8/22/2008 11:02:11 AM
First Aid Kit
This year thousands of hunters will take to the forests, mountains, desert plains, and waterways around the world in search of adventure and trophies. Many sportsmen spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on equipment, travel, and some outfitter services. One easily forgotten, yet mandatory item is a simple first aid kit. Small, inexpensive, and accessible are words which come to mind in making your own custom field kit. Hunting adventures usually include activities which can cause many small health issues to arise. Blisters, colds, splinters, sprains and strains, muscle aches, sunburn, simple lacerations, and abrasions are just a few. These conditions can put a damper on a good time in the field. Some of the more major problems, thankfully are much less common. These serious conditions require emergency medical intervention.
A well stocked custom field first aid kit should be tailored to your needs. Be prepared for simple emergencies and do not rely on your friend, guide or outfitter. And don’t think, “It won’t happen to me”! Because it will….Murphy’s Law! Personal items such as prescription medication should be included. For a simple first aide kit I recommend the following items as a bare minimum to start. Some additional items may be added depending on you specific hunting activity and season of the year. Keep the items in a plastic bag or dry pouch.
The basic items include:
- Aspirin, Advil or Aleve, prescription medications, cough drops, antihistamines
- Band-Aids (several sizes), 4 x 4 & 3 x 3 gauze pads, adhesive cloth tape x 2
- Chapstick, Neosporin and Hydrocortisone packets, alcohol wipes, tweezers
- Small scissors, Instant Cold pack, Iodine wipes, latex gloves, roll-on gauze wrap
- Safety pins, flashlight & extra batteries, whistle, waterproof matches, string,
- Insect repellant, small bottle hand sanitizer, mole skin, sunscreen, 2 ace wraps
For a more comprehensive field kit additional items can include blankets, sutures, Instant clotting products, air splints, and CPR equipment. There are many types of commercially available first aid kits from basic to comprehensive. The American Red Cross website provides additional information for sportsmen as well. Retail Pharmacies carry many types of kits and the necessary items to make you own custom kit.
Whether you purchase or create your own first aid kit, it is imperative that every hunter carry one in the field. When your simple medical emergency occurs be prepared to handle it so your outdoor adventure will be a much more enjoyable experience.
Dr Bill Prebola
President, The Hunt Doctor
7/1/2008 6:21:23 AM
Chest Pain and Angina
Chest Pain and Angina
There can be many causes of chest pain symptoms. However, the BIG, BAD one is ANGINA PECTORIS! This is your heart telling you that something is really wrong and can lead to a heart attack. Patients with angina can experience many types of symptoms which may include:
- Chest Pressure or Tightness (Like an "Elephant" sitting on my chest)
- Diaphoresis or Sweating
- Shortness of Breath especially with Exertion
- Heart Palpitations
- Chest pain or Dull Ache referred to the left arm/shoulder or jaw and neck
- Nausea or Lightheadedness
The cause of Angina is a blockage of the coranary arteries. These are the blood vessels that supply the heart with it's own blood supply. Coronary artery disease occurs over time. Pizza, Italian sausage, Kielbasa, Buffalo Chicken Wings, and alot of high fat/high cholesterol diets have been associated with accelerated blockages of these blood vessels. Plaques form over time and lead to the decresed blood supply. Other medical conditions which contribute to Angina are: High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Genetics, Stress, Prior History of Heart Attack, Male Gender, Obesity and Cigarette Use.
Your Doctor can offer you many conservative treatments for Angina. These include educational measures such as weight loss, regular exercise, controlling Blood Pressure and Diabetes, Cholesterol control, smoking cessation and prescription medications. Referral to a Cardiologist may be helpful along with many types of tests. Stress tests, EKG's, Echocardiograms, and Cardiac Catheterization are several types of tests which can be obtained in order for the doctor to correctly diagnose the condition.
Treatments of Angina can include some types of invasive procedures. Angioplasty, Stents, and Open Heart Surgery (bypass) may be necessary when the conservative measures cannot or do not help. The best treatment of Angina, by far, is PREVENTION. So, see your physician on a regular basis for proper health maintenance.
Don't wait for a "heart attack" to happen to force you into a better health and lifestyle attitude! As a sportsman who wants to enjoy the outdoors more and more with advancing years, it is mandatory to take better care of the equipment God gave us! Your Heart is one of the keys to a future of enjoyable hunts and hikes with family and friends.
Dr Bill Prebola
The Hunt Doctor
6/29/2008 5:22:25 PM
Enlarged Prostate (BPH)
As men age their prostate gland can tend to become enlarged. BPH or Benign Prostate Hyperplasia can cause a wide varity of symptoms. Early in the process, men may make frequent trips to the bathroom during the daytime and, more bothersome, during the night. Weak urinary stream, a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying, straining to urinate, a weak stream, and frequent urination all are the more common symptoms of BPH. As active outdoorsmen experience these symptoms it becomes more important to see your physician to avoid bladder complications or infections.
Your physician may send you to a urologist who specializes in the male urinary system. There are several tests including urine, blood, and special x-rays and ultrasound tests which can be used to help diagnose the specific disease causing your symptoms.
Many times medications and education can be used to help the problem. Avodart, Proscar, and Flomax are several effective drugs used by urologists to treat BPH. Limiting fluid intake and timed voiding schedules are helpful. Sometimes surgery may be necessary to treat more serious cases that do not respond to conservative measures.
If you experience symptoms of blood in the urine, painful urination, back or flank pain with a fever or unexplained weight loss, combined with other BPH symptoms then seek medical attention immediately! This may be a sign of a more serious medical problem.
BPH should not be a medical condition which interferes with the active outdoorsman's lifestyle. This condition is usually not a major medical concern but with proper medical treatment, the patient can lead a normal lifestye.
Dr Bill Prebola
4/6/2008 4:12:45 PM
Lasik Eye Surgery
Lasik Eye Surgey can be a hunters best friend! Tired of fogged up glasses and sore eyes from contact lenses? Scope keep hitting your glasses at the range or out in the field?
Lasik eye surgery is safe, effective, painless and an approved outpatient surgical technique to improve your vision without the use of corrective lenses. The procedure itself take less than 20 minutes and no hospital stay is required. Near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism are some of the eye conditions which can be corrected by this new and improved procedure. Your family doctor can refer you to an ophthalmologist for a lasik consultation. Most people can afford this type of surgery as the prices have become very competitive. Be sure you get references from prior patients and ask the doctor if he or she has had complications, how often, and what were they! Have a very high comfort level with your surgeon BEFORE agreeing to eye surgery.
We spend alot of money on quality optics, binoculars, and rifle scopes! So why not spend the money to improve on your own vision? Check out Webb MD or the American Medical Association for more information.
Dr Bill Prebola
The Hunt Doctor
9/3/2007 3:45:16 PM
Dehydraton and Hunting
Dehydration in the field is a common problem facing hunters. Now that the early hunting season is here, often times it arrives while warmer weather days remain. Warmth and hiking in the mountains after trophy bull elk or sneaking up on high desert antelope can provide a perfect scenerio for dehydration in the active hunter.
Symptoms of dehydration in the field include: dry red skin, cool clammy skin, rapid breathing, dark urine, dry mouth with thick saliva and lightheadedness. Later, severe dehydration can include: weak, rapid pulse, feeling faint even while lying down, confusion, no urine output and even inability to stand/walk. Heatstroke is a medical emergency! This level of dehydration can include all of these symptoms as well as convulsions (siezure), difficulty breathing, and unconsciousness. The best treatment is to AVOID dehydration!
We recommend several common sense measures that will go a long way. First, hydrate well in the morning before you go in the field. Hydrate with soft drink beverages such as water, orange juice, gatorade, poweraide, and other non-carbonated fluids. Always prepare for the worst. Pack your day pack with extra bottles of water or gatoraide. Have your companion pack some extras as well. The newer backpacks have 'water bladders' that are a comfortable option to store your fluids. Have a few extra bottles back at your vehicle for when you return after your hunt. Always hydrate at regular intervals while you are walking or stalking in the field. Sip while you go even though you may not be especially thirsty. Take several rests in shady areas when hiking in the desert, high country or humid conditions. Pace yourself while exerting yourself and always communicate any symptoms to your guide or companion. If hunting alone always let someone know where you'll be hunting and arrange a pre-determined time to call or go home. Remeber: safety first.
If you should develop signs and symptoms of dehydration then stop and rest in the shade. Immediately hydrate yourself and lay down. If you are extremely hot then place a cool, wet cloth on your neck and head to keep them moist to help cool your body. Keep your airway free to take deep slow breaths and remain calm. After ample time and hydration symptoms will stop and so should your hunt. Immediatly return to your lodge/vehicle and rest up for another day in the field. If symptoms of heatstroke occur this is a medical emergency and immediate medical attention is a must.
Remember that safty should be every hunters' first concern. We all want to harvest trophy quality animals but a little prevention could help save your health for many future successful days hunting in the field.
Dr Bill Prebola
7/29/2007 10:25:35 AM
Low Back Pain
Low Back Pain (LBP) is the 2nd most common medical problem seen by family physicians accross the USA. As outdoorsmen we cannot afford symptomatic LBP going into our fall hunting season. Here's a brief overview and short treatment recommendation list to get you back on the road to recovery should you experience LBP. As always, see your family physician for routine health care matters. Topics discussed here are NOT a substitute for seeking an office visit with your doctor who knows you the best.
LBP can be divided into 2 categories: 1) Mechanical LBP and 2) Sciatica or Radiculopaty. Most LBP is caused by overuse, strain, or aging (degenerative athritis). As we age our bones and ligaments tend to lose strength and flexibility. Most LBP will cure itself in 2 to 6 weeks from onset. However, some cases require further investigation and treatment.
MECHANICAL LBP: This type of pain is often described as a dull ache that gradually comes and goes. As activity increases we see this soreness accross our low back get worse. The pain can be sharp at times but generally stays in the low back area and does NOT travel into the legs. Spasms can wax and wane with this dull ache. This LBP is associated with arthritis and degenerative discs and bones. Factors that can worsen or speed this process include obesity, heavy labor activity, smoking, and prior trauma or surgery to the low back. Home treatment includes tylenol or NSAIDS like advil, weight loss, smoking cessation, heat or ice, regular exercise (walking is very good) and comfortable positions with good posture. Sometimes your doctor will refer patients for physical therapy, chiropractic care, or special tests if no symptom improvement with these simple measures and time.
Sciatica or Lumbar Radiculopathy is usually a more concerning problem. Sciatica involves LBP and refered leg symptoms. Patients can experience burning, numbness, tingling and shooting pain into one or both legs. In severe cases of Sciatica patients can experience weakness in a leg muscle or "foot drop". Many patients with severe cases have difficulty sitting for long periods and sleeping due to the leg symptoms. The cause of Sciatica many times is related to something pressing on a lumbar nerve. This can be due to a herniated disc pinching a nerve (radiculopathy) or arthritis that has worsened to the point it is compressing the small nerves as they exit the spinal canal and enter the leg. Similar home treatments can many time help, however, when these symptoms do not improve soon, it is recommended to seek medical care. Your doctor may order tests such as X-ray, MRI, or Nerve and Muscle tests (EMG's). Prescription strength medication and spinal injections may be necessary. If severe symptoms such as muscle weakness and bladder problems occur spinal surgery may be necessary.
PREVENTION AND EDUCATION This is the best treatment for LBP. As always, be prepared to handle episodes of low back pain symptoms. Regular exercise like walking 4 times per week 30 minutes per day is very helpful. Weight loss for those of us a bit overweight with proper dietary habits will go a long way. Smoking cessation and proper posture and lifting techniques can help avoid future eposodes of LBP. Remember, it's YOUR back so take care of it and it will stay healthy and help you in the outdoors for a long time.
Dr Bill Prebola
6/10/2007 3:57:31 PM
Exercise Before Your Hunt
It is so easy to lay around through the summer...gaining those extra pounds. However, remember that the fall is just around the corner. Many Western states start early archery seasons in late August so you have to consider getting in shape BEFORE you go. Many of us are busy with work, family and other responsibilities that create a "time crunch". One of the biggest reasons a western big game hunt or midwestern upland outting is ruined is the lack of "physical" preparation. It can be a steep uphill climb to reach that bugling bull up the ridge just 300 yards....but your guide knows you just ain't gonna' do it! Or, just over the next drainage waits some of the BEST pheasent hunting in the Dakotas, but your legs can't get you there. Do not let this happen to you!
It does not take an expensive gym membership to get you ready for hunting season. All it takes is some planning and a moderate amount of will-power. I recommend your yearly physical by your family physician in June or July to get medical clearence for your 4 week exercise preparation program. Give yourself a written schedule of your planned workout and stick to it. Get comfortable walking footwear and for heaven's sake get your hunting boots broken in BEFORE you get to hunting camp...Blisters will be a nightmare! This is The Hunt Doctor 4 week walking program designed to get most hunters planning the usual western hunt this fall, prepared.. It is by no means a substitute for a medically supervised or monitored health program. Always check with your doctor before performing any physically demanding activity.
I start walking at 5am each day I exercise, before starting work and my 4 children waking up. Most days I am able to have my wife come along for company and her exercise....That makes it alot easier to have a companion! However, any time will do. Just keep to the 4 week schedule and program. Try to time this program to be finished just days before your scheduled hunt.
Week 1: Start your daily program with gentle leg stretching (every day of the 4 weeks). Walk for 30 minutes on level ground at a mild to brisk pace. Do this at least 4 days. Each day pick up the pace a bit more. Be sure to be able to work up a little sweat and feel the legs getting in shape. Don't try to over exercise this week...it is just the beginning. This week should be fun, not work.
Week 2: Start with getting on a gentle slope or hill. No backpack or running yet. Each day start picking up the pace for this 30 minute brisk "hike". Feel the mild burn going uphill and then downhill. Each muscle in the thighs, hamstrings, and calves will get in shape on the hills. Start to pick up the speed as the week progresses. This should be done at least 4 days in week 2.
Week 3: Now we start getting serious! Only 2 more weeks until the hunt! Start each 30 minute walk on level groung after stretching but try to get to the hills for the last half of the session. Try to do some steep grades if available, if not, stairways work well. Keep picking up the pace with each consecutive workout. Near the end of each session you could be walking at a slow "jogging" pace. Try to get 5 days in this week.
Week 4: This is it..."light at the end of the tunnel" time. Start each day with your daypak on and comfortable. Try putting in some items for some added light weight. Do the same terrain as week 3 but now you've got some "extra" gear. Keep up the progressive pace on the hills and taylor the amount of weight you put into your pack to your abilities and hunting requirements. Do this at least 5 days in this final week. Now you can be more "physically prepared for you Dream Hunt!
Dr Bill Prebola