Outdoor Experience Tips from the Health Officer

The Staff is looking forward to continuing Wood Badge training with the upcoming Outdoor Experience portion of the course. I wanted to share some health tips to ensure that we have the best possible event.

Remember that hydration is one of the most important ways to avoid heat related injury. Maintaining proper hydration and fluid volume allows appropriate cooling through perspiration and prevents heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Be sure to carry a water bottle with you and use it.

John Blackmore gave a great talk about the conservation project that will be done during the second weekend and John Hankins shared some of the details of that activity. As John B. outlined, the first step is planning and preparation. Since this will involve working in a wooded environment there is potential exposure to poison ivy. Take a moment before that activity to review what poison ivy looks like. Urushiol oil resin in leaves and stems of this plant produces a contact dermatitis that can be uncomfortable. To avoid skin contact wear long sleeve shirt, long pants and gloves. The oil on clothing can result in the same exposure so be sure to put exposed clothes in a plastic bag after use for later washing. If you do have a skin contact warm, soapy water will remove the oil and reduce the chance of a reaction. Poison Ivy cannot be spread by exposure to weeping blisters. Only from exposure to the oil. Finally, if you do find yourself with a break out a topical drying agent (calamine lotion) or anti itch cream (1% hydrocortisone) may be helpful to reduce the itching. You might consider adding one or both of these items to your personal first aid kit. Blisters should be treated as any skin abrasion, cleaned with soap and water and kept clean.

Another part of the project will involve use of tools and equipment. If you are not experienced with certain items or are uncomfortable with them I’m sure you can find a task that doesn’t require their use. There will plenty of things to do that only require carrying or dragging debris. This is not the time to try to learn how to use a sharp implement or cutting blade. We want to minimize risk of injury.

Because of the mild winter it is expected mosquitos and ticks will be in higher that usual populations. Bring repellant to minimize bites and stings. Check for ticks and remove promptly.

Camp Brady Saunders is a beautiful facility and the springtime is a great time to enjoy what it has to offer. The camp is well maintained but the roads are not paved and trails are not sidewalks. Be sure your footwear is in good condition and supports the foot and ankle. Use a walking stick or pole of you need additional support. Visually monitor the trail ahead to avoid stumbles.

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