Although it is unlikely that he will have to face an emergency, the prudent camper is prepared to cope with sudden illness or accident. He may have to be his own doctor, and he will urgently need to know the basic principles of first aid.
Ideal preparation for this is the standard Red Cross First Aid course (see your local Red Cross chapter). Carry a first aid handbook or a Boy Scout manual in your first aid kit. In our article Tips for Backpacking, we have discussed about t=some camping first aid tips, but here we will talk elaborately.
Camping First Aid Tips and Checklist
In camp, a few precautions are just common sense. Set rules for children about wandering away from camp, playing around water, wearing wet clothing. If there is a possibility of poisonous snakes in the vicinity, everyone should know how to avoid them.
If you are camping in organized areas, medical help is usually not far away in case of serious illness or injury. Know how to get in touch with the rangers; they will usually take over from there.
The camper should, however, know how to handle the four emergencies that require immediate treatment to prevent death. Each of these conditions should be referred to a doctor as quickly as possible.
- Prepare for medication and have proper travel medication with you.
- Where blood is flowing from a cut artery or vein. (Apply pressure.)
- Where breathing has stopped. (Apply artificial respiration.)
- Where a poisonous substance has been eaten. (induce vomiting with 4 or 5 glasses of lukewarm soapsuds, salt water, soda water, dishwater; rinse stomach with 2 or 3 glassfuls of water. If poison was a burning or corrosive substance, give milk, or milk and raw eggs after vomiting. Treat for shock.)
4. Where serious shock is present. (Put feet 18 inches higher than the head, keep an injured person warm with blankets, hot water bottle.)
What not to do
Don’t overdo the use of a tourniquet. First aid instructions are often written with the assumption that the victim will be attended by a doctor within a very short time, but this isn’t always possible in a remote camp. If you must use a tourniquet, loosen it every 15 to 20 minutes for it may do more harm than the wound you are treating.
Many doctors believe that a tourniquet should not be used for wounds below the elbow or knee. Most of these can be controlled if the limb is kept raised above the heart and a bandage held tightly over the open wound.
If you are alone and must control severe bleeding from a wound in the lower leg, try to stop it with a pressure bandage and use a tourniquet only if the bandage fails.
In this situation, you should Lie down. In the meantime keep the leg elevated. It is important for some rest but even, if you have to walk back to camp urgently you should take some precaution. In this case apply a tourniquet if the pressure bandage does not contain the bleeding, but be sure to loosen it every 15 minutes.
- Don’t move injured persons unnecessarily. Wait until a trained person arrives to supervise treatment. (See the Details Here)
- Don’t give liquids to unconscious persons
- Take Proper knowledge on the medication before applying
- Don’t give a cathartic or emetic to persons with severe cramps or vomiting.
- Don’t neglect to call a doctor immediately when a serious condition exists.
Simple injuries and ailments
Study your first aid book ahead of time and learn how to take care of simple injuries and ailments. For a safety hiking and camping, you need to check out some books or article.
Campers should try to avoid getting sunburned, as severe burns are very painful. Burning occurs more easily at high altitudes, on hazy days, and in light terrains such as the sandy beach, snow, or desert.
Learn how to care for sprains, and how to treat heel blisters, infections, simple burns, nosebleed, and faintness.
If there will be fishing, carry wire-cutters and antiseptic in the fishing kit so a hook caught in the skin can be cut for removal. Clean the wound thoroughly and treat with antiseptic.
For an earache apply heat and have the patient chew gum to keep passages open. The cause may be an insect, so shine a flashlight into the ear light usually brings out an offending bug.
For diarrhea give pectin medicine for immediate treatment; cut down on fruit and increase dairy products. Give plenty of water to prevent dehydration Pollen in the local water supply may be the cause; if so, you may have to get drinking water elsewhere, as boiling will not remove the pollen
A change in diet or altitude sometimes causes constipation, particularly in the mountains. To
relieve symptoms, take a laxative or milk of magnesia tablets. Increase fruits in the diet and cut down on chocolate and dairy products. Drink plenty of water.
Learn the difference between heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and sunstroke, and the treatment for each. Best preventive measures: Don’t overdo in the heat. Perhaps wear hiking headgear and footwear to avoid overheating. Rest in the shade frequently on the trail. Drink plenty of water to offset perspiration loss and use salt tablets sparingly.
Heat cramps are usually the result of excessive perspiration and loss of salt. Prevention and remedy are the same: drink salt water (14 teaspoons per quart) or take salt tablets. Too many tablets can also cause cramps.
Heat exhaustion is just too much heat and is a form of shock. Body temperature drops and heart action weakens (but speeds up), accompanied by paleness, clammy skin, dizziness, possibly cramps.
Treatment: Have patient rest in a cool place, feet raised and head lowered, and cover him with a blanket. Give him hot drinks, preferably with sugar.
Sunstroke is rare but very serious. You should call a doctor immediately. It can happen in heat hiking or camping situations under the sun. This situation, the body’s heat-regulating system breaks down and the onset of symptoms may be rapid-headache, flushed face, pounding pulse. Temperature mounts rapidly, the skin is hot and dry, perspiration ceases, and the patient loses consciousness.
Treatment: Call a doctor without delay. Move the person into the shade and do everything you can to cool him off. Remove most of his clothing. Pour or spray his body with cold water, or even snow if available. Continue sponge baths until the temperature returns to normal.
The leaves, woody parts, even the flowers, and berries, of poison oak, ivy, and sumac contain a substance, urushiol, which causes skin irritation and itching.
Itchy red rashes and blisters may develop. You can get the rash by touching the plant, smoke from burning plants, or by contact with an article of clothing or animal which has touched it.
Learn to identify these plants and avoid them. Poison ivy grows east of the Rockies as either a climbing plant on trees and poles or as a low, shrubby, crawling plant. Poison oak, common in most western states, is more shrub-like and grows primarily in the foothills.
Both have left in characteristic groups of three. Poison sumac is a shrub or small tree, taller and willowier.
If exposed to one of these plants, wash the exposed parts as soon as possible with plenty of hot water and strong, lathering soap. If convenient, wash thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, rinse in clear water, and dry. Then cover with a dressing soaked with a solution of baking soda or Epsom salts.
Calamine lotion may be applied to reduce itching. Avoid using oily ointments or scratching the rash; you only spread the irritation,
A rapid ascent from near-sea-level elevations into the mountains sometimes causes mountain sickness in persons who have not acclimatized themselves. This can occur in a car while climbing a high pass, or because of too much activity in the first few days of camping.
Symptoms are usually headache, nausea, and dizziness, but more serious onslaughts may cause illness, weakness, and diarrhea. Symptoms may occur the first night in camp or not for several days.
Usually, the person improves with rest and sedentary pastimes, but if illness persists, he should return to lower altitudes. Carry safe water and fresh foods with water in your camping trip in order to avoid some problems. But you need advanced precautions to avoid these challenges.
Some normal body functions, especially in women, are upset temporarily by changes in altitude, and such disturbances should not cause great concern