Hiking Health and Safety Tidbits

Julie Wojcik Ÿ 440-845-9048 • julielwojcik@yahoo.com

 

Safety Tips: Poison Ivy by Julie Wojcik

Leaves of three – let it be. Most of us have heard a phrase similar to this one and nothing brings fear to a hiker’s mind faster than walking through a trail covered in poison ivy or poison oak. In fact, about 85% of us have a sensitivity to the oil produced by these plants after a repeat contact.

Picture a leaf with 3 leaflets and you have a good idea of what to watch out for. Poison ivy can have mitten-like, yellow-green leaves in the spring, which may or may not be shiny, turning to red in the fall, and mature plants may have a white berry. It may grow as a shrub, vine, or hairy vine up a tree and may intertwine hidden among other plants. Poison oak is more common in the southeast US; it usually grows as a shrub, and has 3 oak-leaf shaped, crinkled leaflets.

Safety Tips: Tick Tidbits by Julie Wojcik

May and June are prime “tick-birthing” time, and a whole new crop of hungry ticks will be on the march soon seeking out their first dinner of the season.

Deer ticks — the ones that carry Lyme disease — are not as aggressive as dog ticks, and they generally stop crawling whenever they find a clothing barrier, which is why you’re likely to find them around your sock line, along your underwear line, and on the backs of your knees where your shorts stop. That’s also why you’ll be better protected against Lyme disease if you tuck in your shirt, tuck your pant legs into your socks, and find other ways to create clothing barriers that ticks can’t crawl past while you’re in the woods.

Northern ticks often climb plant stems, where a passerby may brush against them, but southern ticks usually stay hidden under a layer of leaves. It is believed this is why Lyme disease is more prevalent in the Northern states than Southern states.

Safety Tips: Some Things Never Change... by Julie Wojcik

A new member found this article while searching for news of her ancestors and it is appropriate for us even today. It is amazing that even in August 1907, the Tonawanda Evening News published the following article:

The Value of Walking
The Benefits to Be Derived From This Form of Exercise

There is hardly an instance of a long lived man who has not been for the best part of his life a brisk walker and for some reason or other has had to take exercise pretty well every day. Riding is all very well and so are other exercises, but there is nothing like a good walk, because it stimulates the blood and the muscles and necessitates being in the open air.

If those who complain of being stout would only think of this and never omit a daily constitutional they would be amply rewarded. It will keep them young and their figures presentable. It is simply a remedy that no one heeds to. Sitting about in the open air is all very well and is far better than sitting in the house, but it does not keep you in good health.

It is quite another thing to over-fatigue oneself. There is nothing better than to get into a healthy perspiration by walking. It is just like drinking a glass of cold water in the morning. It is so simple no one believes in it.

This may not suit everybody, but those it does suit it will keep in health.
This advice is as true today as it was over a century ago. Hike often and hike safely!


Safety Tips: Winter’s Over – But My Nose Still Runs! by Julie Wojcik

Why does a cold seem to hang on so long? A runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes/nose, and dark circles under the eyes are all signs of an allergy — and spring has an allergy season of its own.

Tree, grass, and weed pollens seem to explode in the spring, especially with a wet spring. So while “April showers bring May flowers,” they also bring pollen, which can send our immune systems into overdrive.

Tree, grass, and weed pollens are light and are spread by the wind. Flower pollens, for the most part, pose no risk to people who suffer from allergies because these pollens are heavy and sticky, and are spread by bees and birds.

When allergies are at their worst, over-the-counter drugs, such as antihistamines, decongestants, a combination of the two, and nasal sprays, may be taken to alleviate the symptoms. More intense allergies may require a doctor’s care and a prescription.

Here are some ways to avoid the pitfalls of spring allergies:

  • Know the pollen count and stay indoors when it is high.
  • Close the windows at night.
  • Use air-conditioning, which cleans the air of pollen.
  • Avoid outdoor activities between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when pollen is released. The pollen count declines as the day goes on.
  • Keep the car windows closed when driving.
  • Do not mow the lawn during the grass pollen season, and stay away from freshly cut grass.
  • Do not hang sheets or clothing out to dry. They collect pollen.

Summer is just around the corner, so don’t let the pollen of spring take away the enjoyment of hiking.


Safety Tips: Playing “Telephone”
by Julie Wojcik

The telephone game — it’s not just for kids to play at parties.

You know how the game goes — the leader says “there’s ice on the path,” the next person passes the information back, and finally the last person is aware that “there’s ice on the path” and safely goes forward.

Or the message “runner from behind” gets passed forward and the group will know to move over to allow the runner to pass.

Most of us have, at one time or another, played the game of telephone, but it can also be used on our hikes to help keep each other safe and aware of dangers. So next time you hike and hear a notice being given, pass it along and help it make it to the back or to the front. Don’t let it stop in the middle.

Safety Tips: Rumor Has It
by Julie Wojcik

You know how it goes: Jack tells Pete, Pete tells Sally, Sally tells Mona, Mona tells Gertrude, and finally Gertrude tells Julie (CHC’s Health and Safety Chair) that Wynona fell on a hike and had to seek medical attention.

Well, it’s not the most reliable means of reporting that a serious injury has occurred, but in most cases that’s how the Safety Chair finds out about injuries to our Club members. Given the need to call or e-mail to verify the information, this process can often take months!

How about a Club New Year’s Resolution: if an injury or accident occurs on a hike, and the hiker requires medical attention (doctor, dentist, etc.), PLEASE report this to Julie Wojcik at julielwojcik@yahoo.com or 440-845-9048. Even if this means hearing from several people about the same incident, it’s better than being informed of a hike injury months later.

Safety Tips: To Stretch or Not to Stretch
by Julie Wojcik

The jury is out regarding stretching before or after a workout, but here are some simple suggestions about stretching.

Don’t consider stretching a warm-up. Instead of stretching a cold muscle, warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before stretching and allow blood to flow to the muscles. With this in mind, stretching after a workout makes sense; do what works for you.

Focus on major muscle groups. Stretch the muscles and joints that you have used during a workout. Aim for symmetry, rather than working on only one side.

Don’t bounce — hold the stretch. Keep the stretch a smooth movement as bouncing can cause injury. A normal muscle needs up to a 30 second stretch, whereas a problem area could use a 60 second one — and breathe as you stretch!

Don’t aim for pain — if it feels painful, back off until the pain subsides — but the feeling of tension is normal.

The main benefits of stretching are increasing range of motion, helping to prevent muscle and joint strains, promoting circulation, and possibly reducing muscular soreness.

And remember that there are times when you should not stretch, for example: if you have a recent bone fracture, sprain, or strain; if the joint is inflamed or infected; when range of motion has been compromised; or other health conditions indicate that stretching should not be performed.


Safety Tips: Healthy Eating
by Julie Wojcik

Enjoy the pleasures of the fall harvest and eat hearty but healthy. Here are some suggestions:

  • Blueberries — fall has some of the best crops; blueberries are great to freeze and add to salads all winter.
  • Apples — spice up your oatmeal with this delightful crunch; there are many varieties of colorful apples to choose from.
  • Pears — add to a smoothie or salads for a sweet taste with crunch.
  • Cranberries — great fruit addition to foods; cranberries add sweetness without added sugar.
  • Winter squash — hardy and keeps a long time; try acorn or butternut squash for fewer carbs and calories.
  • Pumpkins — use smaller ones for better flavor; roast the seeds or use the pulp for pies; can add to burgers or pancakes.
  • Leeks — milder alternative to onions; wash thoroughly as ends can harbor dirt.
  • Brussels sprouts — slice off the core, cut in half, drizzle with olive oil, add some onions, and roast for 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven; as a twist, add to pizza.
  • Potatoes — especially sweet potatoes; try making homemade potato biscuits.
  • Parsnips — add to soups, stews, or salad, or make parsnip fries with olive oil in the oven.
  • Soups are a great pick-me-up after a cool day on the trails!

P.S. It’s flashlight season again. Please be courteous to those around you while hiking. Keep the beam facing down, avoid swinging the light forward and back, and ask those around you if using a flashlight is okay; if not, hike near the back so as not to interfere with the night vision of others.

Safety Tips: Preventing Tick Bites
by Julie Wojcik

While it is a good idea to take preventive measures against ticks year-round, be extra vigilant in warmer months (April through September) when ticks are most active. The best advice is to avoid direct contact with ticks by staying out of wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter and by walking in the center of trails.

However, as complete avoidance is not always possible, use products with DEET or permethrin to repel ticks. Use repellents that contain 20% to 30% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents, with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pretreated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

If you’ve been in an area where ticks may be present, you should make sure you haven’t brought any home. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.

You should also examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors (if clothes are damp, additional time may be needed). If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks effectively. If the clothes cannot be washed in hot water, tumble dry on low heat for 90 minutes or high heat for 60 minutes. The clothes should be warm and completely dry.

If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively.

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  • Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
  • Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible, not wait for it to detach.
  • If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.


Ticks find their hosts by detecting breath and body odors, or by sensing body heat, moisture, and vibrations. Some species can even recognize a shadow. In addition, ticks pick a place to wait by identifying well-used paths. Then they wait for a host, resting on the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks can’t fly or jump, but many tick species wait in a position known as “questing.” While questing, ticks hold onto leaves and grass by their third and fourth pair of legs. They hold the first pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb on to the host. When a host brushes the spot where a tick is waiting, it quickly climbs aboard. Some ticks will attach quickly and others will wander, looking for places like the ear or other areas where the skin is thinner.

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD).



Safety Tips: Are you a Lemming?
by Julie Wojcik

Are you a Lemming? You know that rodent that just follows the one in front of them and in some cases will perform mass “cliff-jumping”. Granted we don’t “cliff-jump”, but at one time or another we just remotely follow the person in front of us, without regard for our own safety.  Not only do we expect the leader to always provide a safe route, but we assume the person in front of us is walking in a safe manner too.

Here are some safety tips to review:

• Cross streets at a corner, using traffic signals where available and crosswalks.

• Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If sidewalks are not available, walk facing traffic on the edge of the road, as far from the travel lane as possible.

  • Walk defensively and be ready for unexpected events. Know what’s going on around you and don’t allow your vision to be blocked by clothing, hats, or items that you are carrying.
  •  Watch the pedestrian signals, not the traffic signal, and follow the “WALK/DON’T WALK” lights (they’re set up to help you cross safely). Look for pedestrian push buttons for crossing protection at signalized intersections.
  •  Watch out for parked vehicles. Parking lots can be as dangerous as streets.

• Always look left, right, and left again before crossing a street, and keep watching as you cross. Be aware that drivers have differing levels of eyesight and skill in operating motor vehicles.

• Pedestrians should be especially careful at intersections, where drivers may fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians while turning onto another street. Make sure you are seen.

Motorists need to be vigilant of pedestrians and pedestrians need to be vigilant of motorists. Although motorists have more responsibility under the law when operating a motor vehicle on city streets, pedestrians have more at stake.

Info taken from: Tufts Department of Public and Environmental Safety


Safety Tips: Prevent Dehydration
by Julie Wojcik

Summer weather can increase the risk of dehydration.

How do you know if you’re dehydrated? Symptoms of dehydration include the following:

  • Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheaded feeling
  • No tears when crying

Don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to take action. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water.


Safety Tips:This article was sent to me from Karen Pressman and I’ve summarized the highlights below. The entire article can be found at: http://m.wimp.com/what-hiking-does-to-the-brain-is-pretty-amazing/

Nature really does clear your head.

Hiking deactivates the subgenual prefrontal cortex of the brain by decreasing blood flow to this region. Why is this important? This area of the brain produces bad moods, makes us feel sad, increases worrying and can lead to major depression.

Unplugging makes you more creative.

Researchers have found that extended time spent without access to technology increases the ability to be creative – even as much as a 50% increase. Competing with the area of the brain that enables us to perform selective attention and threat detection also allows for creative thinking used in problem-solving skills. In other words, technology seems to inhibit our creative minds.

Hiking boosts your focus.

Anyone with ADHD, knows how hard it is to remain focused – but getting outdoors and doing something active helps to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. No matter what our age!

Charge your mind’s batteries with a hike.

”Hiking is a pretty solid aerobic exercise that burns around 400-700 calories per hour. This is great on its own, but aerobic exercise also has a really positive effect on your brain: it improves your memory. It’s even being studied as a way to help seniors fight off dementia, because it doesn’t just increase your ability to store information, it also reduces memory loss.”

Feel better about yourself, from your sweaty head down to your muddy boots.

Even as little as a five minute walk can increase your self-esteem! And walking near water appears to have an even bigger effect – no wonder so many CHC hikes are found near Cleveland’s many streams, rivers and the lake.

Thanks Karen!!

Julie Wojcik

 

Safety Tips: Blisters
by Julie Wojcik

Tis the season for longer hikes and the chance to get a blister –


Here are some simple tips once you get a blister –

Keep it clean – use soap and water.
Let it breathe – give it plenty of air as much as possible.
If intact (the blister hasn’t burst) – leave it that way and keep it clean. If not, keep it clean and covered.
Still intact – but causing a lot of pain – it may be time to release some of the pressure. Clean the area and use a clean needle (cleaned with rubbing alcohol or iodine), pierce the edge of the blister to release some of the fluid. Now that a part of the blister is open, use an antibacterial ointment (such as Polysporin). In any case, try to avoid an infection.
Cushion it to encourage healing.

And did I mention – keep it clean!


Safety Tips: Did You Come to a Hike Ready for an Accident?
by Julie Wojcik

Accidents — they happen! No one comes to a hike hoping to fall or get hurt, but unfortunately it can happen to any of us!

Looking back, there is an excellent Safety Tip article by Karen Pressman in the May 2015 Newsteps about falling, which had 3 safety tips:
BEND (like an accordion, tuck the chin to protect the head),
TWIST (allows you to land on your side), and
ROLL (as you hit the ground, to distribute the impact).

Accidents happen so fast that we can’t always think of these tips, but doing even one of them can lessen a possible injury. Practice falling on a bed — it can provide some preventive skill at falling.

In terms of terrain, trails have the most visible hazards: roots, rocks, stumps, fallen branches, holes, gravel, and leaves that can hide these hazards. However, sidewalks and roads have their own dangers. Sidewalks can be uneven, with cracks, holes, dips, and rises, all of which can be hazardous to an unwary hiker. Catching a toe on a slight rise of sidewalk can send a hiker flying.

We can’t change many of the conditions that confront us while we hike, but being aware that they exist can help us be alert to what’s ahead and prepare our steps accordingly. Again, accidents happen to all of us, and being prepared for them can maybe prevent some from happening.

Have a safe and accident free year of hiking!

Safety Tips: Walking Sticks
by Julie Wojcik

Why carry a walking stick?


It will help you keep your balance while crossing creeks, streams, rivers, and areas of shale and also traversing hillsides; it can help break or prevent a fall (on ice too).

It will help you maneuver when crossing downed trees over trails.

It will reduce stress on your back, knees, legs, and feet, it provides extra power (going uphill) and reduces shock on knees (going downhill); it takes pressure off the back and hips (mainly uphill).

It is also a useful item to lean on when resting and to push aside spider webs and brush.

But remember – when not using your walking stick, carry it with the tip aimed toward the ground, and not at the hiker behind you!


Safety Notes: General Safety Tips: Happy New Year!
by Julie Wojcik

Greetings, hikers — and have a happy, healthy, and safe New Year!

Information regarding any injuries on a hike requiring medical attention should be reported to the new Health and Safety Chair by e-mail to julielwojcik@yahoo.com or call 440-845-9048 to leave a message. Please provide as much information as possible — name, date/time, location, type of injury. The information will be used to help prevent injuries to others and possibly to provide articles pertinent to hiker safety.

As a reminder, here are the current Safety Committee rules:

1. On All-Purpose Trails we should always leave a free lane for bikers and other people walking in the park. We should hike two abreast keeping to the right side of the trail.
2. On roads, hike two abreast facing traffic and in single file when leader feels it would be safer.
3. On bridle trails, when horse and rider approach, stop, stand off to one side, and be still and quiet.
4. Leader should appoint a sweep for the rear, and one for the middle when the group is large, to help keep grouped and following the rules and also to see that no one is lost. 5. Cross streets at light or crosswalk only. Leader should wait until all cross before commencing hike.
6. No off-trail hikes after sunset.
7. Before the hike, leader should describe the hike as to difficulty, such as ridges, mud, water crossings, and length.
8. Reflective sashes or clothing to be worn on all night hikes recommended.
9. In a park, hikers should not go off trail without leader’s consent.
10. Do not lose sight of the person in front of you.

Here are a few suggestions that are not part of the rules, but are courteous items to think about:

11. Keep the circle-up location away from the main aisles in parking lots, allowing traffic to pass.
12. Flashlights can provide safety while hiking, but be mindful of those around you; if need be, stay in the back and shine the light onto the ground away from other hikers’ vision.
13. Never leave a hike without letting the leader or someone else know that you are leaving or if you get hurt.
14. Announce or repeat information of safety to others — runner ahead, bike from behind, low branch, etc.
15. As adults, we all know how to cross a street, so be cognizant when the light changes and wait. Hiking isn’t a race — the group can wait until the light changes, and hikers need not impede traffic by crossing against the light.

Let’s keep safety in the forefront and fun on the trails will follow!

Safety Notes: A Refresher On Winter Hiking
by Karen Pressman

Perhaps the greatest threat of winter hiking in the brutal cold is hypothermia. Hypothermia can be defined as a life threatening emergency where the body cannot keep itself warm, due to exposure to cold, wet and windy weather. Even prolonged exposure to air temperatures in the 50s, or submersion in water temperatures in the 60s can cause hypothermia, and people over the age of 65 are at greater risk. If the coming winter is as freezing as last winter, the risk of hypothermia is obvious: the lower the ambient temperature, the quicker hypothermia sets in and the less time you have to correct it.

It's important for all hikers to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of hypothermia because its onset is so gradual that those inflicted don't realize it's affecting them. The first sign of hypothermia is "stupidity" or confusion: when your brain gets cold, it doesn't function efficiently. For example, a hiker with mild hypothermia when asked if they would be warmer if they zip their coat up will say "no", or if asked what 3 + 4 = will have to think about it long and hard. Look for the signs of the "umbles"- stumbling, mumbling, fumbling and grumbling. Uncontrollable shivering followed by a lack of shivering is an additional cue that your fellow hiker is in serious trouble.

If you suspect a fellow hiker is hypothermic, the goal is to get them to a warm, dry place as quickly as possible and call for help.

A little preplanning goes a long way in preventing hypothermia:

  • Avoid wearing cotton. COTTON KILLS because it traps moisture/sweat against your skin. Wear polypropylene or synthetic material that wicks moisture away from your body. Invest in a quality pair of wool socks and wool glove liners. Wool will keep you warm even if it gets wet.
  • Layer it up! Multiple thin layers of clothing trap more warmth against your skin than one thick layer. A good rule of thumb is to start with soft, wicking fabric next to your skin (all the way down to your knickers). Add an extra fleece layer. Top it off with a material that will challenge wetness and wind such as GoreTex. Leave all cotton at home!
  • Don't forget to eat before hiking! Your body will generate heat as it burns the fuel/calories you've consumed.
  • Always have a hat and gloves handy. No kidding, if your feet are cold, put on a hat even if it has furry ear flaps! Warming your head will result in your extremities being more toasty. Waterproof hiking boots are a must.
  • Did I mention avoiding cotton?
  • Don't forget to drink fluids. The drier winter air will suck more moisture out of you with every breath you take. Bringing a thermos with warm broth, tea, coffee or other beverage will help keep you warm. Remember to avoid alcoholic beverages as they will only lower your body temperature further.
  • Consider throwing a pack or two of chemical handwarmers (like Hotties) in your hiking pack, just in case you or a fellow hiker require them someday.
  • Lastly, don't sweat! Really, really try not to sweat. Once you get wet with sweat, you're at increased risk of getting chilled and hypothermic. Try to begin a hike feeling a bit cold. Ten to twenty minutes into the hike you'll begin to warm up and be safe from hypothermia!
Hike smart and safely!

Julie Wojcik will be replacing Karen Pressman as Safety Chair effective December 2015. Any injury or illness on the trail requiring medical intervention or follow up needs to be reported to Julie at at: julielwojcik@yahoo.com or 440-845-9048. The club expresses its appreciation to Karen for her past articles!

Safety Notes: Ankle Injuries: Fracture? Sprain? Strain?
by Karen Pressman

Did you know that every day, thousands of people in the US sprain their ankle? Half of all ankle sprains occur while exercising. Many members of the Cleveland Hiking Club have sustained ankle injuries over the years; and it's important that all of you are familiar with the basics and can provide first aid to a hiking mate when needed.

The ankle is where three bones meet: the tibia (shin bone), the fibula (the smaller lower leg bone), and the talus bone of the foot. These bones are held together with supporting tissue. Ligaments are strong rubber band-like connective tissue. Tendons attach the muscles to bone.

Whenever a person falls with all the force and pressure exerted on one bone or joint, it's likely a fracture, sprain or strain will occur. Injuries like these can be terribly painful, and need to be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.

A fracture is a break or crack in one or more of the bones.

A sprain happens when ligaments are stretched beyond their normal capacity. Sprains can be as simple as a microscopic tear; or they can be as serious as a complete rupture of the ligament.

A strain occurs when the muscles and tendons are pulled or stretched too far.

Lots of commonalities exist regarding the symptoms of ankle injuries. They include sudden and severe pain, an inability to bear weight, swelling and bruising. It is not possible to know the extent of the injury (unless a piece of bone is coming out of the skin), without a medical evaluation.

Immediate first aid for ankle injuries involve:

Rest the affected joint. Do not attempt to bear weight.

Ice application. Best when used immediately and during the first 48 hours. Apply ice for 15-20 minutes at a time. Wait 40-45 minutes before reapplying.

Compression- use an Ace wrap or other compressive dressing to support the area and keep it immobile. Avoid wrapping too tight. If your toes turn blue and cold, or if you lose sensation and get numb, the wrap is too tight.

Elevation. Elevate the affected joint above the level of your heart to decrease swelling.

Remember to avoid bearing weight until you have been evaluated by a doctor!

Tips to reduce the risk of ankle injuries:

  • Avoid exercise if you're overtired.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Wear proper, well fitting footwear. If your trail shoes or boots have worn down soles, particularly if one side is extremely worn- throw them out!
  • Stay active by doing some form of exercise every day.
  • Don't forget to warm up and stretch before hiking.


Safety Tips: Getting reacquainted with your hiking boots!
by Karen Pressman

It's that time of year again; the time to put aside your lightweight trail running shoes, and begin thinking of breaking out the waterproof hiking boots. Even though you were accustomed to the feel and fit of your boots last winter, it may be a whole new ballgame this coming season.

There is likely a weight difference between your warm weather footwear and your winter boots, which causes leg and foot muscles to work a little more (or less)... think Shin Splints. Because of the way the boot operates, you may experience an alteration in gait. The joints from your big toes, to your ankles, knees, hips, and low back may articulate slightly different... think pain and stiffness. Your boots will fit differently than your summer gear... think blisters and bruised toenails.

Break your new seasonal gear in slowly. Wear moisture wicking socks, even in cold weather. Protect your skin by applying moleskin to the inside of your boot.

Random thoughts about blisters: Blisters are nature's way of protecting the underlying tissue which has been damaged from moisture and friction. The basic rule of thumb is to leave the blister alone!! Do not pop the blister or remove the skin covering it. Do not use heat. Do not use ice. If you are diabetic, immunosuppressed or have circulatory problems (peripheral vascular disease), immediately consult your doctor or podiatrist if a blister develops.

If you are hell bent on popping it anyway, consider the following technique: Wash your hands and the blister with soap and water. Swab the blister with iodine. Sterilize a clean sharp needle by wiping it down with rubbing alcohol. Puncture the blister at the edge and allow it to drain. Do not remove the skin overlying the blister. Apply an ointment and cover with a nonstick bandaid. Change the dressing daily. Notify your doctor if symptoms of infection develop (increased redness, increased pain, increased heat, increased swelling, or icky drainage). Avoid hiking again for several days until the area has healed.

Prevention is key!! Now, get out there and have a fun safe time on the trail!!

Safety Tips: Hiking and your blood pressure
by Karen Pressman

Many of us joined the Cleveland Hiking Club for the numerous physical and health benefits which hiking provides. Lower blood pressure, weight loss, reduction in bone loss, enhanced strength, improvement of diabetes and cardiovascular issues; the list goes on and on!

A new research study published in June, by Stanford University's Gregory Bratman suggests that taking a walk in the park is soothing to the mind as well: hiking in nature changes the workings of our brains resulting in improved mental health. Bratman's study demonstrates that interacting in nature, even for a short duration, can decrease brooding and rumination. Brooding and rumination is a mental state familiar to most of us, involving those broken record thoughts about things wrong with ourselves and our lives. These thoughts aren't only maladaptive and counterproductive, they can be a precursor for major depression. What's most exciting about Bratman's research is it's a cognitive neuroscience study involving before and after brain scans of the participants along with the traditional experiments and questionnaires. The researchers examined the brain region known as the subgenual prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for maladaptive behavior. Following a 90 minute walk in nature, the brain scans consistently showed decreased activity and blood flow to this region of the brain. These results strongly indicate that getting out in nature could be an immediate way to improve one's mood!

Research is now catching up to what CHC members have known all along. Spending time outdoors in nature is good for us physically and mentally! Stay safe and happy on the trail!!



Safety Tips: The Buzz about Bee Stings
by Karen Pressman

Experienced hikers have seen this before - but this timely reminder comes as the bees are out and very busy! Typically, bee stings are merely a common seasonal nuisance that can be effectively treated at home. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you’re allergic to bee stings or get stung multiple times, you may develop a more serious reaction requiring emergency treatment.

Safety first! All hikers need to get out of harm’s way if a hive is disturbed! Bees release a scent when in danger, which attracts other bees. Cover your nose and mouth and slowly walk away from imminent danger before their reinforcements arrive.

If you or a hiking companion is stung, you need to:

  • Determine if the stinger is present. Look for a small black dot at the sting site and remove it immediately. It’s best to scrape or brush it off using a blunt knife, credit card, or your thumbnail. If a bee’s venom sack is left inside the victim, it can take 2 to 3 minutes to release all the venom, so prompt removal is essential. Bear in mind that the stingers of wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are not barbed and are retracted upon stinging, but these insects can sting you multiple times.
  • Try to reduce the body’s inflammatory process by applying cold, such as ice from your water bottle or a cold pack if available.
  • Remove rings if stung on the hands or fingers.
  • Cleanse the area with soap and water as soon as possible.
  • Apply calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, or Benadryl gel to ease redness, itching, or swelling.
  • Understand that some parts of the body are more sensitive to stings and respond differently. Bites near the eyes, lips, tip of the nose, or ears are particularly prone to swelling.
  • Remember that taking an antihistamine such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton will slow down an allergic reaction, but won’t prevent it.
  • Stay calm and keep in mind that localized pain, redness, swelling, warmth, and itching are common local reactions

If you or your hiking companion is among the 2% to 3% of Americans who go on to develop an anaphylactic reaction to an insect sting, know when to call 911:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives that are red and spread beyond the bite
  • Swelling of face, throat, or mouth
  • Wheezing, inability to swallow
  • Restless, anxiety, dizziness
  • Any time a hiker is stung more than 12 times.

If you have had serious allergic reactions or anaphylaxis in the past, please talk to your doctor about strategies to keep you safe on the trail. Remember to bring your medication (EpiPen) with you on all hikes, and notify a fellow hiker of proper use.

Safety Notes: Abrasions, Lacerations, and Punctures
by Karen Pressman

Though you may not have thought about this before, the largest organ of our body is the skin!

  • Intact skin is our first line of defense in protecting us from infection.
  • When warmer weather approaches, CHC hikers shed the multiple layers of clothing we've been wearing since the previous autumn; exposing our arms, legs, and heads to potential wounds and trauma if we fall.

As hikers, the three main skin injuries we are at risk for are: abrasions, lacerations and punctures.

  • Abrasions (scrapes) happen when the top, superficial layer of skin is scraped off. Though abrasions may encompass a large surface area of tissue damage; they are generally superficial and easily treated without medical intervention. If you or a fellow hiker sustains an abrasion, the first thing to do is control the bleeding. Understand that a little bleeding is good and useful, as this helps remove bacteria from the wound itself. Profuse or heavy bleeding is a red flag and needs to be controlled. This can be accomplished by holding firm pressure to the site with a clean cloth, handkerchief, gauze pad, or napkin/paper towel for 10-20 minutes. If the cloth being used becomes saturated with blood, do not remove it; but apply a new cloth, handkerchief or gauze over the first one. If possible, elevating the site above the level of the heart will reduce the amount of blood loss. As soon as possible, cleansing the wound with mild soap and water, removing visible debris like dirt or grass, applying an antibiotic ointment such as Bactroban, bacitracin or neosporin, and covering with a bandage is advisable. Despite what Grandma may have told you as a child, cleansing a wound with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol is generally not recommended because these are cytotoxic, and can kill off the new healing cells
  • Lacerations are more tricky as they involve a cut into the skin which can have significant depth. On the surface, they may appear to have caused less trauma than an abrasion; but don't be fooled. Lacerations need to be closely monitored. As with abrasions, focus first on controlling the bleeding and cleaning the wound as best you can. (see above).
    Go to the ER or urgent care if:
    You cannot control the bleeding or if the wound continues to ooze blood after 4-6 hours.
    The wound is deep enough that you cannot see the bottom.
    The laceration is located on skin which is mobile, such as your fingers, elbows, neck and knees. If not sutured, tension will cause these wounds to continually reopen, increasing your risk of infection.
    Any laceration on your face should be evaluated promptly, for cosmetic reasons (this goes for men and women)!
    Dirty and obviously contaminated wounds need to be evaluated by a medical professional, as some dirty wounds should not be sutured, but rather be allowed to heal from the inside out.

  • Punctures are narrow openings of the skin caused by a nail, tree branch or anything that deeply penetrates into the deeper tissue layers. These wounds are most likely to become infected (though they don't typically bleed much), because this trauma forces bacteria and debris deep into the tissue. The relatively quick healing of puncture wounds creates an ideal internal space for bacteria to grow. Even worse, the risk of infection is greater if the object first penetrates the sole and foot bed of a shoe before entering the skin. Puncture wounds are very difficult to clean out, and require medical intervention as soon as possible.
  • Other issues to consider:

    • Know when you received your last tetanus booster. If you have a dirty wound, and it's been longer than 10 years, you may require a booster.
    • Any hiker with a high risk medical condition increasing their susceptibility to infection should contact their physician: this includes people with diabetes, cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, those taking steroids such as prednisone, people on kidney dialysis, or people living with HIV.
    • Any hiker who is anticoagulated on blood thinners such as coumadin, warfarin, or lovenox should carry a ziplock baggie containing a stack of gauze sponges or other absorbent medium.

    Signs and symptoms of wound infection (which may take several days to develop) include:

    • Redness
    • Tenderness
    • Warmth
    • Swelling
    • Increased Drainage
    • Increased Pain
    • Fever and Chills
    Let's have a great, safe summer on the trail!!

    Falling Is No Laughing Matter

    No one likes to fall. Falls can damage more than just your pride and ego, as many of us know. Injuries from falls are the most commonly reported safety issues for Cleveland Hiking Club members. Let's face it; sooner or later, you're going to fall, no matter how excellent your balance and reflexes are. Some people fall gracefully, like ballerinas, while some people drop like a ton of bricks. What is the difference? How is it possible that some hikers fall frequently and never seem to get hurt? The answer is likely that they know (or their bodies know) how to fall safely.
     
    Of course, there are times when you're down so fast that you might not even know what hit you. But in many situations, you will have that Uh-Oh moment of recognition which can provide you with that millisecond to prepare to fall as safely as possible.
     
    Think: Bend, Twist and Roll:
     
    * Bend and fold your body like an accordion. Bend your ankles, knees and hips. This maneuver will get you closer to the ground and lessen the force of impact. Tuck your chin to your chest to protect your head from smashing into the ground.
    * Twist in a manner that will enable you to hit the ground on your side as opposed to flat on your face and chest. Don't stiffen up or lock your joints, as this will likely cause more tissue damage or fractures.
    * Try to roll as you hit the ground: this will distribute the force of the impact throughout a larger part of your body, instead of one place.

     



    Safety Notes: Hello Mud
    by Karen Pressman

    Now that the weather is warmer, melting snow and rain saturate the ground creating massive amounts of mud. Here are some safety tips to consider when hiking in the spring:

    • Trails that initially appear dry can become slippery with mud without warning.
    • Streams will be swollen with runoff.
    • Patches of ice can persist despite above-freezing temperatures.
    • Rocks may be unstable and loose from cycles of freezing and thawing.
    • Wooden surfaces, such as bridges and boardwalks, will be particularly slick—use caution
    • Avoid shiny mud, which has a high water content, making it the deepest and stickiest.

    Remember to bring the right gear:

    • Sturdy hiking boots with decent traction; make sure to tie your laces properly so your boots don’t get sucked off in deep mud.
    • Waterproof jacket or poncho in case of rain; hypothermia is still possible in the spring.
    • A first-aid kit with bandages and antibiotic ointment, as well as rescue prescription medications.
    • Fluids and snacks.
    • Cell phone.
    • Consider using hiking poles; not only will using poles save you energy, but they can help you jump across muddy terrain while keeping your balance.
    • It’s a good idea to throw some plastic bags in your car for muddy wet boots so your car will stay cleaner.


    Safety Notes: Some Thoughts on Safety
    by Karen Pressman

    Every so often, it’s good to consider the basics of safety.

    When hiking on the road, always face traffic and go single file.

    Be mindful of cars when circling up before a hike.

    With large hiking groups of variable strength, endurance, and fitness levels, leaders may opt to divide the group in two, providing there is another willing hiker to lead. One group can do challenging terrain, while the other group sticks with roads, sidewalks, or APTs.

    When hiking in unfamiliar residential or industrial areas, especially at night, pay attention to your surroundings, keep the group close together, and be certain cell phone access exists.

    Give occasional shout outs: “low branch,” “runners behind,” “bicycles up,” “horses,” “martini ice!”

    Hypothermia can be a problem when cool temperatures combine with rain. Layer it up, and don’t forget water-repellant gear.

    For new hikers: pay attention to hike descriptions and try to get to know the hike leaders. Choose hikes that are challenging, but not overwhelming. When in doubt, ask seasoned members of similar abilities for their recommendations.

    As always, please notify the Safety Chair of any illness, injury, or near miss: karenpressman81662@gmail.com or 216-780-1134.



    CHC Safety Notes: Winter Hiking—A Breath of Fresh Air
    by Karen Pressman

    Winter hiking can take your breath away, literally and figuratively. The quiet, peaceful serenity and clean, crisp surroundings make an ordinary hike exhilarating! With old man winter upon us, however, venturing outside in freezing cold dry air can literally take your breath away.

    Lungs function best in a warm, moist environment, which we don’t see too often during Cleveland winters. Breathing frigid dry air causes changes that can affect the lungs. Cold dry air taken into the lungs can constrict the bronchial tubes in some people, resulting in a condition called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). The risk of EIB increases in people with asthma or chronic lung disease. Bronchoconstriction reduces the amount of oxygen taken in with each breath and can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, fatigue, and anxiety. Research indicates that dry air is a more likely culprit in causing EIB than cold air.

    Breathing cold air can also affect the heart because blood vessels constrict, forcing the heart to work harder to deliver oxygen to our tissues, as well as causing the blood pressure to rise. As we age, the ability to maintain our body temperature is less efficient and requires more energy, adding additional strain to the heart.

    Before abandoning winter hiking or spending the season in Florida, consider the good news: over time, most people will successfully acclimate to cold weather exercise. Here are some tips to consider:

    • Breathe through your nose, not your mouth. There are many benefits of nasal breathing: our nose hairs filter microscopic particles and slow the time it takes air to reach the trachea and lungs, increasing warmth and humidity. The smaller nasal passages slow the respiratory cycle and increase the amount of oxygen available to the lungs. Yoga practitioners suggest that nasal breathing stimulates the brain hemispheres differently than mouth breathing. Nasal breathing may also increase the production of endorphins (happy hormones associated with “runner’s high”).
    • If you can’t breathe through your nose due to a cold, sinus infection, or nasal polyps, wear a scarf or balaclava around your mouth. This will increase the temperature and humidity of the air you breathe.
    • Don’t underestimate the importance of adequate hydration. It’s easy to think that, because it’s cold and you’re not sweating, hydration in the winter isn’t an issue. But it is! The burning sensation some experience when breathing cold air is likely caused by irritated cells lining the trachea, as a result of dehydration. Remember to reset your home humidifier or make a small investment in a vaporizer at home.
    • If you have a history of chronic heart or lung disease, remember to bring rescue medications or inhalers as instructed by your physician

    For those new to the Cleveland Hiking Club, you should not start an outdoor exercise program during the dead of winter without first building your body’s tolerance for exertion. Always check with your doctor before embarking on any rigorous exercise program.

    In conclusion, breathe deep; and know it’s really cold outside when your nose hairs freeze! Get out there and enjoy the sensation!



    CHC Safety Notes: Looking Back on 2014
    by Karen Pressman

    The New Year brings an opportunity to reflect on the past. In 2014, the Cleveland Hiking Club enjoyed another fabulous year of outdoor adventure, new members, and loads of fun. When we pause to consider the thousands of hikes and hundreds of thousands of miles we’ve logged, we can feel quite proud that we have sustained relatively few serious injuries or illnesses on the trail.

    Let’s take a moment and look back on those injuries and illnesses requiring medical follow-up, in an effort to avoid recurrent episodes in 2015:

    • A hiker slipped on ice and slid into a ravine, hitting a large flat rock with his chest. He was diagnosed with a chest wall contusion, but no internal damage.
    • A trip on uneven pavement on an evening hike caused significant abrasions to the hands of a hiker; another fell in a parking lot and dislocated a finger.
    • A new hiker fractured her ankle on uneven terrain, but was able to resume hiking a few months later. Another new hiker, on a “moderate” hike that turned out to be “brisk,” fell forward onto her hands but did not break any bones.
    • There were multiple reports of trips on tree roots, with 2 reported injuries: a scalp/facial laceration, and a facial contusion requiring ongoing treatment to drain excess fluid.
    • One hiker reported a bout of severe dehydration resulting in loss of consciousness in the parking lot shortly after a brisk hike.
    • A dog on a leash (owner not in CHC, but walking in opposite direction) tripped an experienced hiker, resulting in a fracture. Another hiker tripped after encountering a baby stroller, and he sustained a broken tooth.
    • One hiker reported a poison ivy exposure so dramatic, 2 rounds of prednisone were required to control the symptoms.
    • One of our members suffered a heart attack while hiking. Fortunately, he was able to get to the hospital for treatment and is expected to recover full

    Whether you hike 5 miles a year, or several thousand miles, remember the inherent dangers that exist in any sport or activity. If you have specific concerns or any chronic condition, please check with your doctor regarding ways to keep yourself safe and healthy on the trail.

    Please continue to report all injuries or illnesses requiring medical follow-up, as well as any “near misses” to the Safety Chair (Karen Pressman) at 216-780-1134 or karenpressman81662@gmail.com



    CHC Safety Tips: Flashlights and Night Hiking
    by Karen Pressman

    Night hiking is a beautiful and different way to enjoy the splendor of nature. Hiking under a full moon, especially in winter with the moonlight reflecting off the snow, can be one of the most amazing and memorable hikes you’ll ever do! With less light, our senses of hearing, smell, and adventure are enhanced.

    However, with less light during the winter months, some hikers avoid night hikes, or they choose to carry a flashlight or headlamp. The fear of not being able to see well enough causes anxiety and uncertainty over their safety, which is understandable.

    Here are some facts about night vision adaptation that all hikers should be aware of, for the health, safety and consideration of everyone in the group:

    Night vision adaptation is complex anatomically and physiologically. Our retinas are made of 2 types of structures: cones and rods. Cones detect color and brightness, and are responsible for daytime vision. Rods are responsible for night and low light vision. When hiking at night, your rods are responsible for seeing the world in various shades of gray

    It can take the eyes’ rods about 15 to 30 minutes to fully adapt to a dim environment. Most significantly, a fraction of a second of bright light will cause this clock to reset, and you may have to wait another 15 to 30 minutes for your night vision to come back to 100%. The time for dark adaptation to take place increases with age, which may be a significant factor for some CHC hikers.

    Our rods cannot detect red light; therefore, night vision adaptation is not affected by the use of a red LED light.

    CHC is not instituting any policy regarding the use of flashlights or headlamps; however, these are suggestions on what we can all do to make night hiking a more safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

    If you choose to carry a flashlight:

    • Please be mindful of the physiology behind night vision adaptation and the effect it has on the majority of your hiking mates who prefer to use their natural night vision only.
    • Understand that accidentally shining your flashlight or headlamp into someone’s eyes will alter their night vision adaptation for 15 to 30 minutes, making it more likely for them to trip or fall.
    • Swinging your flashlight will likely annoy many in the group because they will not be able to adapt to night vision at all. If they don’t have their own light source, their safety is now jeopardized.
    • If you choose to wear a headlamp, remember that the light is shining in whichever direction you’re facing. If someone is approaching you, switch it to dim or red or, better yet, remove it from your head.
    • If carrying a bright white LED flashlight, try using it only when necessary (to alert cars of your presence, or help your footing).
    • If you intend to keep your bright white LED flashlight on the entire hike, remember to hold it steady to illuminate the ground immediately in front of you only. Don’t talk with your hands, adjust your hat, or unzip your coat while the flashlight is on. If you’re comfortable, offer to serve as a sweep when using your flashlight.
    • Best case scenario: if you’re a die-hard hiker who enjoys night hiking, but feels more comfortable with a flashlight, please consider purchasing a flashlight or headlamp that has a red LED light. The red light does not affect our rods and will not harm others’ night vision, while providing enough illumination to visualize the ground in front of you. Red LED light sources are inexpensive and readily available.

    Here’s to fun and safe night hiking!



    CHC Safety: Using Hiking Poles
    by Karen Pressman

    As bipeds, we humans spend tremendous energy maintaining our balance while walking. We balance our torso and upper body with just 2 points of contact on the ground: our feet. Using 1 or 2 hiking poles increases these points of contact and significantly reduces the risk of falling, something we all need to consider with the colder temperatures and icy conditions fast approaching. Who wouldn’t benefit from an “extra set of legs” on uneven or slippery terrain?

    In addition to reducing the F word (Falls, Fractures, and Fatalities), the use of hiking poles reduces stress on the joints. Your knees, hips, and ankles take a pounding when hiking on a rocky trail, turning them into mush, especially when walking downhill. Hiking poles help to lift thousands of pounds of pressure off these joints over the course of a day, enabling you to hike comfortably longer and farther. A 2008 British study reports that those using hiking poles perceive themselves to be less fatigued than when they covered the same distance without poles, even though oxygen sensors showed they were working harder and climbing at a faster pace.

    Using your arms and core muscles help to build and condition your upper body, improving your power and endurance for ascending steep hills. Poles facilitate a more upright posture, which improves breathing. Walking with poles provides weight-bearing exercise for the arms, legs, and spine, and may help improve bone density. There’s nothing like a long, steady uphill to get you in the fat-burning zone and using poles provides a total body workout too!

    Some hikers shun pole users for fear of being stabbed. For those of us who choose to use poles, here are a few reminders regarding pole etiquette:

    • Keep a safe distance between hikers.
    • If someone is crowding you, step aside and let them pass.
    • On steep up hill, poles can slip. Hikers too close can be injured.
    • On steep downhill, allow extra space both in front and in back.
    • Avoid reaching forward when planting your pole as this can jab the hiker ahead in the Achilles tendon
    • Always know where your tips are. If carrying your poles, turn the tips forward or down. Do not carry poles horizontally.


    CHC Safety: Falling on the Trail
    by Karen Pressman

    Falls occurring on the trail have been the biggest threat to our CHC members. Since January 1, our Club has experienced 7 hiker falls, all causing only minor injuries. Slipping on ice, tripping on uneven pavement, getting snagged on a tree root, losing footing on a steep rocky hill, and tumbling backward off a cliff are some of the reasons for falls that we’ve encountered in 2014

    When we consider injuries from falls, the most common and obvious ones are abrasions, lacerations, and fractures. After witnessing a hiker go down, it’s always a relief to see him or her brush off and carry on. If no visible blood is evident and the hiker is able to bear weight, we think we’re in the clear. But please be mindful that an "invisible injury," such as a closed head injury or brain trauma, is more likely to cause permanent bodily damage and fatality

    What would you do if you witnessed a fellow hiker take a gruesome fall? Would you know when to call 911 or the ranger? Would you know what signs and symptoms to assess before allowing the hiker to complete the hike and drive home?

    Let’s review some basic information regarding closed head and brain injuries: A closed head injury means you received a hard blow to the head from striking an object. Because the skull is a rigid, sealed compartment, injuries causing bleeding or swelling can be life-threatening because there’s no additional room for the brain to expand. These injuries can result in a concussion (the most common), a scalp wound (which will bleed a lot), a skull fracture, or intracranial bleed (which can cause death). Symptoms of a brain injury may occur immediately, or may take hours or days to develop

    So what’s a hiker to do? Call 911 immediately if you suspect a moderate or severe head injury, for example, if the hiker:

    • is sleepy
    • behaves abnormally
    • complains of a severe headache or stiff neck
    • has pupils that are unequal
    • loses consciousness, even briefly
    • has clear or blood-tinged fluid from the nose or ear
    • is confused, spacey, or disoriented
    • has repetitive speech
    • has nausea or vomiting.

    Basic reminders if you suspect a hiking mate may have sustained a closed head injury:

    • Don’t hesitate to call 911, even if the hiker protests
    • Do not move or shake the person if he or she is dazed.
    • Do not give the person fluids or food by mouth.
    • After calling 911, obtain information regarding emergency contacts, allergies, significant medical history, medications taken, and the last time the hiker ate or drank anything, while waiting for the squad.

    Worst case scenario: a hiker falls, hits his or her head, and is unresponsive. Call 911 and stabilize the person’s head and neck by placing your hands on both sides of the victim’s head. Keep the head, neck, and spine aligned to prevent movement until help arrives.

    Please report any injury, illness, or "near miss" to 216-780-1134 or karenpressman81662@gmail.com



    Safety Tips: The Buzz about Bee Stings
    by Karen Pressman

    Typically, bee stings are merely a common seasonal nuisance that can be effectively treated at home. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you’re allergic to bee stings or get stung multiple times, you may develop a more serious reaction requiring emergency treatment.

    Safety first! All hikers need to get out of harm’s way if a hive is disturbed! Bees release a scent when in danger, which attracts other bees. Cover your nose and mouth and slowly walk away from imminent danger before their reinforcements arrive.

    If you or a hiking companion is stung, you need to:

    • Determine if the stinger is present. Look for a small black dot at the sting site and remove it immediately. It’s best to scrape or brush it off using a blunt knife, credit card, or your thumbnail. If a bee’s venom sack is left inside the victim, it can take 2 to 3 minutes to release all the venom, so prompt removal is essential. Bear in mind that the stingers of wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are not barbed and are retracted upon stinging, but these insects can sting you multiple times.
    • Try to reduce the body’s inflammatory process by applying cold, such as ice from your water bottle or a cold pack if available.
    • Remove rings if stung on the hands or fingers.
    • Cleanse the area with soap and water as soon as possible.
    • Apply calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, or Benadryl gel to ease redness, itching, or swelling.
    • Understand that some parts of the body are more sensitive to stings and respond differently. Bites near the eyes, lips, tip of the nose, or ears are particularly prone to swelling.
    • Remember that taking an antihistamine such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton will slow down an allergic reaction, but won’t prevent it.
    • Stay calm and keep in mind that localized pain, redness, swelling, warmth, and itching are common local reactions

    If you or your hiking companion is among the 2% to 3% of Americans who go on to develop an anaphylactic reaction to an insect sting, know when to call 911:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Hives that are red and spread beyond the bite
    • Swelling of face, throat, or mouth
    • Wheezing, inability to swallow
    • Restless, anxiety, dizziness
    • Any time a hiker is stung more than 12 times.

    If you have had serious allergic reactions or anaphylaxis in the past, please talk to your doctor about strategies to keep you safe on the trail. Remember to bring your medication (EpiPen) with you on all hikes, and notify a fellow hiker of proper use.



    Safety Tips: Hike Etiquette
    by Karen Pressman

    Losing a hiker is a surefire way of taking the fun and enjoyment out of everyone's time on the trail. Safe hiking practices involve never hiking alone.

    For Leaders:

    • Accurately describe hike in the schedule, and again during circle up time.
    • Do a head count, and ask for a sweep if greater than 15 present.
    • Make sure at least one hiker has a cell phone.
    • Be prepared to alter your course based on weather and terrain issues.

    For Hikers:

    • Know your leader! There is significant variability in hikes labeled moderate.
    • Do hikes which are challenging but not overwhelming. Make sure you can keep up.
    • Don't lose sight of the people in front of you.
    • If you use poles, practice safe pole technique to avoid harming others around you.
    • If you must leave a hike early, notify the sweep and/or leader.
    • If you suddenly don't feel well, tell someone immediately.
    • Remember to carry rescue medications, and drinking fluids on every hike.

    As of June, the Safety Committee has received two notifications of hiker injuries for 2014. Please continue to report any injuries requiring medical follow up.



    Safety Tips: Leaves Three, Let It Be!
    by Karen Pressman

    Most of us learned this rhyme about poison ivy during childhood. However, myths and misconceptions about poison ivy abound.

    What we do know is approximately 85% of adult skin will develop an allergic reaction upon exposure to poison ivy (more specifically, the urushiol or oily sap present on any part of the plant: vine, leaves, stems, and roots). All parts of the plants are poisonous all throughout the year; even plants that have been dead for years can contain urushiol, causing skin reactions.

    The ability to identify poison ivy is tricky, because the plants change color during the season, varying from yellow or green to bright red.

    Avoidance is key:
    • Wear long pants and long sleeves when hiking in an area known to contain poison ivy.
    • Don’t go through it, if you don’t have to.
    • Stick to established paths and trails.
    • Do your own research and learn the defining characteristics of poison ivy, or ask seasoned hiking mates to be on the lookout for you.
    • Use preventive measures like applying a pre-exposure product, such as IvyBlock (containing bentoquatam).
    Uh-oh! You’ve been exposed to poison ivy—now what?
    • If you carry packets of a remedy, such as Ivy Cleanse, Ivy X towelettes, or Tecnu (Cleanser or Scrub), now is the time to use it. At the very least, try to remove the urushiol from your skin with soap and water, and clean under your fingernails thoroughly.
    • Thoroughly cleanse anything that came in contact with the poison ivy as well: hiking poles, clothing, boots, even fur on your pets!
    • Do not scratch, as scratching can lead to infection.
    • Ask your doctor about the use of calamine lotion or hydrocortisone creams
    It is possible to spread the rash to other parts of your body if the urushiol oil is present on your hands, clothes, or equipment. Just because you’ve never developed a rash upon exposure to poison ivy does not mean you are immune! The more times you are exposed, the more likely you are to break out in an allergic rash. First-time sufferers may take longer (7 to 10 days after exposure) for the rash to develop.

    Though uncommon, anyone who has been exposed to poison ivy and develops the following symptoms should go the emergency room right away
    • Trouble breathing or swallowing.
    • A rash covering most of your body.
    • Many rashes and blisters.
    • Swelling, especially if an eyelid swells shut.
    • UA rash anywhere on your face or genitals.
    • Much of your skin itches, and nothing seems to alleviate the itch.


    Safety Tips: Goodbye Ice, Hello Mud!
    by Karen Pressman

    As the weather warms up and the ground begins to thaw, melting snow and rain saturate the ground creating massive amounts of mud. Here are some safety tips to consider when hiking in the spring:

    • Trails that initially appear dry can become slippery with mud without warning.
    • Streams will be swollen with runoff.
    • Patches of ice can persist despite above-freezing temperatures.
    • Rocks may be unstable and loose from cycles of freezing and thawing.
    • Wooden surfaces, such as bridges and boardwalks, will be particularly slick—use caution!
    • Avoid shiny mud, which has a high water content, making it the deepest and stickiest.

    Remember to bring the right gear:

    • Sturdy hiking boots with decent traction; make sure to tie your laces properly so they don’t get sucked off in deep mud.
    • Waterproof jacket or poncho in case of rain; hypothermia is still possible in the spring.
    • A first-aid kit with bandages and antibiotic ointment, as well as rescue prescription medications.
    • Fluids and snacks
    • Cell phone.
    • Consider using hiking poles; not only will they save you energy, but using poles can help you jump across muddy terrain while keeping your balance.
    • It’s a good idea to throw some plastic bags in your car for muddy wet boots so your car will stay cleaner.

    Lastly, if you purchased YakTrax this past season and are disappointed that they fell apart or the coils snapped, please contact Karen Pressman (karenpressman81662@gmail.com or 216-780-1134) to arrange for the broken YakTrax to be collected and returned to the company by mid-April. They have agreed to replace each pair and will inspect the returned ones for quality issues.



    Safety Tips: Reporting Incidents
    by Karen Pressman

    Sometimes, I feel like I’m the last to know. A fellow hiker will ask me, “Hey, did you hear about what happened last month on a hike?” And then go on to describe an injury sustained by a CHC member or visitor.

    The timely reporting of injuries or incidents requiring medical follow-up is essential! It’s the most comprehensive way of getting the facts, which allows the Safety Committee to analyze, prioritize, and report back to you by way of the monthly Newsteps safety articles.

    What kind of injuries need to be reported?

    • Falls resulting in fractures, serious sprains, or sutures.
    • Episodes of fainting or dehydration.
    • Exacerbations of chronic illness on the trail (chest pain, shortness of breath, hypoglycemia, etc.).
    • Insect stings causing systemic reactions
    • Occurrences of hypothermia or frostbite
    • Any “near misses” or situations when you consider calling 911 or the park ranger.

    Reporting is easy and non-punitive, requiring only a quick phone call (to 216-780-1134) or e-mail (to karenpressman81662@gmail.com) and can be done by anyone, not just the hike leader or injured member.

    With a Club as large and diverse as ours, everyone’s help is needed to track these incidents to help make hiking safer for everyone.



    Safety Tips: Feeling Frosty?
    by Karen Pressman

    Let’s face it — most of us haven’t thought about frostbite in several years because our winters have been relatively mild. This past December, I spent a week skiing the Colorado Rockies, and I was reminded of the harsh brutality Mother Nature can deliver when the temperatures dipped below 0°F. Stories and tales of frostbitten skiers, patrollers, and instructors were reverberating throughout the village. Little did I know that when returning to Northeast Ohio, Arctic conditions had the potential to cause serious damage for hikers in our Club as well.

    What is frostbite? Frostbite is a medical condition where localized damage occurs to skin and its underlying tissue due to exposure to cold temperatures. Under extreme conditions, frostbite can occur in minutes. Air temperature, wind speed, humidity, and moisture on clothes are factors that can accelerate the rate at which you will be affected. Other factors that may predispose hikers to frostbite include smoking, drinking alcohol, aging, having diabetes, peripheral neuropathy or other circulatory problems, or taking beta-blockers for heart disease or hypertension.

    Frostnip is the first stage and mildest level. It generally affects earlobes, tip of nose, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes, but does not cause tissue destruction. Skin will look pale and feel cold, tingly, and stiff. It’s uncomfortable but doesn’t lead to blisters, scarring, or permanent damage.

    Second degree frostbite skin will turn white, yellow, or blue, feel hard and frozen, and may blister days after exposure. Typically this injury heals completely within 1 month, though damage may be permanent.

    Third and fourth degree frostbite is very serious, involving blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and muscle.

    Prevention is key:

    • Before venturing out on hikes, please check your local weather report. If a wind chill advisory is in effect, remember to dress appropriately. All skin surfaces must be covered, particularly fingers, toes, and face.
    • Always have a hat, mittens or gloves (mittens are generally warmer), waterproof boots, and face mask or scarf.
    • Stash an extra set of chemical hand warmers into your pocket, just in case.
    • Always carry a well-charged cell phone in case of emergency

    If you or a fellow hiker suspects you have frostnip:

    • Get out of the cold as soon as possible! Frostnipped fingers can be helped by blowing warm air on them or holding them under your armpits.
    • Remove any wet clothing or jewelry.
    • Never rub the skin because it is exceptionally fragile.
    • If you suspect you have frostbite, go to your local ER where they will be able to gradually warm the tissue and evaluate the need for wound care or other treatment.


    Winter Safety Tips
    by Karen Pressman

    Read this article on page 5 of the December 2013 Newsteps, which is available at the Newsteps archives.

    Safety Tips: If the Boots Fit, Wear Them!
    by Karen Pressman

    Read this article on page 1 of the November 2013 Newsteps, which is available at the Newsteps archives.

    Safety Notes: The Buzz about Bee Stings
    by Karen Pressman

    Typically, bee stings are merely a common seasonal nuisance that can be effectively treated at home. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you’re allergic to bee stings or get stung multiple times, you may develop a more serious reaction requiring emergency treatment.

    Safety first! All hikers need to get out of harm’s way if a hive is disturbed! Bees release a scent when in danger, which attracts other bees. Cover your nose and mouth and slowly walk away from imminent danger before their reinforcements arrive. If you or your hiking companions are stung, you need to:

    • Determine if the stinger is present. Look for a small black dot at the sting site and remove it immediately. It’s best to scrape or brush it off using a blunt knife, credit card, or your thumbnail. If a bee’s venom sack is left inside the victim, it can take 2 to 3 minutes to release all the venom, so prompt removal is essential. How fast you get the stinger out is more important than how you do it! Bear in mind that the stingers of wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are not barbed and are retracted upon stinging, but these insects can sting you multiple times.
    • Try to reduce the body’s inflammatory process by applying cold, such as ice from your water bottle or a cold pack if available
    • Remove rings if bitten on the hands or fingers.
    • Cleanse the area with soap and water as soon as possible.
    • Apply calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, or Benadryl gel to ease redness, itching, or swelling.
    • Understand that some parts of the body are more sensitive to stings and respond differently. Bites near the eyes, lips, tip of the nose, or ears are particularly prone to swelling.
    • Remember that taking an antihistamine such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton will slow down an allergic reaction, but won’t prevent it.
    • Stay calm and keep in mind that localized pain, redness, swelling, warmth, and itching are common local reactions.

    If you or your hiking companion are among the 2% to 3% of Americans who go on to develop an anaphylactic reaction to an insect sting, know when to call 911:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Hives that are red and spread beyond the bite
    • Swelling of face, throat, or mouth
    • Wheezing, inability to swallow

    If you have had serious allergic reactions or anaphylaxis in the past, please talk to your doctor about strategies to keep you safe on the trail. Remember to bring your medication (EpiPen) with you on all hikes, and notify a fellow hiker of proper use.

    Please continue to notify the Safety Chair (216-780-1134 or Queen6RN@hotmail.com) directly of any injury or incident on a hike requiring medical i ntervention or follow-up.



    Safety Tips: Preparing for the Long Haul!
    by Karen Pressman

    Hiking long distances isn’t something you decide to do on a whim. Being able to complete the 20, 26 or 40 mile annual hikes successfully and safely requires training, conditioning, and preparation.

    Take care of your tootsies:
    -Wear lightweight shoes, making sure there is at least 1/2 inch of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.
    -Wear the same shoes that you have been training in; this is not the time to try out a new pair for the first time.
    -Experiment with different socks before the big day. If you’re prone to toe blisters, try wearing a liner with individual toes, like Five Fingers or Injinji. You can reduce the chance of seams causing blisters by wearing your socks inside out. Instead of cotton, invest in socks made of CoolMax or other synthetic blends that will wick away moisture and reduce chafing.
    -Some hikers bring an extra pair of shoes and socks to change into midday.
    -Try using Vaseline, Body Glide, or similar lubricating products on your feet.
    -If you have specific pressure points, you might want to consider using moleskin or similar products on those areas (but moleskin won’t stick if you have already used a lubricant).
    -Remember to trim/file your nails down. Properly conditioned feet and good shoes will increase your odds of finishing well.

    Eat and drink your way to the finish line: -Proper nutrition is vital — your body needs energy-laden foods. Make sure you bring a snack; fruit, nuts, granola, or veggies are ideal. -Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Whether it’s water, Gatorade, Powerade, or juice — keep drinking! -Experiment with carbohydrate gels before the big day, as they may cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea for some people.

    Dress like an onion: Do not overdress, but do dress in layers that can be easily shed depending on the ambient temperature and your level of exertion.

    A positive attitude goes a long way:
    -Stay positive. A minor negative thought early on can become larger as the hike goes on.
    -Understand that long hikes are difficult to complete and you may experience some bad patches in the later miles. It is essential to persevere through these tough times. You can do it. Try visualization or talk to yourself to carry on.

    Random thoughts:
    -Make sure you go to bed early the night before.
    -Ask your doctor if it would be acceptable for you to premedicate with a pain reliever, such as Aleve or Motrin.
    -Remember to stretch thoroughly before and after.
    -If there’s any possibility you may need a medication, be sure to carry it with you!
    -People walk at different speeds. Walk at a comfortable pace and don’t worry about when you finish. This is not a race.

    Many hikers choose to do these long hikes year after year because it provides them with a deep sense of fulfillment. If your ambition is to accomplish one of these hallmark hikes, remember to be prepared! Whichever tips you experiment with, make sure you implement them several times before the big day. Hike safe and hike smart!



    SAFETY Is the Name of the Game!
    by Karen Pressman

    Falling, tripping, slipping, and sliding are among the most common accidents when hiking, especially in snow and ice. Injuries, such as sprains, strains, tears, and fractures are all too common and may be largely preventable. Age and genetics are contributing factors that we cannot do too much about, but there is so much we can do to keep ourselves safe and healthy when hiking in snow and ice.

    Weight reduction: Reduce weight wherever you can, such as reducing body fat, limiting what you carry on your back, and lessening the weight of your boots or footwear. Overall weight reduction will increase mobility and decrease fatigue. Keep in mind that when hiking, your knees and ankles are the weakest link.

    Hike defensively: Be alert for potential terrain challenges. Remain attentive and habitually scan the trail ahead. Alternate looking 10 feet ahead and then looking closer to negotiate proper foot placement.

    Pole support: Consider using poles to enhance balance and stability. Remember, hiking on 3 or 4 legs is better than on only 2!

    Adequate traction: STABILicers, Yaktrax, screws, or cleats will help you avoid tumbles on slick surfaces.

    Many exercise physiologists and therapists contend the calf muscle is the most important muscle in preventing ankle sprains. Take a few minutes every day to stretch and strengthen your calf muscles. For example, lean against a wall with both hands while bending one knee and keeping the other one straight. Try standing on the ball of one foot and raising and lowering yourself one leg at a time using your arms only for balance.

    You can improve your balance by doing proprioception exercises. Try standing on one leg while doing mundane tasks such as brushing your teeth or watching TV. If you want to challenge yourself even more, try this with your eyes closed (as long as you have support nearby). By challenging your natural balance systems (inner ear, vision, and proprioception), you can better stimulate all 3 balance systems to function more efficiently.

    Know your limitations and only choose hikes that you feel confident you can complete safely. Please don’t hesitate to contact Karen Pressman with any incidents where a hiker is injured requiring medical follow-up.


    Tips for Safe and Comfortable Winter Hiking
    by Karen Pressman

    This holiday season, find peace and joy hiking in nature! There’s no better way to experience the tranquility and beauty of nature than hiking outdoors. With adequate preparation and planning, winter hiking can be safe, enjoyable, and comfortable.

    Remember to dress like an onion! Dressing in layers — a base layer that wicks sweat, followed by a light fleece, and topped off with a waterproof jacket and pants — will keep you toasty and comfortable. Avoid cotton and don’t forget your wool hat, wool socks, hand warming packets, gloves, and waterproof boots!

    Consider investing in crampons, STABILicers, Yaktrax, or hiking poles to help keep you upright despite steep hills, heavy snow, or icy conditions.

    Do you want to hike more comfortably in single degree temperatures? Put hot tea, coffee, or cocoa in your thermos.

    Always check the local weather report before venturing out, and leave yourself adequate travel time so you’re not rushed.

    Once you arrive at the designated hike location, warm your muscles up gradually by walking around on the grass surrounding the parking lot. Remember, your best bet for winter workouts is to ease in slowly until you’re acclimated to the ambient temperature.

    If you need to leave a hike before it concludes, please notify the hike leader and don’t feel bad if the leader insists that someone accompany you back to your car. It’s imperative that our leaders not leave anyone behind!

    The most important thing you can take with you into the wild is good old-fashioned Common Sense!

    Please feel free to contact me by email at Queen6RN@hotmail.com or by cell phone at 216-780-1134 for any safety concerns you have, or to notify me of any mishaps requiring medical attention. Thank you and happy hiking!

    Winter Safety – Avoiding Hypothermia
    by Karen Pressman

    What do you think is one of the greatest risks Cleveland area hikers face during the winter months? Being buried in lake-effect snow? Being attacked by the “Solon/Bainbridge bear”? Being impaled by an icicle?

    Perhaps the greatest threat is hypothermia. Hypothermia can be defined as a life-threatening emergency where the body cannot keep itself warm, due to exposure to cold, wet, and windy weather. The lower the ambient temperature, the quicker hypothermia sets in and the less time you have to correct it. Prolonged exposure to air temperatures in the 50s or submersion in water temperatures in the 60s can cause hypothermia, and people over the age of 65 are at greater risk.

    It’s important for all hikers to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of hypothermia because its onset is so gradual that those afflicted don’t realize it’s affecting them. The first sign of hypothermia is “stupidity” or confusion: when your brain gets cold, it doesn’t function efficiently. For example, a hiker with mild hypothermia, when asked if he would be warmer if he zipped up his coat, will say “no,” or if asked what 3 plus 4 equals will have to think about it long and hard. Look for the signs of the “umbles” — stumbling, mumbling, fumbling, and grumbling. Uncontrollable shivering followed by a lack of shivering is an additional cue that your fellow hiker is in serious trouble.

    If you suspect a fellow hiker is hypothermic, the goal is to get him to a warm, dry place as quickly as possible and call for help!

    A little preplanning goes a long way in preventing hypothermia:
    • Avoid wearing cotton, because it traps moisture/sweat against your skin. Wear a synthetic material such as polypropylene that wicks moisture away from your body. Invest in a quality pair of wool socks and wool glove liners. Wool will keep you warm even if it gets wet.
    • Layer it up. Multiple thin layers of clothing trap more warmth against your skin than one thick layer. A good rule of thumb is to start with soft, wicking fabric next to your skin (all the way down to your knickers). Add an extra fleece layer. Top it off with a material that will challenge wetness and wind such as Gore-Tex. Leave all cotton at home!
    • Don’t forget to eat before hiking. Your body will generate heat as it burns the fuel/calories you’ve consumed.
    • Always have a hat and gloves handy. No kidding, if your feet are cold, put on a hat even if it has furry earflaps! Warming your head will result in your extremities being toastier. Waterproof hiking boots are a must.
    • Did I mention avoiding cotton?
    • Don’t forget to drink fluids. The drier winter air will suck more moisture out of you with every breath you take. Bringing a thermos with warm broth, tea, coffee, or other beverage will help keep you warm. Remember to avoid alcoholic beverages as they will only lower your body temperature further.
    • Consider throwing a pack or two of chemical handwarmers (like Hotties) in your hiking gear, just in case you or a fellow hiker require them someday.
    • Lastly, don’t sweat! Really, try not to sweat. Once you get wet with sweat, you’re at increased risk of getting chilled and hypothermic. Try to begin a hike feeling a bit cold. Ten to 20 minutes into the hike, you’ll begin to warm up and be safe from hypothermia!
    Hike smart and safe!

    Hiking Safely Doesn’t Have to Be a Balancing Act!
    by Karen Pressman

    Note: Karen Pressmen is replacing Cleo Current as Safety Coordinator for the Club. For any future safety issues, concerns, or questions, or for any Club functions where a member sustains any injury requiring medical attention, please contact Karen at 216-780-1134 or queen6rn@hotmail.com.

    As bipeds, we humans spend tremendous energy maintaining our balance while walking. We balance our torso and upper body with just 2 points of contact on the ground: our feet. Using 1 or 2 hiking poles increases these points of contact and significantly reduces the risk of falling, something we all need to consider with the colder temperatures and icy conditions fast approaching. Who wouldn’t benefit from an “extra set of legs” on uneven or slippery terrain?

    In addition to reducing the F word (Falls, Fractures, and Fatalities), the use of hiking poles reduces stress on the joints. Your knees, hips, and ankles take a pounding when hiking on a rocky trail, turning them into mush, especially when walking downhill. Hiking poles help to lift thousands of pounds of pressure off these joints over the course of a day, enabling you to hike comfortably longer and farther. A 2008 British study reports that those using hiking poles perceive themselves to be less fatigued than when they covered the same distance without poles, even though oxygen sensors showed they were working harder and climbing at a faster pace.

    Using your arms and core muscles help to build and condition your upper body, improving your power and endurance for ascending steep hills. Poles facilitate a more upright posture, which improves breathing. Walking with poles provides weight-bearing exercise for the arms, legs, and spine, and may help improve bone density. There’s nothing like a long, steady uphill to get you in the fat-burning zone and using poles provides a total body workout too!

    Some hikers shun pole users for fear of being stabbed. For those of us who choose to use poles, here are a few reminders regarding pole etiquette:

    1. Keep a safe distance between hikers.
    2. If someone is crowding you, step aside and let them pass.
    3. On steep uphill, poles can slip. Hikers too close can be injured.
    4. On steep downhill, allow extra space both in front and in back.
    5. Avoid reaching forward when planting your pole as this can jab the hiker ahead in the Achilles tendon.
    6. Always know where your tips are. If carrying your poles, turn the tips forward or down

    October Safety Tips by Arthur Lieberman

    Certain minimal safety equipment should be available on any hike in a Metropark, the CVNP, or any similar place; more is needed in a backcountry area, but that is not being discussed here. Although it is not necessary for everyone to carry these items, the only way you can be sure they are available for you is to carry them yourself. These items at a minimum are compass, whistle, moleskin and possibly other blister treatment and scissors to cut them with, emergency blanket, bandages in various sizes, aspirin, ibuprofen or a similar product, Benadryl®, and a cell phone. Other items that can be useful include gauze pads, first aid tape, and antibiotic ointment.

    With regard to your cell phone, make sure that the ICE (In Case of Emergency) line in your contact list is filled in and up to date. The following phone numbers should be in your contact list:

    1. Cleveland Metropark nonemergency: 440-334-5530
    2. Cleveland Metropark emergency: 440-333-4911
    3. CVNP dispatch: 800-433-1986
    4. Lake County MetroPark: 440-354-3434 for non-emergencies, 911 for emergencies
    5. Geauga County Park District: 440-279-0814 for non-emergencies, 911 for emergencies
    6. Portage County Park District 330-297-7728 for non-emergencies, 911 for emergencies
    7. Lorain County MetroParks 440-458-5121 during office hours, 440-323-1212 after hours,
      911 for emergencies
    8. Summit County MetroParks 330-867-5511 during office hours, 330-475-0029 after hours, 911 for emergencies
    9. Medina County Park District 330-722-9364 during office hours, 911 for emergencies
    You should also carry any personal medications that you may need on short notice, water, and some food in case you run out of energy. Diabetics should be especially careful about these last items.

    Safety Committee Rules

    1. On All-Purpose Trails we should always leave a free lane for bikers and other people walking in the park. We should hike two abreast keeping to the right side of the trail.
    2. On roads, hike two abreast facing traffic and in single file when leader feels it would be safer.
    3. On bridle trails, when horse and rider approach, stop, stand off to one side, and be still and quiet.
    4. Leader should appoint a sweep for the rear, and one for the middle when the group is large, to help keep grouped and following the rules and also to see that no one is lost.
    5. Cross streets at light or crosswalk only. Leader should wait until all cross before commencing hike.
    6. No off-trail hikes after sunset.
    7. Before the hike, leader should describe the hike as to difficulty, such as ridges, mud, water crossings, and length.
    8. Reflective sashes or clothing to be worn on all night hikes recommended.
    9. In a park hikers should not go off trail without leader's consent.
    10. Do not lose sight of the person in front of you.

    Think spring and Be Safe

    April is the best of months and the worst. It’s a teaser in terms of weather and probably the worst time for colds — one day warm and the next snow. Yes, snow. So my recommendation is as always — layer your clothes. I’ve started hikes in sunny 40 degree weather, only to have it drop by 10 degrees and start snowing, so make sure you always have something to cover your head where most of your heat escapes.

    April is my cotton scarf month, have one ready. You’ll be surprised the many uses you’ll find for it. It’s also the month to carry a fanny pack for those who don’t usually wear one.

    What you should have with you on hikes:
    · Tissue
    · Personal medications
    · Bandages
    · Benadryl for allergic reactions to stings
    · Neosporin-to-go packets
    · Aspirin for heart
    · Reflective vests on night hikes

    Leaders should carry a cell phone or be sure someone
    has one for emergency calls.
    Here are the park numbers
    for your cell phones:
    ·  Metropark Nonemergency: 440-334-5530
    ·  Metropark Emergency: 440-333-4911
    · CVNP Dispatch: 800-433-1986

    How to convert boots to ice boots

    Here is a repeat of the instructions on how to convert an old pair of boots into cleated boots for icy conditions.

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