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Common Hiking Injuries & Encounters

Hiking is a great physical activity, which if completed injury-free makes the experience more delightful. Adventure and Risk go hand in hand; hence being cautious is the best way to avoid common hiking injuries & Encounters. Continue reading to know about them, how to avoid them & the Do’s and Don’ts in such situation.

Blisters:

Blisters are the most common hiking injury, which can make what was supposed to be a fun hike agonizing. Blisters arise out of friction, causing fluids to collect between irritated layers of skin and swell, eventually tearing and causing discomfort.

We have all likely gotten a blister while hiking, especially the first few times we wear a new pair of boots. They can be prevented before they even occur. You can avoid an unpleasant blister from popping up on your feet by simply tapping up the areas of your feet where you usually get them. Purchase the right socks and shoes to avoid friction of your shoes to skin. Keep your feet dry.

If you get a blister after taking these precautions, treat it by draining or cutting the blister, applying antibiotic ointment, and utilizing a Band-Aid.

Twisted ankle:

It is difficult to avoid twisted ankles if you hiking on an uneven trail that contains rocks, hidden obstacles, or slippery surfaces. While some twists can be fixed by the “walk it off” approach, others need a little more attention if you intend to finish your hike.  Don’t ignore the pain; if you think you may have strained a muscle, don’t keep going. Ignoring an injury and continuing to walk on it tends to make it worse.

To avoid such time-sucking injuries wear appropriate shoes with ankle protection. Apart from good hiking shoes with ankle support carrying a hiking stick or some kind of stabilizer will help you to balance your steps.

If you twist your ankle to the point that you require to be seated, elevate the injury. Make a proper ankle brace by wrapping the ankle with the under wrap, using the athletic tape to hold it in place, then create a stirrup with the athletic tape, wrapping it under your heel several times. Next, wrap the ankle in a figure-eight fashion with another piece of athletic tape, and repeat the procedure until the ankle feels secure. Consult the physician as you reach civilization.

Poisonous plants:

Brushing against Poison plants can cause poison rashes. It is difficult to identify such plants in thick vegetation hence it is best to avoid trailing through thick vegetation. The best way to protect your skin is by covering it with long sleeves clothes and high socks.

If you do step into an unexpected grove of these poisonous plants apply some Calamine as it will help lessen irritation to an extent. Avoid scratching and leave blisters alone. As soon as you reach home, immediately rinse your skin with lukewarm, soapy water. Wash your clothing and things which might have the remains.

Sunburn:

Sunburn is one of the leading hiking injuries sustained, even striking on cloudy days. Sunburn can be avoided by wearing long sleeves and pants, even when it is warm outside. Wear lightweight, moisture-wicking material to avoid feeling too uncomfortable when the sun turns up the heat. Apply sunscreen before you begin your hike and periodically throughout the day. Pay special attention to reapplying after sweating or getting in bodies of water. If you do end up with sunburn, products containing Aloe Vera will help soothe your sensitive skin.

Bug bites:

Another common foe in the fight against people spending time outdoors is any kind of biting, stinging, or generally annoying insect. Ranging from gnats to mosquitoes, the best way to prevent is by wearing clothing that covers the entire skin.  Use repellents from natural solutions with product lines that contain DEET. Keep a Calamine Lotion will reduce your instinct to itch and re-aggravate the bite marks in case of bite

Muscle cramping:

Cramping is another common hiking injury that is commonly produced by dehydration. Make sure you are drinking a lot of water to avoid it. Stretching before your big hike will be a great help. Still if you find yourself yielding a nasty cramp, stretching the cramp prone area will help in reducing some pain. Keep sipping electrolyte-dense sports drink.

Bee Attacks:

While most people worry about being mauled by a bear or attacked by a mountain lion, it is actually insects that should be feared most. Bees, wasps, and hornet stings are responsible for more fatalities than snakes, spiders, and scorpions combined.

Some individuals are hyper-sensitive to bee stings, a single sting can turn life-threatening for them. If you are hyper-sensitive to bee sings or other insect stings, check with your doctor and make sure you bring an emergency insect sting allergy kit. Make sure to check the expiration date of the medications in your kit prior to hiking.

Bees are attracted to sweet smells as well as they are equally repulsed by pungent smells avoid wearing strong perfumes, deodorant’s, hand sanitizers. Close any opening in your clothes that could trap bees between your skin and clothing.

If bees attack occurs, don’t freeze. Run away if you are easily accessible to shelter. Protect your face as you run. Use your shirt pulled over your face or your arms protect your eyes and sensitive head areas. Do not swat at the bees or flail your arms. Bees are attracted to movement and crushed bees emit a smell of bananas that will attract more bees.

If you cannot find shelter use any cover on hand like blankets, sleeping bags, clothes, get into a tent or anything that can cover you up and provide shelter. Running through bushes or high weeds might also help provide some cover.

When a bee stings it leaves stinger into your skin. Remove all stingers by scraping it out sideways using your fingernail or the edge of a credit card, a dull knife blade or other straight-edged object. Do not pull stingers out with tweezers or your fingers.

Exhaustion:

A little exhaustion is part of your experience while hiking, it indicates that you are pushing yourself into new territories and will offer perhaps some of the best sleep you’ll ever experience at the end of the day. But taking exhaustion too far out in the wild and you could find yourself in a tough situation. A common cause of exhaustion is dehydration and improper nutrition. While hiking, you are burning a lot of calories and your body needs a lot of fuel. Carry calorie-dense but light food with you, plan your water sources before you go out.

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