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Alpe-Adria Trail - Health and safety
Ticks are present in Carinthia, Slovenia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia (as they are across many areas of Europe, including the UK), and tick bites, particularly if the tick remains undetected and is not removed within 24hrs, carry a risk of infection, including with Lyme disease and European tick-borne encephalitis – both of them highly unpleasant, debilitating and in some cases, fatal. Ticks are at their most common in late spring and summer. Not all ticks carry the bacteria leading to these or other diseases, and not all tick bites lead to infection. However, the risk is still there.
Hypothermia, meaning a dangerous loss in body temperature, is generally caused by cold and/or wet, windy weather conditions, insufficient warm/waterproof clothing, and exhaustion. If not treated it can lead to death. Be alert to any of the symptoms of hypothermia – loss of coordination, slurred speech, numbness in hands and feet, shivering, shallow breathing or impaired vision. If hypothermia is suspected get the victim out of the wind/rain, replace wet clothing with dry garments, keep the victim warm and give hot fluids and foods with high sugar and carbohydrate levels.
Make sure you carry enough water to avoid becoming dehydrated – 2 litres per person per day should be sufficient.
The AAT is a relatively easy route, with no technical difficulties, only very few exposed sections, and the trail never strays too far into the wilds. Nevertheless, a simple slip or sprain or a sudden change in weather still has the potential to leave you stranded on high ground, possibly overnight, and anyone venturing into the mountains should be aware of the possible dangers, be prepared to administer basic first aid, and know how to react in an emergency.