All Valley RV Center Blog

  • Published on Aug 14, 2015

    With all the gorgeous national forests in Southern California it’s no wonder that camping is one of the most popular recreational activities in the state. However, going camping means accepting the risk of encountering some of the dangerous plants and animals. We decided to compile a list of potential hazards that you should be aware of when camping and what to do if you are unlucky enough to experience a rare dangerous encounter with them.

    Bears

    Black BearCalifornia is home to an estimated 16,000-24,000 blacks bears. They occupy forests and wooded mountains, making a run in with a bear inevitable for campers trekking through California’s gorgeous wilderness. It’s crucial for campers to take safety precautions when camping in bear country. While black bears will typically avoid encounters with humans, harmless encounters can easily turn dangerous if you approach their cubs or tempt a hungry bear with food. 

    People who live in, or visit, bear habitat have a responsibility to the wildlife whose habitat they are sharing. The best way to avoid a dangerous bear encounter is prevent it. While hiking, make noise to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear ┬Ľand keep a clean camp by cleaning up and storing food and garbage immediately after meals. Never keep food or toiletries in your tent! Food, toiletries and garbage should be stored in bear-proof containers or in an airtight container in the trunk of your vehicle.

    Black bears should always be considered unpredictable and potentially dangerous. When encountering a black bear that is visible, but not close, alter your route so that you will move away from its area. Black bears will typically avoid confrontation with humans when possible. If a black bear approaches, do not run. Remain calm, continue facing the bear and slowly back away. If the bear continues to approach, try to group together and pick up small children. Try to scare the bear away by shouting and acting aggressively. If a black bear attacks , it is suggested to fight back using everything in your power fists, sticks, rocks, and E.P.A. registered bear pepper spray.

    Mountain Lions

    Mountain LionMost campers never catch a glimpse of a mountain lion, let alone have confrontation with one. If you happen to see a mountain lion, no matter how thrilled you are to be one of the very few who gets such an opportunity, stay well back, and take the encounter seriously. Mountain Lions can be extremely dangerous and encounters have the potential to turn deadly. Most mountain lions will avoid confrontation with humans as much as possible, so if you do happen to encounter one be sure to give them a way to escape.
     
    If a Mountain Lion doesn’t take the opportunity to escape try to make yourself appear larger. You can do this by picking up children, raising your arms and waving them slowly, and standing nearby other adults.  Show that you aren’t prey by throwing stones or branches, all without turning away. Try speaking in a slow, loud and firm voice. Act like a predator when you encounter a mountain lion, maintain eye contact. Never run past or from a mountain lion. Never bend over or crouch down. 
    If you are in a situation where a mountain lion is holding its ground because of your proximity to its kittens or its prey, back away slowly to a spot that gives the mountain lion a path to get away, never turning away from the animal. Give a mountain lion the time and ability to move away. If a mountain lion attacks you, fight back as hard as you can while protecting your neck and throat.

    Poison Oak

    Poison Oak in FallPoison Oak can be found throughout all of Southern California and can be best identified by the rhyme “Leaves of three, let it be”. It has yellow-white berries and can grow as a shrub or a vine.  Poison Oak typically has green leaves in the summer, red or orange in the fall, and finally brown fallen leaves in the winter. Poison Oak contains urushiol oil which causes an itchy, blistery rash when it comes in contact with skin. The oil is found in every part of the plant and can be transferred to your clothes and possessions so a rash can form even if your skin doesn’t directly touch the plant. Do not burn poison oak, it's airborn particles can land on your skin causing a reaction. 

    How to Treat a Mild Poison Oak Rash

    Immediately wash your skin with lukewarm soapy water. Then wash your clothing and rinse anything that could have come in contact with the plant with warm soapy water.  Make sure not to itch your rash, itching can cause the wound to become infected. Use calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream on the skin that itches to help with the rash. You can also apply a cold compress to soothe the area. Go see a doctor if the rash doesn’t improve within 7 to 10 days or you suspect that your rash is infected.

    Go to the emergency room if:
    You have trouble breathing or swallowing.
    The rash covers most of your body.
    You have many rashes or blisters.
    You experience swelling, especially if an eyelid swells shut.
    The rash develops anywhere on your face or genitals.
    Much of your skin itches, or nothing seems to ease the itch.

    Rattlesnakes

    Diamondback RattlesnakeCalifornia is home to 10 different types of rattlesnakes that have varying sizes and markings. All rattlesnakes are pit vipers and have thick, relatively short bodies, narrow neck with wide, triangular heads. They can easily be identified by the button-like rattle at the end of their tales. If they are disturbed then they will rattle their tails, creating a very distinct noise. The best way to prevent a snakebite is to always watch where you walk and give rattlesnakes a wide berth. Make sure to avoid putting your hands or feet near areas that snake often inhabit. Snakes can typically be found between rocks, in brush and in log piles. A snake will only bite if it feels like it will be harmed. 

    How to Treat a Snakebite 

    If you or someone you are with is bitten by a snake, get away from the snake immediately. Try to move a minimum of 20 feet away from the snake because if the snake feels threatened it may bite again. Once you are safely away from the snake, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Keep the wound as immobile as possible and do not elevate it above the victim’s heart. Make sure to remove any jewelry or restrictive clothing near the bite area because the area will swell. Let the area bleed for a few minutes to get rid of excess and do not try to suck the venom out. Trying to suck the venom out introduces bacteria that can infect the wound. After letting it bleed apply a clean bandage and make sure the victim moves as little as possible on their way to a hospital.

    Ticks

    Tick Dealing with tick can seem like a rather tame problem when camping. Their bites just seem annoying and disgusting rather than dangerous. However tick bites in California can carry diseases such as Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Borrelia miyamotoi, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme Disease, Spotted Fever Group Rickettsia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, Tick Paralysis, and Tularemia. 

    Tick bites can be prevented using a variety of methods. First try to apply insect repellent with at least 20% DEET on exposed skin and clothing.  Frequently reapply the insect repellent because it can wear off. Treat your clothing, socks, and shoes/boots with permethrin. Permethrin kills any ticks that climb on your body. Avoid brushing against high grasses and shrubs and periodically check your body for ticks. Try to wear light colored clothing to make it easier to spot ticks crawling around your clothing. Tuck your pants into your shoes so that ticks can’t crawl up the inside of your pant leg. If you find a tick attached to your skin be sure to remove it quickly and safely.

    How to Remove a Tick

    First protect your fingers with a latex glove or paper towel. Next, using fine tipped tweezers grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not try to remove the tick with your bare hands. Once you have a grip on the tick do not twist or jerk it; this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite site and wash your hands with soap and water. Do not squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick because its fluids may contain infectious organisms. Skin accidentally exposed to tick fluids can be disinfected with iodine scrub, rubbing alcohol, or water containing detergents. Try to save the tick for identification in case you become ill. This may help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis. You can do this by placing the tick in a sealable plastic bag and then putting it in your freezer. Its also a good idea to write the date of the bite on a piece of paper with a pencil and place it in the bag.

    All Valley RV Center

    We hope that you enjoyed these tips and that they help you if you ever encounter these unfortunate situations. Thinking about purchasing a new rv or upgrading your tent to something a little more sturdy? Let All Valley RV Center help! We offer top of the line new and used RVs that are built to ensure you feel comfortable during your next camping trip. Looking for parts to take camping as well? All Valley RV Center has a great selection of parts for all types of campers. Check out our online parts store that is sure to have what you are looking for. Wherever you decide to camp this fall, be safe and have fun! 

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