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DEET-Free Natrapel 8 hour featured on Backcountry Utah

Monday, March 15th, 2010

back country utah

Adventure Medical Kits’  co-founder Frank Meyer spoke recently with outdoor radio show Backcountry Utah about the benefits of using powerful DEET-free insect repellent Natrapel 8 hour. Click here to listen to the interview.

Natrapel family

Natrapel 8 hour contains CDC-recommended active ingredient Picaridin

Along with providing protection from insect bites and stings that is equal to or greater than that of DEET, Natrapel 8 hour’s formula — containing 20% of the active ingredient Picaridin — is also gear safe, meaning it won’t melt your fishing line, sunglasses, camera lens or other pricey plastic or synthetic materials like DEET can.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends people use Picaridin-based repellents to help ward off ticks (which are responsible for the spread of Lyme Disease) and mosquitoes (which are responsible for the spread of West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, Malaria and other serious illnesses).

Lyme Disease: The Biggest Health Threat To Outdoor Enthusiasts This Summer

Monday, May 11th, 2009

By Christopher Van Tilburg, MD

I’ve been chomped by a tick multiple times, as have most people who regularly tramp in the outdoors. It’s creepy — the tick drops onto your skin, burrows in painlessly, and sucks. Its anticoagulant can cause tick paralysis, and these arthropods carry all sorts of infections: Colorado Tick Fever (a virus), Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (parasite), Tularemia (a bacteria), and the more commonly known Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease can be scary. Lyme Disease is caused by an inoculation of the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks around the world carry it:  In North America it’s transmitted by deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) and the Western black legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). It was first identified in Old Lyme, Connecticut, after a group of kids complained of having a strange pain in their joints and an odd rash. So one might think, No problem — bacteria can be killed by antibiotics. But, there is a problem: Lyme is hard to kill and it can turn chronic. A single bite from a Lyme-carrying tick can require years of treatment and recovery.


Lyme Disease is a widespread, global disease that is poorly understood. According to the CDC, in 2007 there were 27,000 cases in the U.S. and, because of the sometimes-vague symptoms, it may be dramatically underreported. While West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, and even Swine Flu have gotten press lately, they account for much less illness. For example, in 2007, there were only 3,600 imported cases of West Nile Virus.


Outdoor adventurers should follow standard insect, tick and arthropod preventions when traveling in the backcountry or abroad. Ticks don’t jump or fly, they drop or fall onto humans from trees or grasses. So, long sleeve shirts and long pants tucked into socks is a great start.

Insect repellents, including ones containing DEET like Tender’s Ben’s 100® pump and Ben’s® 30 wipes, work well at warding off Ticks. For people looking for a DEET-free alternative, repellents like Natrapel® 8-hour, which contains 20% of the active ingredient Picaridin, provide protection that’s as effective as DEET. Insecticides with Permethrin also work, and can be sprayed on clothing or impregnated into the fibers of garments.

When in tick country, remember to check your entire body after the day’s hike. Often you have two or three hours before a tick burrows. If it does, your chance of getting Lyme is low if you remove the bugger right away.


Once burrowed, ticks are tricky to remove. Don’t try those old wives tales like fingernail polish or a match. The best technique is to use tick or splinter-removal forceps, grabbing as close as possible to the head, and pulling the tick out with slow, gentle pressure. Sometimes I’ve had to wiggle the head gently to unclasp the tick’s pinchers. Unfortunately, many people sever the body from the head. I’ve had to dig out many tick heads in the emergency room. Like all wounds, clean thoroughly with soap and water.


How do you know if you have Lyme Disease? First, you will see a circular rash that looks like a target or bull’s eye called erythema migrans, which slowly enlarges. Then, the Lyme bacteria can spread to your body causing fever, fatigue, malaise, muscle and joint aches, headaches and swollen glands. Some patients have these symptoms for several months or years. That’s the big problem with Lyme Disease: It affects multiple parts of the body and may be difficult to diagnose if the initial symptoms go unnoticed. The symptoms can take anywhere between three days to one month or longer to emerge. Twenty percent of people who do not receive treatment develop severe complications within weeks or months after the bite, ranging from heart and neurological problems to severe attacks of arthritis.

If you think you need treatment, see your doctor and let him or her know that you have been bitten by a tick. Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment, but don’t try to treat yourself at home with an old prescription in your medicine cabinet – treatment requires a specific antibiotic, like Doxycycline, with a longer course than typical.

For more information on avoiding bug-borne diseases, visit
Christopher Van Tilburg, MD, is the editor of Wilderness Medicine and the author of eight books on safety in the outdoors. His most recent book, Mountain Rescue Doctor: Wilderness Medicine in the Extremes of Nature, is now available in paperback.

The Real Dirt on Hand Sanitizers

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

The recent Swine Flu scare, and the subsequent calls of government health officials to use hand sanitizers regularly as a key means of reducing the likelihood of contracting the virus, has reignited the alcohol vs. benzalkonium chloride debate. While alcohol based hand sanitizers with concentration levels above 60% are effective at killing germs, next generation sanitizers containing benzalkonium chloride have been shown to provide protection long after an alcohol based sanitizer evaporates from your skin.

Handclens (the generic name for AMK’s Adventure Hand Sanitizer ), which contains BZK, kills all 3 types of germs: viruses, bacteria and fungi, including Influenza Type A, of which Swine Flu H1N1 is a subtype.

Handclens has been the subject of four peer-reviewed scientific investigations.

Two studies addressed the product’s efficacy against the Federal Guidelines for antiseptic hand washes and healthcare personnel hand washes.

Where the BZK-based hand sanitizers exceeded FDA regulations, the alcohol-containing sanitizers did not meet federal performance standards. (The results of these studies are represented by the image below.)

Benzalkonium chloride hand sanitizer vs. alchohol

FDA testing protocol listed in Federal Register, Vol 59 (116), June 17, 1994, 21 CFR 333.470. “Effectiveness testing of an antiseptic Handwash or healthcare

personnel Handwash.”

The studies found that repeated use of alcohol-based sanitizers germ-killing effectiveness (the antimicrobial persistence of activity) is reduced by the drying effect of alcohol, which leaves microscopic cracks in the skin that can allow bacteria to become trapped or hidden.

Beyond being an inferior germ killer, alcohol-based hand sanitizers pose an obvious fire hazard and potential health risk, especially for young children. Last year poison control centers reported that 12,000 kids under the age of six ingested alcohol-based hand gels.

Remember that hand sanitizers are great for cleaning your hands when not in proximity to a washroom, but traditional hand cleaning using soap and water (about as long as you can sing “happy birthday to you”) are equally as effective  and even more effective when your hands are soiled with dirt and grime.

BE SAFE Tip – Travel Tip – Visit the CDC Website Before Traveling

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

BE SAFE Travel Tip – Plan Ahead and Visit the CDC Website Before Traveling

At least three months before your trip abroad visit the Center For Disease Control website and you will find health information for specific destination, recommended immunizations and much more.

Be prepared – bring a travel specific first aid kit on your trip!

Learn more travel medicine and first aid tips – click here for Dr. Weiss’s Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine.

Are Deet Insect Repellents safe for kids?

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Doc, Are the products safe for kids?

The EPA, CDC, and American Academy of Pediatrics all deem 30% DEET or less to be safe for children when applied according to directions. Children should not be allowed to apply insect repellent to themselves, and repellent should not be applied to their hands. For more information check out these sites:

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