Going Viral

Posted by on July, 2013 in THE EXPLORERS JOURNAL ARTICLES | Comments Off on Going Viral

It has been said that good things come in small packages but the opposite can be true on travel and in remote areas.  The biggest killers in tropical areas are actually mosquitoes who spread tiny deadly organisms responsible for malaria, dengue, and yellow fever.  Even though these diseases affect millions, greater lurking dangers relate to pandemic viral outbreaks.  Three pandemics within the 20th century have killed tens of millions.  With recent news of new bird flu strains and a novel virus arising in the Middle East, concerns in the...

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Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones

Posted by on April, 2013 in THE EXPLORERS JOURNAL ARTICLES | Comments Off on Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones

Traumatic events in the field are dramatic and emotional.  In cases where there are orthopedic injuries, proper assessment, stabilization and initial treatment of the victim are very important to limit the damage and salvage function of limbs.  Although some fractures and dislocations are obvious, the lack of imaging (x-rays, ultrasound) on site prevents knowing if a fracture exists and its extent.  Diagnostic limitations and lack of training about treatment make it very important for explorers to know the basics of field management of...

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Lightning Strikes Twice: Surviving a Violent Storm

Posted by on January, 2013 in THE EXPLORERS JOURNAL ARTICLES | Comments Off on Lightning Strikes Twice: Surviving a Violent Storm

One of the most frightening circumstances in the field occurs when your expedition is confronted with a sudden or inescapable violent storm. Naturally we all attempt to avoid such situations but sometimes these arise without warning when we are expose One of the most powerful and spectacular natural phenomena is lightning which occurs when the electrical potential in the atmosphere exceeds the natural resistance of air. Different theories suggest that lightning is generated by collision of raindrops and particles or by downward convection of...

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At The Ready: Mindful Expedition Preparation

Posted by on October, 2012 in THE EXPLORERS JOURNAL ARTICLES | Comments Off on At The Ready: Mindful Expedition Preparation

The objective of an expedition is to achieve the goal while maintaining the health and safety of the expedition members.  We try to do that while leaving a minimal footprint on the environment and being mindful of its flora and fauna.  Even more basic to that premise is the concept of personal mindfulness when it comes to health care in the field.  While that responsibility extends beyond personal needs for the medical officer of an expedition, limited resources will constrain the care that can be administered.  Therefore, each individual...

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Head Games: Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset

Posted by on July, 2012 in THE EXPLORERS JOURNAL ARTICLES | Comments Off on Head Games: Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset

Many of us on departing on expeditions think about protecting our head and eyes from the elements and insects but besides allergies for those afflicted, little thought is directed to what else can cause problems in that area. Two potentially exquisite sources of pain and suffering, eyes and teeth, have been covered in previous columns. But other than colds and flu, what other problems above the shoulders may affect the traveler and interrupt the mission? One problem we all have experienced that comes to mind (pun intended) is headache....

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An Aye for an Eye

Posted by on July, 2012 in THE EXPLORERS JOURNAL ARTICLES | Comments Off on An Aye for an Eye

Time for a quiz, readers.  What is the most exquisitely sensitive organ vulnerable to injury in the field?  No, it is not THAT one, silly…..it is the eye.  While most expeditions have basic first aid supplies, rarely do these kits contain items specifically for eye injuries without forethought.  Eye disorders that require evacuation fortunately are rare but even common problems easily treated in civilization can be painful or leave one miserable in the field. The most important personal supplies to bring on expedition include ophthalmic...

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Toxic Dragon Spit and Other Medical Emergencies

Posted by on September, 2011 in THE EXPLORERS JOURNAL ARTICLES | Comments Off on Toxic Dragon Spit and Other Medical Emergencies

Most of us have jobs where daily activities follow a relatively standard pattern and constant alert for the unexpected is not the norm. On expeditions we have a heightened sense of the potential for an unexpected occurrence but upon completion of the trip, we revert to our routines. But what if your job entailed always being ready to deal with unusual and often bizarre medical events? One such person is Karen Barry, the registered nurse who runs the medical office dispensing medical care and advice for the National Geographic Society...

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Air Safety: Surviving a Plane Crash

Posted by on August, 2011 in THE EXPLORERS JOURNAL ARTICLES | Comments Off on Air Safety: Surviving a Plane Crash

The excitement of travel and exploration is often tempered by safety considerations and the prudent explorer has prepared for medical emergencies and evacuation. How many of us have felt ready for occurrences we can control but experience anxiety about the travel itself? Flying is almost always involved and whether in domestic or international airspace, travelers have at least subliminal thoughts of air safety. US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) statistics for US commercial carriers are highly reassuring. Scheduled flights for US...

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Sweating It Out: It’s Best to Beat the Heat

Posted by on April, 2011 in THE EXPLORERS JOURNAL ARTICLES | 0 comments

Explorers in the field are quite goal-oriented, often with a fixed time to complete the mission. Tromping through jungles, scaling narrow ledges, or seaborne on the open ocean, we are exposed to the elements while enduring physical exertion. In the excitement of the adventure, we tend to forget or ignore that we generate significant heat, which if not dissipated can lead to serious injury or possibly death. It is critical to recognize heat illness and be prepared to respond rapidly and efficiently. Our metabolism requires a very narrow...

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Relic Diseases in the Dust: Beware of Digging Deeper

Posted by on January, 2011 in THE EXPLORERS JOURNAL ARTICLES | 0 comments

When Lord Carnarvon, the financial partner of famed Egyptologist, Howard Carter, died shortly after the opening of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, some close to the project were quick to attribute his demise to a “mummy’s curse.” Frighteningly romantic as such notion may be, Carnarvon actually died of an infected mosquito bite, his immune system compromized by years of ill health. It must be said, however, that tombs and other reliquaries host a variety of organisms that are dangerous to our health. Explorers tend to poke their noses...

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