Being an outdoor enthusiast is a lifestyle that provides you with a lot of freedom and an opportunity to pursue your passion in a healthy and unique way. However, it is also a lifestyle that is more prone to different sorts of dangers. There are a lot of medical conditions that are more dangerous when triggered away from civilization (and, therefore, proper medical care). Injuries are also far more likely. With that in mind, here are five basic first-aid techniques every outdoor enthusiast should know.
1. Stabilizing the spine
If you suspect that the person next to you had their spine injured, you need to call 911 right away. Second, you want to keep them still. If you have a heavy towel in your bag (which is always advised), you want to roll it and place it on both sides of their neck. You also want to avoid moving the head or the neck as much as you can.
You see, if one injures their spine, the injury may be complete or incomplete. If there’s a complete injury, it will cause total paralysis below the level of injury. If you move them while they are suffering from an incomplete spinal injury, you risk causing a complete injury. In other words, the consequences are more than dire.
Remember that there’s always an exception to the rule. Sure, you don’t want to move them and risk making their spinal injury worse but if there’s an immediate threat to their life you might have to. In that case, try to keep their neck supported and in a straight line.
2. Sprain and strain treatment
In ideal circumstances, you would rest the injured area, apply ice to the injury for 20 minutes 4 to 8 times per day, compress the injury, and put it on a pillow to rest. However, your immediate response, somewhere out in the open, will not be as elaborate. During this period, you need to stabilize the ankle with tape, using a special stabilization pattern.
Next, you need to get yourself a ride. What is the nearest place where someone can get to pick you up? Chances are that driving with a sprained ankle will be painful, harmful, or completely impossible. Try organizing the ride right away, so that it waits for you at the target destination. Remember, it will take you a lot longer to get there than before the injury.
Once you get home, you can go for the above-discussed RICES (rest, ice, compression, elevation, stabilization) method. Nonetheless, it’s best to avoid trying this self-treatment before getting a diagnosis by an actual physician. You need to have it checked as soon as possible.
3. Cardiac arrest response
While it is true that people with a high risk of cardiac arrest really shouldn’t be out in the wilds, this won’t always be the case. First of all, you can’t be afraid of every single outdoor activity and spend your entire life indoors, just because there’s a risk of something bad happening. Second, a sudden cardiac arrest can happen to everyone.
The first thing you need to do if someone near you suffers from a cardiac arrest is to check their responsiveness. Second, you need to call 911. Third, you need to start administering CPR right away. Seeing as how a proper technique can be life-saving in these scenarios, it might be a good idea to get your first aid certification.
The sooner you respond, the better, seeing as how waiting for more than 3 minutes might result in permanent brain damage. Also, chances are that where you’re at, there won’t be an AED unit. Still, you need to keep performing CPR until the help arrives.
4. Putting pressure on a bleed
Whenever going out in the open, you need to have a first-aid kit somewhere at hand. This way, if you get a cut and start bleeding, you can react properly. The first thing you need to do, however, is to learn how to apply pressure on a bleeding wound. This is a simple method but you would be surprised at just how many people are oblivious of what to do.
First of all, you need to try to figure out whether the wound is big enough for you to cover it with your finger or your palm. If not, you might have to stuff the cloth down the wound. Pieces of clothing are the most practical, seeing as how they’re always at hand. When it comes to the method itself, you need to push down as hard as you can and wait until the bleeding is stopped (no matter how long it takes)
After this is done, you might want to bandage the wound. Remember, this is merely a temporary solution. You will have to sterilize and redress the wound as soon as you’re able to.
5. Treating hypothermia
If you encounter someone with hypothermia while out there, you need to be extra careful. First of all, you need to be as gentle as possible. Second, you need to move them out of the cold. This might not be as easy but it is essential for their survival and wellbeing. Next, you want to remove their wet clothing and cover them with blankets.
If you’re moving them to a tent, you want to insulate them from the cold ground. Once they’re warmed up, you want to keep monitoring their breathing and prepare a warm beverage. It is also a good idea to look for warm, dry compresses to proceed with the treatment.
Overall, hypothermia is usually something you would expect during the colder part of the year, however, you would be surprised just how often it can happen.
While you shouldn’t expect things to go wrong, you should never eliminate the likelihood of this. Moreover, you should always be prepared for this eventuality and you can do this in three ways. First, you should never wander off in the wilderness on your own. Second, you need to get a first-aid certificate. Third, you should have a fully-packed first-aid kit. Once you have these three requirements out of the way, you will be a lot safer.