Questions tagged [health]

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 given

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58
votes
11answers
7k views

How should I remove a tick?

If I find a tick on myself or a friend, what is the best way of removing it? I've heard some people say that singeing the tick with a match makes the tick detach and fall off. However I've also ...
58
votes
6answers
12k views

How should I prepare my body for prolonged exposure to heat?

Today I hiked for about 4 hours, and I ended up with sun stroke (terrible headache, trembling etc.). The heat was moderate (about 30°C, 86°F in shade), and the way was half in forest. I had a baseball ...
46
votes
14answers
86k 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 ...
44
votes
12answers
40k views

Should overweight people ever climb?

I used to be a regular climber, and unfortunately I have put on some serious weight over the last 4 years, and I have not been able to climb as much as would have loved to. While, I am still working ...
42
votes
6answers
22k 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 ...
42
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
40
votes
7answers
7k views

Had to drink untreated water: Any immediate action to avoid getting sick?

In the wilderness yesterday I ran out of water and did not think I could hike out safely at my level of hydration. Lacking a treatment method, I drank 1.5 liters of water directly out of a small, ...
40
votes
1answer
46k 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 taking ...
38
votes
16answers
7k views

Other than good shoes and a stick, what are some ways to preserve your knees on long hikes?

My knees aren’t in the best shape, one in particular. I had a rather devastating 13 hour up-and-down hike on day two of a three day hike, and the last day my knees were hurting every step. What are ...
38
votes
12answers
159k 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 ...
36
votes
1answer
55k 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 ...
34
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
32
votes
7answers
12k 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 ...
31
votes
4answers
8k views

How do I treat hot spots and blisters when I have no moleskin?

A few times I've been out walking or backpacking and have no moleskin with me. Sure enough, my boots start giving me blisters. How can I prevent or treat hotspots and blisters without using moleskin?...
31
votes
2answers
8k views

Is it possible to 'live off the sea'

I've recently become aware of the american 'survivalist' or 'prepper' phenomenon. The general idea seems to be that 'something bad' (exactly what seems to vary) is going to happen, civilization will ...
30
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
29
votes
4answers
6k views

Could a tick make several test bites in a circle?

I got my first tick bite recently, on the top of my foot. The tick was latched on. There was a circle of small dots around the tick and a slightly bigger red area close by. They were all there from ...
25
votes
2answers
59k 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 ...
24
votes
7answers
840 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
469 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
447 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
12k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
36k 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 ...
18
votes
11answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
2k 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 above 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in about 6 hours. And I had a ROARING headache. I could hear my heart beat in my ...
18
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Does shaving help prevent tick bites?

This one is based on an actual experience - One summer I went on a trail through waist-high grass with a friend. We were both wearing shorts, but my friend had hairy legs, while mine were shaved. ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

I found a Deer Tick on my friend and removed it, what should I do now?

While camping with some friends in Anywhere National Forest, I found a deer tick on a friend. After removing it with tweezers, is there anything else I should do? Should we abandon our trip ...
16
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
18k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
410 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
5answers
22k 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?
15
votes
3answers
15k 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
3answers
5k views

Hiking and climbing in smoky areas

This Fall, there are a lot of large fires burning in the pacific northwest of the US and the air quality on many trails and mountains is poor as a result. This makes hiking and climbing unpleasant, ...
14
votes
4answers
17k views

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

Suppose a leg is wounded (either from a gunshot or a knife) and there is significant bleeding. We see in movies that a fabric is tied around the place of bleeding to decrease/stop bleeding. My ...
14
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
910 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
12k 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
8k 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.
13
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
9k views

Why did people rub snow on frozen feet?

If you read old books from cold areas, it's not infrequent to run across the idea of rubbing snow on one's feet when they got frozen or frostbitten. However, subjectively, it seems to me that this ...
13
votes
2answers
247 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
3k views

How can I cover the upper part of my nose to avoid UV radiations?

I use hat + hood + sunglasses + neck gaiter + UV umbrella to fully covered my face when going outside if too much sun. The problem is the upper part of my nose is not fully covered, e.g.: Larger pics:...
12
votes
5answers
928 views

Is it possible to acclimatize to a cold weather in a short time?

On some of my Himalayan treks I've seen people who wear shorts or wear single layer of clothing and shiver due to the cold weather (most of these people live in a tropical climate). When I've asked ...
12
votes
3answers
11k 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
4answers
44k 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. (The same rash, but on a different ...
12
votes
1answer
212 views

What kind of creme could Ueli Steck be possibly using and why?

Watching this youtube-video I asked myself if Ueli Steck is using some kind of regeneration creme. Most likely nobody will know for sure from the footage but I would be really interested what tricks ...
11
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
10k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the chances to catch rodent-transmitted illnesses while hiking?

Small warning: This question comes from a germophobe point of view, so please keep this in mind while giving an answer. I love hiking, but I'm worried of what kind of germs (read virus, bacteria and ...