Five Outdoor Safety Tips To Avoid an Emergency

By: Emory Healthcare
Date: Aug 8, 2022

Whether you are hiking, swimming, or doing activities in your backyard, many of us like to enjoy time outdoors. However, we know things can change in the blink of an eye. Yes, emergencies happen quickly. Knowing where to go and what to do if the situation presents itself is important, especially when you enjoy outdoor fun!

While many injuries turn out to be relatively minor and will heal on their own, it is essential to understand when it’s time to go to the emergency room. It could save a life.

Here’s a list of five common outdoor injuries and symptoms to look for.

Heatstroke

As temperatures rise, it’s important to remain cool, well-rested and hydrated. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and dehydration are a lethal mix, causing your body to overheat. This can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and the most serious of all – heatstroke. Heatstroke is a very serious problem that causes internal organ failure. If left untreated, it can result in death.

Seek help immediately if you experience extremely high body temperature (104°F or higher), fainting, nausea and/or vomiting, an intense headache, seizures, confusion, disorientation, rapid breathing or increased heart rate.

Head Injuries

Outdoor activities wouldn’t be complete without a few bumps and bruises. Most are harmless, resulting in minor pain or tenderness. Head injuries, though, can be tricky. Sometimes the symptoms of serious problems do not reveal themselves for several hours … or even days.

You will want to go to the hospital if after a blow to the head you experience a headache or stiff neck, sleepiness, vomiting, loss of movement in your arms or legs, or you don’t seem to be thinking straight/acting normal.

Bee and Wasp Stings

Everyone reacts differently to bee and wasp stings. Some will barely notice a sting, while others may have a life-threatening allergic reaction. Usually, there isn’t anything to worry about. The pain will go away within a few hours. Swelling from more moderate reactions will go down within a few days. But severe allergic reactions are nothing to take lightly.

Call 9-1-1 if after being stung you have difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness or fainting, or additional skin reactions such as hives.

Wrist and Elbow Fractures

Falls become more frequent as outdoor activity levels increase. Our natural tendency is to catch ourselves, causing our wrists and elbows to pay the price. Early detection and treatment of fractures can help speed the recovery process and prevent complications in the future. Head to the emergency room after a fall if you notice an obvious deformity, difficulty using the injured area, pain, swelling, warmth, bruising or redness.

Snake Bites

Most of the time, snakes are not aggressive and they will try to avoid people. Even if they do attack, many bites are not life-threatening. However, you should treat every bite as a medical emergency unless you are positive the snake was not venomous.

General symptoms of a snake bite may include bleeding from the puncture wound, severe pain, swelling and burning of the skin, blurred vision, dizziness, diarrhea, fever, fainting, increased thirst, and weakness.

Know Where to Go

Knowing where to go when you’re ill or hurt makes a big difference. But it can get confusing. Know where to go to get the right care at the right time. Your primary care doctor knows your medical history best, but the Emory Healthcare Network includes more than 3,450 physicians in over 70 specialties, 425 locations and 11 hospitals, as well as primary care offices, urgent cares, MinuteClinics, and 6 ERs throughout metro Atlanta. Get the care you need wherever you need it. See our map to find the locations closest to you.

 


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