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
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1answer
115 views

Can you pre-identify the risk of severe Altitude sickness?

This BBC news article Mount Everest: Altitude sickness claims third death in four days caught my attention. From what I understand the best cure for Altitude sickness is to get lower, fast. This is ...
33
votes
3answers
2k views

How to treat a severe allergic reaction while hiking?

Suppose you are out hiking, many hours from the trail head and someone has a severe allergic reaction (ie, anaphylactic shock or Anaphylaxis). In this case, what is the best course of treatment to ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Is a 1960's flask safe to use every day?

I've got a 1960's flask. Can it still be used safely? It's in very good condition with no rust or flaking at all. I've cleaned it well and it seems to be OK.
1
vote
1answer
91 views

Most common infectious diseases acquired in the wilderness?

People traveling in the wilderness can acquire infectious diseases. These can be caused by organisms such bacteria, viruses, protozoans, or fungi. They can be transmitted through drinking contaminated ...
11
votes
5answers
969 views

How do you avoid Norovirus on the AT?

Every year on the AT (Appalachian trail) Norovirus sweeps through like wildfire and the problem only increases as trail density increases. What are the best methods for minimizing risk of contracting ...
5
votes
1answer
102 views

When do you need compensation training for bouldering?

Not only, but mainly while bouldering you are likely to push hard moves and strain your body onesided. As a consequence you can pain your muscles, ribbons or tendons. But... How do I know if the ...
1
vote
0answers
85 views

Hiking with weak stomach/bladder [closed]

What can one do to before, during, and after a mountain hike to make the hiking experience go smoother if they have a weak stomach/bladder?
7
votes
4answers
286 views

What respirator should I get for urbex?

Sometimes while hiking/trekking/whatever I practice urbex (in random buildings, factories, farms, tunnels, the usual), and I'm aware of the risks to my health caused by toxic gas, asbestos, lead and ...
9
votes
2answers
123 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 ...
9
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.
9
votes
2answers
104 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
139 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
63 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
142 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
543 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
109 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
63 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
2k 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
81 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
386 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
580 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
1k 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
675 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, ...
9
votes
4answers
9k 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
275 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
8k 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
5k 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
131 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
3k 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
416 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
7answers
6k 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
549 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
957 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
120 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).
27
votes
11answers
70k 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
2k 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
462 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 ...
7
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
232 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
4k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
20k 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
296 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
807 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 ...