When the weather gets warmer and the cicadas begin to hum, we Tennesseans know it’s time to get outside! Emerald rolling hills, mighty rivers and shimmering lakes are just a few of the many reasons to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail. After all, hiking in Tennessee can be one of the most enjoyable ways to get active while taking in the landscape and breathing in the fresh air. Not only can hiking in Tennessee help support your physical activity goals, but taking a trek through the woods can improve your mental health, too. A recent study showed that people who walked in nature — as opposed to urban settings — showed decreased levels of depression. So fill up that water bottle and grab a friend, because it’s time to get outdoors. Bring a Friend While you can certainly have a solo outdoor adventure, hiking with a buddy is always safer, so call up a friend and set a date to hit the trails. Once you’re trekking, don’t stray from your group …
Few things can ruin a camping trip like an encounter with a poisonous plant. As you take in Tennessee’s great outdoors this summer, be on the lookout for the ones most likely to cause painful problems. The main culprits – poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac – share several characteristics. The oil in these plants, called urushiol, is what causes a reaction when you touch it. The oil typically causes itching, blisters, rash and inflammation between 12 and 72 hours after contact. What to Do if You’ve Touched a Poisonous Plant If you think you’ve touched a poisonous plant, wash the area with soapy water as soon as possible. Oil can remain on some surfaces for up to five years, so remember to clean your clothes, tools and anything else that may have come in contact with the plant. You can soothe the symptoms with antihistamines, steroid creams and home remedies like oatmeal baths and cold compresses. For severe cases, particularly those that involve trouble breathing, seek medical care immediately. Not everyone who touches …
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