[pct-l] medical, stitches, etc.

Edward Anderson mendoridered at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 23 10:55:37 CST 2011

Good post Doug,

Hope everyone reads it!


From: "Tow, Doug" <DTow at americanriverbank.com>
To: PCT L <pct-l at backcountry.net>
Sent: Tue, February 22, 2011 12:09:22 PM
Subject: [pct-l] medical, stitches, etc.

Good morning!

Medical and safety preparedness for hikers fall into two basic
categories:  Comfort/prophylaxis and survival.

Comfort and prophylaxis include things like band-aids and antibacterial
ointment, poison oak lotion, prescription meds, moleskin, ace-type
bindings, ibuprofen, and Slick.  One will not die without them, but why
let an infected cut finger ruin a couple of days and nights?  Couple
ounces.  Hiker's choice.

Survival broadens out to deal with the threats to life.  The largest
trail threat to life is hypothermia, by far.  If you don't know what
hypothermia is, how to recognize it in yourself and others, how to equip
for it, and how to treat for it under adverse conditions, you are not,
in my humble opinion, yet ready to depart.  Take a snow course, take
your gear into your back yard on a freezing or cold rainy night and stay
out there a couple of days, take a practice hike within cell phone
range, have someone soak you and your gear with a hose, and see if you
can get warm out there.  Practice lighting a fire?  Overrated - layers
of warm clothes are always within your control, fire is not - every been
above the tree line with nothing but scree in sight?  The amount of
firewood needed to stay warm for a night is truly staggering anyway, and
you sure won't sleep.  

Other threats are falls, sunstroke and heatstroke, and those various
medical conditions that could happen anywhere, such as heart attack and
stroke.  For the sake of OTHERS, I should have first aid training for
Airway, Breathing, and Circulation, including CPR, knowledge about
staunching big bleeds, and recognizing and treating heatstroke and
shock.  For the sake of ME, I would like it if OTHERS on the trail had
these same skills.  Caution and the calm application of solid knowledge
rule the day here.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get down from this high horse...


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