First Aid In The Wild
So you or someone in your group hurt themselves. This can happen very easily when out hiking or camping. Whether It’s a “Watch this, hold my beer.” situation, a fall, scrape, insect or animal bite, exposure, cut, bruise, allergic reaction or some freak act of nature, you must always try to be prepared for a medical situation when out in the wilderness. Nowadays with new technology such as cell phones and first responders and rescue personnel’s ability to reach you. (Medivac helicopters, ATV’s and the like) Professional medical attention is usually not to far away. Never the less one should always be prepared. I personally recommend being certified in first aid regardless, but here are a few things to keep in mind.
Always make sure you have a well stocked first aid kit available to you. It doesn’t have to be a huge kit, but make sure it contains a few essentials such as band-aids (an assortment of different types and sizes), bandages ( small and large), sterile gauze, triangular bandage (to use as a sling), scissors, tweezers, alcohol pads(wipes), disposable gloves, antibiotic ointments and creams, burn and anti itch creams, Antihistamine, sunblock, bug spray, pain medicine (aspirin, ibuprofen), Antiseptics and Disinfectants. I also recommend a first aid manual for reference. First aid kits can be bought in all shapes and sizes. Some contain the bare minimum and some are very well stocked. the items I listed above can be carried in a light kit, not too large or cumbersome. When buying one just check the contents to make sure it has what you need or you can build you own.
I won’t get into too much detail in this blog. if you have any particular questions you can feel free to comment or leave suggestions and the like. There are many great wilderness first aid courses and books out there all which will cover pretty much the same basic things. The most important thing to do in case of an injury in the outdoors is Not to Panic and Stay calm.
Whether the injured party is you or someone else, if it’s you we’ll assume you’re alone, the process is still the same. Assess the situation. Are you or the victim in immediate danger? ( falling debris, in danger of falling of further injury) If so, then remove yourself or the injured party to a safe place if possible. If dealing with an unconscious person the your basic first aid applies. Check the Airway make sure there is no obstruction (Gum, Food or any foreign object), check their Breathing (look, listen, feel), check their pulse or Circulation. These are the ABC’s shown to you in any first aid class. Then take appropriate action. First assume they are seriously hurt and make sure they are away from any immediate danger as well. If the person is conscious, then you can assume his airway is clear , still look, listen and feel, and ask questions. Are you hurt? Do you need help? Do you need me to assist you? Where does it hurt? , and so on.Check the head, neck, shoulders, arms, chest, belly, back, legs and feet. Look for bruising, cuts, scrapes, deformities, swelling, bleeding and take the appropriate action. Are they flush, are their pupils dilated, their skin and body temperature, are they breathing ok, pulse and heart rate. All this will pretty much cover your initial assessment of the situation and will tell you if the injury or injuries are serious enough to warrant further medical attention or just a patch job. When outdoors always monitor even the slightest of injuries as they can be worse than they first appear or may get worse with further exertion. With cuts, scrapes and the like there is always risk of infection.
Now, the majority of the time, the injuries you’ll see while leisure camping and hiking will not be too serious and will be easily dealt with. mainly minor cuts, scrapes, sprains, bug bites, poison oak and so on. This assessment that i just described should tell you if further medical treatment is needed and should you perhaps take yourself to a hospital or clinic right away. My next couple of blogs will deal with other types of injuries you may experience that may be more serious medical emergencies and professional medical help is not promptly available. Perhaps you’re on an extended trail hike or camp
out far from towns or cities and you are dealing with exposure from cold, heat, altitude or any exposure injuries. Traumatic bodily injuries, head, neck, back, fractures, severe cuts, puncture wounds and so on. Not to alarm you, but it’s best to at lest have some knowledge of how to deal with such things. Hope you enjoyed the read. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section. Have fun folks!