7 Tips to Keep Your Camping Trip Safe
Number Seventy-Three on the Axel and Ash Summer Bucket List : Go camping in the actual wilderness. When embarking on adventure in the wilderness, it’s imperative that you’re knowledgeable and take the proper precautions to ensure that you make it back home to your comfy bed and warm shower safely.
When Plants Attack
Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are a few main threats when it comes to venturing out into the wilderness. It is important to know what they look like so you know what to avoid. However, sometimes adventure gets the best of us. If you happened to accidentally find yourself in a patch of these leafy demons, there are a few things you can do to ease the itchiness. The first step is to wash and wash again. If you know you have come in contact with poison ivy or poison oak, the first thing you should do is rinse the area of skin with cool soapy water, or even rubbing alcohol as soon as possible. This can help to reduce or even avoid the rash. Also remove any clothing and wash belongings that may have come in contact. You can buy over-the-counter creams that you can apply on the skin that can prevent the rash if applied prior to exposure. However, if exposed still be sure to wash the exposed area. If you arent able to prevent the rash, the best way to calm the itching is cortisone cream and calamine lotion, both are available at your local drugstore. You can also take an over-the-counter antihistamine. If you would like to take a more natural approach, cool water, a cold compress or aloe-vera can help to soothe the itching.
  
Mosquito Madness
Mosquitos aren’t only itch causing menaces -they also can carry viruses such as Zika and West Nile. Preventing mosquito bites is one of the most important things you can do when heading out into the woods. I know, none of us like the smell or feeling of bug spray, but they are so important in order to prevent bites. One of the “deep woods” repellants is going to give you the best insect repelling action.  However, these ones generally so have an unpleasant feel and odor. If you prefer a more natural repellant, I suggest trying Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellant .
  
First Aid 101
The most important way to be safe is to be prepared. When heading out into the wild, be sure to back a bag with these essentials (just in case):  first aid kit, rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, an extra blanket, flashlight, whistle, a pocket knife/multipurpose tool, an extra 3 days of any required medications, a radio, portable cell phone chargers. Also bring along 1 gallon of water per person, per day of travel.

Food Safety
Proper transportation and preparation of food are incredibly important when heading out camping. You want to make sure you pack foods in tight, waterproof bags or containers, and be sure to separate raw foods from cooked foods. Pack a cooking thermometer with the safe temperature markings on it so you can ensure that you are cooking food to the proper and safe temperature. Always keep foods that are perishable in cold, insulated coolers to ensure the food does not spoil. It is also wise to pack several non-perishable foods in case of an emergency.

Dangerous Gases
Never ever use fuel-burning equipment such as gas stoves, heaters, lanterns, or charcoal grills inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter. It is extremely dangerous because carbon monoxide levels can build up, and this a dangerous and odorless gas that can lead to illness or even death for not us, but any fur babies we bring along.
      
Avoiding Animal Issues
Unfortunately, as much as we would like to live the life of a Disney princess, it just can’t be. Do not try to befriend all the woodland creatures. As cute as some of them may be, it is important to avoid contact with wild animals. You should not touch or feed any wild animals. Watch them in all their natural glory, but from a safe distance. To avoid issues with some of the larger wildlife like bears, pack all food in tight containers, and do not leave any food or garbage out and about, especially at night. It is important to consider pets as well. If I went camping, I would not want to leave my dog behind because I just can’t stand to be away from him. However, I want to make sure he is safe as well. Ensure your pets are up to date on all vaccinations, keep them close, and check regularly for ticks. Ask your veterinarian ahead what the best procedures for removing ticks are beforehand. 

Weather Welfare
I check the weather every single day. Most of the time I check it multiple times a day, especially when I have outdoor plans. When it comes to camping trips, weather can sometimes be unpredictable. Depending where you are camping, it can be hot during the day, and cold at night. Avoid hypothermia by packing extra blankets and warm clothing for any cold nights. If you’re camping in a tent, use a plastic ground cloth under the tent to help keep you dry if it should rain. To prevent hyperthermia, drink plenty of water all day long, not just when you are thirsty. It is important to layer, that way if it is warm you can remove layers, and if it gets cold you can add layers. Protect yourself from the sun. Try to stick to shaded areas. Even if you are in the woods, USE SUNSCREEN . I can’t even imagine how uncomfortable it would be to not only sleep on the ground, but to also have sunburn while doing it.  ( see Sunscreen: An easy overview )
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  The most important thing to consider when camping is doing it safety. It may be cliché but it is totally true: it is always best to be over prepared than under prepared. It takes more time and planning, but it will absolutely be worth it to prevent issues and if you ever have an emergency.

Make sure you hashtag #SLBucketList when you post your camping pictures to win an Axel and Ash Bucket List journal.  

Amanda grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL but is now enjoying living in Louisville, KY. She received her bachelors degree at Northern Illinois University where she acted as a resident advisor and mentor to fellow students. This was where she found her passion for wellness and helping others. She went on to study community health and receive her Masters of Education at the University of Louisville. During her studies, she focused her graduate research on programming for mental health and youth wellness. She also acts as an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. She has always enjoyed using her voice and knowledge to educate and advocate about important health topics. Amanda spends much of her time employed as a nanny for three wonderful children.

When she is not busy promoting health education or chasing around the kids, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing with her Pomeranian, Sulley, or indulging in a great book. Amanda thrives on helping to educate others about important health issues and effective health related behaviors so they can live happier and healthier lives!