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When you think of adventurous activities, camping is probably the first thing that comes to your mind. However, with camping comes certain risks and mishaps may happen. Thus, it’s better to be prepared. Apart from other stuff, here are some basic first aid you need to know while camping.
Why is basic first aid necessary while camping?
While a joyous camping trip is the goal, mishaps like minor cuts, scrapes, allergic reactions from plants, bee stings, and so on might occur. Though it doesn’t sound dangerous, it can lead to infections that could be very serious.
Wherever you go camping, you should know how to take the relevant steps to protect yourself during an emergency. Hence a basic first aid kit stocked with the right material is crucial. Also, you need to know how to use these materials correctly and effectively.
Most Essential items in your first aid kit
The following are the most important things that should always be there when you go camping.
Medicine is a basic first aid item. If you regularly take any prescribed drugs or antibiotics for a particular illness, never forget to take that. Apart from this, you should keep:
- Anti-inflammatory medication.
- Antihistamines for allergies.
- Benadryl for cold and cough.
- Anti diarrhea pills
- Antacid tablets for gas and stomach pain.
- Oral rehydration salts and glucose.
- Aspirin for heart attack
- Lubricating eye drops.
- Painkillers like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen
Antiseptic liquid and cream
Antiseptic liquid, creams, spray or wipes are common first aid items needed for open wounds and cuts. Some common of them are:
- Dettol as an antiseptic liquid for washing wounds.
- Neosporin or Bacitracin as an antibiotic cream to heal minor cuts quickly.
- Antiseptics wipes (BZK or alcohol-based).
Bandages (Fabric & Synthetic)
Bandages are the main staple of any first aid kit as it is an instant treatment for minor cuts or scrapes. Your first aid kit should have :
- Fabric bandage/ Plastic Bandage: Fabric bandages should be preferred. They are more comfortable and effective than plastic bandages, but one can go for plastic bandages as they are waterproof and cost effective.
- Butterfly bandage: It is used for slightly deeper wounds and covers injuries more effectively than ordinary bandages.
- Elastic bandage: For the treatment of bruises and muscle sprains, keep an elastic bandage with you. It reduces blood supply to the affected area and restricts swelling and pain.
- Hydrogel-based bandage: Don’t forget to keep hydrogel-based dressing with you as it helps provide pain relief and moisture to the wounds.
- Liquid bandage: For topical skin treatments of wounds and cuts, use a liquid bandage. It binds to your skin and keeps germs and dirt away from the cuts.
Medical tape (Minimum 1″ wide) has a versatile function and you should never forget to include it in your first aid box. Besides taping a bandage, you can also use it to tape over gauze, which covers more significant wounds.
Additionally, you can use it to support dislocated joints and hold a blister dressing piece.
Gauze (rolled and pads) of various sizes is very helpful when your injury or wounds are deep, and bleeding.
Sterlite gauze pads should also be included in your first aid kit as it helps keep wounds clean and resist bacterial infections.
Hemostatic gauze can be used for traumatic wounds. It helps to coagulate blood rapidly when blood flow is heavy. Hence, don’t forget to include it in your first aid kit.
During camping, you do lots of walking or hiking, which gives rise to annoying blisters on your toes and heels. Therefore, a good blister kit or blister dressing should always be with you in your first aid box.
Tweezers as a first-aid component helps you pick out ticks and splinters, which are very common while camping. Also, it is used to remove debris and dirt from wounds before washing them with antiseptic liquid.
So never forget to include this small, but important first aid tool.
Thread and needle
When you get a deep cut on your skin, the only solution to stop blood loss is to use a thread and a sterile needle for stitching. Before using it, make sure to clean the wound with an antibacterial liquid.
Splints are very useful when you have orthopaedic emergencies during camping. It restricts motion and supports injured bones and joints.
The two types of splints you should include in your first aid list are finger splint and leg splint.
Whenever you treat a wound, wear a pair of surgical gloves to prevent bacterial infections. The two most important kinds of surgical gloves are Nitrile and Latex.
It is better to use nitrile gloves as it is more robust and has better chemical resistance than latex gloves.
Supplies and tools
When you spend time outdoors, especially camping, various first aid tools play a critical role in your safety. Some of the other supplies which should be there in your first aid kit are:
- Blunt tip scissors, knife, or multi-tool.
- Paramedic shears.
- CPR mask
- Hand sanitisers
- Heat reflecting blanket
- Cotton tipped swabs
- Safety razors with a blade
- Biodegradable soap
- Notepad and pen/pencil.
- Heat reflecting blanket
- Container to put medicines and supplies.
Other essential first aid items
The above-listed things are essential items for your first aid kit, which need to be with you to treat wounds and illnesses. Apart from this, a few other vital items which required for camping are:
- Bandage adhesive: The most typical form of bandage adhesive is Compound Benzoin Tincture used to stick bandages firmly to wounds and cuts.
- Anti-itch cream: It is used when you develop allergies due to insect bites or poisonous plants.
- First Aid manual: It is vital because it gives you the knowledge on how to use various tools and medicines. You can find information via the internet, but if you are camping where there is no signal, then the first aid manual could be life-saving.
Dos and Don’ts while camping
Apart from using the first aid tools, you should take specific prevention as it is better than cure. Here are some dos and don’ts when camping:
Eat hygienic food
Whether you bring your own food or rely on your fishing or hunting skills, make sure your food is hygienic. You should always:
- Cook food items to the ideal temperature.
- Sanitize or wash your hands often.
- Put food items in a tight container or air-tight bags.
- Keep cooked food away from raw items to stop contamination.
Get protection from insect bites
Before going camping, you should ideally research the various species of insects, bugs, and animals found there. Once you start camping, you should:
- Apply insect repellent, as per the directions, which contains Di-ethyl-toluamide (DEET).
- Wear long sleeved shirts, shoes, and trousers to prevent insect bites.
- To limit exposure, you can tuck your pants into your socks.
Be informed about poisonous plants
You should also know the dangerous plants found in the area where you are camping. Some common, unsafe plants are:
- Poison Sumac: It grows as a small tree (up to 9 meters) or woody shrub, which is very easy to spot. It is usually found in a marshy or wooden area.
- Poison Oak: It is a leafy shrub that can grow up to 6 feet, and grows like a climbing vine in shady areas. It has rounded leaf edges with green, yellow, or white flowers.
- Poison Ivy: This is a small plant that can grow up to 30 inches tall. Their leaves are glossy with 3-pointed clusters.
As soon as you get into contact with any of these plants, wash your body to get rid of the plant oil and change your clothes so that they don’t spread to your camp buddies.
Protect yourself from UV rays
It’s imperative to keep yourself protected from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun, especially if you are prone to acne or going to a beachy area for camping. For protection against sun rays, you should:
- Use a cap or hat when you are outdoors.
- Use sunscreen, which has more than 30 SPF.
- Apply waterproof sunscreen if you sweat a lot.
Fatal medical emergency symptoms
During camping, if someone in your group experiences serious medical issues like a heart attack or stroke, you should know its symptoms. Recognizing the signs gives you the time to respond appropriately and call the local emergency number for help. As such, you should also take note of important emergency numbers of the area in which you are camping.
Symptoms of Heart Attack
Though the signs of heart attack vary from person to person, the most common symptoms are:
- Pain in the chest center, shoulder, abdomen, and arms.
- Shortness of breath
- Sweating, nausea, and vomiting.
- Feeling of uneasiness, fainting, and dread.
Symptoms of a stroke
A stroke develops when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. It may occur suddenly without any warning. Common symptoms are:
- Feeling of numbness or paralysis in the body or face, especially on one side of the body.
- Confusion and trouble in speaking or slurred speech.
- Feeling weakness in legs and arms suddenly.
- Vision problems like seeing a double or blurred vision.
- Sudden headache with vomiting.
- Dizziness and difficulty in walking.
This is first aid information that could be very useful for certain mishaps. Though we wish for no one requiring any medical attention, it’s better to take precautions. Be careful and look for signs of danger to prevent injuries and falling ill. Besides the first aid kit, here are some other camping essentials that you will need when you head out to the great outdoors.