First Aid For Outdoor Activities
For most of us most of the time, first aid is about comfort rather than survival and everybody benefits from a simple first aid course (try St John Ambulance – www.sja.org.uk). In an ideal world, all outdoor enthusiasts would pack a first aid kit with their gear and know what to do in an emergency. Rather than pack a huge kit to try to cover all possibilities, it’s a good idea to keep a core of items that form the basis and add to it as appropriate for a longer trip or trek. Keeping a box of useful items at home means it takes no time to customise the basic first aid kit.
Knowing how to deal with the simple problems positively helps not only your peace of mind but also may help others who you meet up with. There’s no need to become paranoid about first aid but even the briefest consideration of the most common problems might save a weekend camping from disintegrating into chaos.
Minor cuts, scrapes and bruises – plasters, antiseptic wipes and cream
Sprains – crepe bandage and strapping
Blisters – a needle to puncture and dressings to suit
Splinters – tweezers are really useful
Scalds and minor burns – dressings and tape
Cold and wet – always carry a spare set of thermal underwear and a survival bag
Headaches and tummy upsets – your usual preferred tablets and treatments
Many problems stem from dehydration. It can happen anywhere in any season so drink small amounts of liquid (not alcoholic) regularly and before you get thirsty – the first sign of dehydration.
For walkers, a trekking pole helps with balance and is an invaluable support in the event of an ankle or knee sprain. In the event of a more serious problem then, even in mountain areas, the first step is to call the emergency services on 999. Appropriate action will be decided upon and co-ordinated and may involve a search and rescue team. You should never call them directly, especially if you are just tired or hungry- astonishingly, it happens. There is plenty of useful advice at www.mountain.rescue.org.uk.