Within just a few hours’s drive of our homes here in London ON, we can be out enjoying superb scenery and wild spaces with the family. From paddling through Thousand Islands National Park to hiking the Bruce Peninsula, there’s a lot of wild out there to discover this summer.
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Many of us who live in cities most of the year can forget, however, just how wild Ontario can be. We need to plan what we take to make the most of the experience, and stay safe and healthy too. The healthcare experts here at AMG London have compiled a list of top tips so you can enjoy your wilderness vacation to the fullest.
1. Tell someone where you are going
You may be in a National Park, on a designated camp site with a number, but the advice from Ontario Parks is that you still should let someone know if you plan to go offsite hiking, biking, walking or kayaking. Take your cellphone and a GPS too, if you have one, and plan your route in advance. Tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return, and stick to your route. Take a whistle in case you need to attract attention. Remember to tell them you’re back safely too!
2. Watch the weather
It may be summer, but our Canadian weather can change suddenly and dramatically, and not just during the day. So, when you pitch your tent, make sure you check out escape routes in case of flooding. During lightening storms, the safest place is inside your car (unless it has a soft top), and not in a tent with metal poles. Equally, if the campsite floods, make sure you know the way out, and keep some dry clothes in the car, just in case.
3. Enjoy nights under the stars
4. Carry sunscreen and water even on rainy days
5. Ticks and biting insects
Blacklegged ticks can be a problem in woodland areas, especially where deer are present, and in wet environments such as lake shores. These ticks can carry Lyme disease, which can affect your whole body for years if left untreated. To prevent being bitten by blacklegged ticks, The Government of Ontario advises that you:
- Cover up with light clothing
- Use an effective anti-tick repellant
- Double-check yourself for attached ticks at the end of each day
- Wash off any unattached ticks in a shower
- Check your pets as they might carry ticks indoors
If you have been bitten by a tick and experience any unusual symptoms over the next 10-12 days, such as:
- Developing a ‘target’ shaped rash
- Feeling like you have flu
- Becoming sensitive to light
- Stiff joints, including jaw pain