We plan for hiking trips where nothing goes wrong. But sometimes things do go wrong. If someone gets sick or injured, we need to do what’s called first-aid, caring for them until they get trained, professional help, if that’s necessary.
Every hiking group-and every hiker, really—should carry a first-aid kit. It should at least include adhesive bandages (Band-Aids or another brand), a triangular bandage you could use as a sling, disinfectant, soft material called moleskin or Second Skin for blisters, and any medicine the person needs to take each day. An antibiotic ointment (cream that’s made specially to kill germs) comes in handy sometimes, too.
Hiking First Aid Tips for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Some first-aid kits are made small, with a little booklet, so they fit into light backpack, day packs or pockets easily. There are also first-aid books written and kits made just for kids online, you can find them and need to buy them. Here is the full guide on hiking first aid tips including the problems and disease in hiking.
Problems You May Find in Hiking and Their Remedies
If you’re going to hike, you need to read a good first-aid book, and it’s even better if you take one or more first-aid courses. Learn how to save a life with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Meanwhile, here are a few of the problems you might find as you hike, and what you can do about them.
Blisters During the Hike
Blisters on hike are the sores that happen when your skin rubs against something too often. That skin is often on your feet, which rub against socks or shoes. Actually, the friction pulls the outer layer of your skin away from the inner layer. Your body fills the space between the layers with fluid, which explains why a blister seems filled with water.
You often feel the start of a blister, a burning red spot. You can keep it from getting worse by using a piece of soft moleskin from your first-aid kit. Cut it in a donut shape, with the center large enough to go around the red spot. Press it in place, and it will help keep the hot spot from turning into a blister.
How to Avoid and Get Well from Blister in Your Hiking Session
If it’s too late for that and you already have a blister, wash that area carefully with clean water. If an adult has a sterile needle, the bubble of the blister can be poked and the fluid gently pressed out. Leave that outer skin on, though, since it protects the delicate skin underneath.
Cover the blister area with special first-aid stuff called “Second Skin,” or a donut-shaped piece of soft moleskin, the same way we described it above.
You can avoid many blisters by wearing boots and socks that fit correctly-snug, without being too tight. Keeping feet clean, and letting them cool and dry in the air when you take breaks can also help avoid these painful things.
Burns While Campfire or Under the Sun
Burns are usually more a problem for campers than hikers. But if you build a campfire to cook your lunch, or even if your bare skin gets too much sunshine, you can end up with a burn. It is one of the common problems during campfire building for the campers.
For the hikers, the heat of the dried sun can cause this problem. Actually, getting well from burning is a lengthy process, but you can always get some help of the first aid at first.
Get Well from Burning During Hiking or Camping
Good first-aid will cool the hurt and help the healing. Whether you are on the camping, or on the trail, like the camping first aid, hiking is quiet similar with some differences. The first thing is to put out the fire.” If your skin is still burning, even after you’ve gotten it out of the sun, you’ll have put out the flames. Pour on clean, cold water, and keep pouring it on, for at least 10 minutes.
Remove any burned clothing and any jewelry that might seem tight if the arm, leg or hand swells up.
Types of Burning and How to Get Well
First-degree burns, which burn just the top of the skin, are red and hurt a lot. They mostly need time to heal, and a water-based lotion might ease the pain. Some people like lotion from the aloe plant. It eases the pain and seems to speed up the healing of a first-degree burn. Using proper head protection and clothing like protected hiking hat, or jackets can save you from the sun.
Second-degree burns cause blisters to form, sometimes long after the injury. They should be covered with sterile bandages (like those in a first-aid kit) and the blisters kept from popping if you can.
Third-degree burns are deep, and they often leave black burned skin. Third-degree burns from hot water are often pale. These kinds of burns should be washed gently and covered with antibiotic ointment from the first-aid kit, and with a sterile dressing. Get the person to a doctor as soon as you can.
Sprains & Strains on the Outdoor Trails
Sometimes we twist arms or legs, and we end up with a sprain or strain. We treat them both the same way, with a “recipe” called RICE-rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Think of it this way:
Getting Well from Sprains & Strains
First, get off the injured leg or rest the sore arm. That’s the “rest.”
Now, apply ice, cold water, or a special first-aid chemical cold pack. That’s the “ice” part.
Third, wrap the sore area with an elastic bandage such as an Ace bandage to gently squeeze it. We call that compression.” Not too tight! If the fingers or toes start getting tingly, it’s too tight and needs to be loosened. Use perfect gloves for outdoor and have proper movement.
“Elevation” means lifting the arm or leg higher than the rest of the body. Leave it this way for at least 20 minutes.
Repeat the RICE treatment several times a day. Moving around a little between RICE treatments can actually help the sprain heal, though, so don’t rest all the time.
Broken Bones During Camping or Hiking
A bone that has broken requires the care of someone trained in first-aid. The main thing a kid needs to know is that moving the broken bone back and forth can do a lot more harm. It’s more painful, too.
Use trekking sticks with proper height or other stiff things, tied in place gently, to keep a broken bone from moving. Then, get some help.
Get Well from the Diseases in Your Hiking Trips
On your hiking trail, many diseases can happen due to many things, like sun heat, lack of water or getting bitten from the insect, which can carry diseases. Here are a few things you should look out and try to avoid during the hike.
Getting Bitten by Ticks
A little thing can cause big problems. Ticks can spread disease, especially the deer tick, which is about as big as the period at the end of this sentence. It spreads a disease called Lyme’s disease, and it’s most common in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Maryland.
The way Lyme’s disease develops is this: you might get bitten by a tick that carries the disease. Not all ticks, and not all deer ticks, carry disease. But if you’re bitten by one, you might get a rash around the bite, with a white ring inside it that makes it look like a bulls-eye target.
You might get a headache, fever, stiff neck or just feel lousy, TELL SOMEONE. Those things may fade away, but you’d still have the disease, and it could make you very, very sick. Caught early, doctors can take care of it.
How to Avoid Ticks on Your Outdoor Trail
You can avoid many ticks by wearing long sleeves and long pants, and tucking those pant legs into boots or socks. Tuck in the shirt, too. Special clothes are now made that have a chemical in them that keeps ticks and other biting insects away.
Insect lotions and sprays with DEET in them work, too, although some say kids should use milder repellents on their skin, such as those with citronella in them.
It’s best to check yourself thoroughly for ticks after a hike in tick country. You might need someone to check your back and other places you can’t see. A tick can be removed with tweezers, being careful not to squeeze it, or with a special first-aid tool called a lifter that slides underneath the tick for easy lift-off.
The good news is that many hikers never get bitten by ticks and most of those who do never have a problem.
Hypothermia Can Cause a Big Issue During Hiking
Hypothermia means your body is losing heat faster than it can make it.
You can avoid this problem by resting along the trail, eating enough to keep the body’s heat-factory working, dressing properly for the weather, staying dry by proper clothing, and staying active.
You can get hypothermia in cool weather, especially if you get wet. The temperature doesn’t have to be really cold for you to get sick.
One of the first signs of hypothermia is shivering so badly that you can’t stop it. It seems harder to do things with your hands and feet. Soon you start making foolish decisions—and then you need help from someone else.
Getting Well from Hypothermia
If you or a hiking companion show signs of hypothermia, find shelter from the wind, cold and moisture. Remove wet clothing and replace it with dry clothes if you can.
Increase exercise, if possible, to produce more body heat. Add heat with covers, warm liquids, huddling together, or from some other heat source.
Best first-aid? Think ahead!
Many problems can be avoided by thinking ahead and being careful. Pick shoes and socks carefully. In cold weather, use gloves or warmest shocks for foot and hand. Watch out for fire and too much sunshine.
Check yourself and each other for ticks, and don’t get wet and chilled. And if something happens, be ready to help out with first-aid.