Prescription for Wellness: First Aid on the Trail

First Aid on the Trail

By: Dr. Susan Layeux, Boundary Community Clinics

In Boundary County, we head out to forest and river trails to hike, pick berries, find mushrooms, track animals, hunt, ride mountain bikes, snowmobile and ride ATVs. Most excursions will never end in someone needing First Aid. However, as the mother of three Eagle Scouts, I would have to agree with the Boy Scout motto: “Be Prepared”. That is the first key to Trail Safety and First Aid. We need to be aware of our surroundings and the obstacles or animals we may encounter that could result in injury. So I will share some key ways to be prepared.

Carry water. Avoid dehydration by bringing along enough water for the time you plan to spend outside. The higher the temperature, the higher you go in altitude and the more physical you are, the more water you need (even in the winter). The base should be 8 ounces per hour. If you stay hydrated you are less likely to experience Fainting, Heat Stroke and mental dullness that can lead to other injuries. Water can also be used to wash wounds and to cook. Sometimes a simple water bottle per person is enough, but the Camelback backpacks are great if you will be out for hours.

Pack a basic First Aid kit. This could include antiseptic wipes or alcohol pads (or water), antibiotic ointment, assorted bandages, small tweezers for slivers (or ticks), gauze pads of various sizes, tape (even duct tape), elastic bandage (Ace wrap or Coban wrap that sticks to itself), moleskin or gel pads for blisters, burn cream packets, scissors, safety pins, hand sanitizer, triangular bandage or bandana (makeshift sling). You could even consider disposable non-latex gloves and a CPR breathing barrier if you will be far from help and in a large group. A few baby Aspirin and some Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen can be handy. And many kits come with a small first-aid booklet or guide to how to handle various injuries.

On insects. Prevent tick and mosquito bites with proper clothing and your favorite insect repellent. Check for ticks at the end of each day, and remove by grasping the head (if possible) with tweezers and pulling steadily and firmly. Prepare for hornet or bee stings. If allergic, be sure to bring your Epi-Pen. Even if not, bring a few Benadryl 25 mg (diphenhydramine) and take one immediately if there is significant trouble with swelling or breathing. This can also be used if you develop a rash from exposure to poison ivy or other noxious weeds.

Prepare for the weather. Apply sunscreen every 1-2 hours to exposed skin. Use a hat to keep your head cooler in the sun and warmer in the cold. Bring along a rain poncho or even garbage bag if wet weather is possible. Wear layers so that clothing can be adjusted according to changes in temperature through the day (or elevation).

Dress appropriately. Hiking boots provide better ankle support than sneakers on uneven terrain. Helmets are important for high-speed activities like biking, riding ATVs and snowmobiling. Neckerchiefs come in handy for covering skin, getting wet to put around neck to cool down, or to wash or bandage wounds.

General Safety. Always be sure that someone knows where you are going and how long you plan to be away. Carry a flashlight and matches. Carry a cell phone (even if you don’t have service, the phone can often be tracked if you get lost). Always go with a buddy. Back away from potentially dangerous animals while facing them and making a lot of noise.

The Community Health Fair is Saturday, May 12, from 9 am to noon. Stop by our Mountain Trail Safety Clinic. I will be there to answer First Aid questions and give you tips on how to make a Basic First Aid Kit. We live in a beautiful part of the world. Enjoy it – Safely.

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Susan Layeux, MD is a Primary Care Physician at Boundary Community Clinics and Chief of Staff at Boundary Community Hospital.

Prescription for Wellness: Advance Directives

Prescription for Wellness from Boundary Community Clinics

 

Start the Conversation about Advance Directives

By: Janet Lukehart, FNP-C

Healthcare decisions can often be complicated and confusing even under the best of circumstances. Unexpected medical issues and emergencies may place you in a situation where you are unable to speak for yourself, leaving your family to make heathcare decisions for you. Under these circumstances, how will your family and medical providers know your preferences for life-saving efforts and treatment? This is where an Advance Directive comes in.

Stated simply, an Advance Directive shares your healthcare wishes, should you become incapacitated and unable to express yourself. You specify the medical treatments you would want provided or withheld, and designate who is permitted to make these medical decisions on your behalf. Most people decide their preferences based on personal values and conversations with loved ones. Should you change your mind, updates can easily be made by submitting a new form.

Three types of advance directives legally recognized in Idaho are the Living Will, the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, and the Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST). A Living Will is a written, legal document that spells out medical treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive, and related decisions such as pain management or organ donation. In the absence of an advance directive, medical care providers are obligated to prolong your life, using artificial means if necessary. With a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, you name the person who will make these decisions for you when you are unable. The POST replaces the traditional Idaho Do Not Resuscitate form and is a set of medical orders you ask your doctor to write. The POST is most applicable for those with terminal conditions.

The Advance Directive process need not be complicated nor expensive. Instructions and templates for advance directives are combined in a free document provided by the state of Idaho. Idaho also maintains an Advance Directive Registry. By filing your document with the registry your healthcare provider and loved ones will have ready access to your directive in a time of need. Visit https://sos.idaho.gov/hcdr/ for more information. Other free and low-cost resources are available at AgingWithDignity.org, CaringInfo.org and HonoringChoicesIdaho.org.

If you do not already have an Advance Directive and would like more information and/or forms, please stop by the Start the Conversation about Advance Directives exhibit area at the Hospital’s Annual Health Fair on May 12, 2018. Your actions now might well save your family members stress and emotional turmoil in the future, and assure your healthcare choices are met.

Janet Lukehart is a primary care Nurse Practitioner at Boundary Community Clinics.

Prescription for Wellness: April is Autism Awareness Month

Prescription for Wellness from Boundary Community Clinics

April is Autism Awareness Month

By: Beverly J. Yercheck, ANP-C

To highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, the Autism Society has celebrated National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. This is a good opportunity to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance, and to draw attention to the many families facing an autism diagnosis each year.

What is autism?

Autism is a spectrum condition that affects individuals differently and uniquely to varying degrees. Many of the symptoms of Autism involve communication and socialization. Frequently those with Autism have problems with change, avoid eye contact, have facial expressions that do not correspond to the situation, have problems with personal space, appear to lack empathy and may avoid physical contact. Frequently these individuals have problems making and maintaining relationships.

How is Autism diagnosed?

Signs and symptoms typically appear in early childhood and can be diagnosed by a pediatric provider or by school specialists with input from family and friends. Signs that a child needs an assessment for Autism are usually noticed by the parents or primary care providers. These early signs may include the following: a baby that does not babble or coo by 12 months; a baby that does not gesture with waving or pointing by 12 months; a baby that does not speak even single words by 15 months or say 2 word phrases on his own by 24 months; or if there is any loss of language or social skills over time. These signs do not mean a diagnosis of Autism but they do signal a need for professional assessment.

Since Autism can look differently in each individual, it takes a team approach to put together a plan to help the child navigate in a “neurotypical” world. Success of the individual greatly depends on resources and support within and aside from the family. The school system can assist with interventions to help bring out the best academically and help develop social skills. It is important to remember that the individual with Autism has all the same needs that non-Autistic people have, they just express those needs in different ways.

Bev Yercheck is a primary care adult Nurse Practitioner with Boundary Community Clinics in Bonners Ferry.

 

The Autism Awareness Ribbon — The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most enduring and recognized symbol of the autism community in the world. The puzzle pattern reflects the complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope — hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and access to appropriate services/supports, people with autism will lead full lives able to interact with the world on their own terms. – Autism Society