Safety Tips for Camping in Florida

safety-tips-for-camping-in-fl-bigstock-family-camping-in-the-parkCamping is a terrific way to enjoy time together as a family, escape from your regular routine, and teach your children to appreciate the beauty and serenity of nature. Florida is a camper’s paradise, with diverse national, state, county, and city parks, recreation areas, forests, and campgrounds, along with a mild, sub-tropical climate that can be enjoyed year-round.

While spending time in the great outdoors can be a lot of fun, it is not without its dangers. Before embarking on a camping trip in the Sunshine State, consider the following tips offered by the doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care to ensure that your adventure is a safe and healthy one:

  • Bring plenty of bottled water – Never drink from a wilderness stream, lake, river, or creek. Assume that all natural sources of water are contaminated. 

  • Pack warm clothing – Florida weather can sometimes be tricky, especially during the winter months, when the temperature can reach the 80s during a sunny day but then dip into the 30s at night. Always have warm clothing and blankets on hand so you can bundle up if necessary.

  • Check the forecast – Afternoon showers are common during the summer, so always expect—and be prepared—to get wet. Also, remember that hot, wet weather can bring out mosquitoes and other pesky inspects. 

  • Bring inspect repellant – Spray your clothing instead of your skin whenever possible. Citronella candles are also effective. Avoid using perfumes, colognes, fragrant lotions, and scented soaps, which can attract bugs.

  • Never feed wildlife – No matter how cute and hungry a furry creature may look, you should never feed it. When a wild animal learns to associate humans with food, it can become aggressive and dangerous. Unfortunately, when this occurs, wildlife management is often left with no choice but to kill the animal.

  • Learn to identify poisonous plants – Watch out for poison ivy, which has a cluster of three leaves at the end of a long stem. When viewed from above, the leaves are often bright, waxy, and shiny green in color, while underneath they appear lighter and fuzzier. To help reduce your chance of exposure to an irritant, wear clothing that covers your skin when you’re near plants, bushes, and trees. Also, bring some calamine lotion along with an antihistamine or allergy medication, just in case.

  • Leave a copy of your plans with a responsible person – Always tell someone where you are going, who you will be with, when you plan to return, and your cell phone number or campground information.

  • Don’t get lost – Avoid this common camping mistake by learning to use a map, compass, or GPS beforehand, and then carry one or more of these simple tools at all times while out in the wilderness.

With some advance planning and preparation, you can ensure that your family’s camping experience will be an enjoyable and memorable one. For additional family health and safety tips, take a look at our online series of health articles. If you have questions, please feel free to contact or visit a Tampa doctor at South Tampa Immediate Care. We’ll be happy to help you prepare for your next outdoor adventure!