Camping, a great way to relax and unwind. Add a little hiking, fishing, backpacking and other fun outdoor activity to the list and you’ll get to enjoy and experience nature at its finest.
But like any other trip, camping in the great outdoors poses a threat to health and safety especially when you don’t take the necessary precautions.
The outdoors is an unpredictable place and all campers, new and experienced, must come prepared and must be extra careful to ensure everyone’s health and safety. And in turn, you’ll have a smooth, worry-free camping trip!
Follow these camping health and safety tips:
Assess yourself before the trip
Ideally at least a month before your planned trip, it is ideal to assess the level of your fitness and well-being to ensure that you are ready for camping, mentally and physically. Outdoor activities, including camping, involve exhibiting strength and stamina so it is important to be ready.
This is especially true when your trip falls on the winter season where you’ll be facing harsher elements, but no ma matter what the season is, you should be ready for your trip health-wise.
Another important thing to consider is to get updated on your vaccinations which will help protect you from diseases and other conditions while in the outdoors. Hepatitis A, meningitis, pertussis and tetanus are common vaccines prescribed by health experts for travelers of all ages.
Plan safe physical activities
Staying active while on a camping trip is a lot of fun but if you’re a first-timer or have little experience, choose activities that are on the safer side. Don’t go hiking, trekking, biking or swimming alone, do so with someone with experience or with the guidance of an expert.
Always bring water and wear protective gear such as life jackets, helmets and appropriate shoes. And it’s important to recognize your physical limits – rest or stop when you feel tired to avoid injuries and medical emergencies.
Remember, time spent outdoors (even without physical activities) is never wasted. After all, many people go camping just to relax, unwind and have fun around a campfire.
Take precautions against poisonous plants and insects
We all know that the woods or the mountains are home to hundreds of plants and insects, some of which may be harmful or poisonous. The most common insects you may encounter are mosquitoes and ticks, and both may carry infectious diseases.
Bring bug spray or insect repellent. If you come in contact with poisonous plants or flowers, quickly wash the infected area with cold water and apply calamine to avoid the spread of infection. Also have anti-bacterial ointment and allergy medicine ready in your first aid kit.
Know about wild animal encounter
When you see a wild animal, never approach, go near, feed or touch them. It is most ideal to just observe them from a safe distance. Some wildlife may carry diseases that can be harmful or even fatal to humans, on top of the possibility of an attack.
To avoid attracting wildlife to your campsite, always keep your food in tight, sealed containers. Keep them hidden and away from your tent.
Be aware about carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless toxic flammable gas that is harmful to both people and animals. A buildup of this gas can cause illness or even death.
To prevent this, never use any type of fuel-burning equipment inside your tent, camper or any enclosed area. This includes charcoal grills, heaters, gas stoves and fuel-burning lanterns.
Prevent temperature-related health problems
Our bodies adapt to the temperature of our surroundings, but if it gets too warm or too cold, we should take some precautions to protect our body. The key is to bring clothing and gear appropriate for the season of your camping trip.
To avoid hypothermia during cold nights, wear layers and protective gear like a hat, mittens, thick socks, a scarf and jackets. Use a sleeping bag that can handle the temperature and bring adequate bedding to keep you warm. Lastly, use a plastic ground cloth under your tent – this will help you stay dry.
On warm days, wear comfortable, lightweight and loose-fitting clothes. Keep yourself hydrated and avoid drinking beverages containing alcohol and too much sugar. Also, protect yourself from the sun – use a good sunscreen, wear a hat, put on sunglasses and stay in shaded areas.
Keep your food and water safe
When you go camping, it’s not about what type of food you eat, but how you pack it. The absence of a refrigerator will make food prone to spoilage, so handle food properly. Eating contaminated food and water will make you sick and will cause a lot of hassle.
Here are a few quick tips on how to keep your food and water safe while camping:
- Separate raw and cooked food and pack them in tight and sealed containers.
- Consume perishables first and keep any leftovers in a cooler.
- Make sure that food you cook (especially over a campfire) is thoroughly cooked.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before eating or handling food.
- Make sure that cooking and eating surfaces are always clean.
Before leaving for your trip, it’s important to so some research about your camp location – routes, policies, security etc. Check the weather forecast. Let your friends and family know where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone.
Pack important things like a fully-stocked first aid kit, your medications, map, GPS device, compass, flashlight, batteries, enough food and water and more.
Always be prepared for the unexpected. Always be careful and take precautions when you’re outdoors – follow these health and safety tips to ensure that your camping trip is smooth and worry-free!
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