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Education & Resources

The wilderness and austere environments are constantly changing - so is healthcare.  Our goal is to provide you with up-to-date information and resources within our area of expertise.  Always check with your personal physician and health department before embarking on an adventure.

COVID-19


The AMP team practices physical distancing and wears recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) while on missions, engaging in fundraising, and interacting with the public. We recommend that you do the same by following the CDC guidelines as well as the latest recommendations from Maryland and Virginia. Always keep yourself and others safe. AMP is available for mission support during COVID-19.




The Importance of Hydration Before You Head Out the Door


When involved in rigorous activities in the wilderness, it is easy to get over heated and dehydrated. Observing the color of urine, with lighter colors indicating you are adequately hydrated, is an easy and accurate way to monitor hydration. While it is important to maintain hydration, it is equally important to ensure an adequate intake of electrolytes during exercise in order to avoid having low levels of sodium in your blood, also known as hyponatremia. This is a life-threatening condition. AMP recommends hydration with oral rehydration solution to ensure the proper balance of fluid and electrolytes when involved in rigorous activities in the woods. Oral rehydration solution comes in a powder form and may be purchased online through various companies. Sources * Harris, Lisa, and Michael Braun. “Electrolytes: Oral Electrolyte Solutions.” FP Essentials 459 (2017): 35–38. * Hew-Butler, Tamara, Valentina Loi, Antonello Pani, and Mitchell H. Rosner. “Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia: 2017 Update.” Frontiers in Medicine 4 (March 3, 2017). * Kostelnik, Samantha B., Kevin P. Davy, Valisa E. Hedrick, D. Travis Thomas, and Brenda M. Davy. “The Validity of Urine Color as a Hydration Biomarker within the General Adult Population and Athletes: A Systematic Review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, April 24, 2020, 1–8. ~Michael Millin, MD serves as the Medical Director for AMP




Proper Equipment Reduces Injuries


Using proper equipment and wearing the right type of clothing can go a long way when in the wilderness. This includes items such as trekking poles, a good fitting backpack, hiking boots that have been broken in, and sweat-wicking clothing. We always recommend carrying extra water, a few protein bars, an emergency blanket, and a hat.




The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace


Leave No Trace (LNT) is grounded in 7 Principles that were developed for individuals who enjoy the outdoors, while also ensuring the protection of the environment and recreational areas for future generations. The premise behind LNT means leaving no human marks or signs after enjoying the outdoors. The 7 Principles of LNT are:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  3. Dispose of Waste Properly

  4. Leave What You Find

  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

  6. Respect Wildlife

  7. Be Considerate of Others

At AMP, our goal is to follow the 7 Principles of LNT while on operations or participating in trainings. In addition, the AMP Team carries these principles throughout our day-to-day lives. For classes on LNT, contact us or check out Leave No Trace programs.

~Craig Millin, NREMT serves as the Deputy Operations Chief at AMP




Blister Prevention and Care


Foot care and blister prevention are two of the most important tenets of wilderness medicine. As most outdoor enthusiasts can attest, developing a blister can be debilitating when in the backcountry. Prevention of blisters starts with properly fitting shoes/boots as well as appropriate socks. We recommend always breaking in your footwear before embarking on backcountry adventures or long hikes. Finding out your boots don’t fit ten miles into a hike can lead to significant discomfort and may cut your trip short. Similarly, socks can be just as important for blister prevention. We recommend moisture wicking socks, preferably wool, with or without a liner sock to prevent friction and keep your feet dry. Additional preventative measures include taping your feet in high friction areas such as the heel, ball of the foot, and toes. Despite all of these preventative measures, should you find yourself with a “hot spot” (high friction area) or full blister, there are many options for treatment to help reduce pain and continue your adventure. We recommend using any of the widely available skin mimicking adhesive products that can be specifically cut and shaped to fit over open blisters or as a donut padding surrounding a fluid filled blister. Although there is wide debate surrounding when and how to drain blisters, we favor leaving them intact if possible when continuing a hike as the overlying skin acts as a natural barrier to prevent infection. If a blister must be drained, we recommend thoroughly cleaning the skin with an alcohol pad and using a clean push pin to make a small opening; not so small that the fluid re-accumulates, but not so large that the blister becomes unroofed. Should these preventative strategies or treatments fail, please consider ending your adventure early and seeking medical attention. If you develop redness or significant pain outside of, but near, the area of the blister it’s important you seek medical attention as soon as possible as this can indicate an infection requiring antibiotics. ~Stewart Dandorf, MD serves as an AMP Team Member