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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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 ...
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 ...
11
votes
8answers
750 views

What are some effective ways of reducing itching from a mosquito bite?

There are a lot of options for trying to prevent mosquito bites (DEET on skin, permethrin on clothing, mosquito nets while sleeping, etc.), but what about after you get bitten? What is the most ...
8
votes
1answer
133 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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
19k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
421 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
575 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
6k 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).
15
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
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 ...
14
votes
1answer
239 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
811 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
827 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 ...