What Should You Do If You Get Sick During A Camping Trip

happy couple camping on the nature

Last Updated on April 28, 2021

Regardless of whether you are enjoying a vacation in a five-star hotel or a camping trip with family or friends, you hope that you and the rest of your party are healthy during your time away from home. Feeling unwell can spoil your enjoyment of a trip and prevent you from taking part in some of the activities you had planned for your time away. If you are sick during a stay in a hotel, you have a comfortable bed, plenty of amenities, and staff available who can help you if necessary. The situation is completely different if you are sick during a camping trip. You are potentially miles from anywhere, you do not have access to the same facilities, and the level of comfort in a tent is just not the same. So, what should you do if you get sick during a camping trip?


Prevention is always better than cure. While there is little you can do to stop a bacterial infection that you have already contracted before leaving home, there are some steps you can take while camping to reduce the likelihood of experiencing sickness or diarrhea. Some tips include:

  • Water- Take plenty of bottled water with you. If you plan to drink water from natural sources during your camping trip, make sure it is boiled to kill off any bacteria.
  • Food- Make sure you thoroughly cook all your food and follow the instructions on the packet if you have taken packaged food. This will reduce the risk of a tummy upset or food poisoning.
  • Cleaning- Wash all your pots and pans as thoroughly as possible when camping. This prevents bacteria build-up before the next use and can stop you from getting sick.
  • Nature- Take care what you touch or eat from your surroundings outdoors. Do not touch or eat any berries or fungus if you do not know what they are as they are potentially poisonous.

Prepare for an Emergency

When you set off on your camping trip, you hope that you will stay well. However, you should prepare for a situation where you are unwell. Take with you the numbers of the nearest doctors or medical center and the telephone number of the park ranger, if you are staying in a park. These numbers may come in useful if you need medical attention during your trip.

Stay Hydrated

Botteled Drinking WaterIt doesn’t matter whether you are on a camping trip, at a hotel, or in your own home; the most important course of action is to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is the key to a speedy recovery from sickness. Water will help to flush the bacteria or toxins out of your system and will help your body to take steps towards recovery. Make sure you are drinking fresh water. If your only source of water is from streams or rivers, make sure you boil it before drinking it as this will sterilize the water and get rid of any bacteria. Not doing this will potentially make you even sicker.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Couple sleeping in tent Sleep is an essential part of recovery from any illness. Sleeping allows some parts of your body to rest so that other parts can work harder to return you to health. Spend as much time as you can curled up inside your sleeping bag to rest your body. It is also important that you keep warm, so add an extra blanket over the top of your sleeping bag if you have one.

First Aid Kit

First Aid KitTaking a first aid kit with you on any camping trips is sensible. You can add items to your first aid kit that will help you to cope with sickness. Two items that you should include in your first aid kit are electrolytes and anti-sickness and diarrhea tablets. These two items can set you on the way to a speedy recovery.

Know Your Limitations

Rowing kayak on lake You probably have plenty of activities planned for during your camping trip. This might involve walking around the surrounding area to take in the sights or kayaking at a nearby river. Whatever you have planned, you should know your limitations and not push yourself to do things that you are not well enough for just because they are planned. When you are sick, you do not have the same strength and energy as you do when you are well. For example, attempting to scale a rock face when suffering from sickness is neither sensible nor safe. You may need to accept that you cannot do all the activities you had planned.

No Sharing

eating while campingAlthough your main concern is probably yourself while you are feeling under the weather, you should also have some consideration for others on your camping trip. Make sure you only drink out of your own cup and use your own utensils rather than sharing with someone else. If you are suffering from a viral or bacterial illness, rather than food poisoning, then not sharing items will reduce the risk of you passing on your sickness to others. Unfortunately, if it is an airborne illness, there is very little you can do to prevent someone else from becoming poorly, too.

Consider Heading Home

If you are very ill, there is no shame in giving up on your camping trip and heading home. Although it is disappointing, you are more likely to recover in your home environment and you can always take another camping trip in the future.

Final Verdict

Everyone hopes that they will stay well during a camping trip. Unfortunately, it is possible you will get sick while you are away from home. There are steps that you can take to prepare for this situation before you even leave from home, such as taking preventative measures, packing a first aid kit, and taking important telephone numbers with you. There are also measures you can take to restore your health if you are sick during a camping trip. These include drinking plenty of water, getting some rest, and not pushing yourself to take part in activities if you are not well enough. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to consider heading home to recover properly.

You might also be interested in reading:

Best Camping Water containers, Camping Water Bottle, Best Camping Utensils

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