A Guide to First Aid: Injury and Illness
While you go on adventures, there is always the risk of injury. With the help of this guide, you can help prepare and treat minor injuries and illnesses you may encounter during your journey.
First, in the event of an emergency, you should always call 911. Remain on the line with 911 until additional help arrives or the operator tells you to hang up. When you arrive at the scene, check for any immediate danger, to prevent becoming injured yourself. If the person is bleeding, use personal protective equipment (such as gloves and eyewear). Be sure to dispose of equipment after usage to prevent contamination. Now that we know the process of administering first aid, we can look into steps for preparation. A first aid kit is a great tool to use during an emergency. You can purchase a first aid kit online, or create it yourself. Most first aid kits include bandages, tape, sterile gauze, antiseptic swabs/wipes, absorbent compresses, antibiotic cream, burn ointment, mask for rescue breathing/CPR, chemical cold
packs, eye shields, eyewash, and a reference guide that includes local phone numbers of emergency medical attention. Some common hiking injuries include sprains, cuts, sunburn,
and bug bites. Sprains can be prevented by wearing footwear with good ankle support, such as hiking boots.
Using hiking pools can also help by providing extra stability. If the sprain occurs, follow RICE:
Rest - taking weight off the limb, Ice - applying the cold pack we previously mentioned, using cold water (from a river/stream) or using snow, Compression - applying pressure with an elastic bandage or t-shirt. Be careful to not impair circulation. Elevation - raising the limb above the person’s heart. Cuts are some of the most common injuries. They can be treated by first disinfecting the wound, then putting a band aid on it. Larger cuts may require a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Using a belt or unneeded cloth, tie tightly above the wound, and write down time of application for medical personnel. Sunburn can be prevented by keeping a bottle of sunscreen that is at least 25 SPF in your backyard. Having a hat can also assist in preventing sunburn. Remember, sunburns can still occur during the colder seasons. Finally, bug bites can be treated by applying bug spray before any trips. A mosquito net can also be used to prevent your face from being bitten. Stay safe out on the trail!