Essential Wilderness First Aid Tips for the Hiking Enthusiast
Accidents and injuries are a common occurrence on the hike, whether they are lacerations or blisters from overgrown bushes or serious concerns like snake bites or dislocated joints from rock climbing.
Hiking enthusiasts understand that wilderness comes with its set of injuries and accidents. So normally, those who know this venture confidently into the wild armed with the knowledge and skills should they encounter bodily injury.
In the event of an emergency, when things don’t look fine, and help is not a phone call or car drive away, preparedness comes in handy. Learn about the basic wilderness first aid tips every hiker should know.
Ensure you share these tips with your crew members so you can have everyone on the loop who knows how to react in an emergency.
First-aid tips for hikers.
- Pack a first aid kit with adequate essentials
While you are loading your hiking essentials like poles, socks, performance beanie, glove, and some food in the backpack, ensure you carry along a fully-stocked first aid kit.
Some of the essentials include:
- Gauze roll, dressing pads.
- Antibiotic ointment.
- Antiseptic wipes.
- Multi-use knife.
- Pain relievers
Additionally, the wilderness first aid manual book, usually found in prepackaged kits, is helpful in emergencies because it explains how to use the tools in the kit.
- Take first aid training and PALS, BLS, OR ACLS Certifications
First aid and CPR skills are essential in any area of life; however, the stakes are higher when you are on a hiking escapade. Due to this, a real outdoor lover will understand the importance of taking first aid and CPR training and get certified in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support, or Pediatric Advanced Life Support. There are both practical assessments, orals and online tests.
There are several training options available from local, regional, and national levels you can sign up for depending on the most convenient. Once you have acquired the skills, pass them onto others so you can always have support during emergencies.
- Coping with ankle and knee injuries
Soft tissues are the common places that get serious injuries that usually require immediate help. The procedure is often difficult and may require a long wait; therefore, understanding how to treat ankle and knee injuries on your own is crucial as a hiking lover.
Identifying the degree of the injury is critical in deciding whether to continue with the trail or not. If the injury is not severe, you can wrap it with an ace bandage or athletic tape and continue hiking with an interval of resting.
- Close open wounds
If you have a severe gaping wound, stop your hike and seek or call for help as fast as possible. Until you get help, clean the wound and close it to prevent infection.
First, thoroughly clean the area around the using water that is safe for drinking only. Dress the wound using an ace bandage or gauze lathered in an ointment cream to exert pressure and arrest bleeding.
You can use medical tape or skin closure strips and dressing to cover the wound. If the person is unconscious, keep them warm and provide a warm drink, preferably a beverage. For additional skills to handle a person in shock, you can enroll for first aid and CPR skills training.
- Control Bleeding
When you are packing the first aid kit, ensure you pack enough pairs of disposable gloves to be ready to handle bleeding. While bleeding can be a scary scene, most forms can be stopped by a combination of applying pressure and raising the wound above the heart.
Place gauze on the wound and tie with a bandana, ace wrap, or towel. You should not make a tourniquet since you need to insert at least two fingers under the bandage. Inquire from the patient if there is tingling, as this will let you know that you’ve tied the wrap tightly.
Hiking is a great activity that allows you to explore the hidden parts of the world. It is an adventurous experience that, like other outdoor activities, has its share of emergencies. As an outdoor lover, it is important to have some skills that can be handy in case of an emergency.
In case you have been thinking of going into the wilderness for an activity like hiking, remember these tips: pack a fully-stocked first aid kit, enroll for training on basic first aid and CPR skills, learn how to control bleeding, cope with ankle and knee injuries and know how to close gaping wounds.