Test your mountain medical knowledge

Christopher Davis and Bill Brandenburg developed a quiz to test the medical knowledge and preparedness of climbers on Colorado’s high mountain peaks. Do you know the answers to the questions?

Click on question to see answer.

1. What are three symptoms of dehydration?

Answer: Symptoms of moderate dehydration include: dry sticky mouth; sleepiness; dry skin; headache; thirst; decreased urine output; dizziness or lightheadedness. Symptoms of severe dehydration include: extreme thirst; irritability and confusion; sunken eyes; dry skin that doesn’t bounce back when pinched; rapid heartbeat and rapid breathing.

2. What are three possible symptoms of High Altitude Cerebral Edema?

Answer: High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) is a buildup of fluid in the brain and is life-threatening. It is thought to be the severe form of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Symptoms of AMS include severe headache, vomiting and lethargy. These issues progress to unsteadiness, confusion, irrational behavior, drowsiness and coma. A person with HACE has difficulty walking heel-to-toe in a straight line. 

3. What should be checked before and after splinting an injury?

Answer: Check for circulation (a feeling of warmth) to ensure the splint is not too tight.

4. What is the most important thing to check at any accident scene?

Answer: Always ensure that you are safe.

5. What are the normal resting pulse and respiratory rate ranges?

Answer: For a healthy adult, the resting pulse rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute; athletes can have lower rates. The normal respiration rate is 12 to 16 breaths per minute. 

6. What are three things you can do for someone in shock from blood loss on a mountain?

Answer: If you suspect someone is in shock: call 911 or a local emergency number;  check pulse and breathing and begin CPR if necessary; elevate legs slightly unless the action would cause further harm; keep the person still; apply basic first aid to any injuries and apply pressure to bleeding wounds; keep the person warm.