Exploring the great outdoors is one of the best experiences in life. Whether it’s hiking or camping, it’s also important to be prepared for common outdoor injuries. Always have the appropriate gear for your activity of choice, and make sure you know how to administer first aid in case of injuries sustained outdoors.
Keep on reading as we discuss how to treat the most common outdoor injuries.
If you’re hiking in a drier climate than you’re used to, you’re more susceptible to dehydration. If you’re noticing signs that you’re dehydrated, replenish your fluids immediately. Being well hydrated helps keep joints lubricated, muscles healing and your digestive system chugging along. Water also supports crucial brain function. Avoid drinks like soda and coffee, and go for pure water or an electrolyte-containing drink
Always perform a tick check after every hike to avoid the nasty pests from spreading diseases. If you see a tick, remove it as soon as possible. Use fine tweezers, apply firm and steady pressure without squeezing it, then clean the area with an antiseptic.
Sunburn may sound like a mild injury outdoors, but it can cause pain as well. Make sure you apply at least a 30 SPF sunblock at regular intervals. If you already have one, get out of the sun as soon as possible, drink lots of water, and apply aloe vera gel on the area, as well as a cold compress.
To treat a sprained ankle, remember the acronym RICE. It stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest the ankle and reduce the swelling by icing it. Use snowpacks or a soaked t-shirt if you’re in the wild. Then, compress the joint with an elastic band, but not so tight that it cuts off the circulation. Lastly, elevate the ankle above the level of the heart.
Do RICE for 20 minutes, and again for 15 minutes. Let them rest every two hours.
If you come in contact with a poisonous plant, rub your skin with alcohol immediately. Then, apply wet compress or hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion. You might also want to take an antihistamine to avoid the reaction. If it continues to spread, go to the hospital.
A drowning person is hard to recognize because they’re usually trying to catch their breath or get out of the water instead of calling for help. If you ask a person in the water if they’re alright and they don’t respond, you need to get to them within 30 seconds. Try to avoid getting into the water to save the drowning person if you can. In the outdoors, powerful river currents can make even strong swimmers weak.
Once the person is out of the water, search for the pulse for at least a minute before attempting CPR. Perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation only if it is necessary and if you are trained to do so. Once they are okay, look for signs of hypothermia.
Wounds and infections
First, you need to stop the bleeding. You can do this through direct pressure on the wound and elevation of the wound above the heart. Put on your gloves before touching someone else’s blood.
Let them put pressure on their wound by using a gauze. Keep adding gauze as each sheet saturates. If it seems uncontrollable, a pressure bandage might be needed. Simply place the gauze over the wound and wrap it tightly with an ace wrap or bandanna.
Once the bleeding stops, it’s important to prevent infection by washing it with at least half a liter of clean water.