With all the activities that take place on outdoor trips it’s important to be prepared for an accident. The best investment into your outdoor trip that you can make is an investment into first aid knowledge. Here are a few pointers to get you started.
Hiking is a common outdoor activity and it presents a person with the possibility of fractures and sprains. There are two types of fractures, a simple fracture and a compound fracture. You need to be prepared for both on your outdoor trip. A simple fracture can be identified by swelling, tenderness, pain, loss of mobility, and feeling or hearing a bone crack or snap. If a simple fracture is not treated then it can turn into a more serious compound fracture. Sometimes while in the outdoors people feel the need to just brush things off and continue with their hike, continuing while injured will only make things worse, but could lead to permanent damage.
If there is a chance that you fractured a bone you need to stop moving immediately. Your goal is to immobilize the fractured area.
- If the wounded limb is a finger then tape or tie the finger to an adjacent finger.
- If the lower arm is fractured then you want to splint the forearm and use a sling to immobilize it.
- If the upper arm is fractured then put the arm in a sling and bandage it to the chest.
- If it is a leg that is fractured then splint it or if the person can be carried, bind the legs together using the other leg as a natural splint.
When you’re camping you will sometimes have to be creative in finding a splint. A splint can really be made of anything that is straight and sturdy enough to stay straight. A piece of wood, a rolled up magazine or newspaper, or even a rolled up blanket.
After getting a splint on try to elevate the fractured limb to slow the blood flow. A compound fracture is a fracture that breaks through the skin. This is much more serious and you should get help immediately and not try to move the injured person. There will be a lot of bleeding from the compound fracture but you cannot put pressure on it to stop the bleeding. Splint the limb and try to cover the wound with a sterile pad or bandage and wait for help. This is why you should always go with other people and never hike by yourself. Another injury that could happen while camping is a sprain. A sprain is where the ligaments tear from a joint.
Hiking boots provide support for the ankle to help avoid this and to offer support should it happen. Ankle sprains are the most common while engaging in outdoor activities and are characterized by sudden pain, an inability to support weight, bruising, swelling, and tenderness. The best thing to do is to rest the ankle, apply a cold compress or ice for at least ten minutes, firmly bandage it for support, and elevate it. Sprains are common while outdoors and fortunately if they are taken care of and not ignored, it shouldn’t completely ruin your trip.
Plan for the best and prepare for the worst when making an outdoor trip. Always take a first aid kit with you. These first aid tips and guidelines will help your next camping adventure be safe and fun.