Careful camping requires proper planning

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: July 2nd, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

For some adventurous Americans, circling the wagons for summer fun means leaving crowded hotels and amusement parks in the dust and hitting the rustic backwoods. In fact, according to the Travel Industry Association, one-third of U-S adults surveyed have gone camping in the previous five years.

But with vacationing on the wild side comes the need to prevent and know how to properly treat common camping injuries. Trauma experts say burns, falls and snakebites constitute many camping-related mishaps.

Burn injuries often occur when children fall into or walk through campfires. Adult campers should be sure to put a retaining ring around the campsite fire pit and discourage horsing around anywhere near the fire. To prevent a myriad of injuries, children should always have proper footwear.

Adventurers should also come prepared with first-aid and snakebite kits, and all adults should know how to properly use it before venturing far afield. A large cache of sunscreen and bug repellents is a must as well. The sun is stronger at higher elevations and bugs generally fiercer as the woods thicken.

Don’t store food in your tent unless you want some critter company. In bear country, that could mean you end up being the food instead of eating it.

Serious campers also know cell phones often don’t work way out in the wild, so identify the location of the nearest ranger station.

Packing a little common sense along with your sleeping bag will ensure you come home a happy camper.