When a person is immobilized from a serious injury in the wilderness, breathing is more difficult and the lungs can accumulate fluid. Minimize the danger of pneumonia with the following preventative measures.
1. Encourage the injured person to cough deeply at least every two hours, even though coughing may be painful. Assist the person in sitting up and have her hold both sides to make the cough more productive and less painful.
2. Elevate the lower part of the body by placing a pillow or rolled up article of clothing under the injured person’s midsection and legs – gravity will help drain fluid from the lungs. Do not do this if you suspect head, spine, or back injuries.
3. Keep the injured person as warm as possible – immobilized people have difficulty producing enough body heat to warm themselves. Use the following methods to maximize warmth: Have the person drink warm liquids if able to hold a cup without assistance; keep the person in a sleeping bag and on an insulated pad; place hot water bottles along the sides of the chest, neck and abdomen; place uncovered pots of boiled water in the tent to keep the air in the tent warm and humidified.
4. Evacuate the person to as low an altitude as possible, preferably to as low as 8,000 feet. This is especially important for person’s with heart or lung illnesses, and for injuries which occur above 15,000 feet.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.
If you use a stove inside a tent, make sure the tent is adequately ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Whenever possible, boil liquids outside the tent or in the vestibule of the tent.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.