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Animal Bites While Hiking and Camping: Safety Tips

It’s that time of year, and lots of Assist America members are out hiking and camping.  Animal bites, especially envenomations, are a real hazard to anyone spending a significant time outdoors away from developed areas.  While some bites may be nothing more than a nuisance, many can be quite dangerous, especially without proper cleaning and care. 
Here are a few safety tips:
1. Make sure you are in a safe location, and not at risk for further injury or bites
2. Engage local emergency services
   a. 911 can assist with EMS, police and animal control as necessary
3. Try to identify what bit you
   a. For animals in general, was it an animal that is known to you (a friend’s pet perhaps)?  Was the animal acting strangely prior to the bite?  Is the animal still in the vicinity?  If the animal has left, try to see which direction it went in and provide as many details as possible to Emergency Services as it may be necessary to capture and test the animal for rabies.
   b. For snakes, DO NOT try to capture the snake.  Observe the snake from a distance to get as much info on the color and size of the snake.  You should attempt to identify the order that the colors present on the snake as it may mean the difference between venomous and not.
   c. For insects, try to identify the insect.  If it can be accomplished safely, try to secure it in a sealed container for official identification (a folded over piece of tape is a great way to capture and hold small insects like ticks).  If the insect cannot be safely collected, observe it from a safe distance to identify any markings or specific characteristics such as number of legs, color, shape, size, etc.  
4. In the event of a possible envenomation, Assist America will make sure to ask the potential receiving facilities if they have the appropriate antivenin on hand, or have a means of obtaining it
   a. In areas where certain venomous animals are present, there are usually regional antivenin holdings that will transfer the needed antivenin to a patient’s location when requested by the hospital.  This can be problematic for persons bitten by a pet snake in an area that does not normally have that species present.  Other logistics might be needed in order to get the appropriate antivenin to the patient
Here are a few useful websites regarding bites and envenomations:
Animals in general:
Spiders and other insects:

Click on each title to read the full article.

How to interact with Security Services Abroad +

Under ideal circumstances, foreigners traveling abroad would not need to interact with security services in their host country. Unfortunately, there are times when it is prudent, or even required, specifically if you become the victim of a crime or are accused of a crime in another country. To this end, there are three things foreign travelers should remember. Click to read more...

Protect Sensitive Personal Data While Traveling +

While traveling abroad, it is natural to want to stay connected by bringing along a phone, laptop, or tablet, but doing so often leaves you vulnerable to technologically savvy criminals. Unlike more obvious crimes such as robbery, cybercrimes often go undetected or are not discovered until a victim notices a telltale sign such as a fraudulent charge on their bank account or a new credit card on their credit report. Click to read more...

Click on each title to read the full article.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo Souvenir While Traveling +

Traveling is a thrilling adventure, a step outside of the comfort zone, one that often propels people to make spontaneous decisions. One of the most common ‘spur-of-the-moment’ decisions people make while traveling is getting a tattoo. Unfortunately, when it comes to tattoos, either you come up a winner with a souvenir you’re happy with forever or go home with something you wish you could have left behind. Click to read more...

Traveling with Diabetes: Tips for a Safe Trip +

Traveling is not easy to begin with, so having to worry about diabetes while traveling can seem a daunting task. To help you for your upcoming trip, we have listed important tips so you can be prepared for any situation and enjoy your travels with peace of mind. Click to read more...

Click on each title to read the full article.

Studying Abroad: Final Preparations +

In a couple of weeks, thousands on college kids will be departing for an adventure of a lifetime: study abroad. Before they head out, it’s time to go through the final preparations and go over the check list one last time. With the help of our international staff and colleagues who studied and live abroad, we compiled the ultimate check list to ease the transition into a life abroad. Click to read more...

In Action: Pre-Trip Assistance Prior to a Study Abroad in Italy +

A few weeks ago, Assist America received a call from a worried mother and her daughter, Jessica*, who needed pre-trip and prescription assistance prior to Jessica's departure for a study abroad program in Italy. Read how our coordinators helped Jessica during her final preparations. Click to read more...

For the latest, up-to-date information regarding key regions, click on the links below:


East Asia


Near East

South Asia

Western Hemisphere

 Members of Assist America also have access to country-specific Pre-Trip Information, visa requirements, immunization regulations, security advisories, and more. To view Pre-Trip Information, login with your Assist America reference number on our website or download our free Mobile App (see below for details). 

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