Posts Categorized: Ask the Expert

Wilderness Medical Associates Experts answer your questions about wilderness medicine. Learn everything from when to use a tourniquet, what to do in the event of an avalanche, advice on giving CPR, and even how to locate a medical director.

Have a question for one of our experts that is not answered here? Fill out our Ask the Expert form, and one of our Wilderness Medical Associates experts will be in touch. Your question may even be featured in the Ask the Expert section of our site.

This question came up during our Montana WALS course last week in Red Lodge.  Richard Gates from WMI reminded the lead instructor Dr. Will Smith (and us) of a report from 2006 of an unconfirmed case.  When I googled this last evening I found out that it has in fact been confirmed.  There is an…

Q: Someone I know was having difficulty sleeping on a trip. A friend suggested trying the diphenhydramine (e.g., Benadryl) from our first aid kit. Shortly after, this person developed hives, chest tightness and shortness of breath. We administered epinephrine from the kit for a presumed anaphylactic reaction and evacuated him. In the end, after a…

DJ offers his opinion about recommendations offered in the press following the death of Natasha Richardson.

Hives (Urticaria) are those itchy, pink to red, raised skin lesions that are surrounded by a red halo. Although somewhere in the range of 90% of anaphylactic reactions are accompanied by urticaria or some sort of skin reaction, there are many other non-allergic causes. Some of these include physical factors (e.g., pressure, cold), infections (viral,…

How do I become more involved & gain experience? Q: I’m a first year medical student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. I am looking to become more involved in Wilderness Medicine and gain more experience. I have taken AWLS course and am a member of the WMS. Very few of the faculty in my school…

“My niece and I got stung by hornets. Someone said to put a penny on the sting as an effective treatment. Is this true?” Who knows? There is a significant difference between a personal observation and a proven scientific fact, or even a valid observation. Single and even multiple uncontrolled observations and unattributed anecdotal testimonials…

Q: I am a camp director who requires our staff to have medical training. If they do render care, what if anything should be documented? A medical record or any similar form of documentation is more that just an effort by medical practitioners to protect themselves against a law suit. It provides a contemporary account…

Q: Our school is seeking a new medical advisor. Do you have any recommendations on what to look for in a medical advisor and how to locate one? It should be someone who has a license in your state. Besides proximity, that person would be more familiar with the rules and regulations around writing prescriptions…

I’m fact-checking a piece for a national outdoor magazine. I have several questions about snake bite treatment methods: Is there any benefit to the “cut-and-suck” method or should we get rid of it altogether? What is your professional opinion on the effectiveness of suction devices? Should a responder apply a tourniquet to a snake bite…

Administering Epinepherine Q: What is the legality in administering epinephrine to someone? Are WFA certified individuals allowed to carry epi-pens to have someone use if in an emergency situation or can epi-pens only be used if they are prescribed to someone? Like many questions, the answers depends. States vary in what they consider to be…