Health Break | Published September 24, 2007 | Written by Rich A. Kelley, NREMT-P

Hunters: Be Prepared For The Outdoors

The cooler autumn weather is nearing, and hunting season will soon be in full gear in Central Pennsylvania. As you prepare to head into the woods this fall, remember to prepare your body as well. The best preparation is a check up with your family physician to make sure your heart, lungs and body are ready for the hunt.

And for your health and safety in the woods, consider the health tips below.

  • 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 cellular phone or radio to remain in contact with others if an emergency arises.

  • A wristwatch will help you plan when its 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 in a safe direction.

  • Be certain of your target and whats beyond it.

Nutrition tips for a safe hunting experience include the following:

  • Carry high-energy foods, such as trail mix or Granola Bars.
  • Drink plenty of water. Carry extra water with you and drink it when needed, at least hourly.

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

  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages. Alcohol interferes with the bodys ability to regulate body temperature and gives a false sense of warmth.
  • Clothing tips for hunting include the following:

  • Always wear the required amount or more of orange clothing.

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

  • Wear loose fitting clothing. Tight clothing and footgear restricts blood circulation and invites cold injuries. The dead air between loose layers of clothing acts as extra insulation.

  • Wear socks that retain warmth and keep moisture away from your skin.

  • Keep clothing clean. Clothing matted with dirt and grease loses much of its insulation value.
  • Mount Nittany Medical Center is offering a free hunters health screening this Saturday, September 29 from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm on the ground floor, in the Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis Auditorium. Please use entrance D at the rear of the building. For more information, call 814.231.7054.

    The screening offers tetanus boosters, hearing tests, EKGs, cholesterol screenings, blood glucose screenings, body mass index screenings, and vision screenings.

    Rich A. Kelley, NREMT-P, is the Prehospital Clinical Supervisor in the Prehospital Services Department at Mount Nittany Medical Center.