DON'T GET SICK: THE HIDDEN DANGERS OF HIKING & CAMPING


 

Don't Get Sick

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How To Wash Your Hands Correctly in the Wilderness

  1. Wet hands thoroughly.
  2. Add a small amount of germicidal soap.
  3. Work lather up and scrub with a fingernail brush, especially fingertips, for thirty seconds to one minute.
  4. Clean under fingertips (and keep your nails trimmed).
  5. Rinse thoroughly.
  6. Resoap and relather.
  7. Rerinse.
  8. Dry.

Health hint:
Save a bandana exclusively for drying your hands after a good washing, or carry a small absorbent towel. Commercially available towels that pack easily and absorb large quantities of water are available in outdoor specialty stores.

Health hint:
Some products advertised for quick hand sanitation are basically pure rubbing alcohol or are made with rather potent chemicals that are very harsh to your skin. Although these products are appropriate for incidental use, regular use may actually degrade the quality of your skin. Microscopic cracks and tears in skin and cuticles can promote, sometimes actually increase, the growth of undesirable life forms. If you choose an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, be safe by choosing one with an added moisturizer.

--Adapted from Don't Get Sick: The Hidden Dangers of Camping and Hiking, ©2002; by Buck Tilton, M.S. and Rick Powell, M.D., published by The Mountaineers Books.

 


How to Protect Yourself From Hantavirus

  • Avoid contact with all rodents and their burrows.
  • Do not use enclosed shelters, such as old cabins.
  • Do not pitch tents or place sleeping bags near rodent burrows.
  • Use tents with floors or sleep on ground tarps that extend 2 to 3 feet (.6-.9 meter) beyond sleeping bags.
  • Hang food out of reach of hungry rodents, and well away from sleeping areas.
  • Promptly and appropriately dispose of all trash and garbage to discourage rodents from visiting your camp in search of easy pickin's.

 

--Adapted from Don't Get Sick: The Hidden Dangers of Camping and Hiking, ©2002; by Buck Tilton, M.S. and Rick Powell, M.D., published by The Mountaineers Books.

 


Protecting Yourself in Tick Country

  • Do not camp in places where you know ticks are running rampant.
  • Avoid contact with brush whenever possible.
  • Wear light-colored clothing.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked inside a pair of high socks.
  • Apply a permethrin-based tick repellent to clothing prior to exposure, with particular attention to the ends of shirt sleeves and pants, and about the collar area.
  • Apply a repellent containing DEET (a concentration of no greater than 35 percent is recommended) to exposed areas of skin.
  • Perform twice-daily (morning and evening), full-body inspection for ticks and immediately remove all free-ranging and embedded ticks. The tick seen early is the tick picked off before it finds your blood.

 

--Adapted from Don't Get Sick: The Hidden Dangers of Camping and Hiking, ©2002; by Buck Tilton, M.S. and Rick Powell, M.D., published by The Mountaineers Books.

 
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