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Adventure Medical Kits’ Comp Guide on Your iPhone

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Content from AMK’s A Comprehensive Guide To Wilderness & Travel Medicine, 3rd Edition, penned by Eric A. Weiss, MD, is now available for download via a new iPhone application called iMedjet.

Developed by MedjetAssist, a Birmingham, Alabama-based company offering emergency medical evacuation services to travelers, iMedjet includes The Guide’s easy-to-access info on diagnosing and treating fractures and dislocations, allergic reactions, altitude sickness, insect stings, snake bites and heart attacks, among other potentially life threatening emergencies.Like the book, the app also features helpful illustrations and special sections on preparing for foreign travel and treating common travel-related diseases.

In addition to the app, Medjet is also offering Adventure Medical Kits’ customers special reduced rates on its services. To take advantage of the discounts, be sure to reference Adventure Medical Kits when calling MedjetAssist. Now, there’s no excuse not to have Dr. Weiss’ book with you all of the time! Download iMedjet for free at the iTunes App Store.


Frustrated with Group Size/Trip Duration Rating

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

FAKs rated by people/days (2-3 people, 5-7 days) frustrate me. I think a more useful measure might be people/”time to help”. I bought the Field Trauma kit because I was looking for a kit to use where assistance was 1-2 hours away, I want the kit to answer “What will kill the victim in 1-2 hours?” – Bleeding, not breathing. If a 1″x3″ bandage will stop it, you won’t die today from it. We’re within 2-6 hours of aid, so what do I need to keep a victim alive till we get help?



Thanks for sharing your frustrations with the Group Size, Trip Duration Rating. Let me share a story with you. Back in 1989 when we launched Adventure Medical Kits, our only kit we sold was the $190 Comprehensive Kit in our current Mountain Series. This was much more comprehensive than anything on the market at the time. An editor from Outside Magazine was reviewing the kit and he asked me what I would take out of the kit to make it lighter and smaller. And I asked him what injury or illness does he not want to be prepared for?. How about taking out Glutose Paste for Insulin Shock or the oral rehydration salts for dehydration? How about taking out the Sawyer Extractor Snake Bite Kit?

A few years later, Dr. Weiss wrote the book, A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine, to help people treat injuries and illnesses when medical care will not arrive. He included “Weiss Advice” improvisational techniques in the book so you can improvise when you don’t have the medical supplies you need. For example, page seven has a tip on how to improvise a CPR barrier using a nitrile glove. The section on treating insulin shock suggests using Glutose Paste but if you don’t have it use sugar granules under the tongue will work. The section on rehydration goes over treating dehydration with oral rehydration salts or an improvised solution using fruit juice, honey and salt. Dr. Weiss’s book is your guide to keeping someone alive until help arrives whether it is two hours or two days away.

Back to the question on classifying kits. We are working on a more sophisticated set of metrics to help people choose the right medical kit for their adventure. While group size and trip duration will be one of the metrics, others like risk factor, hours away from medical care and level of first aid training will come into play as well. Your question is timely and will help spur us on in the development of these new metrics.

Thanks, Frank

Frank Meyer

Marketing Director/Co-Founder


What Do I Need In a Medical Kit for Skydiving?

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

I want to build a first aid kit for our Drop Zone and would like your recommendations on contents for skydiving related incidents. I know all the basic items but would like your thoughts on splints and slings etc.While small cuts and sprained ankles etc are what we see most, we should be prepared for more serious incidents to include broken bones, puncture wounds (in the event of a tree landing)etc. If you could email me a list I would greatly appreciate it.

Kevin, I would use the Fundamentals kit in our Mountain Series and add a QuikClot Dressing to stop severe bleeding. This kit will have everything you need from splinting fractures to wrapping sprains and dealing with puncture wounds. The Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine included in the kit will describe how to use the supplies. Once you buy the kit and register it you can enjoy 25% off your refill supplies if you need to refurbish.

Thanks for the question.

Frank Meyer

Marketing Director/Co-Founder


Snake Bites – How to Treat

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

by Eric A. Weiss, M.D. (excerpt from his book,
A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine


There are two classes of poisonous snakes in the United States:

• Pit Vipers (rattlesnakes, cottonmouths [water moccasins], and copperheads) have a characteristic triangular head, a deep pit (heat receptor organ) between the eye and nostril, and a catlike, elliptical pupil.

• Elapids (coral snakes) are characterized by their color pattern with red, black, and yellow or white bands encircling the body. The fangs are short — these snakes bite by chewing rather than by striking.

All states except Maine, Hawaii, and Alaska have at least one species of venomous snake. The states with the highest incidence of snakebites are North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arizona, and New Mexico. About 90 percent of snake bites occur between April and October, because snakes are more active in warm months of the year. Your chance of dying from a venomous snakebite in the wilderness is extremely remote — about one in 12 million.

Snakes can strike up to one-half their body length and may bite and not inject venom (dry bite). No poisoning occurs in about 20 to 30 percent of rattlesnake bites, and fewer than 40 percent of coral snake bites result in envenomation.

Pit Vipers

Signs and Symptoms of Envenomation

• One or more fang marks (rattlesnake bites may leave one, two, or even three fang marks).

• Local, burning pain immediately after the bite.

• Swelling at the site of the bite, usually beginning within five to 20 minutes and spreading slowly over a period of six to 12 hours. The faster the swelling progresses up the arm or leg, the worse the degree of envenomation.

• Bruising (black and blue discoloration) and blister formation at the bite site.

• Numbness and tingling of the lips and face, usually 10 to 60 minutes after the bite.

• Twitching of the muscles around the eyes and mouth.

• Rubbery or metallic taste in the mouth.

• After six to 12 hours, bleeding from the gums and nose may develop and denote a serious envenomation.

• Weakness, sweating, nausea, vomiting and faintness may occur.


The definitive treatment for snake venom poisoning is the administration of antivenin. The most important aspect of therapy is to get the victim to a medical facility as quickly as possible.

First Aid

1) Rinse the area around the bite site with water to remove any venom that might remain on the skin.

2) Clean the wound and cover with a sterile dressing.

3) Remove any rings or jewelry.

4) Immobilize the injured part as you would for a fracture, but splint it just below the level of the heart.

5) Transport the victim to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. If you pass by a telephone, stop and notify the hospital that you are bringing in a snakebite victim so they can begin to locate and procure antivenin.

6) It is not necessary to kill the snake and transport it with the victim for identification. If the snake is killed, it should not be directly handled, but should be transported in a closed container. Decapitated snake heads can still produce envenomation

7) Extractor pumps designed to provide suction over a snakebite wound are sold in many camping stores and endorsed by some as a first aid treatment for snakebites. Based on recent scientific evidence, these devices are no longer recommended. A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in 2004 showed that these devices remove an insignificant amount of venom, and may also be harmful to the victim. The best first aid for snakebite is a cell phone (call the hospital that you are going to so that they can procure antivenin) and a car or helicopter to get the victim there as quickly as possible.

Other First-Aid Treatments That May Be Beneficial

Immediately wrapping the entire bitten extremity with a broad elastic bandage (the “Australian Compression and Immobilization Technique”) has proven effective in the treatment of elapid and sea snake envenomations only. It is only recommended when the victim appears to have suffered a severe envenomation and is several hours from medical care. Fig.-60 Australian wrap for snake envenomation

The wrap is started over the bite site and continued upward toward the torso in an even fashion about as tight as one would wrap a sprained ankle (Fig. 60). Monitor the color, pulse and temperature of the hand or foot to make sure that there is adequate circulation. If circulation appears compromised, loosen the wrap. Otherwise the bandage should not be released until after the victim has been brought to a medical facility. The limb should then be immobilized with a well-padded splint.

Things Not To Do

1) Do not make any incisions in the skin or apply suction with your mouth.

2) Do not apply ice or a tourniquet.

3) Do not shock the victim with a stun gun or electrical current.

Coral Snake

Signs and Symptoms of Envenomation

• Burning pain at the site of the bite.

• Numbness and/or weakness of a bitten arm or leg develops within 90 minutes.

• Twitching, nervousness, drowsiness, increased salivation, and drooling develop within one to three hours.

• Within five to ten hours, the victim develops slurred speech, double vision, difficulty talking and swallowing, and difficulty breathing. The venom may cause total paralysis.

Symptoms may sometimes be delayed by up to 13 hours after the bite.

First Aid

Treatment is the same as for a pit viper bite. Early use of the pressure immobilization technique is highly recommended because it is both effective and safe (coral snake venom does not produce any local tissue destruction).

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Best Way to Treat Mountain Bike Road Rash

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Best Way to Handle Mountain Bike Road Rash

Riding a mountain bike on the desert trails, from time to time I take a spill. It’s rocky here (Phoenix, AZ) and I get bruises and scrapes. What is the best way to treat the scrapes and what it the best pain medication for the soreness from the bruises?
Thanks, Ravi

I have been there and done that. Here is an excerpt from our book, A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine on abrasions: (more…)

What Can Be Done for a Dislocated Knee in the Wilderness?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009


What can be done for dislocated knees in the wilderness?
Thanks, Tom


Tom,  Here is an excerpt from our book, A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine, on kneecap and knee dislocations and how important it is to differentiate between the two. (more…)

BE SAFE – Travel Tip – Carry Suture and Syringe Supplies

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

BE SAFE Tip – Travel Tip – Always Carry Suture and Syringe Supplies

When traveling in Developing Countries carry sterile suture/syringe supplies to hand to a local professional medical care provider to insure the use of sterile needles. Over 10 million people per year contract a lethal disease such as HIV and Hepatitis through the re-use of needles.

You can get a Suture Syringe Medic Kit here.

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

Which kit should I choose?

Friday, January 9th, 2009


Here’s a basic question… I’m getting back into backpacking after a good decade off. I am a 42 year old male and I will initially be taking 2-3 night trips in relatively remote locations . Some solo, but factor having up to 2 additional companions. Based on this info, can you offer some advice on which first aid kit would be the best combination of preparedness and size for this activity?


Thanks for your question. I recommend the Ultralight/Watertight .7 or .9 for your 2-3 day backpack trips. If your first aid skills are a little rusty I would also recommend adding our book,  A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine. This book has a ton of useful advice, including, When to Worry, Weiss Advice Improvisational Tips and over 100 illustrations.

Be Safe,

Frank Meyer

Marketing Director/Co-Founder


AMK Staff Story – Don’t Forget the Diphenhydramine!

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Lessons Learned in the Big Sur Wilderness – Carry lots of Diphen!

The fog hit hard on the morning of November 23rd and I awoke knowing that something was not quite right. Although the Big Sur area is well known for its low visibility and dense fog, I knew that I should be able to see more than I currently could. That’s when my longtime friend and trusty campmate, Todd, looked at me from across our tent and politely exclaimed, “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO YOUR FACE?!”.

Before I could decide if I was more offended or more worried, I couldn’t help but look back at Todd and ask him the exact same question.

After a bit of bickering about who was uglier and the nuances of backpacking without deodorant for several days, we came to the obvious conclusion that something was wrong with both of our faces.

Let me rewind a bit – The trip started out as planned near the Andrew Molera wilderness area in the rugged central California coast. After a few days of surfing, hanging out at the beach and “testing” some of AMK’s Freshbath and Hand Cleans products on our deodorant-less bodies, we settled into a nice camp site overlooking the ocean. The night unfolded as they usual do – a nice big dinner of freeze dried food, far-fetched stories about the awesome waves, great weather and adventures of years past and a roaring campfire.

At some point not too long after this, either Nate or Todd (depending on who you ask) volunteered to gather one last armful of firewood to warm us up before the long night. It was not until the next morning and our respective “face woes” that we realized that this was no normal firewood – someone (depending on who you ask) had accidentally gathered a large bundle of Poison Oak (poison ivy to all you east coasters) and inadvertently burned it all. If anyone is familiar with Poison Ivy and Oak, you probably know that standing over a fire of the burning toxic oil is not really a great idea.

So there we were the next morning – both of us with both eyes swelled shut and itching like mad men. Although it’s almost funny in retrospect, Poison Ivy and Oak reactions, particularly with combustion, can be quite severe if not deadly and we were lucky to have each other to solve the problem. Being trained in Wilderness First Aid and familiar with reactions of all sorts, I quickly pumped both of us full of as many Diphenhydramine (benadryl) as was recommended in Dr. Weiss’ book. This reduced our swelling enough to be able to see clearly, soothed our itchy bodies, and allowed us to hike the several miles back to our car without an ambulance or airlift. Another adventure saved by an Adventure Medical Kit and another great lesson learned about being very careful when gathering firewood.

-Nate is AMK’s Product Manager. He takes his work seriously and rigorously tests all kits that he designs. From now on – you can count on him putting lots of Diphen in as many kits as possible.

Myth of the Month – Cleaning a Wound with Hydrogen Peroxide

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

MYTH: Hydrogen Peroxide is an optimal disinfectant for cleaning a wound.

FACT: Hydrogen Peroxide kills not only germs, but living cells as well, thus delaying wound healing. Plain potable water or a diluted povidone iodine solution works better.