Summer fun can turn painful

Staff writer

Fishing, camping, hiking and an assortment of other outdoor activities promise summer fun, but also carry risks.

Russell Groves of Hillsboro, a preparedness enthusiast, recommends several precautions before venturing out for a camping trip, hiking day, or the like.

One is to have a first aid kit along. His own first aid kit includes disinfectant as well as bandages and other routine items, Groves said.

Some people take along a snakebite kit in case they need to take immediate action when medical care isn’t handy.

Groves once encountered a rattlesnake in New Mexico, but was aware of the rattler long before he was close enough to be bitten.

Other types of snakes, such as copperheads, don’t give warning.

Falling or getting a foot caught in a crack is a lot more common than getting bitten by a critter.

Groves recommends planning ahead and keeping water in the vehicle, having items on hand to make a fire, and taking along any regular medications.

“Remember that civilization doesn’t reach out as far as you do at some times, and carry your little piece of it along with you,” Groves said. “Be mindful other people, too.”

Not everyone has good intentions toward others. Situational awareness is always a good idea, Groves said.

Kevin McCoy, assistant lake manager at Marion Reservoir, said any time someone goes outdoors there’s an inherent risk.

The more common injuries he sees are caused by falls. Often people come to the lake and need to be treated for sprained ankles. McCoy recommends knowing where the nearest medical facilities are.

“At the same time, when you’re out in any outdoor settings, you’re always dealing with wasps, bees, snakes, possums and raccoons, McCoy said. “There’s no way we can keep all the critters at bay and there’s no real reason we should.”

Certain plants can be an issue as well. Poison ivy, oak and sumac can trigger a medical emergency, as can any plant to which the person is allergic.

“When people come out they need to have that awareness that they’re not coming to an asphalt trailer park,” McCoy said.

Like Groves, McCoy recommends a basic first aid kit. Anyone who has a severe allergy should have an epinephrine pen in the first aid kit, he said.

Allergies to things like insect stings can provoke severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reactions despite previous reactions being milder, McCoy said.

“Minutes can matter,” McCoy said.

Last modified July 21, 2016