Dr. Troy Madsen from Emergency Medicine at the University of Utah Health Care came to give some great tips on how to stay safe while you are out hiking in the wilderness.
If you get lost while hiking: Carry a map, compass, GPS and matches when hiking the back country. If you become lost, stay calm and avoid running. When you feel calm, you may spot a path that you would have passed over in a frantic search. If you feel truly lost, try to stay in the same general area so search teams can find you, if necessary.
Snake Bites: Poisonous snakes such as rattlesnakes and coral snakes are found in Utah. Snake bites can be deadly if not treated quickly. If you are bitten by a snake and are unsure if it is poisonous, go to an emergency room as quickly as possible. In the meantime:
Remove rings or constricting items in the affected area as it will swell.
Do not apply a tourniquet, cold compress, or attempt to suction the bite.
Do not raise the bite area above the level of the victims' heart.
Do not have the victim walk or run. Carry them if possible.
Spider Bites: Most spider bites are not dangerous. The most common poisonous spiders found in Utah are the hobo spider and black widow. Spider bites from a black widow can be painful, but most are typically not life threatening. If you suspect you've been bitten by a hobo spider, seek medical attention.
Lightening: If you are caught outdoors during a lightning storm:
Get to your vehicle if possible. Picnic shelters and tents are not safe.
Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or ridge.
Stay away from tall isolated tress or other tall objects.
Stay away from water and wet items.
Burns: Run cool, not cold, water over the burn. If the burn is more serious than a 1st degree burn, go to the nearest emergency room.
Dehydration: Always take along water when you will be spending time outdoors. Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, pain in joints, lower back pain, headaches and constipation. If you are outdoors and begin exhibiting any of these symptoms, start hydrating!
Carbon Monoxide: We think of carbon monoxide poisoning as a winter concern, but it can happen in the summer as well:
Never use a BBQ grill or portable camping grill in an enclosed area, such as the garage. Keep grills outdoors. Never burn charcoal indoors.
Avoid hanging out and swimming near the exhaust of a boat. The exhaust contains carbon monoxide and can lead to poisoning, even when outdoors.
Follow all safety instructions for power generators. Generators should be a minimum of 25 feet away from, and downwind of a house. Be sure there are no vents or openings near the generator that would allow exhaust to enter your home.
If you experience an emergency, call 9-1-1. For information about University of Utah Hospital's Emergency Department, visit www.healthcare.utah.edu