Camping is fun and Dangerous
Camping is a terrific way to spend time with family and friends in the great outdoors. It can provide a welcome break from the hustle, bustle, and technology of life. However, even in this austere environment, so much can go wrong when one is unprepared. And for such a simple getaway, there is a lot to prepare. Before setting out on any camping trip, it is essential to research and create a list of supplies that will be needed. This list should include food, water, shelter, clothing, and first-aid supplies. It is also essential to have a plan for dealing with emergencies such as bad weather or medical emergencies. By being prepared, campers can avoid many pitfalls that make camping trips less than enjoyable.
The CDC provides excellent information on camping water treatment options and a Packing Checklist that helps prepare you for your next camping trip. Campsafe.org also offers terrific information on camping safety because “it’s fun until someone gets hurt. So let’s keep it fun.”
And there are undoubtedly many ways a fun camping trip can be ruined, whether through injury caused by carelessness or happenstance. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, in 2007, more than 11,000 people required medical treatment for a camping injury. These numbers don’t include those injured using cots, trailers, stoves, or other camping equipment.
Common Camping Injuries
The most common camping injuries include bug bites, cuts, scrapes, burns, and broken bones. But, for our focus today, let’s look at common camping injuries explicitly related to the eyes.
- Foreign Object in Eye. When camping, a speck of debris or a branch in the eye is a common cause of eye injury. Usually, an eye wash with a sterilized eye-wash cup takes care of the problem, but moisturizing eye drops can do the trick as well. However, if the problem persists, medical attention is necessary.
- Sun Exposure. Since camping takes place outdoors, much time is spent in the sun. However, most people fail to realize that the sun damages the eye the same way it damages our skin. For this reason, wear quality sunglasses that protect against at least 99% of the sun’s harmful rays when camping.
- Fire. One of the best parts about camping is sitting around the campfire. But unfortunately, the campfire can also be a source of eye injury, often from sparks or ashes that fly through the air and smoke getting into our eyes. Prevent problems by not sitting too close to the fire and being aware of any flying objects coming out.
- Insect Bites & Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac. These elements seem like a natural part of camping and usually are treated relatively easily with calamine or other lotion. But what happens when they occur in or near the eye? First, keep your hands away from eyes to help prevent problems. Second, if exposure does occur, wash the eye with lukewarm water. Third, if the exposure happens in the area around the eye, some lotions can be used near the eye and may be helpful to stop itching and prevent spreading. Medical attention will likely be necessary for exposure directly in the eye itself if problems persist past this initial treatment.
Certainly, some minor eye injuries can be treated by items in a basic camping first-aid kit. For this reason, keep a sterilized eye wash cup and some moisturizing eye drops in your camping first aid kit. But serious injuries, especially injuries accompanied by pain, blurred vision, or loss of vision, need immediate medical attention.
Keep camping fun and safe by having the necessary and proper equipment, keeping a well-stocked and up-to-date first aid kit, and being aware of the necessities needed to ensure a safe camping trip.