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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
4answers
487 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
272 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
164 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
63 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
10k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
271 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
964 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
748 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
324 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).
12
votes
2answers
904 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
213 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
750 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Is it possible to sunburn through clothing?

I sat for 45 minutes last summer in the hot sun (100 degrees) I was pinned in on the bleachers so I wans't able to get up and move, I could feel the sun burning through my pants, now I have everyday ...
12
votes
5answers
195 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
210 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
96 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
356 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
5answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
129 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
279 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
941 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
838 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
217 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 ...