Make sure you have a current tetanus shot (vaccination).
Tetanus (or commonly called lockjaw), is a bacterial disease that affects the nervous system. It occurs when a cut or wound
is contaminated by tetanus bacteria. The bacteria can enter your system by even a tiny pinprick or scratch. Deep puncture
wounds or cuts like those made by nails or knives are especially susceptible to infection with tetanus. Tetanus bacteria are
found throughout the world and are commonly found in soil, dust and manure. Infection with tetanus causes severe muscle spasms,
leading to "locking" of the jaw so the person infected cannot open his/her mouth or swallow, and could even lead to death
by suffocation. Tetanus does not sound like much fun to me!
With all that detectorists find in the ground, the chances are quite high of getting cut from glass or metal. Be careful
when reaching into a hole to retrieve that find. If you do get cut, allow it to bleed a little (to help clean the wound),
then apply direct pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. If the wound is severe, check with a doctor. Even if it is not
a 'bad' cut, keep a close eye on it to avoid infection. Gloves can lower the chances of getting cut, but even a leather glove
can be punctured.
Hunting older places not only offers you the chance of older finds, but of higher risk of injury as well. Open wells, weakened
boards, buildings, and poisonous plants are just a few things that could change a nice day in the field, into a nightmare.
A board with a nail sticking up can change a nice stroll into an angonizing hobble back to your vehicle. Boards on the ground
could be covering an old well, cistern or outhouse pit. If in doubt walk around the boards or carefully move them and check.
Take along a first aid kit and know how to use the items in it. When getting the kit, make sure it is appropriate for the
area you are searching. There is not much of a need for a large kit while searching the schoolyard down the street, or the
park across town, but if you're searching in the middle of nowhere, you will want to take more than a band-aide or two.