The Column, No. 106:

Medical Tips for the Hunter

By Dennis Johnson, MD and Carolyn Johnson, RN

Hunting, especially in a third world country, necessitates a focused plan to mitigate potential health hazards. Before the trip, establish the location and traveling time from your hunting site to the nearest major medical treatment facility and ensure they have adequate stores of antitoxins for the local venomous species.

Know the epidemic infectious diseases and make sure all appropriate vaccinations are current, including tetanus and possibly malaria prophylaxis. Once in country, PREVENTION, is the best strategy; here are some prudent guidelines:

1. Protect yourself from biting arthropods (mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas, etc) with appropriate clothing and repellents. When camping, sleep netting is a must. These blood suckers transmit life threatening illnesses, ranging from elephantiasis to viral encephalitis.

If you are bitten by a snake/spider, the treating facility will need to know the exact species of the culprit. If possible, kill the beast and bring it with you, which emphasizes the importance of a hunting partner.

2. Promptly treat even minor injuries with aggressive cleaning, topical antibiotic ointment and a secure bandage. If the wound isn't healing after 24 hours, seek additional medical attention.

We strongly recommend someone in the party have basic first-aid training and medical judgment. A comprehensive first-aid kit is essential and its contents should reflect the level of medical skills available. A good hunting guide company usually provides these services.

3. Do not drink from and avoid full emersion into lakes and streams. Besides the microbial peril, this water often contains parasites that can penetrate skin and infest the body. Stagnant waters commonly contain free-living amoeba that can invade the brain through nasal mucosa producing an incurable meningitis; a problem in our own southern states. Do not wade and keep feet/footwear dry and clean. Foot Rot disables more soldiers than gunshots!

4. If you should become ill, especially with a fever, you should be evaluated by a physician in a timely manner. Waiting to be evaluated risks making a treatable malady much worse.

Please take this simple advice to heart. We hope you have a safe and productive hunt.

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Copyright 2016 by Dennis and Carolyn Johnson and/or All rights reserved.