First Aid

As, no matter where you’re at, even, in the outdoors accidents happen, you’ll want to be prepared, this is why it’s a good idea no matter what you’re doing in the outdoors to have a First Aid kit with you.

As we head into late summer and fall, just because summer is winding down, don’t think that we need to forget about being safe in the outdoors. As you’ll still need to protect yourself while you’re out there.

If you have spent much time in the outdoors, you have probably ended up being burnt, have spent too much time in the sun or been hooked.

I know I have and there are some things we could have done to prevent it and if it did happen to take care of it, that is what we are going to be talking about in this column.

Sun Burn-Skin Cancer:

If you are in the outdoors, no matter what season, you are going to have to deal with sunburn.

To an outdoorsman or women, the sun is something we look forward to, as it makes our days on the water and in the field more enjoyable.

Too much sun and not enough protection can lead to some real problems as I have found out.

As a guide, I stayed away from sunscreens as I didn't want the scent to spook the fish, which was a huge mistake on my part as I ended up with squamous cell skin cancer which cost me a big chunk of my lower lip.

There are over a million non-melanoma skin cancers diagnosed in the U.S. every year. What is unbelievable is that many of these cases could have been prevented by avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, protecting your skin with clothing and using a good sunscreen.

When it comes to sunscreens, there are hundreds of them out there. For the best protection, you'll want one that offers both UA and UB protection one with at least a Sun Protection factor of SPF 25, one that is waterproof and sweatproof, reapplying it in 15 to 30 minutes.

Don’t forget your lips like I did, I now use Dermatone SPF 23 lip balm which is medicated and keeps your lips from drying out.

Heat Exhaustion:

I hate to think that I am an accident looking to happen, but I have also had heat exhaustion. The first time when I was in the Army in Viet Nam and later when I was working on the cabin, cutting cedar trees and working in the food plot. At the cabin, I was by myself, which is never good, but since I had had it before, I recognized the symptoms, got in the pickup, turned the air conditioning on high and headed home.

When I got home, I drank a lot of cold water, got in the shower of cold water, then lay down, elevated my legs and kept a cold compress on my head.

Heat exhaustion is a form of hypothermia where the body temperature is elevated caused by exposure to high temperatures, with high humidity and strenuous physical activity.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion are:

  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Heavy sweating
  • Rapid, weak heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Cool, moist, pale skin
  • Low-grade fever
  • Heat cramps
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dark-colored urine

If you or others have any of these symptoms and suspect heat exhaustion, get the person out of the sun and into a shady or into an air-conditioned vehicle. Lay them down, raise their legs and feet, loosen or remove their clothing.

Give them cool water or other nonalcoholic non-caffinated beverages. Try to cool the individual by any means possible. Heat exhaustion can quickly become heatstroke.


Hook Removal:


It is not pretty, but it happens, you have just landed a fish and are about to remove the hook from the fish's mouth when he flops around and the hook ends up in your finger.

What now, you can try pulling it out, but since the hook has a barb, pulling it out just is not an option.

There is an easy painless way to get the hook out; it has called the yank method. Sounds painful, but it is not.

What you will need to do is:

* Cut a piece of fishing line, approximately two feet long.

* Wrap the piece of fishing line around the bend on the hook.

* Push down on the end of the shank of the fishhook pushing it against the skin

* Keep the shank parallel to the skin.

* Get a firm hold on the line and give it a quick jerk and the hook will back out the way it went in.

* Once the hook is out, apply an antiseptic on the wound and not a bad idea to get a tetanus shot just to be on the safe side.

Of any of the above happen to you while you’re in the outdoors, you want to be prepared, before heading out, you should go through your first aid kit, replacing any that are getting close to being unusable.

No matter what time of the year out, be sure you have plenty of water, in order to keep your self-hydrated.

It’s also a good time to review hook removal tips or purchase one of the many factory kits just in case you or your fishing partner gets hooked.

As fall turns toward winter, you want to be prepared, just in case you have problems, get stuck in a snow bank or any of the numerous things that can happen during the cold weather.


Gary Howey, Hartington, Nebraska is a former tournament angler, fishing & hunting guide, an award- winning writer, producer, photographer and broadcaster and in 2017 was inducted into the "National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame."

Howey is also an award-winning writer, producer, broadcaster, former tournament angler, fishing and hunting guide and in 2017 inducted into the "National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame”.

He developed and was the Producer-Host for 23 years of his award winning gary Howey’s Outdoorsmen Adventures television series. He’s the Host of the award-winning Outdoor Adventures radio program carried on Classic Hits 106.3, ESPN Sports Radio 1570 in Southeastern South Dakota, KWYR Country 93 AM and Magic 93 FM in Central South Dakota, As well as on KCHE 92.1 FM in Northwest Iowa. If you’re looking for more outdoor information, check out www.GaryHowey' , and, with more information on these Facebook pages, Gary Howey, Gary E Howey, Outdoor Adventure Radio, Team Outdoorsmen Production.

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