The outdoors is an unpredictable place and even though you’re watching out for your health and for injuries, you have no way of telling what’s going to happen. The key here is preparedness. A fully-stocked first-aid kit is one of the most important things you should bring to a camping trip. And of course, it’s ideal that you know how and when to use the items inside the kit. Minor injuries require first aid action, but you should contact health professionals for major ones.
Here’s how to treat the 3 most common camping injuries:
Cuts, Wounds and Infections
The outdoors has countless of rough surfaces and jagged edges, making it an accident-prone area. Minor scrapes are common and easily resolved, but you should know what to do in case there are bleeding cuts and deep wounds that may lead to infection.
Stop bleeding by applying direct pressure on the cut with gauze pads and elevating it above the heart. Add more pads if the previous ones get saturated. You can also use a bandana as a pressure bandage by wrapping the wound with it tightly.
Once the bleeding is controlled, wash the wound with clean water. Make sure to remove all visible dirt and germs. When the wound is clean, put antibiotic ointment, a clean gauze and wrap it with a bandanna to secure it in place.
You may have to re-wash and re-apply ointment and watch out for signs of infection.
When you’re camping, you’re always at risk of getting burns as you will most likely be handling boiling water, a campfire and some hot pots among other things. For minor burns, soak the affected area in cold water immediately. Apply burn ointment then cover with gauze. Offer ibuprofen to the patient as burns hurt a lot.
If the burn is significant, in a sensitive area (face, hands, feet or groin) or exposes bones, seek emergency help immediately.
Knee and Ankle Injuries
Whether it’s a fracture, a sprain, a tear or a sprain, damage to the ankles and knees is one of the most common camping injuries, especially when there’s hiking involved. Perform the RICE acronym – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Rest is the most important thing to promote healing. Discontinue your hike and don’t allow the patient to put weight on the inured area to avoid swelling.