7 of the most common cottage injuries (and how to treat them)

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Published: August 13, 2020 · Updated: August 25, 2020

shutterstock // by Basotxerri

Getting “away from it all” is great when you’re referring to congested streets, air pollution, and scorching city weekends. But it also means that when you’re at the cottage, you need to be resourceful and prepared to take care of those minor everyday wounds. So to help keep you and your family safe at the cottage, we’ve anticipated the most common reasons for cuts, scrapes, burns and minor injuries you’ll encounter during a weekend at the lake and have provided some basic first aid tips to help heal minor wounds and prevent infection without the use of antibiotics.

Zebra mussels

From the pine beetle in BC to Asian carp in the Great Lakes, invasive species are the scourge of ecosystems throughout Canada. But zebra mussels, which have muscled their way into Canadian lakes in recent decades, are a major problem for cottagers. Not only have they hurt native species of fish, but their sharp shells pose a risk to anyone wading in the shallows. To help curb their spread, use the “clean, drain, and dry” approach by removing plants and any debris from boats and other aquatic equipment, and letting them dry for five days before entering water elsewhere.

Fish hooks

You won’t catch them admitting it, but even experienced anglers get hooked once in a while. Add kids and shiny lures into the mix, and fish hooks can snag more palms than perch when you’re out on the lake. Hook hazards happen in a lot of different ways, whether it’s bare feet walking near fishing gear, rookie casters not paying attention, or slippery fish fighting for freedom while you’re prying out your hook. If the barbed end of a hook gets deeply embedded beneath your skin, you’ll likely need a doctor to remove it, but simple cuts can be treated at the cottage. 

Spiny fish

If the hook doesn’t get you, the fish might. Ontario staples like walleye and perch have sharp dorsal fins that have sliced the hands of many an angler, so skip the struggle and bring a net on your outboard. And while the plentiful, bite-happy sunfish can be fun for impatient children looking for some quick catch-and-release, their spiny topsides can easily slice through skin. 

For any of these minor fishing induced injuries, it’s important to clean the affected area and treat with an antibiotic-free antiseptic. BETADINE® Antiseptic products help protect against a broad spectrum of germs, viruses, bacteria and fungi that may cause infections, including the most common antibiotic-resistant bacteria. What’s more, their telltale brown colour helps you know when it’s time to reapply, which is especially handy when in and out of water.

Barbecue burns

An overdone ribeye is the least of your worries if you’ve got kids playing near the barbecue on your deck. Burns are a common occurrence at the cottage, where open-flame cooking is king. To keep you and your family safe during grilling season (which all cottagers know is every season), never leave a hot grill unattended, and be sure to clean your grill’s grease trap to prevent eyebrow-singeing flare ups.

Dull knives

Cramped cottage kitchens are a recipe for injury. Not only are guests jostling to help prepare meals and earn their invitation back, but the lack of a dishwasher at most cottages means you’ll spend a lot of time hunching over a sink. But if back pain isn’t bad enough, keep in mind that most kitchen drawers are full of mismatched utensils from days gone by. That includes dull knives, which—as any chef will tell you—lead to more cooking injuries than sharp ones.

Minor cuts and burns also need to be cleaned carefully and kept protected to keep bacteria and germs out to promote healthy healing. While cuts and burns may hurt, BETADINE® Antiseptic Spray or Cream are alcohol-free and hydrogen peroxide-free making them extra-gentle on the skin.

Blisters

Unless you find beekeepers fashionable, cottage hikes are best left to the cooler weather, when black flies won’t torture you on the trail. But if you’re breaking in a new pair of hiking boots this fall, be aware that you’ll get blisters. And if you’re too adventurous on your first trek of the season, they won’t be pretty. The first rule of blister treatment is, don’t pop them if they’re not too painful! The intact skin will form a natural barrier against bacteria. But if they burst on their own, wash your hands and the area carefully, and then apply your preferred BETADINE® Antiseptic treatment and a non-stick gauze bandage to prevent infection.

Splinters

The cottage is all about rugged beauty. But whether it’s the rough barnboard of your outhouse door or the freshly sawn edges of a new cedar deck, splinters abound for palms and soles softened by city life. Splinters come in all shapes and sizes, and some will be easier to extract than others. Always start by washing with soap and clean water, and make sure you have lots of light. If the splinter is small, sticky tape might do the trick. Otherwise, make sure you have a good pair of tweezers in your cottage first aid kit, or use a sterilized needle to help ease it out. Once it’s out, clean the wound again before applying BETADINE® Antiseptic Spray or Cream.

Your cottage first-aid kit should already contain antihistamines for allergic reactions, waterproof bandages, a tick-removal tool, a finger splint and tourniquet, and emergency drinking-water tablets. But your kit isn’t complete without BETADINE® Antiseptic Spray or Cream. It’s 5% povidone-iodine, antibiotic-free formulation is gentle and effective, and helps protect against germs, viruses, fungi and bacteria that may cause topical infection, including common antibiotic-resistant bacteria, making it safe for extended use by the whole family, ages 2+. Perfect for on the go, but also to keep at the cottage until the next season, it doesn’t take much to make sure you feel best-prepared and ensure your family makes the most of every cottage weekend of the season.

Learn more about BETADINE® Antiseptic treatments at BETADINE.ca/first-aid.