Being outdoors in the winter—especially in the backcountry—presents a different and more complex set of safety challenges. Extreme cold and wind can render a person immobile—or worse—within minutes, complicating any additional injuries one has sustained. Here are several of the most common winter injuries, how to prevent them, and what to do if you or…

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Dr. Tom: How do I prevent getting caught in a lightning storm? What if a member of my party is struck by lightning?   If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to a storm to be struck by lightning. The absence of clouds overhead or rain does not mean you are safe. The…

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  Dr. Tom: How do I recognize and treat waterborne illness in the backcountry? Safe drinking water is a vital component of any successful outdoor trip for proper hydration. While it may be necessary at times, anyone who drinks surface water in the backcountry is at risk to develop a waterborne illness, regardless of how…

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Dr. Tom: If I encounter someone in the backcountry showing signs of hypothermia, what should I do? Anyone who enjoys the Northeastern outdoors should possess basic knowledge in recognizing and treating hypothermia. While we sometimes think about hypothermia as a winter problem, it can set in any time of the year. There have been documented…

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