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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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 ...
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?...
39
votes
12answers
160k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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?
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 ...
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
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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'...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
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
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
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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
301 views

What diseases can be transmitted through skin contact with a dead rabbit?

About a month ago, my youngest son found a dead rabbit in the woods while camping and brought me to the spot to show it. The rabbit looked like it had just died and didn't show any obvious cause of ...
5
votes
1answer
506 views

Using Camphor (Icy Hot) in the winter for warmth

Some products like 'Icy Hot' contain a substance called 'Camphor' that can make your skin feel warm when applied. It is cold out today (1°F or -17°C). I have been making short trips out to ...
4
votes
1answer
245 views

What is the difference between SPF and UPF, if any?

I read on https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sun_protective_clothing&oldid=930941768: A relatively new rating designation for sun protective textiles and clothing is UPF (Ultraviolet ...
4
votes
1answer
257 views

What are the pros and cons of greased feet in boots?

I was just reading this answer at Can you keep your feet warm in ski boots on a very cold day? Yes, add fat to your feet. I don't mean gain weight. Just slather it on before putting socks on. ...
3
votes
1answer
241 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...