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When Your Teammate Becomes Your Patient: My First Aid Training in Action

By Sarah Buer on 2/16/17 8:00 AM

Whether you’re deep in the mountains or just miles from town in your local park, wilderness medicine training can come in handy—and even save a life.

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Topics: wilderness medicine, WMI, backcountry, Wilderness Medicine

This Cold Bug Is Bugging Me: How to Handle Flu-Like Illness in the Backcountry

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

Viral, flu-like illnesses like stomach bugs or viral upper respiratory infections (“the flu” or “a cold”) can be common on wilderness expeditions. While having a cold is never fun, being in the backcountry when the bug decides to bug you can make it that much worse.

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

Preparing for a Miracle: WFR Training in Family Emergencies

By Sarah Buer on 12/16/16 9:31 AM

Two parents tell the story of their family's worst day—and the happy ending that came as a result of being prepared.

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Topics: Wilderness Medicine

A Night in Norway: Why I’m Thankful for My NOLS Wilderness Medicine Field Guide

By Xuan Ming Ng on 11/2/16 11:25 AM

I've just exited the mountains: 12 days with rain and wind and existing trails turned into rivers. Any unmarked terrain had turned into swampy, waterlogged areas; boulder fields had turned into a Russian roulette for injuries; and the higher alpine areas were completely in fog. It was difficult to climb higher without losing orientation and visibility.

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Topics: Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness Medicine, hypothermia

First Aid Kit Advice for River Travel

By Nate Ostis on 10/11/16 1:45 PM

We have to remind ourselves there is no perfect first aid kit. We need to preplan and consider the environment, the terrain, the climate, the skill set of companions, the number of days, number of people, and remoteness of our expedition.

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Topics: Wilderness Medicine

Highlights from the 2016 NOLS Wilderness Medicine Staff Meeting

By Sarah Buer on 9/22/16 11:59 AM

September 12th kicked off the 2016 NOLS Wilderness Medicine Staff Meeting, our annual gathering at the Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus in Lander, Wyoming. Read on for some of the week’s highlights!

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Topics: Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus, Wilderness Medicine

ASL-Supported Course Fosters Inclusive Diversity and Growth

By Shari Leach on 9/6/16 8:20 AM

This course was by far the most diverse NOLS Wilderness Medicine course I've ever taught.

There was geographic diversity, with students from as far away as Slovakia, Puerto Rico and Florida, as well as those just a few miles down the road.

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Topics: wfa, WFR, diversity and inclusion, Wilderness First Responder, wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, education, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

Real Life Scenario: A Rescue at Ellison's Cave

By Allen Padgett on 8/26/16 8:00 AM

Four experienced cavers were traversing Ellison’s Cave (one of the deepest caves in the lower 48 States) when, in the middle of the mountain, one of the party slipped and fell about 30 to 40 feet down a hole. When his buddies got no response after calling down to their friend, one left to get help while the other two stayed behind.

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Topics: Alumni, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

Which Wilderness Medicine Course Is Right for You? [Infographic]

By Sarah Buer on 8/16/16 8:00 AM
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Topics: wilderness medicine, infographic, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

Bee Prepared: WFR Training Applied in Real Life

By Luiz Antônio Gambá on 8/9/16 9:00 AM

“Bee stings cause more anaphylaxis than do the stings of any other insect. Multiple stings … can be life-threatening.” -NOLS Wilderness Medicine

My friend Pedro de Toledo Piza and I were riding on a trail access to Medicine Hill in Paraibuna, Brazil when we decided to leave our ATVs to hike up to a lookout.

On the walk back from the lookout, we were attacked by a large swarm of Africanized bees.

The buzz of the colony was deafening as we began to suffer stings all over our bodies. Knowing that Pedro was allergic to bees, I put myself in front of him in order to divert attention from the swarm—despite my efforts, the bees still seemed to have focused more on Pedro than me.

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Topics: Alumni, wilderness medicine, risk management, education, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, scenario, Wilderness Medicine

6 Reasons Wilderness First Aid Is for Everyone

By Sarah Buer on 7/29/16 1:35 PM

I refused to wear anything other than dresses until I was 7 …and even then it was only because my family moved to a small country town in northeast Wyoming and I wanted to fit in.

I’ve been a “girly girl” my entire life, and I had no interest in playing in the backcountry until about three years ago when I transferred to a university in the Black Hills of South Dakota and was lured out by their beauty and the exercise (plus, I got invited to go hiking with an attractive guy who has now been my partner in all adventures and in life for the past three years).

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Topics: Alumni, wilderness medicine, education, backcountry, leadership, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, snowboarding, Wilderness Medicine

Test Your Medical Skills: Scenario Near Yellowstone Park

By Sarah Buer on 7/26/16 9:03 AM

What would you do in this situation? Test your medical knowledge and decision-making skills with this scenario from Tod Schimelpfenig!

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Topics: wilderness medicine, case study, education, backcountry, leadership, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

7 Common Backcountry Supplies for an Improvised Splint

By Sarah Buer on 7/18/16 12:49 PM

An important part of preparing for emergencies in the backcountry is knowing how to improvise solutions when things go wrong.

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Topics: wilderness medicine, education, backcountry, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

To Drink or Not to Drink?

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 6/21/16 9:22 AM

"When you find yourself in an emergency situation, is it better to resort to drinking unfiltered and possibly contaminated water or drinking no water at all?"

It’s a question, or as we like to say at NOLS, a judgment call, of which is the greater risk: dehydration or waterborne illness.

If this is an emergency, you need your wits and your health; both deteriorate when you are dehydrated. You need to consider how well hydrated you were at the start of this emergency, how fast you are losing fluids, how hard you are working, and how long you expect to be without a reliable water source. Perhaps you have the experience and self-awareness to anticipate how long you can function without fluid intake.

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Topics: wilderness medicine, education, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine

Ready for the Challenge: How I Became a Wilderness EMT

By Andy Burdin on 6/17/16 11:48 AM

I found myself patient-side during an intensive and grueling scenario at the Wyss Wilderness Medicine Campus in Lander, Wyoming.

“Keep holding still, you’re doing great,” I told Anna. Our eyes met as I held her hand and she took panicked breaths through the non-rebreather that was pressed against her face, filling her lungs with oxygen. Bright red blood was beginning to seep through the large pressure dressing I was holding against her abdomen to cover the 6-inch laceration there. We needed to move, but the single, tunnel-like entrance to the mine was blocked by other screaming patients on backboards and teams of rescuers, with only their headlamps visible in the thick, chalky smoke.

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Topics: Alumni, Wilderness EMT, wfa, WFR, Wilderness First Responder, wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, education, WEMT, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine