Camping can be great way to relax as a fun hobby that you can share with your family or friends. Whether you are a scout or a weekend warrior, camping can be a fulfilling experience. Just like with any endeavor however, safety has to come first. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Boy Scouts of America recommend a few tips on safety. Before you head out on your next camping trip make sure you have all your bases covered.
Vaccinations will protect you and your family from being exposed to most viruses or diseases. Consult your physician to find out which vaccinations would be best for you depending on your destination. Let the physician know where you are headed in case you need vaccinations such as tetanus, meningitis, or hepatitis. These vaccinations will be dependent on your medical history among other factors.
2. Prepare Food And Water
If you know you will be in an area with contaminated food and water it is prudent to be prepared and follow a few hygiene rules.
Keep your food away from other items in a waterproof container or zip lock baggie. Wash or sanitize your hands as much as possible. If you plan to cook at your campfire keep the raw and cooked foods separate from each other.
3. Learn To Recognize Poisonous Plants
Know what poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac look like. Pack a first aid kit with your camping gear including anti-histamine like Benadryl and anti-itch cream or hydrocortisone cream in case of exposure.
4. Stay Away From Wild Animals
Wild animals are a concern to campers although they normally will not bother you unless they are attracted to your campsite for some reason. Keep all foods sealed tightly in containers. Only camp in areas that you know to be safe and are not heavily populated with wild animals.
5. Use Insect Repellent
Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes, among other insects can spread diseases and other viruses. Use mosquito netting as much as possible while you sleep especially if you use a hammock. Apply insect repellent on your skin to prevent insect bites and keep exposed areas covered as much as possible if you are in an area dense with insects.
6. Use Sunscreen
Even if you are not camping in the desert you should still use sunscreen anytime you are outdoors. Skin cancer is very serious and can be preventable by using a sunscreen every day.
Use one with both UVA and UVB protection broad spectrum protection. Always be prepared with a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and a bottle of aloe vera gel to help with mild sunburn. When the sun’s rays are the strongest, seek shade and wear clothing over exposed skin to prevent burns.
7. Never Swim Alone
Camping can be a lot of fun especially if you are near the water. Whether it is a pond, lake, or ocean, you should still be careful. Never swim alone. If you plan to ride in a boat or canoe, wear a life jacket.
8. Watch For Storms
The National Weather Service recommends that when you hear thunder you should seek shelter immediately. Get inside of a safe building or vehicle if at all possible. Stay in your tent if that is the only thing you have with you at your campsite when a storm begins. Stay inside at least 30 minutes after you hear the last rumble of thunder before going back out.
9. Keep An Eye On Children
If you are camping as a family or as a scouting adventure, make sure your children know what to do if they become lost during the camping trip. Teach them to remain calm and not to panic. They should remain on the trail if they were following one until help arrives. If it is nightfall, lost campers should stay where they are as roaming around in the dark can lead to accidents.
10. Make Camp Before Dark
Always stop and make your camp before darkness has set in to prevent accidents. Falls and other emergencies have occurred when campers travel at night.
Only travel during daylight hours. The U.S. Forest Service recommends you carrying the following essentials when camping:
- First aid kit
- Foil (to use as a signal device)
- Insect repellent
- Pocket knife
- Pocket mirror (to use as a signal device)
- Radio with batteries
- Trash bag (can also be used as a poncho)
- Waterproof matches
In order to have a safe and fun-filled trip, follow these tips on your next camping adventure. It is always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.