Hiking - Hazards

Hazards

Hiking may produce threats to personal safety. These threats can be dangerous circumstances while hiking and/or specific accidents or ailments. Diarrhea has been found to be one of the most common illness afflicting long-distance hikers in the United States. (See Wilderness acquired diarrhea.)

Noxious plants that cause rashes can be particularly bothersome to hikers. Such plants include poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac, and stinging nettles.

Dangerous hiking circumstances include losing the way, inclement weather, hazardous terrain, or exacerbation of pre-existing medical conditions. Specific accidents include metabolic imbalances (such as dehydration or hypothermia), topical injuries (such as frostbite or sunburn), attacks by animals, or internal injuries (such as ankle sprain).

Attacks by humans are also a reality. There are organizations that promote prevention, self-defense and escape. Cell phone and GPS devices are used by some organizations.

In various countries, borders may be poorly marked. It is good practice to know where international borders are. For example, in 2009, Iran seized three American hikers for crossing over the Iran-Iraq border while hiking. Many nations, such as Finland, have specific rules governing hiking across borders.

Read more about this topic:  Hiking

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