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Case Study: A Hot Day Becomes a First Aid Situation

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 6/25/18 3:23 PM


Photo by Ashley Wise

THE SETTING

You’re leading a canoe trip for a group on the Rio Grande River in Big Bend National Park in Texas. It’s been a hot trip, with temperatures well over 90°F (32°C) day after day. Today, the group started off with a long morning hike up a side canyon, and now you’ve been paddling for several hours, floating lazily along, watching birds swoop around the limestone cliffs.

Suddenly, your observations are interrupted by yells for help downstream. You paddle quickly to a beached canoe and several people on shore. One of your participants is shouting something about a seizure.

Another participant is lying on their back in the sand. Their legs are quivering, but their arms seem to be moving normally. The other participant insists this is a seizure—you’re not so sure.

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, case study, heat illness

Quiz: Treating Heat Illness and Dehydration

By Ben Lerman on 6/13/18 12:15 PM
 
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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, quiz, heat illness

Snakebites: Myth vs. Reality

By Ben Lerman on 6/4/18 11:40 AM

In the movies, snakes bite constantly, fly through the air to strike, and kill their victims almost instantly with their venomous bites. Those involved respond in all manner of ways, from trying to photograph and identify the snakes’ species in 2006’s Snakes on a Plane to cutting open the bite wound and attempting to suck out the poison in 2010’s True Grit. Needless to say, these sensationalized portrayals can be misleading.

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Topics: WFR, first aid, wilderness medicine, myth, snakebite

Shock: What Causes It and What To Do

By Ben Lerman on 5/31/18 8:41 AM


Photo by Mike Trewartha.

What is shock? It’s a term that gets used frequently in casual conversation to describe emotional reactions. It’s also a serious medical condition that can be difficult to recognize, and even harder to treat, in the wilderness context.

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, shock

Quiz: Bites and Envenomation

By Ben Lerman on 5/8/18 8:17 AM
 
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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, quiz

Quiz: Handling Burns in the Outdoors

By Ben Lerman on 3/27/18 8:56 AM
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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, quiz

Quiz: First Aid for Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Teeth

By Ben Lerman on 2/14/18 8:26 AM

 

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, quiz

Your Favorite Stories from 2017

By Molly Herber on 12/20/17 2:31 PM

The stories we tell reveal a piece of ourselves. This year, the stories you loved told of people changed by the mountains and steps to achieve goals; that busted myths and shared ways to care for each other in the wilderness, both in mind and body.

Looking at the stories you loved reading, you can see where this community’s values are: in people and the environment. We hope you enjoy taking a look back at the seven most-read stories from 2017.

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Topics: leadership, tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, first aid, Live the Dream

Kids on Outdoor Trips: First Aid Recommendations

By Ben Lerman on 11/8/17 8:28 AM

Photo from Pxhere.
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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness Medicine, kids

Responding to Hurricane Harvey with Wilderness First Aid Skills

By Brad Zirkel on 10/31/17 8:32 AM

We found ourselves in our boat pulling away from the only dry land we could see. It looked as though a normal city neighborhood, with older homes lined up in rows covered by large shade trees, had been built in the middle of a shallow lake.

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

A First Responder Changes the Conversation about Mental Health

By Jared Apperson on 5/25/17 1:17 PM

Editor’s note: Jared Apperson is a longtime NOLS Wilderness Medicine instructor and former flight paramedic. Here, he talks about the psychological challenges of working in emergency medicine and his mission to raise awareness of post traumatic stress for first responders.

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, psychological first aid

The 5 Components of Psychological First Aid

By Laura McGladrey on 5/22/17 8:17 AM

Editor’s note: Adapted from the Spring 2017 issue of The Leader under the title “Psychological First Aid Toolkit—What’s in Yours?”

The common image of a first responder is someone with a snappy set of gloves smoothly bandaging a spurting wound or administering an EpiPen to a patient having an anaphylactic reaction. Injuries, we imagine, are easy to see and easy to fix.

While treating physical wounds seems like the most important way a first responder can help a patient, there’s a lot that we can do to care for a patient’s mental health, especially during and right after a traumatic event.

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, psychological first aid

What to Do If You Get Sick While Camping

By Sarah Buer on 1/12/17 9:46 AM

“A cold” can refer to a range of viral, flu-like symptoms like fever, sore throat, sinus infection, cough, stomach bugs, upper respiratory infections, or simply the sniffles. Getting sick and having some combination of these cold symptoms can be common when you’re hiking, camping, or doing another activity outdoors. While having a cold is never fun, being in the backcountry when you get sick can make it that much worse.

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, WMI, education, backcountry, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute, Wilderness Medicine, illness

27 Considerations for a Wilderness First Aid Kit

By Sarah Buer on 6/3/16 8:52 AM

There’s no such thing as the perfect first aid kit, so you should consider your needs, including the length of your trip, the size of your group, and where you will be traveling, and then build a kit that meets them.

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Topics: Wilderness First Responder, first aid, wilderness medicine, WMI, Wilderness First Aid, education, First Aid Kit, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute, Wilderness Medicine

Treating Burns in the Backcountry

By NOLS Blog on 9/4/15 8:00 AM

In the backcountry, it can be easy to get burned while holding a hot pan or pouring a hot drink. Small burns can be more annoying than dangerous, but they can still get infected, while more serious burns in delicate areas, like joints and the face, can cause long-term damage.

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, WMI, risk management, Wilderness Medicine