Camping trips are always a blast, but mother nature doesn’t have a readily available medicine cabinet or go-to hospital, which means that it’s crucial to do some planning and preparation to stay safe outdoors. Here’s a list of what we have found to be the most common health hazards to help you prepare for a fun and safe camping trip.
It is almost inevitable that if you combine people with nature, someone is going to fall sometime. Whether you are climbing a tree, scrambling up boulders, crossing a stream, or hiking a trail, you are putting yourself at the risk of letting gravity do its thing. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention found that falling is responsible for over fifty percent of nonfatal injuries to children, which means that you will need to keep some of the basic scratch and scrape materials on hand. Falling rarely leads to serious injuries and normally ends up in just the application of antibacterial solution and bandages, but you should at least know how to apply a splint to possible broken or sprained bones.
One of the most alarming things kids love about camping is the necessity to bring and use sharp objects they’ve been told to stay away from their whole life. Axes and knifes are essential camping tools that can offer a tremendous amount of help in preparing a fire, food, and even help in countless emergency situations. Nonetheless, accidents happen and cuts vary in severity. While you will most likely only need to have basic bandages and creams to clean the wound, it is always a good idea to prepare yourself and know how to treat deep gashes.
Campfires are one of the many joys that come with camping, but can also become dangerous if you are not careful. Be sure to teach everyone you camp with about fire safety so that you can keep it controlled and avoid getting burned. Experiencing more than a first degree burn is rare, but be prepared to treat or get help for second or third degree burns. For children it is especially dangerous because of their somewhat warped reaction. Whenever you touch something hot, you normally pull you hand away, but children often lack the reaction time and at times have walked through cooling coals and once their feet start to hurt, they just cry for help without getting out of the coals. Bring ointments and aloe to treat the first degree burns and a little research on what to do if it gets worse.
Sunburns are another form of burn that can reach the first, second, and third degrees. Bring lots of sunscreen and apply generously. Everyone wants a great tan until the sunburn comes.
It is rare to undergo heatstroke, but when it does happen it is normally because of dehydration. Bring lots of water and it may be gross, but make sure your pee is clear. The yellower it is, the more water you need to drink.
Cold, Flu, and Other Sicknesses
People get sick more than you expect in the summer because of common dehydration and a lack of nutrients. Pair that with all the germs from playing in groups or not washing dishes and bacteria can do it’s job. Be sure to again, drink as much water as you can along with keeping scheduled meal times to get all the needed nutrients.
Always find out what type of plants are native to the area you plan on visiting before you go camping. Plants that cause rashes and other negative reactions from the skin are quite common everywhere, so you will need to know what they look like to avoid them, and in case you do rub up against them, you will need to know how to treat your skin. Touching different dangerous plants like poison ivy, poison oak, stinging nettle, etc. can cause serious allergic outbreaks, so be sure to find out what type of plants to avoid.
Much like native plants, you need to find out what type of animals live in the area you plan to visit so you can prepare yourself what to look out for. Most of the time animals will leave you alone, but if you’re out in the afternoon lifting up boulders in rattlesnake territory, you’ll regret not doing a little more research on their habitat and how to respect it. In the case of poisonous snakes, learn how to use a tourniquet and stay within cell phone service or know where the rangers station is. Venomous snake bites are rare, but when they do happen, they can become fatal in hours.
Be sure to find out what insects are also in the area you plan to visit. Mosquitoes kill more people on earth than any other creature, so be sure to bring bug spray and learn how to treat ticks and spider bites. It also helps to know what to do in case of venomous spiders or scorpions if the campground you are heading to lists them as dangerous creatures in the area.