Getting outdoors, whether it be hiking, cycling, or just going for strolls in the woods, is something that this author sincerely recommends. It has been so long since our governments actively encouraged us to go outdoors, and now we can, why not take full advantage of it and gain a new appreciation for nature? Sure, going to the cinema and into the city center for a bit of shopping is fun, but what’s really fun is appreciating the natural beauty that lies just beyond our homes and workplaces. Nature is there for everybody; it is safe, it is non-judgemental.
In today’s article, I am going to be telling you about the injuries that you need to watch out for while in the great outdoors. Some injuries are more common than others, so by knowing what these are, and how to prevent them, you will be able to ensure that your trip outdoors goes problem-free. An injury while hiking or outdoors can be very problematic, especially if you are far from any towns, villages, or cities, and you might not have a signal on your phone. To avoid this, take into consideration all of the injuries listed here, and figure out how you can avoid them.
Here are the injuries you need to avoid while outdoors.
The Most Common Injuries Outdoors
The most common injuries you might typically experience while going outdoors are:
- Bug Bites
- Animal Attacks
- Broken limbs
Your First Aid Kit
Prevention is always better than cure, but sometimes, you are only given the option to cure. Your first aid kit should always contain the following:
- Bandages, and lots of them;
- Ibuprofen and paracetamol;
- Plasters for small cuts and blisters;
- Duct tape and medical tape;
- Safety pins to finish a bandage;
- Antiseptic cream or liquid;
- Anti-bug spray;
- A high-visibility jacket if you are walking roads at night;
- A space blanket;
Hypothermia is a very serious injury that can occur in cold climates. Hypothermia is when your body cools far beyond what is normal or healthy. To avoid hypothermia, you should plan your trip properly, meaning that if you intend on being out in the cold, that you have places to go for shelter. You should also know the route you are intending on taking so that you do not need to keep stopping and checking your map. You must always wear appropriate equipment and clothes that will keep you warm and dry. You should also ensure that the contents of your backpack stay dry, too, if it is raining.
Hyperthermia is the opposite of hypothermia. It is when your body’s temperature increases beyond what is normal and what is healthy. To avoid this, you will want to consume lots of fluids during your hike (not too much though, because that can be a problem in and of itself). You will also want to wear protective equipment, like a hat, for example, to prevent the sun from beating down on your head.
Bug bites are also very difficult to avoid, especially if you are deep in the woods, where you will find large concentrations of bugs. Bug repellent is one way to avoid bugs, though they may still bite you unexpectedly. You need to find a bug repellent tailored to the region that you are in, as not all repellents work everywhere that you go. You can invest in a mosquito net also. If you are bitten by a bug, do not scratch the bites as this can lead to infection and potentially diseases getting into your bloodstream.
Unfortunately, many people are attacked every single year when outdoors by animals, say a dog for example. The dog’s owner will be found liable if their dog bites someone, while if a wild animal bites you, you will not receive compensation or otherwise. Animal attacks can be incredibly traumatic and quite scary. They can also be fatal. If you are attacked by an animal or an animal is charging you, in most cases, it is best to get as far away from them as possible. You will also want to call an ambulance immediately. If you cannot, then you will want to dress your wounds and get to help immediately.
Blisters are, in many cases, completely unavoidable. There are some ways you can reduce the severity of them or the likelihood that you are going to get them through. Blisters are often caused by the friction between shoes and your feet, or socks that do not fit. One way to prevent blisters is to make sure that your socks do not slip up and down while you are walking – you can do this by investing in hiking boots that fit tightly and wrap around your foot. You do not want them to be too tight though, as you do need a little bit of room inside.
Before setting out on a hike, you need to break your boots in. A lot of people get massive blisters solely because they do not break in their boots before they wear them for the first time. You also want to make sure that your feet stay dry, as damp and wet feet are more susceptible to blisters, and to infection.
Cuts are very common and are the most common injury outdoors. They range in severity, from insignificant to hospital worthy. They are quite hard to prevent, as they often happen completely by chance and accident, on the most unlikely of things. If you do get a severe cut, then you will need a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, and you will need to wrap it tightly around the wound. For smaller cuts, all that you need is plaster and some antiseptic spray.
Sprains, like blisters, can be unavoidable. Sprains occur when hiking, cycling, or doing anything strenuous. A good way to avoid a sprain is to wear boots with ankle supports and to take great care when you are working on hilly or uneven ground. Many people bring walking sticks, for this reason, to provide support so that they do not fall or trip. A good pair of boots, combined with a walking stick, provide support and stability.
Sprains are often unavoidable. If one does occur, then you need to rest, put ice on it, apply compression, and elevate it. If you follow this technique, your sprain will heal. To get walking again, at least to your car, use your walking stick to stabilize yourself, and if you have a friend, get them to support you back to your car.
Dehydration is shockingly common but incredibly easy to prevent. I mean, really, the only piece of advice that I can give you is, well, drink more water! If you are setting out on a hike, you need to ensure that you bring enough water to sustain yourself with you. You don’t want to go for a long hike with, say, half a liter of water, because you will definitely not make it to the end, and will likely end up in desperate need of water. The symptoms of dehydration are feeling thirstier than you regularly would, extreme fatigue, dark yellow urine, and excruciating headaches.
Sunburn is a condition that, while not necessarily life-threatening, can cause you great pain. Sunburn can be prevented by always carrying sunblock around with you. You should also wear a hat or a cap, to stop the sun rays from beating down on you directly. Sunburn can be a very irritating injury, and it is one that can be incredibly difficult to treat. One of the best methods, and a personal favorite of mine, is aloe vera gel.
Broken limbs are also very common but can be avoided by being careful. They most often occur much in the same way that sprains occur, though they can also occur if you fall from tall heights. Broken limbs can be incredibly painful and very traumatic, especially if you are far from anywhere civilized and alone. Broken limbs should be taken very seriously and must not be taken lightly; you must dress and treat your wound and call for help. If you cannot call for help, then it is best to make yourself visible and call out for passers-by to help you.
Whenever you are going outdoors, it is a good idea to bring a phone with you. Bringing a phone along with you will enable you to call for help should you need it. If you do not have a signal, however, then you may be in a spot of bother, in which case you can bring a GPS tracker with you, which you can activate and can notify your family or friends that you are in trouble. Always bring some kind of device with you that will tell people if you are in trouble.
Getting outdoors is something we sincerely recommend, especially since most of us have been locked up indoors for the last year! Thank you for visiting us, and more importantly, thank you for reading today’s article.