3 Most Common Outdoors Injuries and Ailments

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3 Most Common Outdoors Injuries and Ailments

It may still be spring, but the summer heat is already creeping in. For most of us, that means it’s time to head outdoors and explore.

But a wilderness adventure can turn dangerous, even deadly, if you’re not aware of your surroundings and taking necessary safety precautions. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most common outdoor injuries and how you can protect against them.

Lacerations and Open Wounds

While scratches are common enough if you’re outdoors, hiking or camping, some lacerations and wounds may be deep enough to require stitches or even emergency intervention. Look for the following signs to determine if your laceration may need a physician’s immediate attention.

  • Wound gapes open and won’t close
  • Wound continues to bleed, even with applied pressure
  • Wound is deep enough that it exposes your yellow fatty tissue
  • If wound is caused by an animal or human bite
  • If wound was caused by an impaling object, like a metal rod or barbed fence

If you’ve been bitten by an animal or human, you’ll need to seek immediate medical attention and possibly be treated with antibiotics. If your wound was caused by a metal object, you may need a tetanus booster shot. If the metal object is still stuck in the wound, do not remove it – the object could be blocking bleeding. Wait until your physician can determine if it’s safe to be removed in an emergency facility.

It’s also important to remember that a wound or laceration doesn’t need to be deep or bleed profusely to require a physician’s attention. Becoming wounded while outdoors exposes your body to millions of potentially harmful germs. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible will limit your risk of infection. Call 911 if you’re immobilized.

Broken and Sprained Bones

Broken and sprained bones aren’t rare injuries, but if you’re in the wilderness, they can be very dangerous – especially if they leave you immobile. Here’s how you can temporarily treat a broken or sprained bone.

Stop bleeding. With a clean cloth, apply pressure to the wound if there’s bleeding. If the bone is sticking out from the skin, avoid touching it.

Apply a splint. Tape the broken or sprained bone to a long, stiff object (rolled up newspaper, stick, clothing, etc.) and try to include the joint above and below the injury. This will allow for the most stability.

Reduce swelling. If available, use a cold compress for sprains. Elevate the injured limb to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Seek immediate medical attention. You should never wait to seek medical attention if you or a companion are significantly injured. Even if you suspect it’s only a sprain, the injury could be worse than you may have initially thought and walking around can cause further damage. Call 911 if you’re unable to drive yourself.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is an incredibly dangerous condition that requires immediate emergency intervention. Before you go into full-on heat shock, or heat stroke, you’ll likely experience symptoms that can help to warn you. Watch for these tell-tale signs of heat shock.

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting and headache
  • Rapid heartbeat, which can feel faint or intense
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of sweat, despite heat

Don’t wait until your condition has worsened. As soon as you begin to notice these symptoms, go into shade and sit down, with your legs slightly elevated. Drink water and apply a cool rag to the back or your neck, forehead and wrists.

Summer is a time for making memories. Don’t miss out on making any because you’re not prepared for possible injuries. Want to learn more about outdoors preparedness? Visit this page.

Do you have any fun summer trips planned? Let us know!

Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit The Colony ER or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.