A guide to wilderness medicine
Imagine you are lost in the wilderness and have no idea where you are or how to get back to safety. Your only hope is to find someone who can help you.
In this kind of situation, even the slightest injuries or illnesses can worsen your condition. This is where wilderness medicine comes in. Wilderness medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries that occur in remote or challenging environments.
Wilderness medicine doctors receive training to deal with everything from broken bones to snake bites. They also know how to improvise when necessary, using whatever resources are available.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need medical help, here are eight tips to keep in mind.
1) Stay calm
Why stay calm? It will help you think more clearly and make better decisions. Not only that, but it will also help to conserve your energy. Instead of panicking and running around aimlessly, take a few deep breaths and assess your situation. The very moment you realize you are lost or injured is when your wilderness medicine training should begin.
If you are still wondering what is wilderness medicine, the answer is that it’s a branch of medicine that deals with diagnosing and treating medical conditions that occur in remote or hostile environments. This definition covers a lot of different situations, but in general, wilderness medicine is what you’d use if you were hurt or became ill while camping, hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, etc.
In addition to being adept at handling common wilderness problems like cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and snakebites, wilderness medicine doctors are also trained to deal with severe injuries and illnesses, such as broken bones, dehydration, and heat stroke. They also know how to improvise when necessary, using whatever resources are available.
2) Find shelter
If you’re injured or sick, it’s important to find shelter as soon as possible. It will help to protect you from the elements and prevent your condition from worsening. If you can’t find an existing shelter, try to build one. Use whatever materials you have available, such as branches, leaves, and rocks.
A fire can help you signal for help, keep you warm, and purify water. If you’re injured, the fire’s heat can also help relieve pain. To build a fire, you’ll need three things: tinder, kindling, and fuel. Tinder is a material that lights easily, such as dry grass or leaves. Kindling is small pieces of wood that help get the fire going. Fuel is larger pieces of wood that will keep the fire burning.
3) Find a source of water
Dehydration is a major concern in the wilderness. You lose water through respiration, sweating, and urination. To stay hydrated, you need to replace the fluids you’re losing. The best way to do this is to find a clean water source and drink from it regularly.
If you can’t find a clean water source, you’ll need to purify the water before drinking it. There are several ways to purify water, including boiling, filtering, and chemical treatments.
4) Stay warm
If you’re injured or sick, it’s crucial to stay warm. Hypothermia can occur in any climate, even in the summertime. To stay warm, wear layers of clothing and seek shelter from the wind. If you have a fire, sit near it to stay warm. Also, be sure to stay dry. Wet clothing will make you colder.
5) Assess your situation
Look around you and try to get a bearing on where you are. If you have a map and compass, use them to try and determine your location. If not, look for landmarks that can help you orient yourself. Once you have a general idea of where you are, you can start planning your next steps.
No matter how lost you feel, it’s important to stay calm and think things through before taking action. Remember, your decisions in the wilderness can mean the difference between life and death. However, don’t hesitate to take action if you feel like you’re in immediate danger.
6) Make a plan
Once you have a general idea of where you are and your options, it’s time to make a plan. Depending on your situation, your plans might change, but it’s always good to have a general idea of what you will do.
If you’re lost, your first priority should be to find your way back to safety. If you’re injured, your priority should be stabilizing your injury and seeking help. In either case, it’s essential to think things through and ensure you have a solid plan before taking action.
Indeed, wilderness medicine is critical for those who love spending time in the great outdoors. It’s also important to have a basic understanding of wilderness medicine, even if you don’t plan on spending much time in remote areas. After all, you never know when you might find yourself in a situation where you need medical help.
7) Signal for help
Once you’ve taken care of any immediate concerns, you can start thinking about how to get help. Building a fire and staying in one place is often the best course of action if you’re lost. If you’re injured, try to attract attention by waving your arms or calling for help. You can also use a mirror to reflect sunlight and signal for help over long distances. This will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
8) Be prepared
The best way to deal with a wilderness emergency is to avoid it altogether. The best way to do this is to be prepared. Bring the proper gear with you when you head into the wilderness. This includes a map, compass, first-aid kit, and fire-starting materials. It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. That way, if you don’t return as planned, they can call for help.
Wilderness medicine is a critical skill
As we now know, wilderness medicine is a critical skill for anyone who spends time in remote areas. It’s also essential to understand wilderness medicine, even if you don’t plan on spending much time in the wilderness.
After all, you never know when you might find yourself in a situation where you need medical help. By following the tips in this guide, you can be prepared for anything the wilderness throws your way.