Archive for July 2013

Snakebite – Find the Snake or Not?

Snakebite - Find the Snake or Not?

One of the treatment issues in wilderness medicine that seems to generate the most amount of debate, even confusion, involves how to best care for a patient in the backcountry who has been bitten by a venomous snake.  In particular, the general consensus, including some popular first aid manuals, is that it is important to find and identify the snake, whether to simply eyeball it, or take a photograph, even to kill it in order to transport it to the hospital.  Sounds reasonable, right? … It is only logical that physicians would want to know the exact snake so that they can administer the exact antivenin, right? Wrong on both counts. The initial reason is that of simple scene safety.  First off, if you are the victim of the bite, there is no sense risking the increased spread of the venom through your system as you exert yourself, not to […]

Read more

Survival Kit – A Suggested Starter List

Survival Kit - A Suggested Starter List

I am often asked by students or those with whom I am engaged in general conversation, “What is the best survival kit that you recommend?”  My response is typically, “There are no ‘best’ survival kits … In fact, I can’t recommend any.”  This almost always generates a quizzical look so I then must follow with a more detailed explanation.  The short of it is that the “best” survival kit is one that you make that best reflects your intended activities, level of training, and budget.  Thus, no off the shelf survival kit can suffice. For example, someone who typically hikes in the desert likely needs a different inventory than someone who typically hikes in mountains; or someone who skies the backcountry will have different priorities than someone who sea kayaks.  Besides, how many survival kits come with such important items (for those, like me, with terrible vision) as prescription eyewear? […]

Read more