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Hand Washing and Harness Suspension Injury

Author(s): Tod Schimelpfenig
Posted: April 1, 2011

We believe most of the diarrhea and flu-like illness on wilderness trips is caused by poor hand hygiene.   In hospitals 5 to 10% of hospitalized patients acquire health-care associated infections during a hospital stay.  There is an excellent and thorough video available free at the New England Journal of Medicine website.  It’s very informative, especially the sections on using alcohol based sanitizers and hand washing.  It explains the rationale and demonstrates proper hand hygiene techniques, providing some practical details most of us don’t think about.  Of course, we don’t have faucets with flowing water and soap access in the wilderness, but we can probably all do a better job at hand hygiene with our limited resources.  


As well, if you are interested in the topic of suspension or harness trauma, take a look at this article, Risks and Management of Prolonged Suspension in an Alpine Harness Wilderness & Environmental Medicine Volume 22, Issue 1 , Pages 77-86, March 2011

It’s  available free, at https://wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032%2810%2900320-0/fulltext.

Take Care

Tod Schimelpfenig
Curriculum Director
Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS

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