Questions related to staying healthy or dealing with health issues during outdoor activities. Answers given here are not intended as a replacement for professional medical advice. Please do not use this tag to ask for specific medical advice. A Dr should always be consulted to confirm any advice ...

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9
votes
2answers
115 views

How can I recuperate between two long walks

I am planning to walk the 87 mile length of the Ridgeway National Trail (South England) in two days at the end of April. I shall be walking about 47 miles one day, from approx 6am to 9pm. I'll be ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the most effective means of melting snow with body heat for drinking?

The related question Is it safe to drink snow? tells us that in addtion to then normal considerations for any wild water source, you also need to consider how the snow may tip your metabolism into ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it safe to drink snow?

If it snows, is it safe to drink the water when it melts? What sickness can I get from snow? I am in Europe and would like to know for here, but other places would be interesting too.
8
votes
2answers
71 views

How fast do you lose heat in cold water immersion?

This question was prompted by PaulD's question about hypothermia prevention after a falling into icy water. A subsequent answer by Roddy stated that the immediate danger of cold water immersion is not ...
14
votes
2answers
106 views

What are the different stages of frostbite?

My brother and I were out backcountry sled-skiing yesterday, and my brother froze his feet in his new ski-boots. We were sitting at just above 2000m, my brother had his boots off and was trying to ...
5
votes
1answer
50 views

How effective are mosquito repellents for people who are mosquito magnets?

This question asks "What type of mosquito repellent is the most effective?". It's a great question. Now that we may have an idea about what is best to use, I want to know how effective are even the ...
6
votes
1answer
113 views

How to deal with a tooth infection?

Caries and other similar disease can be a painful threat. It even can be a danger to life if not threatened over several months. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled ...
1
vote
3answers
366 views

In an emergency situation, is it healthy to eat human flesh?

We all know these scary stories where people had to eat their fellow sufferers after a plane crash or something. I don't know if there is even one of them true. I feel like it might result into more ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Is it a good idea to eat snow? [duplicate]

I'm in a survival situation in the mountains and I'm short of water. I don't have anything but the snow around me. As far as I know you should avoid "eating" snow cause it cools you down too much. ...
0
votes
0answers
16 views

Is it a good idea to drink your own urine [duplicate]

I mean, we all know the famous "Bear Grylls" scene where he drinks his own urine. I've ever wondered if it's a good idea to do so if you are in such a situation? My thought was that it can't be a ...
6
votes
1answer
518 views

How much sea water can I safely drink?

Anyone who has played in the ocean knows getting a little sea water in your mouth and swallowing it will not kill you. Seawater contains salt. When humans drink seawater, their cells are thus ...
7
votes
2answers
93 views

Are there any contaminates that become more toxic when boiled?

The answers at How long does water need to be boiled for to kill all bacteria / viruses? indicates that boiling water kills bacteria & viruses. But boiling does not remove any chemical ...
0
votes
0answers
62 views

Sharp knee pain when going up and down stairs/bending my knee after my first backpacking trip [duplicate]

This past weekend, I went on my first backpacking trip. The last 5 miles were all straight down hill which caused a lot of knee pain. Now, three days later, I still have excruciating, stabbing pain ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How dangerous is it to walk with wet feet in cold terrain?

Let us say we have around 0 degrees celsius and I have wet feet and I am in the middle of nowhere (let us say 2 days away from any civilisation). On the one hand people say it is no problem to walk in ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

What is the knee pain beneath and under the kneecap from hiking up and down inclines? [duplicate]

I've been walking for exercise for four years now, with no problems. Now I've moved to a hilly location, and I thought the inclines, up and down, would be a great addition to my flat land walking. ...
7
votes
2answers
249 views

How much side protection should sunglasses have?

I have noticed that most sunglasses leave quite a bit of gap on the side and only cover the "front" of the eyes. Does this give adequate UV protection, or are these types of sunglasses mostly "fashion ...
6
votes
2answers
405 views

Continue a hike when legs start cramping

Yesterday I was hiking in partly deep snow where postholing was inevitable. I had no problems until one moment when I was getting cramps in the femoral. Luckily it was close to the end of my tour and ...
9
votes
3answers
952 views

Delayed muscle ache after boulder session

The last weeks I observed couple times that I am getting stiffness/muscle ache in the upper arms after a boulder session. What's special about this is that it is very delayed. For example I went to ...
10
votes
2answers
621 views

How to get pine sap off my teeth

I wanted to emulate old sap gum but it seems I have chewed some sap that was premature. Now it has covered my gums and teeth. How on earth do I remove this stuff? What I have tried: Brushing (slow, ...
8
votes
2answers
6k views

Preventing heat rash around ankles and shins?

I'm currently hitchhiking in South East Asia where it's of course always hot. I'm getting a rash around my ankles that I've had in the past but never looked into. In Australia I guess we would call ...
2
votes
4answers
263 views

Wear a Shirt(and sunscreen) or (just) Sunscreen

Is it a viable practice to not wear a shirt, as long as you smear your body with sunscreen if you plan to go hiking for hours(assuming reapplication)? Or is it advised to wear a shirt at all times and ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

Are Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel truly toxic to burn in a campfire?

For a very long time now, I've believed and taught that burning Rhododendron or Mountain Laurel in a campfire will make you sick because of the toxins in these plants becoming airborne then inhaled ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

Knee pain when descending a mountain

It's been said by a specialist doctor that any form of mountain descent would affect your knee caps. Do old mountaineers have knee problems? Is it related to the way you descend?
8
votes
1answer
117 views

What are the most common stinging plants to be aware of in North America?

What are the most common plants that can cause rashes when touched in North America? What are the most important ones to be aware of and avoid? Before coming to the US I was only familiar with the ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Is saltwater antiseptic?

On some occasions you don´t have anything to desinfect wounds, for example during a (short) walk along the beach. If you cut yourself or have a an small wound that needs cleaning, would it be wise to ...
2
votes
2answers
397 views

What should I do with possible frostbite: Swollen feet after putting them in warm water

My feet were frostbite, so I put my feet in hot water when I got home. Ice was forming in my shoe. After I put my feet in the water they puffed up A LOT, they were badly swollen!!! Should I get ...
13
votes
5answers
4k views

Does low blood pressure have an effect on Acute Mountain Sickness?

This question in some ways is related to this question asked by JollySin. When I did my first Himalayan trek, my guide there had told me that those with a low blood pressure (BP) are more susceptible ...
14
votes
5answers
475 views

Are headaches a bad sign at altitude?

Last weekend, we had a nice hike up Price Peak in the Sierras. We went from sea level to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) in about 6 hours. And I had a ROARING headache. I could hear my heart beat in my ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Where should a band be tied to stop bleeding from wound?

I asked this question on Biology.SE but they directed me toward this site. Suppose a leg is wounded (either from a gunshot or a knife) and there is significant bleeding. We see in movies that a ...
4
votes
1answer
765 views

What is the longest time you can go, eating only freeze-dried food?

As a former member of the Swedish home guard youth, I was told during a survival exercise that you could eat only freeze-dried food for about two weeks. Young and green as I was, I swallowed the ...
6
votes
1answer
106 views

What do you do for sun allergy?

My wife gets itchy hives if you stays out under the hot sun for too long. They go away within a day but is uncomfortable. I am wondering if anyone else who loves the outdoors experiences this and ...
6
votes
6answers
4k views

What's the problem with electrolyte imbalance and how do I mitigate it?

In the past week I've seen two answers mentioning electrolytes; one about the grand canyon and one in an answer on a question that was actually about wildlife, but where other desert dangers were ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

How should I remove a leech?

Once a leech is attached, what is the proper way to remove it? (I'm assuming that the method would generic for all leeches, but if there are special kinds, please note that).
25
votes
11answers
56k views

What is this knee pain when going downhill?

I can hike uphill practically all day. However as very soon after I start a descent, pain builds on the outside of my knee. What is causing this and can I do anything to prevent/mitigate it (other ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Is freeze-dried food healthy?

I've recently heard an opinion (from a sailor that attempted to beat a 122 day, westward route, around the world sailing record) that freeze-dried food is actually very healthy, as it contains less ...
20
votes
7answers
426 views

How to minimize sea sickness?

I love sailing, and my wife loves the ocean, but she gets sea-sick often. Any advice on how to avoid sea-sickness in people prone to it? I'm looking for advice in terms of foods that are less of an ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Should I be more careful about postholing during winter hikes?

This weekend I am going to do one of my favorite things: winter hiking in the Sierras. When I say "hiking", I mean that though we might be trodding up a mountain in the snow, it is not real ...
14
votes
1answer
207 views

Is there simple guidance on sunburn risk associated with altitude?

When skiing, if the weather is good, I often come back with a better tan than if I have been at the beach. Obviously with altitude, there is less blocking of UV rays by the atmosphere. But how much ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

How harmful is the rising/setting sun?

Often, while hiking, my companions and I treat the very early/late sun as being less harmful (as far as skin cancer and UV radiation are concerned). For example, we might not apply sunscreen ...
20
votes
2answers
14k views

Is it possible to sunburn through clothing?

I sat for 45 minutes last summer in the hot sun (100°F/38°C). I was pinned in on the bleachers so I wasn't able to get up and move. I could feel the sun burning through my pants. Now I have everyday ...
20
votes
2answers
289 views

A little bit of acclimatisation or no acclimatisation at all?

This summer I'm planning to mount my first 4000 m mountain in Switzerland. So far I only got around 3300 meters while hiking and had no problems. However 4000 meter an above is definitively a ...
3
votes
1answer
668 views

How can I relieve knee muscle contractions?

Often times I find myself with cramps in the muscles on the sides of my knees (or the ligaments, I am not sure which). This happens most often during or after a sustained inclined climb. What should I ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Are barberries edible?

Barberries are so common around here that there would be enough for a fruit serving a day for quite a while. But there is a problem: I do not know whether or not they are edible. Are they edible in ...
18
votes
2answers
18k views

What's the UPF of a T-Shirt or jeans?

Many outdoor clothing items advertise themselves with a UPF (Ultraviolet protection factor) of 30 or even 50. How does that compare with a normal cotton T-Shirt or a pair of jeans? Do I have to use ...
13
votes
5answers
9k views

Prevent mosquito bites: insect repellent patch or just eat vitamin B1?

I'd like to use natural malaria prevention. Insect repellent patch seems to be very promising. One patch contains 75 mg of B1 and covers 36 hours. However, it's not very cheap. Many other travellers ...
13
votes
3answers
702 views

What are the vitamin considerations for extended backpacking

For short hikes you can generally ignore nutritional concerns, because you don't generally become malnourished in two days. However, for a long trip like the Appalachian Trail or other long hikes (at ...
17
votes
2answers
4k views

Raw meat on hikes

When backpacking we often carry raw beef which we have salted and frozen, usually cut into strips that can be easily cooked through. I'm confident that this is good for 24 hours, and I know that meat ...
33
votes
11answers
30k views

How to harden feet to avoid blisters on long hikes

I've enjoyed hiking my entire life but I have one huge problem. The skin on my feet is extremely soft and sensitive. I wear good wool socks with properly fitting boots and change socks during long ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

How bad do circumstances need to be before activating a PLB?

Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) can be carried during outdoor activities to use in case of an emergency. But are there any guidelines on what exactly constitutes an "emergency"? For example, what ...
14
votes
2answers
15k views

How should you wash clothes after exposure to poison oak/ivy/sumac?

I have heard that the oils from poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac can remain on clothes even through a wash cycle. After hiking through an area with poison ivy (or poison oak/poison sumac), how ...