Is Camping Safe in the Coronavirus Era?
August 14, 2020 | Personal Injury
In a nutshell, the great outdoors (such as camping) are still pretty great, even during coronavirus pandemic, as long as you follow basic safe guidelines.
A group of public health physicians rated outdoor camping as a relatively-low 3 on a 10-point risk scale. For comparison, they rated a gym as an 8 and a round of golf as a 1. These risks are particularly low in solo or small-group trips.
“Staying in smaller groups is safer.
Stay away from people you don’t know,” offered Dr. Matthew Sims.
“If you encounter a new group, say on a hike, keep your distance from them. Staying to yourself is a safer thing. It’s great to be friendly, but don’t go up and share pictures.”
Experts also warned people to avoid campfire smoke, campfire songs, because singing aerosolizes the virus, and shared food.
In general, campers should take the same precautions outdoors as they do indoors. “It’s the same thing as anywhere else — social distancing, masking, cough etiquette and hand hygiene. There’s no magic to it,” Dr. Sims concluded.
Common Camping Injuries
Infectious diseases are rare on camping trips. Nevertheless, camping-related injuries kill or seriously injure thousands of Americans every year.
If certain dangerous camping activities are included, like swimming or riding a dirt bike or an ATV, the rate goes even higher.
The rate goes higher still if indirect injuries, like motor vehicle crashes on the way to or from a campsite, are included. Some common injuries are:
- Infectious Diseases: There is no COVID-19 vaccination, but vaccines are available for many other conditions and infections, like pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis, meningitis, and tetanus. Depending on one’s destination and campground environment, these diseases are a real threat.
- Unsafe Water or Food: This bullet point is related to the previous one. Unclean water and tainted food, normally because of inadequate refrigeration, are rather common at campsites throughout New York.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Even during summer, some parts of New York get rather chilly at night, especially in the middle of nowhere. Never use any fuel-burning equipment in or near a tent or other enclosed area. Carbon monoxide poisoning, which is especially a threat for physically vulnerable campers, occurs suddenly and without warning.
- Animal Illnesses: Wild creatures often behave erratically and often carry diseases. Additionally, pets often pick up dangerous ticks and bring them home.
- Temperature-Related Illness: As mentioned, never use a fuel-burning item for warmth. Instead, use lots of layers and consume extra calories. Also, make sure your tent, clothes, and so on are as dry as possible. On the other end of the spectrum, drink lots of water during the day. If you are thirsty, you are dehydrated. Furthermore, stay in the shade as much as possible and wear strong sunscreen.
Fall injuries are a big risk as well. Normally, injuries like twisted ankles and moderate fractures are not too serious.
But if the nearest doctor is many miles away, the risk of infection is significant, which means these injuries could be life-threatening.
Physician Duty of Care
In most cases, camping injury victims spend at least an hour getting to a doctor.
Making matters worse, New York has one of the highest ER average waiting periods in the country.
Many New Yorkers wait almost six hours to see an ER physician. This wait can be exasperated by the extra burden healthcare facilities are experiencing during the pandemic.
Extended waiting periods run contrary to a physician’s high duty of care.
Doctors, and by extension hospitals, clinics, and other professional medical organizations, have a fiduciary duty to patients. They must set aside all other concerns, such as employee comfort or making money, and do what is best for their patients.
Misdiagnosis is another good example.
Overall, the correct diagnosis rate is about 80 percent. If your child received an 80 on a math test, you might be happy with that result.
But 80 is a failing misdiagnosis grade, because of the high duty of care.
That higher duty of care makes it easier for a New York personal injury lawyer to obtain compensation in these cases.
That compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are usually available in these claims as well.
Camping injuries often have serious or fatal consequences. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees and only get paid when we win your case!
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