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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22
votes
6answers
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 ...
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 ...
21
votes
3answers
450 views

What can I do to prevent altitude sickness?

I will be going above 15000 feet (4500 meters) on a trip next month, and I've heard people will often get altitude sickness. Is there anything I can do beforehand to prevent sickness or take while I'm ...
9
votes
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
28
votes
6answers
8k views

What essential items should go in a small first aid kit?

Another question asked what survival equipment should be carried in an emergency kit. But very little was about medical or first aid supplies (band-aids, gauze, tylenol, moleskin, etc). What items ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
959 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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
287 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 ...
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?
18
votes
2answers
22k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
576 views

Will glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate prevent or repair damage to climbers’ fingers?

I've heard that I can take glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate supplements to prevent damage to my fingers when I'm climbing. Is it true, or is just an old wives' tale?
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. ...
25
votes
6answers
3k views

Where in the Alps is it safe to drink the water without filtering?

In some places, the Swedish Lappland for example, it's perfectly fine and even recommended to drink water directly from streams. Is it also recommended whilst hiking in the Alps, and if so is it only ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
5answers
317 views

Is a varied diet necessary while backpacking?

Often when planning food for a backpacking trip, I rely heavily on a very large amount of extremely varied trail-mix, and only throw in some jerky and a scant few "cookable" meals for variety. I haven'...
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 ...
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 ...
33
votes
11answers
36k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
13
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
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
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
457 views

How can I prevent plantar fasciitis?

Every year or so I'll end up with plantar fasciitis after periods of time where I've walked a lot. In general my walking shoes are fine and have arch support but occasionally I'll need to use sturdier ...
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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?
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 ...