Fishing fails: Watch out for these common injuries
Hunting and fishing season is in full swing, giving nature-lovers everywhere the chance to nab the best catch before the winter sets in. These hobbies, however, come with certain dangers. As you deal with all types of equipment as well as the unpredictability of wildlife, you need to be prepared to handle any safety issues that come your way.
In this article, we'll focus on fishing and take an in-depth look at the most common mistakes that lead to injuries and share some important fishing safety tips.
The most common fishing injuries
Fishing may not seem like a high-risk sport, but it can come with many unexpected dangers. One of the most prevalent is slipping and falling. Whether your shoes have become slick from the nearby water or you're standing on a wet dock, fishing is filled with slipping hazards. You might be able to stabilize yourself as you slip, but all too often a simple slip turns into a hard fall.
Depending on how and where you fall, you may end up with a fractured bone, dislocated or sprained joint, or painful cuts and scrapes. Any of these injuries require medical attention. With four out of five urgent care clinics providing fracture care, these are the best places to go after a slip and fall that leads to an injury. If you slip and fall while you're out fishing, avoid straining your injuries further and get to an urgent care location as soon as possible for treatment.
Other accidents can happen while you're fishing because of the equipment you're using. Fish hooks are a common cause of minor tissue trauma. Fishers often encounter their own hooks when they're rifling through the tackle box or when a cast goes awry. While not every fish hook injury calls for a trip to an urgent care location, they can be deep enough to require stitches.
Even when you manage to avoid slipping on a wet dock and your hook successfully goes into a fish rather than your hand, you still face the danger of the fish. Fish bites are a fairly common injury among fishers. Although it seems like a fish should be completely exhausted from fighting you and shocked at being out of the water, it can still give you quite the bite if your hand gets close enough. If you don't get proper treatment from the bite, it could become infected. Infections from dirty fish hooks are also a possibility. Either of these infections requires immediate attention at an urgent care location.
You can suffer injuries from fishing that aren't from one specific instance, but that develop over a long period of time instead. Overuse injuries, such as tennis elbow, ligament tears and rotator cuff tendinitis, are common among avid fishers. You won't experience these injuries if you just fish occasionally, but those who constantly cast and reel in fish with the same arm motion may encounter overuse injuries.
Luckily, there are a variety of safety precautions you can take to prevent all of these injuries. Let's take a look at the safety guidelines you should follow when you go fishing with your friends and family.
Use tackle safely
As previously mentioned, fish hooks are a frequent source of injury among fishers. These little pieces of equipment are meant to be sharp enough to pierce a fish's skin, so they can certainly injury a human's as well. Always handle your fishing tackle with care and be sure to not leave your tackle lying on the ground. When left lying around, your tackle becomes a tripping hazard and it's all too easy for someone to step on a hook.
When you're casting, remember to look behind you. The area around you needs to be clear so your hook doesn't catch on a tree, power line or another person. If your hook is deep inside of a fish's mouth, use a hook remover to carefully get it out. You can cut the line as far back as you safely can if this doesn't work, but never put your hand inside of the fish's mouth as a last resort.
Wear the appropriate clothes
A lot of fishing safety comes down to wearing the right gear. Adults and children alike need to wear a life jacket whenever they're close to the water. Even if you believe yourself to be an experienced fisherman and boater, you never know when an unexpected event will cause you to tumble overboard. When that happens, your life jacket is going to be the only thing that keeps you bobbing at the water's surface. There are many life jackets on the market today that are built into fishing vests or otherwise appear sleeker than the traditional bulky life jacket you may be imagining.
Your shoes are also an important factor when fishing. You should always be wearing shoes, whether you're fishing in a boat, on the shore or wading in the water. Otherwise, your bare feet will be vulnerable to stray hooks, sharp rocks and broken glass. Wearing shoes designed to prevent you from slipping is an even better choice. Specialized tread on your shoes can help you avoid those dangerous slips and falls that we discussed earlier.
You should also wear sunscreen and a hat to protect you from the sun's rays. Any exposed areas of your skin can take on sun damage in as little as 15 minutes. After a whole day of fishing, you may walk away with a painful sunburn. Hats can also protect your head from stray casts. Sunglasses and safety glasses have a similar dual purpose, as they protect your eyes from the sun's rays and errant casts.
Keep your boat neat and prepared
A clean and stocked boat is a safe boat. Be sure to keep lines neatly coiled so that you don't trip or become tangled and fall. Remember to double-check the livewell and baitwell supply lines and drains to ensure that your hull isn't filling with water. Any knives on your boat should be kept sharp, but covers should be on the blades when they're not in use.
The most essential safety items to have on your boat include a first aid kit, flashlights, water, maps, and a radio and/or cell phone. It's also a good idea to bring clothing options that are suitable for weather that is hotter and cooler than you expect. Keep an eye on the sky to watch out for unexpected storms, and leave the water as quickly and safely as possible if you see one on the horizon. Be sure that everyone on the boat knows how to properly use the rescue devices in case of an emergency.
Fishing can be a wonderfully relaxing pastime or a fun family activity, but only when everyone stays safe. Even a small injury can throw a wrench into your day of fishing fun. Know where the closest urgent care location is wherever you're going fishing. Being familiar with the urgent care locations in the area will allow you to find treatment more quickly while also giving you peace of mind. Look up Indigo Urgent Care locations today to learn about the clinics in your area and you'll be well-prepared to enjoy a safe fishing trip with your loved ones.