Danger On Your Hike: 3 Problems And 3 Solutions

A weekend hike is a great way to get exercise, have fun, and relax. However, you are out in the wild there are lots of problems that can befall you. It's best to know what to do so that when something does happen so you don't panic and lose your head. As long as you understand what to do in an emergency, or even in a non-emergency, you won't get confused and make matters worse by doing the wrong thing. Here are three problems you might encounter that require sometimes immediate action.

Bad Bee or Wasp Sting

If you have been stung before, then you will know if you have a severe allergic reaction. If you do, then you will need to carry an epipen. The trouble is how to keep it from getting too hot while out hiking. The solution is to get an insulated carrying pouch that can be affixed to your belt. This will prevent your body heat, of the warmness of the day, from rendering it less effective.

If you are not allergic, then you should make sure to remove yourself from the area as soon as the bite occurs, wash the bite with water, and then add some antiseptic.


Snakebites are serious business. While some people might tell you that snakes often "dry bite," (meaning they don't inject their poison) you don't want to risk your life on it. And while the snake might not even be venomous, again, it is not something you want to risk. The number one priority needs to be to get you to an E.R.. like West Ocean City Injury & Illness Center. This is where you will get antivenin that is used to treat the bite and prevent the poison from killing you. Also, try and remain calm, even though that is hard. Don't waste time trying to suck the poison out, just get to the ER. The venom travels too fast to be stopped by suction. In fact you can do more damage then help by trying to suck out the poison. The human mouth has lots of bacteria, and it might cause an infection on the open wound.

If you are traveling with friends, you might have one of them use their smartphone to take a photo of the snake. This will be used in identify it. For instance, you might think the snake was a rattler, but it might simply be a non-poisonous gopher snake. The medical staff at the hospital can use the photo to tell if the snake was actually poisonous. However, at no point should your friend endanger themselves to get the photo. They should keep a safe distance and not try and get close to the snake.

Sprained Ankle

If you've taken a fall on the trail, and hurt your ankle, then you should make a splint. You can use fallen branches, a rolled up t-shirt, or rolled up maps. The goal is to create to firm support on both sides of the foot. You can use a belt, tape, or clothing to lash the split together. The splint will help you hobble back to your car without doing further damage.

Before you splint the leg, treat any cuts that are there with antiseptic. However, do not move the injury too much as you risk doing damage to the bone.

Once you are in your car, have your friend drive you to a urgent care walk in clinic. Let the doctors there remove the splint and then determine if you need to have a cast, of if you can make due with an airboot. The worse thing you can do is decide that your leg "feels better" during the ride home and take the splint off and "walk it off" (the pain). You might create a bad fusion in the fractured bone and end up with discomfort for the rest of your life.