On the trail to safety

February 16, 2017

iStock-527686418.jpgNow that the weather is nice, you might be tempted to take a hike. But before you set off to explore the great outdoors, keep these five safety tips in mind:

1. Have a plan. And don't keep it to yourself. Let someone know where you're going and when you expect to return. If you're hiking with a group, decide where you're going to meet if you get separated. This could be back at the trailhead, at the car or at a big rock.

2. Dress for success. Wear clothing and footwear appropriate for the terrain and season. If ticks are running rampant, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and shoes-not sandals. Use insect repellent that includes the ingredient DEET.

Bringing the kids along? Be sure to dress them in bright colors so they can be easily seen.

3. Educate yourself. If poison oak, sumac or ivy grow where you'll be hiking, learn how to recognize them so you can avoid them-and the nasty, itchy rashes they can give you.

4. Pack appropriately. Bring water, food, a cellphone, a map or compass, a whistle, a headlamp, and a flashlight.

5. Choose wisely. Hike on an established trail, and stay out of areas declared off limits to hikers.

Sources: American College of Emergency Physicians; National Park Service; Recreation.gov

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