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OUTDOOR NOTES / PETE THOMAS : Knowing Facts Can Save Lives

December 25, 1991|PETE THOMAS

A Christmas list for the outdoor person who has everything, except perhaps a proper concept of what to do in the event of a medical emergency in the wilderness, as presented by wilderness medicine expert Buck Tilden in a recent issue of Backpacker magazine:

Myth: Use a tourniquet to stop serious bleeding.

Fact: Bleeding can almost always be stopped without a tourniquet. Tourniquets can crush blood vessels and other tissues, cutting off all blood flow. Small wounds are best left to stop bleeding on their own, because they self-clean in the process. For large wounds, maintain direct pressure with a clean cloth until the bleeding stops. Clean, dress and bandage.

Myth: A shot of liquor will warm a cold or hypothermic person.

Fact: Alcohol has the reverse effect. It causes blood vessels to dilate, increasing heat loss through the skin. It also impairs judgment and interferes with coordination.

Myth: Rub snow on frostbite.

Fact: Frozen body parts should be wrapped in a dry, insulating material until the person can get to a hospital. Soft, pliable frozen parts should be rewarmed with gentle skin-to-skin contact only. Fires or brisk rubbing should not be used.

Myth: Cut and suck a snakebite.

Fact: This removes only a small amount of venom, while producing a more serious wound that is susceptible to infection. Tourniquets are also not suggested. Keep the person calm, gently clean the wound, splint the bitten extremity and carry the victim to a hospital. If the person must walk, do it slowly with frequent breaks.

Myth: Never let someone with a head injury fall asleep.

Fact: This refers to someone who has a swelling brain from a sharp blow or fall. If pressure on the brain increases to the point where the victim can't stay conscious, surgery is usually required to ease the pressure. In the wilderness, a person's best chance of recovery might be to sleep with as little disturbance as possible while a rapid evacuation is arranged.

Myth: God protects the ignorant.

Fact: Ignorance is dangerous.

Minnesota has come up with an interesting way of dealing with the poaching of fish and wildlife. Under a new law, convicted offenders, besides paying the penalty associated with a crime, must pay restitution "that would replace fish, ducks, deer and other wildlife owned by all Minnesotans."

According to the state's Department of Natural Resources, penalties range from less than $1 for minnows to $4,000 for endangered species. Most fish are valued from $5 to $30. All ducks, except canvasbacks, are valued at at $50. The black bear is listed at $400 and the deer at $500. The bald eagle is atop the list at $4,000.

Briefly

SALTWATER--San Diego's long-range boats are still reporting fantastic fishing for yellowfin tuna and wahoo, and one had quite a run on, of all things, catfish. "Yes, catfish, and lots of them," reads the log of Tommy Rothery, owner-operator of the Polaris Supreme.

Mazatlan: Tuna and dorado have moved into the area to give anglers something other than sailfish to fish for. The Star Fleet results from Dec. 14-20: 42 sailfish, 35 dorado, 12 sailfish, seven hammerhead sharks, a 135-pound striped marlin and one wahoo.

Cabo San Lucas: The few fishermen spending the holidays here are finding Striped marlin and dorado willing to strike live and artificial baits. However, the weather has been overcast and humid, with drizzle to light rain at times.

La Paz: Fishing very slow because of high winds. Most fishing taking place inside the bay, where dorado are hitting strips of skipjack tuna. Pangas averaging about three fish a day.

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