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Take Care of Your Hands: Avoiding Bites, Stings, and Injuries

In previous blogs, we discussed the importance of washing your hands at every opportunity to protect yourself from illness. This time, we touch on the subject of watching where you put your hands and how to prevent serious injury. Anyone that grows up in areas near the outdoors knows there's always an ample supply of plants and critters seemingly determined to either poison or bite. Whether it is spiders, cactus, scorpions, ants, bees, wasps, or snakes, there are countless creatures more than ready to sting, stab, and stick you.

Having been exposed to all of these critters, we can readily assure you that the exposure and reaction to these things can be lethal. No matter where you are or why you're there, you should always watch where you put your hands, and for that matter, where you put your feet.

  • Take the time to study common snakes, insects, and pests in the areas you travel to
  • Use a light before walking around at night to expose and scare off critters
  • Check glasses, bowls, or cups every time you use
  • Shake out shoes, clothing, and bedding before putting them on
  • Look under rocks and limbs before lifting completely
  • Roll up bedding tightly after each use
  • Check for signs of wasps, bees, and hornets while choosing a shelter site
  • Wear outdoor gloves- they are too inexpensive not to use
  • DO NOT suck out snake poison following a bite as it can make you very sick; some snakebite kits offer a safe suction option.



Despite all precautions, many still manage to get stung from time to time. Knowing how your body will react to stings is very important as some have allergies they may not know about. Many can prepare by keeping a bite and sting extractor kit in the camping bag and Epi-Pen for anaphylactic responses. There are also a few home-remedies that can help.

Snake Bites

  • Do NOT attempt to cut open the bite or suck out the poison!!
  • Consider trying to constrict the bite area to stop the poisoned blood from traveling without completely cutting off circulation
  • Attempt to identify or kill the snake that bit you to help medical personnel identify the antivenom needed
  • Seek medical attention immediately

Animal Bites

  • To prevent infection, flush with purified water, clean with antibacterial soap, and cover with clean, sterile dressing.
  • Immobilize or limit movement of the injured area
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible

Insect Bites and Stings

  • Remove stingers by scraping off; do not squeeze or pick it off as it may inject more venom
  • Wash with soap and water; use rubbing alcohol if available
  • Ice or a cold compress can reduce swelling, ease pain, and limit the spread of venom
  • Monitor breathing and heart rate for distress; be prepared to perform life-saving measures
  • Severe symptoms include hives, weakness, emotional distress, headache, breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe tissue damage
  • Meat tenderizer, baking soda, or calamine lotion can reduce symptoms


These steps are intended to help lessen the chance that you will get stung and aims to ensure you know what to when it happens. Remember to remove jewelry from areas that may swell. Always use purified water to clean wounds and wash hands before and after treating injuries. Exposure to poisonous plants and creatures can make you very sick, knowing how to avoid them is one more tool in your personal survival kit.

"Fortuna favet præparaverat  -  Fortune Favors the Prepared!"

This entry was posted on February 25, 2013 by Patrick Carey.

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