Volunteering in Zambia

 

Life In Luangwa , Zambia

“Doctor Emergency”! I had seen the blood spattered wheelbarrow parked on the veranda that served as the waiting room and now the sign of the shuffling flip flops told me I was about to meet its occupant. He entered the room uncertainly, supported between his two inebriated friends. The blood soaked tea towel adorning his head giving a big clue as to his presenting complaint. Removal revealed a 7inch gash across his forehead down to the skull. His helpful friends informed me it had been inflicted by an axe, two nights ago, in a fight and they excitedly asked me to examine his leg which had been stabbed by a spear.
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Heat related injuries in extreme desert conditions

Operating in extremely hot conditions creates a unique set of medical risks. In the link is the medical outline – for non medics, regarding those risks from the Namibia Ultra Marathon training guide.

DEHYDRATION
Dehydration is the most common heat related illness – in fact, it is thought that dehydration could be the single greatest threat to the health of an athlete. When training regularly and for long distances, fluid intake should be made a priority. You must drink fluids all day – not just during training. 

Don’t depend on feeling thirsty to tell you when to drink. Thirst is a late response of the body to fluid depletion. Once you feel thirsty, you are already low on fluids. The best indicator of proper fluid levels is urine output and colour. Ample urine that is light coloured to clear shows that the body has plenty of fluid. 

Dark urine means that the body is low on water, and is trying to conserve its supply by hoarding fluid which means that urine becomes more concentrated (thereby darker). 

Dehydration can be the cause of feelings of fatigue or exhaustion – at all times watch out for signs of dehydration and take on water regularly through out the day. 

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Jungle Medicine course – Costa Rica

Course director Dr Sean Hudson writing about the Jungle Medicine Training Course in Costa Rica

Back in Costa Rica again and the jungle didn’t fail to provide the perfect environment for the Jungle Medicine training course. As one would expect, it was hot, wet and full of interesting fauna and flora. I never fail to be impressed by the beauty of the jungle, but by god it can be hard sometimes. Its one of the few places I visit that can be so harsh then so comfortable. The moment you start to feel comfortable in the jungle is that Nirvana moment.

It took a while coming this trip because of the heavy rain but we eventually made it. Mike, Ceri, Mark and Martin again excelled themselves and the addition of our new herpetologist bringing snakes into camp was great. The best new addition to the course this year was however the HENNESSEY HAMMOCK, it is without a doubt the best bit of expedition equipment I have come across. 18 people in the jungle in some of wettest conditions I have experienced and everyone was dry, or if they weren’t they didn’t let on. Quite incredible.

Other than the medic feeling a little queasy on the river, everyone escaped injury and illness. Other than the EL developing drucunculiasis that is! but he’s got to have something to winge about. Back next year and I’m looking forward to it already.

Find out more about Expedition and Wilderness Medicine and about the Jungle Medicine Training Course in particular

Diving and Marine Medicine Course in Oman -feedback from Dr Mark Read

For medics interested in working on a diving or kayaking expedition, how do you get relevant experience and information at a one-stop shop?

You could read lots of books about diving medicine, combine this with lots of diving and kayaking, but the question can still be asked, “How do I round off the experience and is there a course tailer-made for medics like you?”

 
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Polar Medicine looks northwards

Polar Medicine Training Course in action

Polar Medicine Training Course in action

Our annual, and highly acclaimed Polar Medicine Training Course is due to head to northern Norway in the middle of February – if demand is as high as it has been in previous years then we suggest that you book your place soon. 

Feedback from this years course included superlatives such as ‘best’ and ‘unmissable’

Find out more on the Polar Medicine web page or email Luci Ridout for an application form

Expedition Medicine launches a new course on Dartmoor

Expedition Medicine on DartmoorOur highly rated Expedition and Wilderness Medicine Training Course is heading south.

We are really excited about our new course – following the same schedule as our Lakeland course and with many of the same inspirational faculty we have linked up with Dartmoor’s premier training faculty, the Heatree Centre located near Newton Abbot to provide an additional course in May.

We are hoping that will make the travelling time shorter for some of you and reduce to carbon footprint of the courses, we will of course be working with the Woodland Trust as well to identify one of their projects close by which the proceeds of the course will help support.

Expedition and Wilderness Medicine Dartmoor Course

Expedition Medicine

Dr Andy McClea | doc behind the camera

Andy McAlea was the man behind the camera for this piece showing the Air Ambulance assisting on the Expedition and Wilderness Medicine training course in the Lake District.