Dying of Shock
April 5, 2013Posted in News & EventsWilderness First Responder Course March 23-31, Wilderness Medical Associates, UC Santa Barbara Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Laura Bylund. There are three critical systems in the human body that support life: the circulatory, the respiratory and the nervous systems. Since each is dependent on the other, they are often analogized to a three-legged stool where all need to be functioning properly in order to stay upright. The respiratory system brings crucial oxygen into the body, the circulatory system distributes it throughout to vitalize tissue and organs and the nervous system controls... well, basically everything. Each critical system has major threats that could lead to failure and if that happens to of any one of them, the three-legged stool falleth over. With the respiratory system, we worry about obstructions and broncospasms that lead to respiratory distress. With the nervous system, we fear increased intracranial pressure and other threats to brain function, as well as spinal cord injuries. The circulatory system's nemesis is volume and vascular shock. This is where blood volume decreases in relation to the size of veins and arteries; the ultimate worry is that blood pressure will drop so low that it is unable to adequately perfuse the body's organs with that crucial oxygen. While volume shock is certainly caused by severe bleeding, the most common danger to the circulatory system is actually dehydration. Take your critical systems into the wilderness setting and your sensitivities to this danger are heightened for several reasons. One factor is the multiple effects of whatever environment you find yourself in. This could be the altitude, the air temperature, the physical exertion or simply the lack of available water. Another reason for the heightened sensitivity is the fact that if anything starts to go wrong in the back-country or out on the open ocean, you are a very long way from help. This is why adventurers should be poised at the very least to maintain proper hydration when in the outdoors. Vapur approached me at a time I'd been feeling I wasn't drinking enough water. While as a climbing guide you should first and foremost be thinking about your own safety, it sometimes means you're too busy to eat or even drink. The packability and sheer convenience of these Anti-Bottles have helped me be a healthier guide and better equipped to keep students and clients safe. As outdoor professionals, we are compelled to maintain a certain level of continuing education on wilderness medical protocols. Wilderness First Responder is the best combination of most advanced, applicable and conducive to our adventures. Wilderness Medical Associates is a leading company dedicated to training professionals and recreationalists on the topic. As it happened I was due for a re-certification this year and was fortunate to be able to provide the entire class hosted by UCSB Adventure Programs with Vapur Anti-Bottles. "I'd seen these around before," said course participant, Nicole Jacoby. "Once I got my own, I was instantly hooked. I will never go back to traditional water bottles." Wilderness environments are inherently dangerous settings that will suck the life out of you if you let them. Undergoing volume shock secondary to dehydration can be avoided with some decent training, a couple good guides and a few Vapur Anti-Bottles. Isn't it time you stocked up on yours?