First Aid

I had my first bout with Lyme disease about a decade ago. This summer I went another round with the unpleasant tick-borne illness. The two experiences highlight several important things everybody should understand about Lyme. How you get Lyme disease First a quick backgrounder. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) that is…

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A dead tick can’t bite you—and the single-best way to terminate them in the field is to treat your shoes and clothing with permethrin, which will kill ticks rapidly on contact. (Once you’re back home, you can also crisp ticks to death with a quick spin in the dryer.) A variety of permethrin-based products are available…

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Consumer Reports recently released its 2016 sunscreen ratings (subscription required), which tested and ranked 70 lotion, spray, and face varieties. Surprisingly, many of its best sunscreen brands are quite inexpensive. This is especially true if you order through Walmart online, which has markedly better prices on most of these products than Amazon. Here’s the quick…

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» CLICK PHOTO ABOVE TO LAUNCH SLIDESHOW   When a Boston medical-supply company introduced The Appalachian Emergency Outfit at $2.50 apiece, circa 1920, initial sales were slow. Manufactured by Boylston Street’s E.F. Mahady Co. specifically for AMC, the backcountry first-aid kit failed to entice club members because, as a 1921 AMC report claimed, “so confident…

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AMC Outdoors, November/December 2015 While working in the White Mountain National Forest and assisting on search and rescue (SAR) missions, I quickly learned an invaluable lesson: Keep your cell phone on at all times. When officials from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the lead agency in charge of SAR in the state, initiate…

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If you’re able to recognize only one plant, it better be poison ivy. Memorize these helpful hints to identify it in any season.  “Leaves of three, leave them be.” Poison ivy leaves always occur in clusters of three. “Longer middle stem, don’t touch them.” The middle leaflet of the trio will have a longer stem…

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Carrying a first-aid kit is more than just a good idea. It’s one of the 10 essential items for safe backcountry travel. All kinds of prepackaged options are available, but do they really contain what you need? To better evaluate ready-made kits or to assemble your own, consider the following supplies. Common Injuries The majority…

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We’ve all done it: felt that first inkling of discomfort—a growing warmth on our heel or at the base of our toes—and kept right on hiking. “It’s nothing,” we tell ourselves. “It won’t get much worse.” Distracted by the trail ahead and the promise of future vistas, we trek on, ignoring our tender skin until…

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The 10 Essentials are more than just a list. They are the basics of survival. Carry them and you will always be equipped for the unexpected. First developed in the 1930s by the Mountaineers, a Seattle-based nonprofit, the original 10 Essentials consisted of a list of specific items—knife, map, compass, matches, etc. Today, several different…

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I spent my morning walking the dog and serving as an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet for my local mosquito population. It got me thinking about the little buzzers and prompted several crucial questions in my head. I now have the answers. Death by mosquito draining? For an average person, losing two liters of blood becomes life-threatening….

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