Wilderness Survival Site

I have found a new site that I am very impressed with: http://wilderness-survival.net/. I think people who venture outside need to be prepared for some unpleasant and unexpected scenarios. This is exactly the website to prepare yourself.

Wilderness-Survival.net is filled with no-nonsense information and skills that are applicable for virtually any terrain and climate. The Forum section is very good reading and contains a lot of good info, from a multitude of readers.

For a bit of fun…try their survival quiz and see how much you need to learn.

Many thanks to the group that puts together this website and all the great information.

Adventure Doc

SurviveOutdoors.com Review

In almost any time of year, the news features stories of people who are lost while outdoors, have to spend a night or two outside or become injured while outside in the wilds. Being prepared for this possibility is what seperates an uncomfortable scenario from a life threatening event.

http://www.surviveoutdoors.com/ is a website that features an amazing amount of information. This information is presented in a very easy to read and learn manner. The site is a group effort of several people, all with extensive medical and outdoor backgrounds.

The writers of the site are also involved with educating children about outdoor safety and how to deal with being lost, outdoors. In addition to basic outdoor survival, there is an extensive list of topics that are very easily explained and discussed. These topics range from some obscure medical conditions to treating a wide range of snake and spider bites. There is also a very good section on identification of snakes and spiders, with great color pictures.

This site is a great resource for those looking to learn more about surviving a trip in the wilderness. Thanks to the people who are involved with the site for making a really great page!

Adventure Doc

Water Bottle Safety and OutdoorED.com

I recently found a very informative and cool website/blog.   www.OutdoorED.com is a site dedicated to outdoor Education, of all types. Specifically, those who provide education, such as guides, EMTs, instructors, etc. I find myself not only spending way too much time on the site, but also learning a ton!

One of the things I read was a great article about the “myth” surrounding the safety of the plastic/carbonate water bottles. You can read the excellent post here: Water Bottle Article. Thanks to Rick Curtis for this post!

The take home point is that there is still a study pending (due to be published in May 2008 by Health Canada) and there is no strong evidence in either direction. The chemical in question is Bisphenol A and its possible health issues for pregnant women and children.

I highly advise the OutdoorED.com site for anybody that is an outdoor educator or interested in learning some more about outdoor sports and safety.

Adventure doc

Tropical Disease burden shared by Travelers

A recent news article in Medical News Today discussed the risk travelers have and burdens they could suffer from the “negelected tropical diseases” such as filariasis, schistosomes, river blindness and many others.

The GeoSentinel is a global health warning system that is also mentioned in the article. Maintained as a joint venture by the CDC (center for disease control) and ISTM (international society of travel medicine), this is a way for public health practitioners to exchange information on potential outbreaks.

The article sites another publication with this submission:
Filariasis in Travelers Presenting to the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network
Ettie M. Lipner, Melissa A. Law, Elizabeth Barnett, Jay S. Keystone, Frank von Sonnenburg, Louis Loutan, D. Rebecca Prevots, Amy D. Klion, Thomas B. Nutman, for the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network.

This article details filarial infections and rates/risks determined by the GeoSentinel system.

Adventure Doc

Yellow Fever Vaccine Reactions in Peru: Follow-up

CDC released a statement discussing the deaths associated with Yellow Fever Vaccinization, in Peru. See original post on subject here. A total of four deaths have been associated with the YF vaccine, given in Peru, as a governmental response to potential outbreaks.

The vaccines implicated are all from the same lot numbers and manufacturer: Bio-Manguinos in Brazil. The investigators are still attempting to determine if there is a problem with the vaccine itself or a unique reaction to the vaccine, only in those who died.

Adventure Doc Yellow Fever Page

Public Library of Science Negelected Tropical Diseases

A resource that I am finding very interesting reading is from the Public Library of Science on-line Journal of Negelected Tropical Diseases. The PLoS series of journals are open source and peer reviewed. They are also available free, on-line.

I thought a few other people might enjoy some of their articles.

Adventure Doc

Onchocerciasis in Cote D’Ivoire

A disease known as Onchocerciasis, also nicknamed “River Blindness” has made a re-emergence in Cote D’Ivoire. The illness, believed to have been eradicated from this part of Africa, has been reported in the last few months. Recent wars and fighting have lead to a breakdown of surveillance and prevention programs.

Studies done, as samples, from July to September 2007 indicate 14% of children under 5 years old are now infected with onchocerciasis. The parasitic disease is spread by Black Flies who make their living near slow moving rivers. One the victim is bitten by the black fly, parasite is introduced to the body. The worms (filaria) migrate through the body’s tissues.

As the adult worms migrate through the body’s tissues, there are various symptoms that are associated with onchocerciasis (river blindness). Thick, fibrous nodules are often left in skin tissues, making the skin change appearence to that of a “leopard”. “Hanging skin” is also common, due to loss of elasticity. Some pictures can be found here. This looks similiar to people who have recently lost a lot of weight. As the worms migrate through tissues of the eye, irreversable scarring and blindness occur. This parasit is a large cause of preventable blindness in Africa, especially in children.

Mass treatment is a common solution in endemic areas. Ivermectin is the drug used and is a major focus of the WHO Negelected Tropical Diseases branch. To prevent this parasite, stay away from slow moving water and take standard insect bite precautions.  A note to thos who are interested in these diseases…remember the Mazotti Reaction.  An “allergic type reaction” that occurs when a person infected with Onchocerciasis and given a dose of DEC.  DEC is a medicine used to treat Loa Loa.

Adventure Doc Helminthes Page

Rift Valley Fever in Sudan

Rift Valley Fever, a increasingly more common viral fever, is making an appearence in Sudan.  A WHO report from December 20th, 2007 discusses the 601 new cases and 211 deaths in the areas of White Nile, Sennar, Gazeera and River Nile States. Gazeera seems to be the hardest hit with 406 cases and almost 150 deaths.

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is generally spread through contact with infected animals and their blood. Common methods of contact include butchering animals, assisting in animal births and disposing of deal animals. Other known methods to acquire RVF are through mosquito bite (Aedes Species), drinking unpasteurized milk or eating poorly cooked/raw infected animal meat.

RVF is primarily a disease of cattle and is in the virus family Bunyaviridae. The virus was first identified in 1931, in the Rift Valley of Sudan. The first occurence was noted in sheep. Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have all suffered epidemics. RVF has not been noted to be spread through person-person contact there have been no reports of hospital acquired infections with proper barrier methods used (gloves, gown). RVF is also considered a rural disease, as urban transmission is very rare.

Learn more about viral diseases at my page: Adventure Doc Hemorrhagic Viruses

Adventure Doc

Can you tell me a Good Book?

I frequently get asked about which books I advise people to read, to better prepare for travels and staying health. There are two books that I feel are fundamental for healthcare while traveling, exploring, hiking/camping.

First, I cannot say enough good things about Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine by Drs. P. Auerbach, H. Donner and E. Weis. ISBN: 0-323-01894-7.

The book is a companion to a much larger and more detailed text, Wilderness Medicine. This book does not sacrifice information for portability. Although it is small and easy to drop into a backpack, the text is filled with a range of good information.

Basic first-aid is discussed for a variety of issues ranging from altitude sickness to fish hook removal. The book also discusses travel related illnesses such as diarrhea/vomiting, infectious disease and vaccines/prevention for malaria, dengue, yellow fever and meningitis, to name a few.

Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine is written in easy to understand terms and contains many useful charts, making it suitable for those without a medical background. There are even a few sections on survival, knots, search and rescue and advice for making your own health kit.

Another excellent text on Travel Medicine can be found at Stuart Rose’s site: www.TravMed.com. In addition to having a lot of good products that travelers use, such as DEET sprays, travel health kits, etc. there is a wonderful resource there, as well. For free!

Under the tab “Travel Health Guide” is the free web-book that should be read by anybody who travels internationally. Discussing a range of travel medicine specific areas such as jet lag, vaccines, insect bite prevention, repatriation insurance and country specific information, this book is a gold mine of information.

These two books should provide most people with a thorough understanding of what to do and how to take care of yourself, traveling or in the wilderness.

If you have any other books to advise, let me know!

Adventure Doc

Family Lost while Looking for Christmas Tree

A family who was hiking together, trying to find a christmas tree, became lost and had to sleep out in a snowstorm. The article from SFGate coverd the story well.

The 4 family members, ages 38, 18, 15 and 12 were all doing well and only one was suffering from mild frostbite. Apparently, the family was found less than 2 miles from a road and signaled rescuers with an “SOS” made from branches.

http://www.torontohiking.com/Tutorials/lost/lost.html has a good page with some basics on what to do if lost in the forest. You also can learn a bit about survival in these scenarios over at: http://www.m4040.com/Survival/Survival.htm. Lessons learned from this should be the need to always be prepared for a night out. Even if you are just out for a few hours, you never know what you may run into.

A simple pack with a few key items can make the difference between a very uncomfortable and possibly life threatening ordeal and a little inconvenience.

Everyone I know carries a mobile phone, nowdays. It should be carried outdoors. A spare hat and gloves, in the winter is also wise. A method to start a fire, such as matches, is a must for anybody walking off a paved road. A pocket knife is another item that is a “always carry”.

I am a big fan of “survival tins”. You can learn what goes into them and how to make your own at Survival.com’s page: http://www.survival.com/best.htm. Very small and easily portable, these kits can be slipped into a coat pocket or pack, just in case. Another good example can be found here at Brigade Quartermasters.

Lastly, I think one book that should be read by everybody is the SAS Survival Manual By John “Lofty” Wiseman. This book is not only very interesting, but helpful.

The most important thing is to be prepared and have at least thought about the possibility that you may have to spend a night outside. Telling somebody you trust, your route, when you are starting and when you are expected home is vital.

Adventure Doc

What to put in your Winter Pack

A very good article, over at Outdoors Magic, discusses what one should carry when hiking during winter months.

The article addresses fundamental issues such as selecting a good winter backpack, emergnecy clothing and shelter, food and drink and emergency equipment.

Adventure Doc Cold Weather Page

Ebola Feared to Cross into DRC

The recent Ebola outbreak in Uganda is being reported as contained. However, ther are growing concerns that the virus may have already spread to neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). IRIN has a recent article that reports a case with symptoms meeting the definition of Ebola criteria surfacing near the DRC border.

The Ebola outbreak in Uganda has approx. 130 reported cases with 35 fatalities, including 5 healthcare workers. Recent declines in numbers of newly reported cases are prompting the idea that the disease is being controlled.

A previous oubtreak of Ebola in the DRC killed 26 people and the disease was actually first discovered there in 1976.

Ebola virus is spread via contact with bodily fluids of an infected person. Saliva, urine, blood, feces and semen are know to carry the virus and should be avoided. Origins of the virus are still unclear, but there appears to be a link with handling or eating forest dwelling primates.

Adventure Doc Ebola Page

Tropical Medicine 101 Conference

Another person at work gave me a flier for a very interesting conference, coming up, that I thought I would share. TropicalMedicine101.com is putting on a conference in Februrary 3-9 2008, located in Guatemala. The conference is geared to educate the primary care physician about travel and tropical medicine.

The number of guest lecturers looks impressive and promises to include a wide range of topics. There are a lot of very fun looking “side trips and activities” to do, while in Central America, as well.

The conference is sponsored by LAMP:
“Travel and International Medicine is sponsored by Lake Atitlanán Medical Project (LAMP), an all-volunteer, non-profit organization working with indigenous communities around Lake Atitlanán, Guatemala, to improve their health-care.” Volunteer opportunities are available with the organization, as well.

I’d love some feedback from anybody who attends, because I cannot go! Thanks!

www.AdventureDoc.org

Snake Bites in Sri Lanka

An Australian based journal called Remote and Rural Health has a very informative article about snake bites in Sri Lanka. The citation for the article is here: Whitehall JS, Yarlini M, Arunthathy M, Varan M, Kaanthan M, Isaivanan M, Vanprasath M. Snake bites in north east Sri Lanka. Rural and Remote Health 7 (online), 2007: 751. Available from: http://www.rrh.org.au

I am especially glad to draw some attention to the journal, which publishes free, via the internet. I am biased, because I have an article pending publication with them, as well.

The article discusses treatment and impact of snake bites in Sri Lanka, but has clear information that is applicable to other areas of the world.

You can learn more about bites and stings at my homepage, AdventureDoc.org.  Reptiles, marine life and spiders and scorpions are covered, for now.

CDC Removes Malaria Precautions in Bahamas

A new update from the CDC has removed cautions for malaria in the Bahamas. The specific area in the Bahams include Great Exuma. Travelers are cautioned to continue to take insect bite precautions, but anit-malarial medications are no longer required.

The original advice to use anti-malarial medication stemmed from 2 cases of malaria reported in August, 2007. Prior to that, there were several confirmed cases in 2006, as well. The Bahamas are not an area known for malaria transmission.

You can follow the battle against mosquitoes in the Caribbean over at a very informative site called: http://woodshedenvironment.wordpress.com/

Any travelers going to the Bahamas shoud consult the CDC Travel Notices Page for updates on the current sitituation and advice.

Adventure Doc Malaria Page

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