, check out this post from Adventure®  Medical Kits’ marine medicine consultant Dr. Michael Jacobs for tips on dealing with that common ailment that afflicts many boating enthusiasts — seasickness.

Seasickness (mal de mer) is the sailor’s most common and dreaded ailment; susceptibility is virtually universal. Untreated, seasickness leads to rapid physical and mental deterioration, posing a major hazard to crew health, safety, and morale. Every year, seaworthy yachts are abandoned because their exhausted, seasick, and despondent crews have lost their collective will to persevere. Unfortunately, mariners frequently consider seasickness a medical emergency, and summon unnecessary and potentially hazardous medical evacuations; at the very least, seasickness can ruin a good day on the water for any boater. It is clearly an illness to be reckoned with.

CAUSE

Seasickness results from a mismatch of sensory input processed in the brain’s balance center, which orients the body’s position in space. Place someone in the cabin of a heeling and rolling boat, and you immediately invite “mal de mer.” Below decks, the eyes oriented to the floor and ceiling detect no tilt from vertical, but fluid in the inner ear (the vestibular apparatus) constantly shifts with the boat’s motion, sending a different position signal to the brain. Positions sensors in the neck, muscles, and joints relay additional information to the brain depending on how the person moves to maintain balance.  The conflict of sensory data from all these sources ultimately activates a series of responses, which we recognize as seasickness. Sensory conflict and the loss of spatial orientation can impair ones ability to think and reason clearly. Seasick sailors often lose short-term memory and the ability to solve problems and make sound judgments.  Confusion is also a side effect of many medications used to treat seasickness. Astronauts who suffer from motion sickness in space call this condition the “space stupids.” The equivalent condition for seasick boaters might be called “sea stupids.” The trick to preventing seasickness is to avoid sensory conflict by coordinating input, especially from your eyes and ears. Simply put, if your eyes are seeing what your ears are feeling, you will have a great day at sea!

PREVENTION

  1. Start your trip well hydrated, and avoid alcohol.
  2. Eat a light meal low in fat and high in starch.
  3. Pre-trip preparation should be designed to minimize time spent below decks while underway. Prepare a few simple meals ahead of time, and have personal belongings easily accessible.
  4. Avoid close-focused visual tasks such as reading.
  5. Stay in the fresh air, away from engine fumes, and near the center of the boat where motion is less pronounced.
  6. Munch on saltines, granola, or energy bars, and sip fluids.
  7. Look at the horizon to provide a stable reference point; sit or stand upright with your head and upper body balanced over your hips, and anticipate the boat’s motion as though “riding” the waves. Standing and taking the helm will help you accomplish this.
  8. Steer the boat by reference to the horizon, clouds, oncoming waves and distant marks; this is extremely effective in reducing seasickness. It may take as long as three days to adapt to the boat’s motion and get your “sea legs.”

MEDICATIONS

Medication is generally more effective in preventing symptoms than reversing them during this period of adaptation; therefore, if you anticipate you may become seasick, begin medication the night before departure.

MARINEBonine® (Meclizine), and Phenergan® are effective as well as other medications (see page 114 in A Comprehensive Guide to Marine Medicine for more info on medications). Sudafed®, or Nodoz®, can counteract the drowsiness caused by the antihistamines. The popular drug Stugeron® (Cinnarizine), although not sold in the United States, is available over-the-counter in Europe, Bermuda, Mexico, and Canada. It can also be obtained from www.canadadrugsonline.com. The prescription Transderm-Scop® adhesive patch, applied behind the ear two hours before departure, may cause less fatigue, and the benefits will last for three days. Review the many potential (and serious) side effects before using scopolamine with your physician. Scopace® tablets allow sailors to regulate the amount of scopolamine, which helps reduce side effects.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

Alternative therapies, which appear beneficial for some mariners, include ginger capsules, one gram every six hours, supplemented with other ginger products. BioBand® and Sea-Band® are elastic bands with a plastic stud that applies pressure to the Neiguan P6 acupuncture site in the forearm.       The variety of medications, devices, and other remedies may work for some people and not for others. Therapies are subject to the placebo effect, and there are no well-controlled trials confirming the effectiveness of many products or comparing different treatments. The protection conferred by drugs is a matter of degree; there is no magic bullet to prevent seasickness in everyone.  If one drug fails to work for you, try another; try different medications or modalities on land to see if there are any unacceptable side effects. If you discover a safe regimen that works for you, stick with it and believe in what you use.

SIGNS, SYMPTOMS & TREATMENTS

The earliest signs and symptoms of seasickness are yawning and drowsiness, progressing to dry mouth, headache, dizziness, and extreme listlessness. Some people initially experience an unsettled stomach, slight sweating, mild blushing, and a feeling of warmth. Untreated, the person becomes pale, cold, and clammy. Nausea later comes in waves with belching, salivation, and then uncontrollable vomiting. Recognize and begin treatment with prescription anti-nausea medication (e.g. Phenergan®) when early signs appear. Phenergan® taken as a pill, but preferably a suppository, will prevent vomiting and subsequent dehydration. During treatment, lie down and try to sleep. Take small amounts of fluid, crackers, and hard candy.

Sailors now have many options to manage seasickness. It is no longer necessary to follow Samuel Johnson’s 18th century advice: “To cure seasickness, find a good big oak tree and wrap your arms around it.”

Dr. Jacobs is the co-author of A Comprehensive Guide to Marine Medicine, and the author of numerous articles and chapters on medicine for mariners and safety at sea. He is the founder of MedSail, and consultant to Adventure® Medical Kits. He practices medicine on Martha’s Vineyard.

To find a great line of medical kits pack with the medication you need out at sea go to www.WestMarine.com  or AdventureMedicalKits.com

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How to Train for the 2016 TransRockies Race at Sea Level

Monday, August 15th, 2016

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By Adventure Medical Kits’ Adventurer Heather Gannoe

As I write this post, I am anxiously counting down the days until I fly from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Buena Vista, Colorado. (12 days, to be exact). Thanks to an amazingly generous company, a ton of fantastic friends and family members, and a stroke of good luck that I totally attribute to all of the good running karma I try to put out into the world, my partner Geoff and I will be running the 2016 TransRockies Run. A 6 day stage race that had been on my racing “bucket list” for quite sometime, but had been financially and logistically out of our reach, was suddenly gifted to us, two sea-level dwelling newbie ultra runners who have never been to Colorado.

Needless to say, we are beyond excited for this amazing adventure.

I’ll be the first to admit that training at sea level for such a race, one that spans 118 miles over the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and includes over 20,000 feet of elevation gain between about 7,000 and 12,500 feet above sea level, has been…interesting. Sure, we can dutifully put in the mileage and strength training sessions. But there is no denying that there are certain health and safety factors that we will face in Colorado, many of which we simply don’t have to concern ourselves with here in sunny South Carolina. When we can’t physically train for these conditions, the next best thing we can do is mentally prepare ourselves for what we might face. Here are a few of our concerns:

Altitude. This is the big one, the subject everyone wants to talk about when they hear we are headed to the mountains. The truth is, there is no sure fire way to train for running at altitude here at sea level, without investing in a high tech altitude tent, or something similar, to create a hypoxic environment. So instead, we are bracing ourselves for the possible side effects of running at high altitude.

The least of our worries include light-headedness, fatigue, numbness or tingling of extremities, nausea, and of course, feeling short of breath and completely out of shape. More serious concerns, and things we hopefully will not encounter, include everything from confusion and disorientation, severe headaches, and even life threatening conditions and high altitude sickness including  pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). In the cases of HAPE and HACE, fluid accumulates around the lungs and the brain respectively, and can be fatal if left untreated.

Fortunately for us, we will be under the watchful care of professionals who have successfully put on this race for a number of years. However, it is still important to be aware of the potential side effects, and have the ability to react to their onset quickly and accordingly.

Dehydration. The decreased atmospheric pressure at high altitude forces you to breathe faster and more frequently. Water vapor is a normal waste product of breathing, thus, it is easier to become dehydrated at higher altitudes. Further, the humidity is typically lower at higher altitudes, thus evaporation of moisture across the skin may happen more readily, and without as much notice as it does down here in the swampy South (you should smell our sweaty hydration packs!). Both of these factors will increase the potential for dehydration, and as any athlete can tell you, dehydration is never a good condition to find yourself in.

Sunburn. Ultraviolet exposure increases approximately 4% for every 1,000 feet above sea level. That means, even though we live AT the beach, our UV exposure will be upwards of 50% higher during the TransRockies Run. Sunscreen, and constant reapplication of it, will be vital to avoid painful and even dangerous sunburns.

Extreme weather changes. This summer in South Carolina has been brutal, as far as the heat is concerned. In fact, July 2016 has gone on record as the hottest July on record in Columbia SC (just inland of where we live). Needless to say, we feel pretty comfortable (well, as comfortable as one can get) training in temperatures upwards of 105 degrees. What we are NOT currently accustomed to is freezing temps. And in the mountains, the weather can change from one extreme to the next in the blink of an eye. It will be important for us to be prepared for anything, from dry, hot, heat to freezing cold rain, or potentially even snow.

Terrain. If you haven’t been to coastal South Carolina, let me describe it for you: Flat, sandy, and swamp like. We are very fortunate to have a wonderful mountain bike and running park that gives us 7 miles of fun trails to run on here in Myrtle Beach. And while the single track has just enough rocks and roots to keep you on your toes (and hopefully off of your face), it is certainly nothing like climbing the Rocky Mountains. In addition to steep climbs and equally as steep descents, we will likely face very rugged and technical terrain. From a safety point of view, this could mean anything from pulled muscles to cuts, scrapes, bruises, or worse, if we fall. HOPEFULLY, none of these ailments will occur, but it will certainly be in the back of our minds, causing us to add a little caution to our step as we tackle the trails.

Wildlife. Our biggest concern with wildlife encounters here in South Carolina is venomous snakes. And I suppose, the potential of a scuffle with an alligator, though they typically keep to themselves, as long as you stay out of the water. But venomous snakes such as copperheads, rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths are incredibly common in our area. Fortunately, they typically scurry off long before we actually see them.

In Colorado, it appears we have a few much larger, much more dangerous predators to watch out for, such as bears and mountain lions. I’m certainly hoping that the large crowd of the TransRockies Run, and all of the fast elites that run ahead of us, are enough to scare off these animals. In any case, it is important to know what to do to possibly avoid attracting these animals, and what to do in the event of an encounter.

Not having the perfect terrain or conditions to train in shouldn’t be a deal breaker when it comes to pursuing new experiences or adventures. But being mentally prepared for what you may have to face, and the potential dangers in those situations, is in my opinion a very important part of training. Always be prepared isn’t just a motto for the Boyscouts, it is something that all athletes and outdoor adventurers should abide by as well.

Heather Gannoe, is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist who splits her time between working as a personal trainer and running coach, and writing as a blogger and author in the fitness and running industry.   She’s also a mom to two young boys, and is constantly encouraging them to love the great outdoors a little more, and their video games a little less.  Trail running really long distances is her true love, but she’ll never turn down an adventure.  Keep up with her adventures on www.RelentlessForwardCommotion.com.

 

 

What’s in My Pack: Summer Skiing in the Tetons with Adventurer Thomas Woodson

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

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I have a pretty good streak for going skiing every month. 35 to be exact — every month since I moved west and started skiing. During these lonely summer months most of my friends have packed up their gear and look at me with insanity when I’m searching for partners. This leaves me on my own, hiking for hours, searching out the last glimpse of shrinking glaciers in the Rocky Mountains.

As a Wilderness First Responder, being out solo can create a challenging headspace. I try to use speed and lightness to create my own margin of safety. But I still carry a first aid kit like the Mountain Series Day Tripper. When you’re in an alpine environment, you’re your own first responder. Emergency response and evacuations take longer out there. So get prepared, the kits include professional quality supplies so it’s worth checking out. You read about many accidents from inexperienced hikers in these locations as well, so I want to feel prepared to assist others.

The SOL Thermal Bivvy is an integral part of my medical kit. Environment is a great concern during wilderness patient care, especially if trauma is involved. Having warmth and protection from the elements can make quite the difference. I also carry base layers in a dry bag, which provide ample warmth underneath a lightweight rain shell in the summer, or can be used to pad a makeshift splint or c-collar.

For communication outside cell range, I carry a SPOT Satellite Messenger with my trip plan tied in with my S.O.S. message. The optional rescue insurance is a plus as well.

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Miscellaneous things… For boot/binding repair when skiing, I carry a multi-tool, duct tape, zip ties and bailing wire. That combined with a ski strap can fix just about anything.

Here are more of my favorite items:

I’m stoked for more adventure and continue to encourage all of my adventure partners to sign up for a Wilderness First Responder course. See you in the mountains!

About Thomas Woodson

I’m a van based adventure photographer chasing film projects and snow storms across the west. My passion for photography overtook my design career after moving to Colorado. Working full-time chasing athletes around the world, I partners with brands to craft authentic stories of adventure. Despite a change in tools, design plays an active role in everything I do. www.thomaswoodson.com.

Hitting the Trails With Your Kids: Tips to Foster Their Love of the Outdoors

Monday, July 18th, 2016

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Hitting the Trails With Your Kids: Tips to Foster Their Love of the Outdoors

By Heather Gannoe

To some of us, being in the woods, on the trails, or at the summit of a mountain is the most peaceful, magical place we can dream of. As parents, we naturally want our kids to experience and be part of that same magic, as well as develop their own love for the great outdoors. Before my kids could even walk, I dreamt of the day I could take them on adventures or out running with me. In that daydream, we all smiled from ear to ear, the sun beaming down on our faces between the trees, as we all happily gallivanted through the woods.

Ten years later, my kids and I are indeed gallivanting through the woods, but it isn’t always happy and full of smiles. The truth is, teaching your kids to love the outdoors, or enjoy hiking or trails running, can be an adventure in and of itself. But with these tips you can help foster a love of the trails in your children, and hopefully elicit far more smiles than “are we there yet?” complaints.

Start small. If it’s your child’s very first trail run or hike, don’t expect them to go out and cover a 10K or technical mountain pass. Think of them as a brand new runner or hiker, and gradually increase distance and time on feet accordingly. Start with shorter, easy to bail out on, trails. If you are running, have the kids run in intervals, in order to give them plenty of walk breaks. Little kids are resilient, but they are not immune to overuse injuries, just like the rest of us.

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Be Patient & Ditch Time Constraints. This should absolutely be the golden rule of hiking and trail running with little ones. Kids have little legs. They tire easy. They are also easily distracted. A short summit that may typically take you an hour, might take two or three hours if you have little ones in tow. Be understanding of the fact that physically, it’s going to take little ones longer than you to cover the same distance.

Further, remember that kids are full of wonder and curiosity. Don’t be frustrated if your little one wants to stop every 200 yards to look at a mushroom or some moss. Foster and encourage their curiosity, and remember that the great outdoors IS mother nature’s classroom.

Make Them a Part of the Adventure. Kids will feel less “dragged along for the ride” and more a part of the adventure if you give them an active role. Let them carry their own gear in a kid sized backpack or hydration pack. Further, make them feel extra important by letting them carry a vital piece of equipment, such as their own compass or a small first aid kit. Let them help plan the route, and leave them in charge of looking out for and following trail blazes. (Of course, quietly keep an eye out yourself. Because as mentioned above, kids are easily distracted).

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Hydration and Nutrition Matter. We all know the importance of fueling and hydrating while hiking or running. And while kids are awesome at listening to their little bodies when it comes to thirst and hunger, the excitement of being outdoors, plus the added caloric burn of a big hike, may result in an inadvertent blood sugar crash and burn. Remind them frequently to drink and eat when needed.

The Right Gear Matters Too. I know, outdoor gear can be an expensive habit. But with kids, it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to buy the same high-end labels and name brand hiking pants or running shorts that adults love to wear, but you do want to make sure your kids are comfortable. Sweat wicking, technical fabric always wins over cotton, and mini, inexpensive versions can be purchased at both sporting goods stores and big name departments stores. Or better yet, check your local second hand kids shop, as kids often grow out of clothing so fast, you can buy like-new-gear at a fraction of the cost. Dress them in the same manner you would dress yourself based upon the trail conditions, with layers if needed. Make sure your kids have on appropriate trail running sneakers or hiking boots that fit properly.

Apply Skillful Distraction Methods, if necessary. You know, the kinds of distraction methods you acquire the second you become a parent. Little legs tired? Check out that toad! Cries of “I’m boooreeed!”? Create a scavenger hunt! Sing songs, play “I spy”, make it fun, so the kids forget the monotony that sometimes accompanies walking or running for long distances.

And most importantly:

Encourage, encourage, encourage. Resist the urge to tell your fully capable ten year old that he is moving slower than a 90 year old with a walker. On a serious note, tell them how impressed you are that they are tackling such a big adventure. Positive reinforcement works far better than the alternative…especially when you have made it past the halfway point. Play along when you reach the summit and they believe they are now on top of the world, because in their little minds, they truly are.

Encourage the adventure…one day they will thank you.

Heather Gannoe, is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist who splits her time between working as a personal trainer and running coach, and writing as a blogger and author in the fitness and running industry.   She’s also a mom to two young boys, and is constantly encouraging them to love the great outdoors a little more, and their video games a little less.  Trail running really long distances is her true love, but she’ll never turn down an adventure.  Keep up with her adventures on www.RelentlessForwardCommotion.com.

How to Prevent and Treat Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

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As we move into the heart of summer, it’s wise to remember the risks that high temperatures, sun, humidity and exertion can bring. Regardless of athletic prowess, age, or gender, the weather has an enormous affect on our bodies. Some days it’s better to adjust your plans and explore when the heat is less intense in the early mornings or after the sun has set. Keeping hydrated is key to preventing heat illness. Water is the fuel our bodies need to cool from the inside out

Sweating is the main source of cooling the body during exertion and warm conditions. When you’re overheated, the blood vessels near the skin dilate so that more blood can reach the surface and dissipate heat. If you’ve waited too long to drink water and have become dehydrated, the body is limited in its ability to sweat and evaporate heat.

Read on to learn how to address heat-related illnesses and how you can prevent them on your next outing. And Always grab a first aid kit and basic survival gear so you’ll be ready and #AdventureEquipped.

Basic first Aid Skills- Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

Taken from Adventure Medical Kits’ Wilderness & Travel Medicine Guide By Dr. Eric A. Weis

Heat Exhaustion

Signs and Symptoms

Typical symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Flu-like symptoms (weakness, malaise, headache, nausea and loss of appetite)
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness upon standing or a laying position
  • Dehydration
  • Elevated core temperature(usually below 104F
  • Sweating

Treatment

  • Stop all exertion and move patient to cool and shaded area
  • Remove restrictive clothing
  • Administer water and oral rehydration solutions
  • **Ice or cold packs, if available, should be placed alongside the body, under armpits and on the groin area. Don’t place ice packs directly on the skin as they may induce frostbite. Protect the skin by buffering the skin with a cloth.
  • Additional cooling methods include submerging the patient in cool water or wetting the skin with cold water and fanning the patient.

When should you worry?

Heatstroke

Heat exhaustion that is not treated can progress into Heatstroke, which is a life-threatening medical emergency. Anyone suffering from a heat illness that begins to show altered mental states (loss of coordination, bizarre behavior, confusion) should be treated for heatstroke with rapid cooling and transported to the hospital.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Elevated temperature (above 40C/105F)
  • Altered mental state
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid respiration
  • Sweating present but may be absent in some cases

Treatment:

  • Cool the victim as quickly as possible, using methods noted above**
  • Do not give the victim anything to drink because of the risk of vomiting.
  • Do not administer acetaminophen or aspirin
  • Treat for shock-keep the victim lying down, covered and insulated from the ground. Elevate the legs so that gravity can improve blood circulation to the heart and brain.
  • Evacuate the victim to the closest medical facility

Prevention:

Keep yourself hydrated.

Dehydration is the most important contributing factor leading to heat illness. Thirst is a poor indication of dehydration. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. During exercise your body can easily sweat away 1-2 Liters( 1-2 quarts) of water per hour. Refuel with at least .5 Liters water every 20 minutes throughout the day to insure you’re adequately hydrated. In some cases, you may need more water. The best way to tell if you are hydrated is by urine color. Clear to pale yellow urine indicates you’re drinking enough. Dark, yellow colored urine indicates dehydration (Note: some medications and vitamins can turn urine yellow/orange)

Exercise in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low and the heat is less intense. The potential for developing heat illness is greatest when the temperatures are above 35C/95F and the humidity level is over 80%.

Allow yourself adequate time to acclimatize before exercising for prolonged periods in the heat. It takes the body about 10 days to become acclimatized to a heat environment.

Wear clothing that is lightweight and loose-fitting for ventilation and light-colored to reflect heat.

Get plenty of rest. A U.S. Army study found a correlation between lack of sleep, fatigue and heat illness.

Avoid certain medications and drugs like antihistamines, anti-hypertension drugs etc. They can predispose you to heat illness.

10 Essentials Every Hiker Should Carry

Monday, June 27th, 2016

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Headed out on a hike or even a multi-day backpacking adventure? Make sure you plan ahead for emergencies. We’ve assembled a list of the key items you should make room for in your pack.

While it may seem silly to carry them on your short hike, you’ll be grateful for these aids when you might need them.

 

 

 

 

 

The Essential List:

The most important thing you can pack before any adventure is knowledge. Know your abilities, know the area you are traveling and know the weather.

Navigation:

A compass and map of the area you are exploring. If you pack a GPS, always bring along extra batteries or a map/compass as a backup. Not sure how to find your way. Consider a navigation course to learn the skills. REI.COM sells a variety of GPS units including this Garmin.

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Sun Protection:

Up high in the mountains or in harsh desert sun, sunglasses and sunscreen keep your eyes and skin protected from the sun’s rays. A broad rimmed hat works wonders out on glaciated terrain. Try SOL Sunscreens, great for when you’re in the mountains or in the water.

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Insulation:

It might be sunny at the start of your hike but temperature and weather can change in an instant. Be sure to pack an extra layer based upon the worst weather you might encounter. Bonus, bring along a light hat and gloves and you’ll save 20% of your body heat. Try Mountain Hardwear’s Whisper Jacket, it’s light and packs to the size of a baseball.

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Illumination:

Carry a headlamp. Repeat, Carry a headlamp! Even if you plan to end your hike by dark, delays can happen, darkness comes quickly and you’ll be able to continue on even in rugged terrain. The Petzl Tika is fit for the job.

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First Aid Kit:

Nothing ruins a hike faster than blisters, bee stings, scrapes and cuts. Bring along a first aid kit stocked with supplies you might need. Not sure how to treat ailments? Adventure Medical Kits’ products include pre-labeled pouches and a first aid manual with how-tos.

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Fire:

And then Man or Woman had fire. Staying warm and dry is key in the event you get stranded out in the wilderness. Bring along fire cubes or a fire starter kit so you can light a fire easily.

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Multi Tool:
A knife, multi tool and duct tape can be super handy for almost any need. Cutting, fixing and taping are a handy wilderness skill!

Food:
Make sure to carry at least an extra day’s worth of food. We like hearty bars and snacks that are lightweight and packed with fuel.s and map of the area you are exploring. If you pack a GPS, always bring along extra batteries or a map/compass as a backup. Not sure how to find your way. Consider a navigation course to learn the skills. REI.COM sells a variety of GPS units including this Garmin.

Water:
Carry a water bottle or reservoir. We don’t recommend drinking out of streams unless you have a filter or water purifier. Be sure to note water availability. Adults should have about 2 liters of water for a daylong hike. Stay hydrated by drinking water before you begin your hike, small amounts through the day and later refuel post-hike.

Shelter:

Day hikers are most likely to leave this off their list, but they shouldn’t. It could make a huge difference if you need to shelter someone who is hurt or find yourself in a downpour. Consider packing a light tarp, bivvy sack or emergency blanket.

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Other items you may want to consider:

Insect repellent, Blister treatments, whistle and signaling device.

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My Dog Got Sprayed by a Skunk! Now what do I do?

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

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Adventure Dog Series-Your Guide to Dog First Aid and Other Dog Disasters

Adventuring is always more fun with a dog in tow. You know your buddy loves adventure just as much as you do. Sometimes, unknowingly, our best buddies can put themselves at risk. Follow our posts for first aid tips and how to’s. Your dog will thank you!

My Dog Got Sprayed by a Skunk! Now what do I do?

Taken from Dr. Sid Gustafson, DVM  (Author of Canine Field Medicine and a consultant for Adventure Medical Kits’ Adventure Dog Kits

Skunks are a common and generally not a serious threat to active dogs. A direct hit to the face can irritate the eyes.

 

 

 

Action:

  • Keep the dog outside to clean them.
  • Wear gloves and old clothes!
  • Restrain as appropriate. Due to pain, injured or ill animals can be unpredictable. To prevent injury to yourself and others, it is recommended that you restrain the dog as appropriate. Wrap the dogs muzzle with a cloth to prevent nipping and to keep the dog calm.
  • If your dog was hit in the head, use a stream of sterile saline solution to bath the eyes
  • Bathe the animal daily for up to 7 days in the following recommended solution:
  • Skunk Bath Remedy
    • 1 pint 3% hydrogen peroxide
    • 1 Quart Water
    • ¼ cup baking soda
    • 1 Tbsp. Prell liquid dish soap
    • Apply mixture to coat and let sit 30 minutes.
    • Rinse with a mixture of one cup baking soda in one gallon of water. Avoid the dog’s eyes. Do a final rinse with warm water.
  • Skunk spray is composed of thiols, which are responsible for the odor. These are neutralized by the hydrogen peroxide and absorbed by the baking soda.
  • Smell may linger for days or weeks after a skunk incident. Over time your buddy will smell as fresh as a daisy!
  • Be sure to consider rabies, and make sure your dog is vaccinated. Skunks are the primary carriers of rabies in many regions.

At Adventure Medical Kits we’ve got you covered. We’ve curated essential first-aid kits to help keep the guesswork out of what you should pack—as well as keeping costs down by minimizing the amount of items you have to buy. Our dog-specific kits include key items you’ll need for the most common injuries and also include a handy first aid handbook and reference manual to guide you through treating dog injuries and illnesses.

 

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What do I do if my dog runs through a barbwire fence and his leg is bleeding?

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

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Adventure Dog Series-Your Guide to Dog First Aid

Adventuring is always more fun with a dog in tow. And you know your buddy loves the adventure just as much as you do. Yet even tough dogs can get injured out on the trail. Will you know how to take care of your four legged friend? Follow our posts for first aid tips and how to’s. Your dog will thank you! Woof!

What do I do if my dog runs through a barbwire fence and his leg is bleeding?

Taken from Dr. Sid Gustafson, DVM  (Author of Canine Field Medicine and a consultant for Adventure Medical Kits’ Adventure Dog Kits

If the bleeding is External and Severe:

Severe bleeding needs immediate first aid. Severe bleeding spurts rhythmically with the heartbeat and is bright red.

Stay calm and approach the dog slowly.

Due to pain, injured or ill animals can be unpredictable. To prevent injury to yourself and others, it is recommended that you restrain the dog as appropriate. Before you can control the bleeding you need to control the dog.

Wash your hands or wear latex gloves for protection.

Don’t wash wounds that are bleeding heavily-It will make it harder for clots to form.

Apply continuous and direct pressure with a sterile gauze pad or a clean piece of cloth to the wound. Alternatively, use QuikClot® gauze  in place of a traditional dressings. QuikClot is a chemically inert material that speeds coagulation of blood, resulting in a stable clot that stops bleeding

If blood soaks through the pad, apply a second pad on top of the first (do not remove the first pad)

If you cannot control the bleeding with just your hand pressure, wrap the wound with pads still in place in several layers of roll gauze, an elastic bandage or duct tape.

If there are no broken bones, elevate the injured limb

Transport to the nearest Vet or emergency clinic.

For Minor Cuts and Lacerations with slower flowing or seeping blood that is dark red.

  • Restrain as necessary
  • Carefully remove any foreign particles from the wound.
  • Clean wound with saline solution and an irrigation syringe to prevent infection.
  • Keep bandage clean and dry if possible. Make sure to not wrap the injury too tightly. Your dog may resist the bandage or gnaw to remove. Attempt to keep covered. A dog will naturally want to lick a wound and keep it clean, so don’t fret if the bandage comes off. Just make sure the bleeding has stopped and the wound has clotted.

At Adventure Medical Kits we’ve got you covered. We’ve curated essential first-aid kits to help keep the guesswork out of what you should pack—as well as keeping costs down by minimizing the amount of items you have to buy. Our dog-specific kits include key items you’ll need for the most common injuries and also include a handy first aid handbook and reference manual to guide you through treating dog injuries and illnesses.

Dog Kits

 

 

3 Useful & Life Saving Items You Should Take On Your Next Adventure

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Reflection of mountains and trees in water, Moor Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

3 Insanely Useful & Life Saving Items You Should Take On Your Next Adventure

So you are heading out to explore the Allagash Wilderness of Maine, backpacking in the Sierras or mountain biking an old logging road. You’ve got the gear packed and the posse assembled, but have you thought about the fact that you’ll be 20 miles from a road? That means your crew will be depending upon each other in case something goes down.

Prepare for anything and get #AdventureEquipped. Channel your inner Scout with a few simple items that could make you the hero if you and your buddies are stranded out in the wilderness. Trust us, you’re friends will thank you for taking these along.

 

The Doctor is in

Accidents can happen. Carry a first aid kit and you’ll be ready for bee stings, punctured wounds, sprained ankles and a host of other emergencies. The Ultralight watertight .9 is an easy take- along filled with all the supplies you’ll need. It even comes with a handy first aid guide and is housed in a waterproof zip lock bag in case your canoe capsizes.

0125-0290 AMK Ultralight Watertight 9 RT copy

A $20 Box Could Save Your Life

Who ever said $20 doesn’t buy anything? Then they haven’t explored the immensely useful items inside the Survive Outdoors Longer Traverse survival kit. Packed into the small tin are essentials like water purification tablets and water storage container, fire starter with flint, emergency blanket and signaling mirror. The box covers the basics of water, shelter, fire and signaling. The Traverse is easy to slip in your bag and weighs about 6 ounces.

0140-1767_SOL_Traverse_STRT

A Knife with a Purpose

About the size of the palm of your hand, the Phoenix incorporates 8+ survival tools into a small pocketknife size multi-tool. The contents include a fixed, serrated and drop point bladed knife, 3-7mm wrench, flat head screwdriver, fire starter and flint striker, LED light and signaling whistle.

 

0140-0838_sol_phoenix_open_light

 

How NOT to Get Stranded Out in The Wilderness

North, South, East, West, you thought you knew where you were going but now you’re lost. Of course, knowing the terrain, watching the weather and knowing how to use your compass is key in the wilderness. Check out these links below to learn the skills, scout the terrain or get a read on the weather.

Learning Map & Compass Skills

http://www.adventuremedicalkits.com/blog/2009/04/navigation-basics-map-and-compass/

Learning Wilderness First Aid and Rescue:

NOLS http://www.nols.edu/wmi/courses/wildfirstaid.shtml

REI https://www.rei.com/outdoorschool/wilderness-medicine-classes.html

National Weather Service http://www.weather.gov/

 

 

Basic First Aid Skills- How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

ankle injury

Adventure Medical Kits Empowers You Series

Heading out into the wilderness can be an amazing experience that allows you to explore remote areas and challenge yourself. As a smart adventurer, you’ve probably already taken the steps to prepare for your journey by bringing along the basics for survival (Food, Water, Shelter, First Aid Kit, extra Clothing ) and knowing the terrain. But anytime you’re a few hours from advanced medical care, you are assuming risk and should be prepared for injuries and illnesses. That’s why it’s good to know some first aid basics. In our Adventure Medical Kits Empowers You Series, we’ve compiled a list of skills and treatments we consider essential for anyone who goes out in the backcountry. Our articles are not a substitute for professional medical training or treatment. We recommend taking a full Wilderness First Aid course for more comprehensive knowledge and seeking professional care as soon possible.

Basic First Aid Skills- How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Taken from Adventure Medical Kits’ Wilderness & Travel Medicine Guide, By Dr. Eric A. Weiss

There you are, just hiking along the trail when suddenly the footing changes and you roll your ankle to one side. You feel it stretch and maybe even feel it tear. It stops you cold and it hurts.

SPRAINS

A sprain is stretching or tearing of ligaments that attach one bone to another. Ligaments are sprained when a joint is twisted or stretched beyond its normal range of motion. Most sprains occur in the ankle and knee.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms include tenderness to the site, swelling, bruising, and pain with movement. Because these symptoms are also present with a fracture, it may be difficult to differentiate between the two. Use caution and treat the injury until x-rays or further medical evaluation is available.

Treatment

  1. First aid begins with R-I-C-E (see below). If the victim cannot bear weight at all, use a splint to stabilize the foot and ankle and get assistance out of the backcountry.
  2. If the victim can still walk, use a C-Splint,  compression wrap or tape the ankle for support.
  3. Continue R-I-C-E-S for at least 72 hours following an injury and administer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Ibuprofen, 3x per day with food to reduce pain and inflammation.
  4. As soon as possible, seek medical evaluation to determine the need for X-rays to check for fracture.

A leg tensor bandage being applied outdoors

R-I-C-E-S- Immediate steps for treating sprains and strains

Rest: Resting takes the stress off the injured joint and prevents further damage.

Ice: Ice as quickly as possible as it will reduce the swelling and pain. Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area for up to 20 minutes, 3-4 times per day. Follow with a compression bandage. Wrapping is key, as the joint will swell as soon as the ice is removed.

Compression: Compression wraps prevent swelling and provide support. Pad the injury with socks or soft items, and then wrap with an elastic bandage. Begin the wrap at the toes and move up the foot up and over the ankle with the wrap. The wrap should be comfortable but not too tight. If the victim experiences numbness, tingling or increased pain, loosen the wrap.

Elevation: Elevate the injury above the level of the heart as much as possible to reduce swelling.

Stabilization: Tape or splint the injured area to prevent further damage.

Next Steps:

Continue R-I-C-E-S for at least 72 hours following an injury and administer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Ibuprofen, three times per day with food to reduce pain and inflammation.