Thursday, November 03, 2005

Wilderness Medicine Lecture

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending the last in a two part lecture series by wilderness medicine legend and guidebook author Ben Schiffrin. The three and a half hour free presentation hosted by Outdoor Adventures, UC Davis covered heat illnesses, snake bites and lightning strikes. Two weeks before the topics included hypothermia, frostbite and altitude sicknesses. Schiffrin's a great lecturer and it was a good call to focus on a few of the most important topics and do it in detail.

Just a few of the more interesting (not necessarily the most useful) things I learned:
When sweating from your forehead, you're losing about 1 liter per hour. People who are acclimatized to hot temperatures actually sweat more. Up to 4 liters per hour! Marrathon runners lose on average 9 liters of water. You brain reacts primarily to skin temperature when deciding whether it's hot. This has huge implications such as placing ice on a hyperthermia patient will make them shiver and produce more heat.
Exertional Heat Stroke has a mortality rate of 50% which is very, very high! Rapidly cool by any means. In the wilderness, a light layer of wet clothes is a good tactic.

Only one person has been killed in California (except the Mojave) by a snake bite since 1980.
Don't use suction, ice or constriction. Just use your car keys and get them out.

Death rate by lightning is probably less than 10%; because most strikes are "splash type" not direct hits. If the victim is alive, they're likely to remain that way.


Anonymous Cheryl said...

People who are acclimatized to hot temperatures actually sweat more.

I didn't know that. Curious.

2:51 PM  

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