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Preventing Jet Lag

How to Prevent Jet Lag
It may be the start of the trip of a life time and you may be as excited as a kid at Christmas but crossing too many time zones can leave you feeling like a zombie. If you're over-tired but can;t sleep, irritable and have lost your appetite, you're probably jet-lagged. You'll be over it in a couple of days, but why suffer at all? By following the four day before arrival diet plan you can help prevent Jet-lag.

*Four days before arrival start eating high protein breakfasts and lunches and high carbohydrate dinners.

*On day four and day two eat heartily.

*On day three and day one eat sparingly.

*Only drink coffee and drinks containing caffeine between 3-5pm before arrival, except on the day before departure when they are allowed in the morning if traveling west or in the evening if traveling east.

*Don't be tempted to drink alcohol on the plane.

*Try to sleep on the plane at times when it is night time in your destination country. Close the window shutter (when allowed) and use an eye mask if it will help.

*On arrival eat a high protein meal and try to stay active during day light hours.

Drink plenty of water.

8 Non Medicinal Ways To Cope With AMS

8 Non-Medicinal ways to cope with AMS
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can afflict the unwary above 2500m a.s.l. While descending is always an option, the following can help you cope with the symptoms of AMS and even overcome it. So ask yourself the following questions.
Have I drunk enough water? Dehydration is a key ingredient in AMS sufferers. Keep yourself hydrated with at least 3 litres of water a day and that doesn't mean drinking when your thirsty. Drink regularly throughout the day. As the incline and altitude increase, so too should your water intake. Your urine should remain clear and odourless.

Am I over heating? Keeping the body cool just through perspiration can take allot of energy and affect your body's core temperature. You can help this process by applying a cool cloth to your forehead or wrists. Try to wear light colored clothing in hot climes and darker colors in colder climes to absorb or repel sunlight. Dress in layers so you can discard or add clothing to stay comfortable as you hike.

Have I eaten enough?  You must keep eating even though you may not feel like it. The energy you use to trek needs to be replaced. Include carbohydrate solutions to add to your beverages such as Powerade or Gatorade. Have some hard lollies, jelly beans or lemon drops ready to supplement your meals and to keep your carbohydrate level up.



Should I Pressure Breath? Since the atmospheric pressure changes the higher you go, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the oxygen you need into your lungs. By pursing your lips and exhaling forcefully and fully, you let the carbon dioxide in your lungs escape, allowing for a more ready exchange with oxygen in the 'thinner air'. At the first sign of nausea, take some water, switch to pressure breathing for a few paces, and incorporate the Rest Step (see below) and you will in all likelihood start to feel a lot better.

Do you know how to Rest Step? Anytime you start to feel a bit nauseous, you may want to transition into the 'rest step', a method of trekking that allows the skeleton to take the brunt of the weight rather than the muscles. Lock out the bottom leg as you shift one leg up hill, pause in a full rest position, then transfer the weight to the other leg, lock out the new bottom leg and pause. In this way you avoid the 'hurry and wait' gait of inexperienced climbers and find a comfortable rhythm that you can sustain indefinitely.

Am I going too fast? In order to enable you to continue steadily, listen carefully to your body and be sure to start out a little slower than you normally do to warm up well and hit your stride. If you try to push it to keep up with the fastest member of your party you may not make it to your goal. In the case of altitude climbing, the tortoise usually outpaces the hare in the long run, but the key is to go at a slow and steady pace that enables you to go continuously with very few rest stops.

Am I Acclimatized? Plan to spend an extra day or night above 3000m if you can. On mountains such as Kilimanjaro, Mera and Aconcagua, we have found that an extra couple of days spent acclimatising will make the higher altitude climb both more enjoyable and safer. Days should be spent at the same or similar altitudes. This does not mean you have to stop trekking, it means you should try to acclimatise at lower altitudes for a couple of days before climbing higher.

How To Remove A Leech

How to Remove a Leech
Leeches are a parasitic annelid worm that attach to the human body to extract blood for food.

To remove a leech, don't pull it off - the residual sore may be larger. Instead, apply lemon juice, salt, vinegar, tobacco juice, or insect repellent. Using a lighted or recently extinguished match or glowing ember may cause a skin burn. If the detached leech sticks to your fingers, roll it between them. If a leech is attached to someone's eye, shine a flashlight close to it; it may move toward the light and away from the eye. The medical considerations for a leech bite are itching and secondary infection. Insect repellants, particularly DEET, applied to clothing and skin, will discourage leech attachment. Slippery grease (such as petroleum jelly) applied to exposed skin may also help. Wear waterproof boots when wading in leech-infested water, and tuck in pant legs.

Treating Heat Illnesses

How to treat Heat Related Illness
You should treat as an emergency elevated body temperature. Such elevations are caused through either Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke.

* Heat exhaustion - illness caused by an elevation of body temperature that does not result in permanent damage.

* Heat stroke - life threatening and can permanently disable the victim.

The treatment for both ailments is as follows:

1. Remove the victim from an obvious sources of heat . Shield the victim from direct sunlight and remove their clothing.

2. Wet down the victim and fan them vigorously . Evaporation is a very efficient method of heat removal.

* Use cool or tepid water.

* If electric fans are available, use them.


* Do not be concerned with shivering, so long as you continue to aggressively cool the victim.

* Do not sponge the victim with alcohol.

3. Place ice packs or cold water bottles in the armpits, behind the neck, and in the groin. If the only method available for cooling is immersion in a cold mountain stream, do it!

4. Recheck the temperature every 5 to 10 minutes, to avoid cooling much below 37o C. When you have cooled the victim to 37.5 to 37.8o C, gradually reduce the cooling effort. After the victim is cooled, recheck the temperature every 30 minutes for 3 to 4 hours, as there will often be a rebound temperature rise.

5. If the victim is alert, begin to correct dehydration . Try to get 1 to 2 liters into the victim over the first few hours. For every kilo of weight loss attributed to sweating, have the victim ingest 2 litres of fluid. Fluid with electrolytes would be helpful.

Treating Spider Bites

How to Treat Spider Bites
If you or one of your team is bitten by a spider there are several steps that must be taken to ensure the patient survives the incident.

First we must know the symptoms which are usually a sharp pain, profuse sweating, nausea, vomiting and /or diarrhea. 


Other symptoms may show depending on the spider which could include muscular twitching, copious saliva, spreading pain and breathing difficulties.

Once we have established that it is a spider bite we should:

* Keep the member calm

* Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage. Roll a firm bandage just above the fingers or toes (depending on which part of the body was bitten) and moving up the limb as far as it can reach. Don't do it too tight.

* Immobolise the team member. Apply a splint to immobilise the bitten limb. Make sure circulation is present in the fingers and toes. Try to prevent the team member from moving.

* Get team member to a hospital ASAP.

The immobilising and pressure bandages are used to slow the progress of the venom as spider bites are slow in moving through the body.

Treating Blisters

How to Treat Blisters
The skin over the blister itself does provide protection from bacteria in the environment and does not always need to be punctured. A small blister may just be allowed to heal by itself. Sometimes you will need to have a blister punctured to reduce pressure on the underlying skin. (If you are diabetic this is often important and should be done in a doctors office or emergency room.)

We suggest you heat a pin or needle over a flame until it glows red, allow it to cool and then carefully puncture the blister close to its edge. Apply gentle pressure to allow the fluid to drain. After you have punctured the blister and drained much of the fluid, you should not remove the protective cover of skin. This skin acts as a biological dressing and will also reduce irritation on the raw tissues beneath. You should then apply an antibiotic cream or an antiseptic such as Betadine (povidone-iodine) and a sterile gauze as a dressing. Moleskin or tape applied to a blister will cause all of the skin to peel off along with the dressing.


Preventing Blisters

How to Prevent Blisters
When you're out on the trail in your new boots, don't wait until blisters have formed to tend to your feet. A hot spot can start if your sock has slipped, if you have a piece of grit in your shoe, or your boot is rubbing your foot. Stop right away to change your socks, remove sand or stones, adjust your bootlaces, or cover the spot(s) with moleskin, or other blister preventing material. When you're taping, take your boots off, dry your feet, cover the affected areas completely and smooth out any bumps or ridges.

Removing A Tick

How to Remove a Tick
Ticks are a known transmitter of disease. Their removal is important. This is how you do it.

* Grasp the tick close to its mouth parts with tweezers or fingernails and pull it straight out with a slow and steady motion.

* If available, use a grooved or V-shaped device designed to slide between the tick and the skin to trap the tick and allow it to be pulled from the skin.

* Do not twist the tick. If you must remove it with your fingers, use tissue paper or cloth to prevent skin contact with infectious tick fluids.

* Do not touch the tick with a hot object (such as an extinguished match head) or cover it with mineral oil, alcohol, kerosene, camp stove fuel, or Vaseline; these remedies might cause the tick to struggle and regurgitate infectious fluid into the bite site.

* If a tick head is buried in the skin, apply permethrin (Permanone insect repellent), using a cotton swab, to the upper and lower body surfaces of the tick. After 10 to 15 minutes, the tick will relax and you can pull it free.

* After the tick is removed, carefully inspect the skin for remaining head parts, and gently scrape them away.

Dealing With Frost Bite

How to deal with Frostbite
Follow these rules and you should be right:

  • A frostbitten person should never be subjected to re warming before help is available, unless it is done in optimal conditions. After re warming, the victim remains invalid, due to the swelling of the extremities.

  • A frostbitten area should not be rubbed, beaten or re warmed (in front of an open fire).

  • As soon as possible, a general re warming and a good re hydration should be started (hot and sweetened drinks). The re warming of the frostbitten areas can be done in a warm water bath ( 37C ) to which a mild non-alcoholic antiseptic has been added. The pain can be relieved during the re warming with analgesics (aspirin). After each bath (30 minutes, 4 times a day), the frozen areas should be covered with sterile gauze and a very loose bandage.

  • Special attention must be paid to the risk of infection that can compromise the possibilities of healing. If there is suspected infection due to the persistence of pain after re warming, antibiotics should be administered for a period of 8 days.