While out in the wilderness, you can catch diseases and infections many people think of as “city” or “farm” problems. These include Giardia, Cryptosporidium, West Nile, Norwalk, Hanta, E. coli, and many other infectious agents. And hypo- or hyperthermia is a risk any time of year.
Rocky Mountain Adventure Medicine RMAM provides medical and outdoor preparedness instruction for people who will be spending time in a non-urban setting.
St. John Ambulance St. John Ambulance offers first aid courses, as well as first aid kits, to the general public. Their courses, held regularly at most St. John locations across the country including Calgary, focus on urban and workplace first aid more than backcountry.
Red Cross First Aid Comprehensive two-day course offering first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills for those who need training due to work requirements or who want more knowledge to respond to emergencies at home.
Some Potential Microbiological Hazards for Field Workers From the University of Alberta, this page gives an overview of what’s out there, transmission methods, and precautions.
Kingston General Hospital & Queen’s University This Infection Control Service site from Queen’s University’s pathology department and KGH has information on several different infectious agents, including the Norwalk, West Nile, and Ebola viruses, E. coli, influenza, and foot & mouth disease. Especially check the “What’s hot” page.
Health Canada Health Canada is responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health. It ensures that high-quality health services are accessible, and works to reduce health risks.
West Nile Virus Surveillance Information Another site from Health Canada, this one has has lots of information on the West Nile virus.
Giariasis From the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s medical encyclopedia, details on Giardia lamblia, the protozoa that causes giardiasis, the official name of giardia.
Hypothermia Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht of the University of Manitoba is a world-renowned expert on hypothermia who “studies human responses to exercise/work in extreme environments. He has conducted hundreds of cold water immersion studies that have provided valuable information about cold stress physiology and pre-hospital care for human hypothermia.” His site includes articles and videos on staying warm and safe in the outdoors.
Hypothermia (woodsman’s disease) and Hyperthermia In August 2003 while camping in British Columbia, Randy Chartrand became disoriented from hypothermia, evaded his would-be rescuers, and died. This site, written by his brother Dan, tells a cautionary tale and explains the signs and symptoms of hypothermia as well as hyperthermia. Includes audio clip of Dan’s interview on CBC Radio’s “The Current” on 03 September 2003.