Prepare before heading out into the woods
Summer time, sweet summer time means camping, hiking, boating and all the outdoor activities. However as the old saying by Benjamin Franklin goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. So take precautions before hitting the outdoor road.
Janak Koirala, MD, Professor and Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases at the Southern Illinois School of Medicine said, “Infectious disease is something that comes from a micro organism like a virus or bacteria.”
In the outdoor environment one danger of exposure to infectious diseases can come from injuries. “Wash with soap and water and use antiseptic especially for diabetics,” Dr. Koirala added.
You may want to include a first aid kit and be sure you have the number of your doctor before hitting the road, just in case!
The Mayo Clinic website mentioned that some infectious diseases are carried by insects and one example of this is the West Nile Virus. The virus occurs during mosquito season and is more dangerous to mature adults in their 70’s and 80’s. “This is more complicated if they have other health problems. West Nile virus causes meningitis. To prevent mosquito bites try DEET when spending time outdoors. Wear long clothing and you might try permethrin in the spring, it is an over the counter spray.”
Ticks are another instigator of infectious diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichia and Lyme’s disease. Use the same precautions for tick related diseases as for mosquito bites with DEET and permetherin. “After being in a wooded area look hard to make sure you don’t have any ticks. If you find a tick, pull out the whole thing including mouth parts with tweezers. The remaining proboscis can still inject poison.
Dr. Koirala advised to have another look at your back and hair where ticks often lodge and are hard to find. “It takes 24 hours for the tick to inject the bacteria. If you develop a rash and fever, call the doctor immediately. This can be dangerous and requires treatment.”
While these issues are not the exciting fun aspect of travel, being prepared can make the difference between an enjoyable trip and a ruined one. Take your first aid kit, take your camera, and take your loved one and a spirit of adventure!