How to avoid hiking injuries

Ireland has such an interesting, varied, and beautiful landscape so it is no surprise that one of the most popular hobbies here is hiking outdoors. Whether you are hiking for pleasure, or training for an upcoming event, hiking outdoors comes with a set of risks which can lead to discomfort or injury if you are not properly prepared with the right gear and knowledge. Here are a few examples of common hiking ailments and what you need to know to be prepared for them.

Blisters

Whether you are new to hiking or a seasoned rambler, chances are you have had to deal with blisters at least once. There are a number of things you can do to prevent the occurrence of blisters. First of all, your hiking boots should be appropriate for your trip and they should also be the right fit. You should invest in a good pair of specialised hiking socks. The Portwest stores based in Galway, Westport, and Killarney have a large selection suitable for this kind of activity. These are made of wicking material, which helps to keep moisture away from your skin, working to prevent irritation and chafing. If you are going on a long trek, you might want to consider investing in a pair of liner socks, which add another layer that acts as a buffer to reduce blister-causing friction.

Sunburn

When being exposed to the sun for most of the day, it can be easy to forget to properly care for your skin. A good sunscreen should be in every adventurer’s pack for every expedition. When choosing your sunscreen, make sure that it offers broad spectrum protection (UVA and UVB ) and that it has an SPF rating of 30 or higher. Portwest stocks specialist sun cream specifically designed for hikers and a range of clothing for walking outdoors, as another easy way to make sure you avoid painful sunburn is to wear long sleeve shirts, and long trousers, instead of short sleeved tops and shorts. Don't forget that it is essential to top up your sunscreen regularly; much of the sunscreen you have applied throughout the day can wash off through sweat, or in streams/waterfalls you trek.

Dehydration

Even on a short walk or hike, you can become dehydrated at a quicker rate than you might think. If left unchecked, dehydration can cause dizziness, headaches, and exhaustion, which could lead to bigger problems when hiking out in the wild far removed from amenities and services. To prevent dehydration, you can very simply hydrate well before your trip, and stay hydrated while on the trail. One of the easiest ways to carry a sufficient amount of water with you is to bring a hydration style backpack, which can hold between 0.5 and four litres. Portwest stocks a range of packs including water bottles and electrolyte sachets. Be sure to drink small amounts and at regular intervals to prevent dehydration.

Insect bites

Much like preventing sunburn, preventing irritation from biting or stinging insects can be as simple as wearing clothing that covers as much skin as possible. For those looking to ensure that biting insects are not a concern, clothes woven with compounds such as Permethrin or NosiDefence, which are insect repellents, are available. Of course, another essential pack item for any adventurer is insect repellent lotion or spray. Portwest stocks both repellents and after care products. There are a number of different sprays and lotions available of varying strength, ranging from all natural organic repellents to those with powerful compounds like DEET to make sure you stay protected.

Always be prepared before you set out on your next adventure. Make sure you carry all items necessary to avoid discomfort or injury. Portwest stocks a full range of essential items for common hiking ailments. It also carrys a full range of hiking clothing and boots to suit all budgets. Portwest shops are located in Galway, Westport, and Killarney.

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