Outdoors 101: First Aid Tips and Safety Practices

August 08, 2019

Outdoors 101: First Aid Tips and Safety Practices

 

Sometimes, the city life becomes boring and stagnant. You yearn for the fawn and fauna and the clean air of the outdoors. When the call of the wild hits you, you must heed. Before you go traipsing into the wild, do not leave your common sense at the door—pack a first aid kit.

There are many commercially available first aid kits at many outdoor shops, from the basic, to the most comprehensive. Why not pack your own first aid kit? You can save money when you make your own. Plus, who can anticipate your needs better than you? Here is a definitive guide on what to pack for your outdoor sojourn.

 

 

Cuts are one of the most basic problems that can crop up when going outdoors. You can trip on a tree root, slip on a moss, stumble on a rock, or clumsily cut yourself while making lunch. You need to stop the bleeding and cover your wound from infection. Prepare and pack gauze and bandage of various sizes. Band-Aids are perfect for minor cuts. A triangular bandage can be useful in as splints, strapping limbs to splints when fracture is suspected, or as padding.

You can’t not have this tool. It is a must-have the serves many uses. A good multi-tool can come handy is many first-aid and non-emergency scenarios—cutting through clothing, skin, bandages, making make-shift emergency items, food, opening cans, cutting cords, etc.

Everybody knows duct tape has a myriad of uses. You can even use this as a temporary bra (true but not recommended). You can use this to keep bandages in place, hold splints, fix torn clothes, and repair make-shift emergency items.

 

You are exposed to the elements when outdoors. Maintaining control of the sick person’s temperature can be challenge when in the wilderness. Sometimes called a space blanket, it serves as a protection and keeps you warm and dry at the same time while you recuperate.

Aside from your own prescription medication (if you have any), your kit must contain these common over-the-counter medications for various ailments—antihistamines for sudden allergy attacks, anti-diarrheal meds (you do not forget this ever), meds for pain management (Advil, Tylenol), oral rehydration tabs, and antacids. For wounds and stings, include an antibiotic ointment, calamine lotion for itching, a hydrocortisone cream for inflammation and rashes, and a burn ointment. An aloe vera gel is a good choice for burns. It soothes pain, prevents blisters and scarring, and has anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Because emergency situations can get messy, keep things as clean as you can to avoid the spread of germs, infection, and other harmful side effects. Include sanitizers or rubbing alcohol, antiseptic wipes, betadine, saline solution, latex gloves, and masks in your first aid kit.

 

Splinters and other foreign bodies can enter the body anytime, especially when outdoors. The handy tweezers are a must-have in a first aid kid not just for splinter removal but for other emergency situations as well.

 

One sure way to ruin your outdoor experience is to be constantly scratching or not being able to sleep because mosquitoes are so attracted to you. Another unfortunate bonus would be getting sick due to bites from disease carrying insects.

 

You might want to bask under the sun, but we’re pretty sure getting burned is not high in your to-do list. Think premature aging or skin cancer.

A lip balm is essential when the nights are cold. It keeps your lips hydrated as well, and prevent blisters from forming. Petroleum jelly functions the same way, but it can also be used for rusty camping gears and knobs.

This can sometimes be overlooked because we think tapes can do most of the job. But how about broken zippers?

Single-use instant cold packs are perfect for bruises, swellings, and sprains.

 

Using purchased in most pharmacies or drug stores, moleskins are artificial skin that you can cut to shape and stick to your own skin. They are perfect for hotspots, blisters, and chaffing skin.

This is self explanatory.

Unless you are one of those special people (or mutant) that can see in the dark, you need this. Whistles are good for calling attention when you get lost or disoriented and signaling for help. A compass is handy when for some unfortunate reason, you get lost.

Most people can’t leave their house without their phones. You’re not about to start leaving without your phone especially when going outdoors. A fully-charged phone is essential. Depending on how long you will be gone, a fully-charged power bank as back-up power is equally important. You would need this to call for help should the emergency escalates.

 

In Case You Get Lost

Additional Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Be in good shape before any outdoor plans. It is the best way to stay healthy while being outdoors. You will be more likely to be able to swim, run, hike, or ask for help if you are in good shape. Eat a well-balanced diet. Spend some time in the gym. Sleep well, especially before your big trip. If you feel like you are getting sick before an outdoor trip, it is best to postpone the trip.
  • Keep calm when dealing with an emergency situation. Assess the injured, the situation, and surrounding for any additional threats to yourself and others. You don’t want to injure yourself while valiantly (and without thinking) rushing to aid others.
  • Carry adequate supply of water—up to 4 liters per person, per day. Do not rely on streams or brooks as you can’t be sure if it is potable.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Are you going hiking? Hiking boots are your best bet, not flip-flops. Anticipating cold nights? Thermal sweaters and wool socks are in order, not a tank top. The same way you don’t wear heavy clothing when going swimming.
  • It is helpful to be aware and be able to anticipate the kind of emergencies you might encounter. Hiking through bushes, thorns, or cactuses, doing some hazardous camping chores, the occasional bruises, cuts, and scratches, campfire mishaps, fever, and cooking outdoors are among those situations.
  • Carry your medical information with you, or stick it inside your kit. You also need to take into consideration other people’s medical ailments and issues. This is important if you travel with a group or with your family. Take into account if someone is allergic to bee stings, has a heart condition, or if someone is asthmatic. These conditions can easily turn deadly when you are unprepared. It maybe wise to have an epi-pen for allergies that trigger an anaphylactic shock.
  • You may not have time to read a first aid manual while trying to help an injured person when accident happens so brush up on saving skills. The internet is rife with resources if you can’t afford an actual course. Outdoor first aid knowledge is just as important as your kit. It is advisable to read up what to do during emergencies before embarking on a trip. Be aware on how to give CPR, stop bleeding, recognize signs of hypothermia, hyperthermia, shock, dehydration, stabilizing fractured limbs, treat wounds and bites.
  • Remember the first aid ABC when assisting someone who needs help—airway, breathing, and circulation.
  • Replenish your outdated medicines and supplies by checking your first aid kit annually.
  • Flares, signaling devices, LED lights, and other signaling devices are helpful. Regardless of whether you are planning to build a campfire or not, you can use this as an emergency signal or blinking device when asking for help or leading help to you.
  • Familiarize and research the area you plan to go. Are there mobile signals in that area? You might want to consider alternative methods of communicating like personal locator beacons or a radio if mobile signal is unavailable. Plan your route and leave the details with your close friends or family.
  • Inform your close friends or family members when and where you are going. In case of unforeseen circumstances, the authorities will have an idea where to look for you when you are not back as expected.
  • Arm yourself with survival skills. Skills like foraging, fire building, shelter making, fishing, and knot-tying are useful and can sustain you if you get stuck in the wild while waiting for help to arrive.
  • Learn Heimlich maneuver. When someone is choking and can’t communicate, you must act fast when coughing is not enough to dislodge the obstruction.
  • Take time to prepare your first aid kit. It maybe basic or comprehensive, depending on your needs, medical knowledge, and how far you are from civilization. Be prepared to take enough medication to last as long as you are traveling. Factor in delays as well.

 

We’ve all heard of horror stories of people getting injured or worse, killed when outdoors. Don’t let yourself be a victim of poor planning. Equip yourself with knowledge in healthy and safety. Keeping safety practices in mind and packing a first aid kit ensures you will have a great time in the wild.

 




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