Wilderness Medicine Case Study 17
You and two friends from the northeast are on a road trip after your college graduation and decide to do a quick day hike in Arches National Park as you pass through Moab, UT. It's mid-June, it's everyone's first time to the desert southwest. When you leave for your two hour hike each of you are carrying a liter of water, some GORP, and a couple of food bars. Six hours later you get back to the visitor's station and your vehicle. Everyone is hot, tired, thirsty, and complaining of headaches. One friend, Jenny, with a normally pale complexion is badly sunburned on her legs, lower arms, and face even though she was was wearing SPF 15 water resistant sunscreen. The sunburn covers about 45% of her total body surface area. After consuming quite a bit of water and hanging out in the air conditioned visitor's center to cool off, you head out to look for a campsite; your sunburned friend is still a bit hot.
Later that evening, the friend with the bad sunburn is bundled up and shivering even though the night temperature is 78º F. She has a headache (6 on a scale of 1-10), is nauseous, and eventually vomits once. The last time she urinated was on the hike; she doesn't remember the color. Her core temperature is 100.2º F, her pulse is 88 and regular, and she is breathing easily at 22 breaths per minute. Her normal pulse is 62 and regular.
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Don't know where to begin or what to do? Take one of our wilderness medicine courses. Guides and expedition leaders should consider taking our Wilderness First Responder course.
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