Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to avoid trench foot on hike with kids

To avoid trench foot, have children change out of wet socks and shoes.
A rare but potential malady children can suffer during a day hike is trench foot. The problem occurs when feet get wet and remain so for many long hours. The result is numbness with the skin turning blue (or sometimes red). If out on a camping trip, wet feet for several days can lead to gangrene.

Avoiding wet feet is easier than it sounds where children are concerned, for any mud puddle or stream offers a fun place to stomp and splash. Begin by ensuring children wear waterproof shoes or boots. Also have them don wool socks, which better wick moisture from the body than do cotton socks. Next, ask children to walk around puddles and to step over tiny streamlets rather than through them.

Should children’s feet get wet, having them change into a dry pair of socks and hiking boots kept in your backpack is a good idea. At the very least, keep an extra pair in your vehicle, so that once you return from the trail, they can change.

So long as the day is warm, having children take off their socks and boots to air their feet can be helpful as well, especially if their feet sweat. Gently massaging wet feet to encourage circulation also is beneficial.

Should you notice a change in the skin color of a child’s feet after they’ve been wet for a long period, immediately seek medical treatment.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.