Hiking Tips: Watch Out For Poisonous Plants And Snake Bites
Avoid lethal plants
Know the culprits. Trails and camping spots here can be overgrown with brush, especially from spring through summer. Which spells awful news for urushiol-phobes ( the seventy five percent of the population that has some type of reaction to summer’s triad of doom : poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac ).
Contact with any of these climbing plants can leave urushiol, a poisonous oil, on your skin, causing itchy red bumps or blisters in as little as 2 to sx hours after contact. The rash sometimes prevails from 10 to 14 days.
Forestall. Identify and avoid : The old proverb, “leaves of 3, let them be,” is a good place to start. Almost all poison ivy and oak grow in threes with the middle leaf protruding further than the 2. The exception is sumac : It grows in a complexs pattern of 7 to 13 paired leaves. Wear long pants and sleeves to help mitigate trail-side brush-ups.
Hot sector. The worst poison ivy stretch is on the north-facing side of big Paddy creek after the crossing at the campground. As guides would say.
Treat. Heavy swelling or airway issues? Severe reaction on the face or nether regions? Abandon immediately and get to a doctor. Otherwise, rinse exposed areas with cold water and soap. If you have white gas, soak a swatch of cotton bandana and dab the area to remove the oil. Lose material afterward-skin contact after the gas dries can redeposit urushiol. Soak another swatch and give your skin a good rub.
Avoid a snake bite
The western diamond snake slithers across the Chihuahuan Desert, but is also abundant in riparian McKittrick canyon. Rattlers warm themselves on boulders, eat a plentiful supply of rodents, and stay well-camouflaged in the forest duff. Keep a sharpened eye on the trail, so you do not scare a snake. In camp, zip tent doors shut ( snakes attempting to find warmth havve been known to crawl inside empty sleeping bags ) and keep rodents away by hanging food bags. What to do if you see a snake? Read its body language to choose.
Perturbed. A tight coil with a raised head and chest and shoulders indicates a snake is placed to strike, irrespective of whether or not it rattles. Diamondbacks here can grow to 6 feet long, and can strike anything within the range of its body length. Back up slowly 20 feet, and maintain this minimum distance as you select an alternate path. Canyon too narrow? Wait for the snake to continue on its way before resuming your hike.
Resting. A loose coil with head relaxed, most likely seen when a snake is sunning itself. Do not bug it or make any sudden, jarring movements. Continue on your path, slowly and calmly, giving at least 10 feet of berth.
Bitten anyway? One. Don’t sweat. Two. Cleanse the wound with drinking water and antiseptic ; apply antibiotic cream and a bandage. 3. Immobilise the bitten limb with a splint and keep it raised above the heart to reduce swelling and reduce the dissemination of venom. Do not apply a tourniquet. Four. Hike out calmly, giving your partners your pack weight. Seek medical attention right away.