Be unstoppable on your summer outdoor adventures with these simple first aid tips
As a result of the pandemic, more people are getting outdoors this year than ever before. This means activities like camping, backcountry canoe trips, hikes, multi-day backpacking adventures are becoming increasingly popular as people look for things to do and enjoy outside.
Getting outdoors does wonders for your health, though ensuring you’re prepared for outdoor activities is absolutely necessary – and we mean packing more than just a snack for the day! Real preparation means adventurers — whether enjoying a weekend car camping or heading into the backcountry for a hike — will know what to do when things go wrong and have the proper tools to assist them in any situation.
If someone in your group experiences a minor injury, you want to be able to quickly treat it so you can continue your adventure or make it back to your starting point easily.
Here are five of the most common injuries that can happen either out on the trails or while camping and how to treat them:
Maybe it’s just us, but it seems on every backpacking or hiking trip there is serious potential for rolled/sprained ankles — loose rocks, tree roots, you name it. Some are minor and everything is fine, others require assessment and further treatment. Anything serious, and it can end the trip in a hurry as ankle injuries are one of the leading reasons people get rescued from the backcountry since hiking becomes very problematic following an injury of this nature.
The common and now well-known theory regarding the treatment of this injury is R.I.C.E., which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
If there is still mobility in the ankle and the person can put weight on it, it can be wrapped with a tensor bandage or athletic tape and the person can be moved back to camp for an assessment and more treatment before getting started. Once there, it is time for R.I.C.E.
· Rest - and lots of it
· Ice - 20 minutes on every two or three hours
· Compression - wrap securely but allowing for circulation
· Elevation - lie down on a sleeping pad or reclining chair and elevate feet
It might be worthwhile to allow for a rest day on your trip. Or, if you’re camping, just take it easy, and enjoy the great outdoors from a reclined position.
If it gets worse with swelling and discolouration seek medical attention.
Cuts and abrasions
There are a lot of pointy and sharp things in the great outdoors, and sometimes the skin gets torn. If there is bleeding from the wound, the first thing to do is stop the bleeding by putting pressure on the wound and elevating it above the heart.
After stopping the bleeding, minor cuts and scrapes can be washed by rinsing with clean water. At this point, an antiseptic like BETADINE® Antiseptic Cream or BETADINE(R) Antiseptic Spray should be used.
BETADINE®’s Antiseptic Cream and Spray are wound care products used to treat minor cuts, scrapes, and burns that can happen when exploring the outdoors. Its main ingredient povidone-iodine offers broad-spectrum antiseptic benefits which means it kills viruses, bacteria, and germs to help reduce and prevent infection. BETADINE® Antiseptic Spray allows you to clean wounds without having to touch the affected area – a key feature if you have children or are not in an area where washing your hands before cleaning is available. It is antibiotic-free and can be used on children as young as two years old.
Once you’ve applied BETADINE® Antiseptic Spray or Cream to the wounded area, cover the wound with a clean, sterile bandage or dressing. If blood soaks through the bandage, another should be applied on top of the original. If the bleeding does not stop, end the trip and seek medical assistance immediately.
Keeping hydrated is incredibly important as it helps the joints and muscles perform while keeping you alert. Not packing water can cause a person to become dehydrated and can cause any number of symptoms including headaches, weakness, lightheadedness, and dry skin. If not prevented from occurring, dehydration can cause confusion and ultimately a person will fall ill – the last thing anyone wants, especially on a long hike in the backcountry.
To prevent dehydration, it is recommended to drink fluids slowly and steadily for a few hours before heading out. You should also be sure to bring plenty of fluids and food, especially if there isn’t a water source available on your route. Remember severe dehydration is an emergency and should be treated as such. Seek medical attention immediately if needed.
Although not a serious injury, let’s be honest, blisters are a pain in the keister! Getting one from friction while breaking in those fancy new hiking boots will make for a very uncomfortable journey ahead. Also, you don’t want the blister to pop inside your grungy sock and boot and risk an infection
The number one rule of blister treatment 101 is not to pop them if the pain is bearable! A natural barrier will form using the intact skin and protect against bacteria and infection. Cover the blister with a bandage to prevent it from getting worse. In the case that the blister pops on its own, wash your hands and the wounded area with care. After the blister has drained, it can be covered with BETADINE® Antiseptic Spray or Cream followed by a bandage to protect it from infection while it heals.
Sunburns, skin rashes, and irritated skin can make it impossible to enjoy outdoor activities. First and foremost, it is important to apply sunscreen and reapply throughout the day. And if you do get exposed to a toxin such as poison ivy, or develop any kind of rash, wash it out thoroughly and change into a clean pair of clothes.
Remember, any outdoor adventure requires preparation and a contingency plan. When planning your next family adventure, be sure to take extra water and food no matter the length of the trek, and always carry a first aid kit with you, complete with BETADINE® Antiseptic Spray or Cream, so that your family doesn’t have to miss a thing due to minor cuts, scrapes or wounds. Now get out there and have some fun!
This article is sponsored by BETADINE®. Before applying these products always read and follow the label’s instructions and consult your Health Care Practitioner should any questions arise.