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Emergency room afloat, part 2

The day sailor’s first-aid kit


By Gino Bottino, M.D.

In the last issue, we discussed “time to professional medical help” as the single most important variable in determining the extent of medical supplies and training needed aboard.

Accordingly, we divided the theoretical “complete medical chest” into smaller kits based on boating needs. The simplest of these is the day or deck kit, where medical help is available in less than 30 minutes.

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Emergency room afloat

The medical kit and  the conscientious boater, Part I

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D.

The realization

When I started this column, I wanted to write about putting together a complete medical kit. The more I thought about the idea, the more I realized how complicated the task would be.

First, you have to keep the size manageable while making it reasonably complete. This becomes difficult when you consider that everyone boats in different venues, at different times of the year and in different climates with different groups of people, all of whom have individual needs.

After much consideration, I broke the topic into two segments: on-board medical kits for groups with an organizer and staff, and kits for those traveling alone.

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Cold and flu season

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D.

Winter is here, and with it comes cold and flu season. In the United States, more days of work (and probably play) are lost to colds and flu than any other illness. According to CDC estimates, the flu has caused between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths each year since 2010. The common cold is even more pervasive with millions of cases being reported in the U.S. each year. Adults average two to three colds per year, and children have even more.

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Preparing for, implementing crew overboard recovery

Doc on Deck

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D. 

For the last 10 years, most authorities have agreed on the main principles in preparing for, and implementing, a crew overboard recovery. The five phases of recovery are

  • establish and maintain visual contact,
  • provide flotation immediately,
  • stop the boat as soon as possible,
  • maneuver to approach the victim, and
  • effect recovery over the side.
  • All five should be done as quickly as possible.

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Carbon monoxide poisoning: Recognizing, preventing the invisible killer

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D.

Whether you own a powerboat or sailboat or just drive a car, you should be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and know how to detect and treat it.

Silent, odorless, invisible and deadly

Difficult to detect, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that’s heavier than air. It’s made whenever carbon-based fuels are burned, such as in internal combustion engines like gasoline-powered generators and car and boat engines. Although diesel-fueled engines produce CO in smaller concentrations than gasoline engines, they still produce enough to be dangerous.

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Treating hypothermia

The hazards of exposure to cold on board, part 2

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D

In the last article, I discussed localized cold exposure syndromes in which a specific body part becomes cold but the rest of the body remains warmer. This article discusses generalized cold exposure, hypothermia, caused by a drop in the body’s core temperature.

Both localized and generalized cold exposure syndromes can exist in a patient at the same time, but treatment is quite different: Localized cold exposure is treated with immediate re-warming, while hypothermia must be slowly reversed.

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