As with any outdoor activity, there are certain precautions that one should adhere to when venturing out to forage. If you're going out alone, let someone know where you're going, what time you're leaving, and how long you expect to be gone. Make sure you have plenty of water, especially if it's during the summer. A basic first aid kit is always handy. Snakes, spiders, mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks, chiggers, and stinging insects are all a part of the outdoors. Learn to identify poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac and avoid them.
Snakes blend in with their environment and often remain unnoticed. Find out which ones are poisonous in your area and learn how to identify them. Be aware of your surroundings and watch where you walk. Most snakes won't bite unless you step on them or try to pick them up.
Spiders are often more visible, especially when you walk into their web stretched across the path. Unless you have an allergic reaction, spider bites react in a similar way as mosquito bites with the exception of the brown recluse and black widow. Use a stick to remove webs from your path.
Most of the poisonous snakes in this country are pit vipers. They have a heat-sensing pit between the eye and the nostril that they use to pick up the heat from a warm-blooded mammal within eight feet. The head is large and triangular while the pupil of the eye is elliptical.
Mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks, and chiggers can be quite annoying. Avoid using scented soaps or shampoos before going out. Wear plastic or latex gloves to protect your hands. A net worn over a hat can keep them off your face and neck. Long pants and long sleeves can protect the arms and legs from being bitten.
Wasps, bees, and hornets are among some of the insects that can inflict a painful sting. Some caterpillars are also armed with stinging spines. Plantain, the common garden weed, helps to relieve the pain of these stings. Since the herb is edible, you can chew the leaf to form a poultice and place on the sting. Learn to identify it and look for it whenever you go out.
Learn to identify poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Inspect the area where you will be picking first. Look for plants that look similar to what you're gathering and find out if they are poisonous. If they are poisonous, be careful not to mix them in with what you are picking.