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Outdoor Safety Resource

For a lot of people, a majority of their day-to-day life is spent indoors. Whether that time is inside of the home, school or the workplace, it often makes people appreciate the time that they do spend outside of it. The fresh air, the smell of fresh cut grass or flowers, and the warmth of the sun are just a few of the many positive aspects of being outdoors. There are also numerous health benefits as people are often participating in some form of activity when they are outside, such as taking a walk, gardening, or participating in a sport. Not only does the sun boost the body's production of Vitamin D, but these outdoor activities help people lose weight and/or stay in shape. Unfortunately, for all of the positive aspects associated with being outside, there are also a few negative ones. Awareness and preparation are crucial when it comes to ensuring the outdoor safety of oneself and one's family.

Plants are a major part of nature. Depending on the specific plant, they often scent the air and are beautiful to look at. Certain types of plants can be irritating and even dangerous to humans and pets. People who go camping or hiking and individuals with children should learn how to recognize poisonous plants. While poisonous plants can be found in parks and in forests, they may also be found in residential areas. Recognizing these plants can help parents of young children who may chew or put pieces of a plant in their mouths. Kids who are old enough not to put leaves or plants in their mouth should also be educated on what plants to avoid touching, such as poison oak or poison ivy as these plants can cause severe skin irritation. Wild mushrooms and certain berries are also unsafe for consumption. The Internet is a good source of information regarding poisonous plants. People may also buy books that describe and provide pictures of dangerous plants. Books can be taken on outdoor trips and used for on-site identification.

Wild animals are another potential source of danger that is associated with the outdoors. This threat is greatest for people who enjoy camping or hiking and people who live in areas that are close to nature. Snakes, for example, can be a threat to people who are walking in forested areas. They can be a problem when they are startled or stepped on. Poking the ground with a stick before stepping in a spot that is dark or not clearly visible can help prevent snake bites. Putting one's hand in covered areas is also dangerous when it comes to snakes. Bears are another threat for nature lovers. People should keep their campgrounds as clean of food items as possible and never take food into their tents. If a person comes across a bear while hiking, they should make every effort to give it space and not startle it. If a bear approaches, standing tall and making loud noises may prove an effective deterrent. Wild and/or dangerous animals aren't only a problem for nature trips. Stray dogs, bats and other animals may also be found in residential areas. People should avoid contact with threatening animals as much as possible and contact local animal control as soon as they can. Insect bites can be a nuisance and may even spread disease. To avoid insect bites, use an insect repellent that contains DEET. When hiking or camping, members of the trip should check themselves for ticks, which can cause Lyme disease.

The ultra-violet rays from the sun represent a potential danger to everyone. Exposure to these rays can at worst, cause skin cancer and at minimum, contribute to the aged appearance of skin in terms of wrinkles and age spots. An application of sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 can help block these rays. Sunscreen should be applied to exposed skin and is even available as facial moisturizer and as an ingredient in some types of makeup. How a person dresses can also protect them from the sun. Weather and temperature permitting, arms should be covered by long sleeves and legs covered by pants or a skirt. Wearing a hat can help protect one's head from exposure to the sun.

After spending a significant amount of time indoors, people often look forward to time that they can spend outside. Whether that time is spent in pursuit of adventure or leisure is purely an individual choice. No matter what they are doing, however, people should be aware of the potential dangers that are associated with nature. While these threats don't lessen the many enjoyable benefits associated with spending time outdoors, they can seriously injure and even who is ill-prepared.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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