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Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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Outdoor Adventurer's Pledge


In wilderness medicine, as well as medicine in general, prevention is the name of the game. No healer likes to see anyone suffer. I've often thought about creating a standard list of admonitions for outdoor enthusiasts in order for them to best avoid accidents, injuries, and illnesses. I believe that if these rules were followed, we'd all happily practice less wilderness medicine:

The Outdoor Adventurer's Pledge

1. I will maintain optimal physical and mental health.
2. I will prepare for all outdoor activities by dressing properly, anticipating likely risks, and carrying proper equipment for first aid.
3. I will break in new boots and shoes before I use them for hiking or climbing.
4. I will carry protective clothing to be used in bad weather.
5. If appropriate, I will be prepared for an unexpected night outdoors.
6. I will seek advice or assistance if I become ill or injured.
7. I will let someone know where I am going and when I expect to return.
8. I will not drink alcohol or use recreational drugs.
9. I will not participate in or tolerate risky horseplay in potentially dangerous situations.
10. I will use proper safety equipment, such as a helmet or life jacket, whenever possible.
11. I will obey all posted warning signs.
12. I will wash and disinfect my hands before eating.
13. I will drink lots of fluids and stay well hydrated. I will disinfect my drinking water and properly prepare all food.
14. I will not closely approach or otherwise provoke wild animals.

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photo by Mathias Schar
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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.

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