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.

1 Comments:

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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