I have been dealing with a self-induced case of the Noravirus over the last two days and it has been awful! It is also a bit timely, as I have been planning on doing a rundown of some diseases and ailments that you can encounter on your adventures in the wilderness.
Giardia: What do I do now that I’ve read through all my Outside magazines?
Giardia is a waterborne parasite that comes from fecal matter. Giardia is fairly resilient which makes it more dangerous. The parasite does well in cold weather and is resistant to many disinfectants. For this reason, water filtration is always a better choice than chemical treatment. Once Giardia is consumed and enters your body it begins to multiply. The infection often causes diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. The disease takes 7-10 days for incubation and can typically last for 3-4 days. If you believe you may have contracted Giardia you need to contact your healthcare provider.
Lyme Disease: Is there a target on my back?
Lyme disease is a bacteria spread through tick bites. The first symptoms can appear anywhere between 3 to 32 days after the bite. These first symptoms include feeling tired and body aches, so feeling old and worn out from your adventure. The biggest telltale sign of Lyme disease is if you develop the Target Logo on our body in the form of a rash. The disease can be treated but the longer treatment is delayed the more severe the disease can become, leading to cardiac anomalies, joint pain, and neurological symptoms.
Botulism Poisoning: What I was poisoned by cosmetics?
Botulism poisoning is caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum (it is related to Botox, but they are not the same thing). The reason that this disease is relevant is because it is prevalent in canned and packaged foods. It can easily be prevented by bringing the food up to boiling temperatures. Botulism has a short incubation period from 12 to 36 hours. The symptoms start as blurred vision and then go on to cause paralysis throughout the body. Botulism must be treated with an antitoxin so immediate medical treatment should be sought. The more rapidly the symptoms onset is the higher the potential for being fatal.
Salmonella: Does this mean I’m at a greater threat of being eaten by a bear?
Salmonella is one of the more common food poisonings and people across the world are affected by it every day. Salmonella commonly presents as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cramping. Often times a healthy person is able to fight off the infection after a few days, but sometimes antibiotics are required. The reason I mention this is because when traveling in the backcountry it can be hard to maintain optimal cleanliness and hygiene. For these reasons, you should make sure to thoroughly cook your food and boil your water. The backcountry is not the best place to try making Chicken Tartare.
Did I get anything wrong? Is there a disease that I should have covered that I didn’t? Let me know in the comments section. Thank you.