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What You Need to Know Before Hiking in LA

Before hiking in LA, hikers should research how to deal with rashes from poison ivy oak and other plants, waterfall safety and avoiding accidents, and handling insect bites and preventing them. Hiking is a healthy hobby and taking some preventative measures before you hike will help prevent accidents and injuries.

Poison Ivy, Oak, and Other Plants

Poison ivy, oak, and other plants that cause outbreaks and rashes are found in LA. About 85% of people are allergic to poison ivy. When you have to go to a clinic due to a rash, it can take about 30 minutes to see a medical professional according to The Urgent Care Association. Learn to identify poison ivy and oak and other plants common to LA. This is how you can avoid them. Wear long pants and a shirt when hiking especially in areas that have poisonous plants. Stay on the trails and do not walk through dense shrubs and tall grass. When you go home take a shower with warm or cool water and wash with soap. When you get a rash don’t scratch the rash or blisters. Apply topical treatments like calamine lotions, or zinc carbonate that dry the rash and blisters. You can take over-the-counter medications or get a prescription from your doctor if needed.

Another preventive measure is to apply an ivy blocker solution or cream to your skin before hiking. It should be used with long pants, shirts, and gloves. When you come home, wash everything in the washing machine. The only states that poison ivy and sumac do not grow in are Alaska and Hawaii. Finally, find out if the trails where you hike, in LA, have poisonous plants and where they are located.

Learn Waterfall Safety

When hiking in LA some trails will go by waterfalls and these trails can be scenic and dangerous when you do not follow the park rules. Follow rules posted near the waterfall and heed the warnings. Stay on the public trails and do not venture into restricted areas. Waterfalls are for scenic beauty, do not dive off them or walk restricted areas. Hikers have been seriously injured or killed doing this. Stay on observation platforms and walk carefully on trails that go over waterfalls. They may be slippery from the water or mist coming off the falls. Don’t climb around them the rocks and land are slippery. The park may have designated areas near the falls where you can swim, and it is safe.

When hiking with children and pets watch them carefully. Wear hiking footwear with good traction and bring a change of clothing as you may get wet. Bring a cell phone in case of an emergency or accident. Keep pets on a leash when hiking especially near waterfalls.

Steer Clear of Fleas and Other Insects When Hiking

Fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and bees can mean trouble when you hike in LA. Fleas can go for a long time without needing a meal, more than 100 days, and they are waiting for you. Common sense applies when hiking with insects around. Wear light-colored pants and long-sleeved shirts and use insect repellent on your skin. It is advised to wear a hat to keep insects out of your hair. When hiking avoid bushy areas and tall grass where fleas and ticks hide. Spray Permethrin on your clothing, it kills ticks and lasts a long time. If you have a tick attached, having a medical professional remove it and treat it is the best option.

Mosquitoes transmit disease and are found on hiking trails. The same rules apply to this insect as ticks and fleas. Avoid damp, moist dark areas that attract these pests. Bring along a spray for bugs or mosquitos to have on hand to use. Check with the park and inquire what type of insects they have, so you will be prepared. Bees are everywhere and fly near flowers and plants that have nectar. Avoid wearing bright colors, perfumes, and scented lotions when hiking that attract them. Do not bring strongly scented food or wear bright jewelry as this too attracts bees. Bring tweezers to remove a stinger when bit and alcoholic wipes to treat insect wounds. Carry a first aid kit in the car for these emergencies and for dogs spay only with insect repellents made for animals as human sprays may be toxic.

Preventative measures before you hike in LA will mean good mental health and physical health for you and your fellow hikers. It will protect pets, children, adults, and seniors from injuries that can be prevented by some preparation before going on the hike.


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