Into The Outdoors - More Summer Outdoor Hazards

Let’s start off with a bit of a follow up to last week’s column on the potential dangers of the outdoors.

Falling is a genuine danger for anyone of any age, but especially for us older folks. We are more likely to break something if we take a tumble. Also, as we age, our balance is not as good as it used to be. Medications, etc. can produce the occasional spell of dizziness and lightheadedness. For Old Bub and me, the area below #9 dam is one of our favorite spots on the Allegheny. It is, however, very hard to get down over the bank safely to the water’s edge. In fact, we were discussing that just the other day.

Last fall, and again this spring, ticks have become a genuine menace. I spoke to an ER nurse who said that they’ve seen more ticks recently than ever before. I know several individuals who have gotten them on them this year. One of our outside cats seems like a tick magnet, and I’m always taking them off him. He is the same cat that I believe gives me a slight case of poison ivy every year. If you get bitten by a tick, disinfect the bite thoroughly, and at the first sign of telltale disease symptoms, head for the doctor. The biggest danger is, of course, lyme disease. If you see a bullseye type of rash around the bite, that is a sign. If treated with antibiotics promptly, it is no problem.

Then, of course, there’s lightning. For whatever reason, lightning strikes are on the rise across the country. If you fish or golf, you are especially susceptible, and I do both. Sitting in a metal boat in the middle of the lake with a fishing rod makes you a sitting duck. So does being in the middle of a golf course. At the first sign of dangerous weather, head for the dock or clubhouse. Often, the fish really start to bite right before a storm hits, but so what? It’s not worth getting killed over it.

Here’s one that folks seldom think of. That is the common water snake. They can be really mean. While they are not venomous, they are not very particular about oral hygiene, so a bite can easily become infected. It’s best to just leave them alone. Speaking of infection, I once had a wasp sting become infected. According to the doctor, it was a staph infection that could have led to blood poisoning had I not gotten it treated.

As a lifelong angler, I have had my share of bumps and scrapes. The worst, however was getting poked in the eye with a branch while trout fishing at Hickey Bottom. This resulted in a trip to the emergency room and a couple of days wearing a patch on the eye. A friend of mine once had a piece of branch break off in his eye. I know that wearing eye protection can be a pain, but not as big as an eye injury.

So take care out there. Anything as enjoyable as fishing should not be a source of sickness or injury. In the near future, we’ll look at some other outdoor hazards and some ways of avoiding and dealing with them.

Uh oh! It looks as if we are running out of space. I know I said we would start off with some outdoor hazards, but it got longer than I expected. I guess we’ll have to save bass fishing for next week.

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