News | Published August 25, 2014 | Written by Rich Kelley, NREMT-P, EMS clinical supervisor, Mount Nittany Medical Center

Free Hunters’ Health Day offered to keep hunters safe in the woods

Hunters’ Health Day, in its 21st year, is an initiative of Mount Nittany Medical Center’s Emergency Services Department created to help hunters recognize their health risks, and then take proper precautions, make good health choices and seek medical treatment, if necessary.

The event offers free screenings including EKGs, total cholesterol, vision, total body fat, blood pressure, blood sugar, and hearing on Saturday, September 13, from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm. near the ambulance entrance at the Medical Center.

Hunting is a very vigorous sport that often requires climbing rocky terrain. In the case of deer hunting, hauling a deer out of the woods can be very strenuous and hard on the body, especially for those with health problems. The screenings offered can help indicate individuals’ risk for stroke or heart attack, and the presence of diabetes. For those unable to attend, remembering the keys to outdoor safety is a must:

  • Take an emergency first aid kit with you, so that you are prepared for any unexpected medical conditions or injuries that might arise.
  • Avoid overexertion and sweating. Sweating increases heat loss through evaporation.
  • Carry a cell phone or radio to remain in contact with others if an emergency arises. A wristwatch will also help you plan when it is time to head back before nightfall.
  • Carry a flashlight and whistle in the event that you become lost. Matches or a lighter will help to build a fire that may be needed if you become stranded in the woods.
  • Treat every gun as if it is loaded and always point it in a safe direction. Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it.

In terms of nutrition, carry high-energy foods, such as trail mix or granola bars. You should also drink plenty of water—at least hourly—even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Avoid caffeine and nicotine, which can cause narrowing of the blood vessels, resulting in cold hands and feet. Caffeine is also a diuretic, which dehydrates the body.

Staying warm and wearing protective clothing is also a must for hunters. Always make sure you’re wearing the required amount of orange clothing or more.

Wear hunting gear that is rated for the weather you expect to encounter, and dress in layers. When hiking to your tree stand or hunting spot, dress lightly to minimize sweating. After arrival at your hunting spot, add heavier clothing. Maintaining warmth without sweating is your goal.

Wear loose fitting clothing. Tight clothing and footwear restricts blood circulation and invites cold injuries. The dead air between loose layers of clothing can act as extra insulation.

Wear socks that retain warmth and keep moisture away from your skin, and keep clothing clean. Clothing matted with dirt and grease loses much of its insulation value.

Remember, hunting is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, as long as you’re healthy. To register for the free Hunters’ Health Day event or for more information, call 814.234.6727. Walk-ins are accepted, and a valid PA hunting license is required.