Scouting/BSA/Camping Merit Badge
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The information covered by the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Scout first-aid requirements can help you deal with injuries or illnesses that may arise while you are camping. The current edition of the Boy Scout Handbook includes descriptions of the symptoms and treatment of hypothermia, heatstroke heat exhaustion, frostbite, dehydration, sunburn insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, and blisters. Review those pages to refresh your awareness and ability to help prevent these situations from occurring. Know the symptoms and be ready to make an appropriate response if you encounter them in a fellow hiker or someone else you meet along the way.
Camping may take you to high places where altitude sickness (also known as AMS, or Acute Mountain Sickness) can be a concern. Fortunately, altitude sickness is seldom a problem for people at elevations of less than 8,000 feet above sea level.
Going to a place that is higher than you are accustomed may leave you short of breath because the atmosphere around you becomes thinner and contains less oxygen. Within a few days, your body will acclimate to higher altitudes by producing extra red blood cells to carry more oxygen to your tissues and organs, and you should feel fine.
Taking steps to help prevent altitude sickness is far better than suffering from it during a hike. The following suggestions can make your "high" adventure more comfortable and more fun, too.
-Drink plenty of fluids. As a rule, take in enough water so that your urine remains clear rather than dark yellow.
-Ascend gradually. Permit your body to acclimate gradually as you go higher. Spend a few days at 5,000 to 7,000 feet and then a few more at 8,000 to 10,000 feet.
-"Climb high, sleep low." Use this standard practice of mountaineers. While adjusting to thinner air, after hiking upward during the day, decend to a lower camp for a good night's rest.
- It is also more difficult to boil the higher you go so if you don't need to go up higher , cook low it saves gas.
Watch for any of all of these symptoms of altitude sickness:
- Unusual tiredness
- Loss of motivation
These symptoms can also be warning signs of hypothermia, a far more common first-aid emergency among hikers. Begin treatment for hypothermia by making sure that the person is warm, is wearing dry clothing, is sheltered from the wind and chilly or wet weather, and has had enough to eat and drink. If the person does not rapidly improve and the elevation is above 8,000 feet, treat for altitude sickness as well.
TREATMENT FOR ALTITUDE SICKNESS
Descend, descend, descend! Going down a few thousand feet in elevation will almost always relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness. Rest, fluids, and food may also help. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical assistance.
- Camping Merit Badge with Workbook PDF, current requirements, and resources for the Camping Merit Badge.
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