6 Most Common Outdoors Injuries and Ailments
It may still be spring, but the summer heat has already arrived. For most of us, that means it’s time to appreciate the sunshine and spend some time in the great outdoors.
Before you plan your wilderness getaway, read our list of the most common outdoors injuries and how to protect against them.
Never go swimming alone and don’t venture into unfamiliar or dark waters. It’s not uncommon to dive into a lake or off a cliff and discover the water was much more shallow than you thought. Dark waters can hide rocks, which can cause serious head injuries and lacerations. Currents are also impossible to detect from the surface, so ensure you’ve paid attention to any signs posted regarding water conditions.
We recommend taking a swimming safety course before you venture into swimming. Check out courses near you at this link.
Whether you’re hiking, rock climbing or just walking down a rocky trail, head injury can happen at any time. If you hit your head, stop any outdoor activities, sit down and call 911. Concussions may be undetectable to you initially but can cause confusion, which is especially dangerous while in wilderness. If you’re bleeding, apply pressure to the wound to stop bleeding.
Lacerations and Open Wounds
Look for the following signs to determine if your laceration may need a physician’s attention.
- Wound gapes open and won’t close
- Wound continues to bleed, even with applied pressure
- Wound is deep enough that it exposes your yellow fatty tissue
- If wound is caused by an animal or human bite
- If wound was caused by an impaling object, like a metal rod or barbed fence
It’s also important to remember that a wound or laceration doesn’t need to be deep or bleed profusely to require a physician’s attention. Becoming wounded while outdoors exposes your body to millions of potentially harmful germs. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible will limit your risk of infection. Call 911 if you’re immobilized.
Heat stroke can cause confusion, fainting, headaches and in extreme cases where individuals don’t seek treatment, even death. If you begin to experience symptoms of heat stroke, go to shade, elevate your legs and apply a cool rag to the back of your neck, your forehead and your wrists.
Broken and Sprained Bones
Broken and sprained bones aren’t rare injuries, but if you’re in the wilderness, they can be very dangerous – especially if they leave you immobile. To temporarily treat a sprained or broken bone, splint the injured limb and elevate it while you wait for emergency responders. If the bone is sticking out, don’t attempt to push it back in.
Animal bites occur most often when individuals haven’t taken proper outdoors safety precautions, like researching local wildlife. Snake bites are the most common as they can be difficult to see and may not move until you’re too close. You can protect against snake bites by wearing thick shoes, like hiking boots, avoiding tall grassier areas where visibility is compromised and using walking sticks to make noise ahead of you.
Visit the Texas State Parks and Wildlife website to learn more about local wildlife.
If you’re injured while outdoors, you can visit our no-wait emergency facility for immediate medical attention with for head injuries, lacerations, bites and other wounds.
Want to learn more about outdoors preparedness? Visit this page.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Kyle Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.