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[pct-l] Meds on the trail

Neither Walt or I are big on taking medications, but we realize that hiking 
the PCT is a different situation and we try to be prepared for any emergency 
that may arise. We have a wonderful family physician and he has always been 
involved in our medical needs while we are hiking.  Since we are from the 
East Coast, he is much less accessible to us. I know, he is just a phone 
call away, but it isn't easy to get Merk-Medco to send me a prescription in 
the High Sierras or a tiny town without a pharmacy. 

For our medical kit we carry the following presciptions that either of us 
can take;  Doxycycline -- a low spectrum antibiotic (to start taking in case 
we get any type of bacterial infections due to cuts or illnesses), Vikadin -
- for pain (careful, this can be habit forming!), Flagyl -- for giardia  
(didn't take this year -- maybe we should have!), Nolix -- antihistamin 
(great for sinus problems), Tylenol with Codine, and because I am so very 
prone to getting leg cramps at night, I have enough Quinine for 5 months -- 
1 for every night -- hoping I won't need any at all!

In '97 I didn't have the Quinine the first 7 weeks and suffered almost every 
night with severe legs cramps.  A friend gave me some Vikadin which knocked 
me out so I was able to relax my muscles.  I used this until my prescription 
for Quinine arrived. There were many nights when neither Walt or I could 
sleep because the muscles in our legs were so full of blood they ached and 
twitched sporatically all night and the bottoms of our feet were so 
sensative they hurt just by touching each other.  Taking the Tylenol with 
Codine helped us to relax and get a good nights sleep.  One of the side 
effects from this was that we walked in a fog for most of the next morning.  
We changed to Tylenol PM -- this has a lower amount of codine than the 
prescription Tylenol with Codine.  Towns also have their dangers -- all the 
rich and fatty food binging can cause havoc with the digestive system.  
Coming back on the trail for the first day or two I suffered from diarriah 
and Imodium AD saved me many a time.  The first year our doctor gave us a 
prescription for Flagyl in case we got Giardia -- or any other parasite -- 
we never used it.  I suppose we could have gotten infected and never known 
it though.  

This year we treated our water with the Iodine crystals -- except for one 
time before Lone Pine.  Among its many uses, duct tape was great for foot 
blisters and sore ankles and araches!  We take Tea Tree Oil for cuts and 
sores, it is an anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial oil. The "Ti Tree" 
is a bush similar to a Cranberry bush and only grows in Australia.  This oil 
was used by the British during the Crimean War in their triage units because 
they couldn't get enough antibiotics to meet their needs.  The British found 
it to be very beneficial for all types of infections.  We found it to be 
soothing for cracked lips and mouth sores.  To brush our teeth we used 
peppermint oil -- it side benefits also help to sooth your stomach and 
leaves the mouth clean and fresh, we swollowed this instead of spitting it 
out! Darrell Fort introduced us to Compede -- worked good but if left on too 
long it was very hard to get off or it stuck to our socks and skin too well.
Benadryl in pill form and a stick for relief of bug bites also helped.  
Sunscreen was a must -- worse sunburns can come from the snow -- the 
underside of your chin and nose can burn very quickly!  I carried a tube of 
Vaseline Creamy lotion for feet, hands, and face.  A little vial of 
Citronella mixed in with the lotion was a great anti-bug deterrant -- be 
careful and don't get it into your eyes or an open sore as it will burn like 
crazy!  We also carried a pair of heavy duty nail clippers for trimming our 
toe nails -- all the downhill pounding can cause in grown nails -- so very 
painful.  Walt and I had an extra pair of Superfeet in our drift box and 
when we used that pair we bought another pair to send further up the trail -
- they were invaluable!

Happy Trails -- Pat

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