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Typical dangers of camping

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is particularly dangerous because it can creep up on you slowly and insidiously. The first symptom is usually shivering, which is quickly followed by slurred speech, impaired coordination, and drowsiness. If not treated immediately, hypothermia can progress to muscle rigidity, unconsciousness, and eventually death.

Most cases of hypothermia occur in the winter, when cold temperatures and strong winds make it difficult to stay warm. But it can also occur in the summer, especially at high altitudes or in bodies of water.

People who are young, old, or who have chronic medical conditions are at greater risk for hypothermia. But even healthy people can develop hypothermia if they’re not properly dressed for the conditions or if they become wet or exhausted.

There are three stages of hypothermia: mild, moderate, and severe.

Mild hypothermia

Mild hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls to between 95 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, you’ll probably start to feel cold and your heart rate and breathing will slow. You may also develop goose bumps and feel dizzy or lightheaded.

Moderate hypothermia

Moderate hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls to between 90 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, you’ll likely stop shivering and your skin will turn blue or pale. You may also feel very sleepy and have difficulty speaking. Your heart rate and breathing will slow down significantly and you may begin to lose consciousness.

Severe hypothermia

Severe hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls to below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, you’ll stop shivering entirely and may become unconscious. Your heartbeat and breathing will become very slow and shallow and you may die if not treated immediately.

Hypothermia is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. If you suspect that someone has hypothermia, call for medical help right away and take steps to warm the person slowly and carefully.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your body doesn’t have enough fluid to function properly. It can be caused by losing too much fluid through sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea; not drinking enough fluids; or exposure to high temperatures.

Dehydration can lead to serious complications, including heatstroke, seizures, and kidney failure. It can also be fatal.

The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when it’s hot or when you’re sweating profusely. Sports drinks can also be helpful in replenishing electrolytes lost through sweating.

Sunburn

Sunburn is a type of radiation burn that occurs when your skin is exposed to too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. UV radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation that is invisible to the human eye but can be harmful to the skin.

Sunburn can cause red, swollen, painful skin that is hot to the touch. It can also lead to blistering, peeling, and long-term skin damage. In severe cases, sunburn can cause fever, nausea, and dehydration.

Sunburn is most common during the summer months when the sun’s rays are strongest. But it can occur any time of year, even in the winter, if you’re exposed to UV radiation from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds and sun lamps.

The best way to prevent sunburn is to avoid exposure to UV radiation by staying out of the sun, wearing protective clothing, and using sunscreen with a high SPF rating.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites are annoying and can be painful, but they usually aren’t serious. However, mosquitoes can transmit diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, and dengue fever. So it’s important to take steps to prevent mosquito bites whenever possible.

There are several things you can do to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Stay in areas that are free of standing water
  • Avoid being outdoors during peak mosquito biting hours (dusk to dawn)

If you do get bitten by a mosquito, there are a few things you can do to relieve the itching:

  • Apply a cold compress
  • Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream
  • Take an antihistamine

Bear Attacks

Though bear attacks are rare, they do happen. And when they do, they can be fatal. That’s why it’s important to know what to do if you encounter a bear in the wild.

There are three types of bears found in North America: black bears, grizzly bears, and polar bears. Black bears are the most common and are found in forested areas throughout the United States and Canada. Grizzly bears are larger and more aggressive than black bears and are found in western Canada and Alaska. Polar bears are the largest type of bear and are only found in polar regions such as the Arctic Circle.

If you see a bear in the wild, the best thing to do is to stay calm and avoid sudden movements that might startle the bear. If the bear does not see you, slowly back away from the area while keeping your eyes on the bear. If the bear does see you, stand your ground and don’t run away – bears can run up to 35 miles per hour!

If the bear is acting aggressively (charging towards you, making loud noises, etc.), try to make yourself appear as large as possible by waving your arms above your head or spreading your legs apart. You can also try making loud noises by yelling or banging on pots and pans.

If the bear attacks, fight back! Use whatever you have at hand – a stick, a rock, your fists – anything that might help deter the bear long enough for you to escape. Try to focus your blows on the bear’s face and muzzle as this is their most sensitive area.

Thomas is out and about in the great outdoors a lot on his bike or motorcycle. He likes to spend the night outdoors on his tours. Here he shares his product recommendations with you.