Medicine for the Outdoors

Staying safe outside

There is nothing in this book that you don’t need to know. You don’t have to commit the book to memory but I would encourage you to know what’s in it and how to find it quickly. My first duty as a Scout leader is the safety and well-being of our Scouts at an age when they are poor judges of risk and have a propensity to overestimate their capacities. I need to know how to keep them safe and how to respond if they are injured or ill.

Medicine for the Outdoors is the work of Dr. Paul Auerbach, wilderness medicine pioneer and arguably the world’s foremost expert on the subject. He explains the how and why of responding to nearly every possible illness or injury one is likely to encounter in a concise, step by step manner that is intended to be used on the spot – but don’t wait for something to happen before you read the book.

Safety is not owning the right gear or having the right book. It is not having a well-appointed first aid kit. Safety is knowing how to prevent injury and illness and how to respond if it occurs. Get the book, read through it, make notes and practice the skills before you need them. I have a Kindle copy that I can carry on a smartphone, iPod or similar device. I also have a copy of the book that lives in our troop first aid kit.

-- Clarke Green 04/5/11


The outdoor environment is beautiful, but it is ever changing and can become hostile in a moment. Good fortune favors the well prepared, and there are no more important considerations for a successful outdoor experience than safety and first aid. Severe weather, wild animals, rugged terrain, and equipment failure all conspire to create or complicate medical hardships that must he diagnosed swiftly and remedied with certainty. The therapies can he integral to survival. Medical education is thus as compelling as any other form of learning.

How to use this book

In order to use this book to best advantage, read the appropriate sections before you embark on a trip. In this way, you’ll remember where to find information in case of an emergency. Use the index to locate specific topics, such as bee stings, frostbite, or choking. When reading about different problems, you may be referred to general instructions for medical aid, which are presented in Parts I and 2. All readers are encouraged to participate in organized first-aid and outdoor safety program.

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