The objective of this Web Page is to familiarize you with basic first
aid techniques in some common emergencies -
When journeying into the
wilderness it is important to carry a complete
Here are a few selected first aid tips that may be useful in a disaster situation!!
First aid is the immediate care given to a person who is injured or ill. Sudden illness or injury can often cause irreversible damage or death to the victim unless proper care is initiated as soon as possible. First aid includes identifying a life-threatening condition, taking action to prevent further injury or death, reducing pain, and counteracting the effects of shock, should they be present.
Because life-threatening situations do occur, everyone should know how to provide emergency care until a victim can be treated or transported to a medical facility.
First aid is not intended to replace care by a physician. Its intent is to protect the victim until medical assistance can be obtained. For any situation that appears to be life-threatening, it's important to remember to call 9-1-1 and get help on the way as soon as possible .
The primary purpose of first aid is to:
for life-threatening situations
As a Rule of Thumb
victim has lost consciousness, is unusually confused, or is losing consciousness.
An accident can occur at any time or any place If you are the first person to arrive, there are a few basic principles you should follow to protect yourself and the victim First, CALL 9-1-1: then:
1. Survey the Scene. Before you help the victim, determine if the scene is safe. If anything dangerous is present, don't put your own life at risk to try and help the victim: you will be of no aid if you become a victim too. Summon help and wait for trained people to resolve the situation. If the scene is safe, try and determine what happened and how many victims there may be. Never move the victim unless an immediate, life-threatening danger exists, such as a fire or the threat of a building collapse.
2. Primary Victim Survey. After ensuring the scene is safe, you can turn your attention to the victim. Begin by performing a primary survey to determine if the victim:
To check for consciousness, gently tap the person and ask if they are okay.
If the victim is unconscious, kneel down next to the head and check for the ABCs: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. To check the airway (clear and maintain an open airway), breathing (restore breathing), and for circulation (restore circulation), place your ear next to the victim's mouth and listen/feel for breath sounds while looking for a rise and fall of the chest. While doing this, check for a pulse by placing your fingers on the neck, just below the angle of the jaw, and feel for the pulse from the carotid artery. These three steps will determine if cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is needed.
If you would like to learn how to perform CPR and First Aid,
It is your responsibility
to attend a Certified First-Aid CPR Course
Head - to - toe examination
Head, neck, shoulders, chest, arms, abdomen, back, pelvis, legs & feet
Vital signs you can check:
The Primary Survey
Gently tap the person and ask,
Do not move the victim unless necessary
Although each case involving injury or sickness presents its own special problems, some general rules apply to practically all situations. Become familiar with these basic rules before you go on to learn first aid treatment for specific types of injures:
The specific sequence of actions when dealing with this situation is:
Very serious injuries may require heroic first aid measures on your behalf. The greater the number of injuries, the more you must exhibit better judgment and self-control to prevent yourself and well-intentioned bystanders from trying to do too much.
It is your responsibility to
attend a Certified First-Aid CPR Course
The following steps for cardiopulmonary resuscitation are not meant to be an absolute guide for performing this lifesaving procedure, but rather as a reminder for those who have forgotten their skills, or an introduction for those who are interested in taking an instructional class in the future.
A person is
not legally insured to perform CPR unless he has passed a written and
skills exam and been certified by an organization such as the
American Red Cross.
Do not perform CPR unless you are professionally trained and certified.
not be attempted by a rescuer who has not been properly trained.
did I put this section on this web page?
just my opinion!
NOTE: To properly learn CPR, a certified instructor must conduct the training.
Cardio - Pulmonary - Resuscitation
Check pulse & breathing regularly for any response
Repeat these steps approximately 12 to 15 times per minute.
If treating a child, cover the nose and mouth with you mouth. Use smaller puffs of air and repeat this method 20 to 25 times per minute.
Seek Medical Attention!
Picture this: You're walking through the woods behind your house and are bitten by a rattlesnake. What would you do?
John Wayne probably would have pulled out his penknife, sliced the bite wound, sucked out the venom and tied on a tourniquet. But that's the wrong approach for anyone except a silver-screen cowboy.
"The safest thing to do for snakebite is just splint the limb and go to the hospital," says Christopher P. Holstege, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center and director of the Blue Ridge Poison Center in Charlottesville, Va.
"Cutting the bite wound could sever tendons, nerves or arteries or increase the risk of infection, and tourniquets are risky," Dr. Holstege explains.
Dr. Holstege recommends the right approaches for the following first-aid myths.
Myth: Put butter on a burn.
Reality: If you apply butter or another substance to a serious burn, you could make it difficult for a doctor to treat the burn later and increase risk of infection.
The right approach: "It's usually OK to cool the burn with cold water, but burns with significant blistering need to be seen at a health care facility," says Dr. Holstege. Keep the burn clean and loosely covered; don't pop the blisters.
Myth: Give syrup of ipecac before calling the poison-control center.
Reality: If your child swallows something poisonous, hold off on the syrup of ipecac -- the over-the-counter treatment for inducing vomiting. "If someone ingests a hydrocarbon such as gasoline or kerosene, for example, vomiting can cause aspiration in the lungs," Dr. Holstege says.
The right approach: Immediately call your doctor or a poison-control center for advice.
Myth: Apply a tourniquet to a bleeding extremity.
Reality: When severe bleeding occurs, some people mistakenly tie a belt or shoestring around the limb above the wound to slow the flow of blood. But doing so can cause permanent tissue damage.
The right approach: Pad the wound with layers of sterile gauze or cloth, apply direct pressure, and wrap the wound securely. Seek medical help if the bleeding doesn't stop or if the wound is gaping, dirty or caused by an animal bite.
Myth: Apply heat to a sprain, strain or fracture.
Reality: Heat gives the opposite of the desired effect -- it promotes swelling and can keep the injury from healing as quickly as it could.
The right approach: Apply ice, alternating 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, for the first 24 to 48 hours.
Myth: You should move someone injured in a car accident.
Reality: A person with a spinal-cord injury won't necessarily appear badly injured, but pulling him or her out of a vehicle -- even removing the helmet from an injured motorcyclist -- could lead to paralysis or death.
The right approach: If the vehicle isn't threatened by fire or another serious hazard, it's best to leave the person in place until paramedics arrive.
Myth: Rub your eye when you get a foreign substance in it.
Reality: Doing so could cause a serious tear or abrasion.
The right approach: Rinse the eye with tap water.
Use hot water to thaw a cold extremity.
Reality: Hot water can cause further damage.
The right approach: Use lukewarm water only, or use dry heat.
Myth: Sponge on rubbing alcohol to reduce a fever.
Reality: Alcohol can get absorbed by the skin, which can cause alcohol poisoning, especially in young children.
The right approach: "Take acetaminophen or Ibuprofen," says Dr. Holstege. "If a fever is very high, have it checked by a physician or treated in a hospital emergency room."
Myth: It's OK to treat at home an allergic response to a bee sting.
Reality: Delaying professional treatment could be fatal.
The right approach: For symptoms such as breathing problems, tight throat or swollen tongue, call an ambulance immediately.
Copyright 2003 Health Ink and Vitality Communications, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067, 1-800-524-1176
Publication: Vitality magazine
Date Last Modified: 8/12/03
Cuts are defined as any opening or breaking of the skin. Cuts are a common injury, and the first step in treating a cut is to determine whether it is a major or minor wound. A major wound is defined as any wound where:
If any of these conditions are present, medical attention should be sought immediately.
Even when all precautions are taken, a wound may
An antibiotic should be applied to any infected wound, and professional medical attention may be needed to ensure proper healing.
It is important for the outdoor enthusiast to carry the knowledge and material for treating "road rash" for several reasons. One is they hurt, and proper treatment reduces pain, eventually. Another is that untreated abrasions leave more noticeable scars. A third reason is to prevent infection, and few wounds are more prone to infection than an abrasion.
The time it takes to properly treat an abrasion is directly proportional to the size and strength of the victim. Wimpy people can be held down while they are being vocally abusive as their wounds are thoroughly cleaned and bandaged. With large, powerful patients, you'll want to get in and get out fast.
Irrigate the wound to remove loose foreign material. Water will do fine, and any water safe to drink is safe to clean wounds. This is best done with an irrigation syringe, a device that comes in most first aid kits. Or fill a plastic bag with water and punch a pinhole in it. The idea is to create a forceful stream to wash out dirt and debris. In the process, you may, also, be washing out some of the germs.
Vigorously scrub the abrasion. Some first aid kits have cleansing pads especially made for abrasions and containing a topical anesthetic. Cleansing pads allow you to wipe the abrasion gently first, and wait about five minutes for the anesthetic to work. Warning: the scrubbing is still quite painful, but absolutely necessary for safeguarding against infection and tattooing (a unique form of scarring left by embedded material). You can scrub with any clean cloth and any soap. Scrub until nothing remains visible in the wound except raw meat.
Rinse the wound again. If the scrubbing has started some bleeding, you can just let it bleed or apply pressure with a sterile gauze pad or sponge. Letting it bleed might be a bit better since the patient is doing a little involuntary self-cleaning of the wound.
When you have a clean, non-bleeding wound, apply a thin layer of
Dress and bandage the wound. Dressings go directly on the abrasion,
and any non-adherent dressing will work. Spenco 2nd Skin works really
well, soothing with its coolness, protecting with its rubbery-ness,
allowing you to see through to watch the wound for signs of
infection. It can be left in place as long as no infection shows up.
Over the dressing goes the bandage. You can tape a gauze pad over the
dressing, but elastic wraps work better, being more secure. Stretch
gauze is probably the best: it conforms easily to the shape of the
abraded body part, it is lightweight, it is more difficult to put it
on too tight
Human skin is tough and resilient, fortunately, and
abrasions, with a little pre-planning, are easy to manage. We're
lucky that way . . .
© 1999 Buck Tilton. All Rights Reserved.
heading for the mountains hoping to experience what they pray will
be ideal skiing, climbing or mountaineering conditions and with a
need to cram a week's worth of adventure into an action-packed
weekend are asking for trouble by forgetting that they live at sea
level most of the year.
Altitude sickness doesn't discriminate--it can affect anyone regardless of age, sex or physical conditioning. In fact, some of the best and most well-conditioned athletes suffer altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can even occur despite a history of not being susceptible. Edmund Hillary, world renowned mountaineer began experiencing altitude sickness years after he had summited Everest.
Too high, too fast appears to be a major cause of altitude sickness. Altitude sickness occurs most commonly at elevations above 8,000 feet but can certainly happen above 6,000 feet. Dehydration and overexertion are major contributing factors.
Regardless of what causes it, there are some precautions one can utilize to minimize the possibility of becoming altitude sick. Climb high and sleep low is one tried and true technique employed by mountaineers, but this is not always practical when your condo is at 8,000 feet and you are skiing or climbing at 9,000 feet.
Keeping your ascent under moderation is another technique, but again, when skiing the point becomes somewhat moot since lift lines shoot you up and down several thousand feet throughout the day.
"The classic avoidance technique is to acclimatize by not ascending more than 1,000 feet per day above 7,500 feet," says Dr. Paul Auerbach, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center.
Jumping into the car at sea level and leaping out at 9,000 feet to play blows any acclimatization plan clean out of the water and really opens the door for altitude sickness. Auerbach suggests spending some time with the feet up in the tent, condo or lodge before adventureing out. If that means adding a day to your weekend in the name of health, so be it.
"Dehydration is a causative and a worsening factor when it comes to altitude sickness," says Auerbach. "It is critical that a person stays well hydrated so that urination is frequent and clear or light colored."
Auerbach also recommends laying off the coffee and tea since both are diuretics (causes your body to lose vital fluids). Liquor, aside from the fact that it is also a diuretic and clouds judgment is even worse for the body since symptoms of a hangover mimic those of altitude sickness confusing diagnosis.
Acetazolamide (Diamox) is a prescription drug that does appear to be a factor in enhancing a person's ability to acclimate to altitude, and is used in reducing the effects of altitude sickness. Like any drug, it does have side effects and is not for everyone. It is a sulfa derivative so persons allergic to sulfa drugs should not take it and it is also a mild diuretic so maintaining a regular fluid intake is essential. Seek the advice of your physician before using the drug.
"Although it is recommended in higher doses, we are finding that doses of 62.5 or 125 mg twice per day beginning upon ascent to altitude and continuing for a day after the highest altitude has been reached are sufficient," says Auerbach.
How do you know if you have altitude sickness? An early morning headache that doesn't go away is one fairly sure sign. Low levels of energy, insomnia, shortness of breath, nausea and loss of appetite are all symptoms that can, either alone, or in combination indicate altitude sickness.
Descending and reducing your level of activity are the standard remedies once you feel altitude sick. Do not push it! While mild symptoms are more a nuisance than a health threat, they are a definite warning to acclimatize.
Levels of altitude sickness can progress to moderate and then severe which may result in required hospitalization or death in extreme cases. Confusion, vomiting, difficulty walking a straight line or severe shortness of breath are signs of impending severe high altitude illness. In such a case, the victim should be immediately brought to medical attention for the administration of oxygen and rapid descent to a lower altitude.
© 1999 Michael Hodgson; All Rights Reserved
Shock is a life-threatening secondary condition wherein the body's vital physical and mental functions are seriously impaired due to an inadequate supply of oxygenated blood reaching the lungs, heart or brain. This is the body's reaction to a serious injury, illness, or other traumatic event.
Shock is a depression of all of the body processes and may follow any injury regardless of how minor. Factors such as hemorrhage, cold and pain will intensify shock. When experiencing shock the patient will feel weak and may faint. The skin becomes cold and clammy and the pulse, weak and rapid. Shock can be more serious than the injury itself.
Characteristics of shock include:
To treat shock, check your "ABC's," then,
Use the following method to prevent and control shock:
Shock is a life-threatening
condition that requires immediate medical treatment.
1. Check the victim's airway, breathing, and circulation. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR.
2. If the victim is conscious and does not have a head, leg, neck, or spinal injury, place the victim in the shock position by laying the victim on the back and elevating the lower extremities about 12 inches. Do not elevate the head. However, if the victim has sustained an injury in which raising the legs will cause pain, leave the victim flat.
3. If the victim has sustained a possible spinal
injury, keep the victim in the position in which he or she was found.
4. Give appropriate first aid for any wounds, injuries, or illnesses.
5. Keep the person warm and comfortable.
6. If the victim vomits or is drooling, turn the head to one side so vomits can drain (as long as there is no suspicion of spinal injury). If spinal injury is suspected and the victim vomits, "log roll" him or her by supporting the neck and spine to keep head position neutral with body position while turning the victim onto his or her side.
7. Call for immediate medical
assistance and continue to monitor the victim's vital signs
DO NOT give the victim anything by mouth.
DO NOT move the victim if a spinal injury is suspected.
DO NOT wait for milder shock symptoms to worsen before calling for emergency medical assistance.
Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if
You suspect a person is in shock.
Preventing shock is easier than trying to treat it
once it happens.
Major classes of shock include:
Shock is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical treatment.
Some degree of shock can accompany any medical emergency.
Causes of Shock
Stand behind victim with arms around victim's torso.
Blood color in a minor wound is dark red/purple and is the result of venous bleeding.
Caring for a Major Open Wound
To control bleeding, elevate the wounded area above the heart and apply pressure using either gauze, clean cloth, dried seaweed or sphagnum moss. Use pressure at the pulse point between the injured area and the heart if bleeding fails to stop. If bleeding still persists, use a tourniquet between the injury and the heart. This method should only be used in extreme situations. After bleeding has been controlled, wash the wounded area with disinfectant and apply a dressing and bandages.
Most bleeding can be stopped by the following techniques:
Pressure Most bleeding can be controlled by applying direct pressure
to the wound.
For these situations, use the following techniques in addition:
Direct pressure stops most bleeding. Place sterile gauze or clean cloth over wound & apply pressure. If bleeding doesn't stop in 5 minutes, replace cloth and continue to apply direct pressure to wound while adding pressure to pressure points (below).
spot to apply pressure if bleeding
DO NOT Use direct pressure on eye, embedded objects or open fractures
A head injury is any trauma that leads to injury of
the scalp, skull, or brain.
A concussion may result when the head strikes against
an object or is struck by an object.
Head injury can be classified as either closed or penetrating.
In a closed head injury, the head
sustains a blunt force by striking against an object.
In a penetrating head injury, an object
breaks through the skull and enters the brain.
Injuries to the head are so common that almost
everyone will sustain some form of trauma to the head at some point
during their lifetime. Learning to recognize serious head injury, and
implementing basic first aid, can make the difference in saving
Every year, approximately two million people sustain a
The signs and symptoms of a head injury may occur immediately or develop slowly over several hours. If a child begins to play or run immediately after getting a bump on the head, for example, serious injury is unlikely. However, the child should still be closely watched for the 24 hours, since symptoms of a head injury can be delayed.
When encountering a victim of a head injury, try to find out what happened. If the victim cannot tell you, look for clues and ask witnesses. In any head trauma victim that appears to have any serious injury, always assume that there is also injury to spinal cord.
The following symptoms suggest a more serious head injury that requires emergency medical treatment:
Altered level of consciousness
Note! The signs &
symptoms of brain injury may be observed immediately (as listed above)
Check out the victim by asking
personal questions: name, birthday, home address, where they are, etc.
Treatment varies according to the severity of the
injury, type and location of injury, and development of secondary
complications. For mild head injury, no specific treatment may be
needed other than observation for complications, although an initial
medical evaluation should still be done.
For moderate to severe head injury, where the victim is comatose or if symptoms are severe, urgent treatment is required.
Take the following first aid treatment steps:
1. Call the local emergency number (such as 911) before you begin treating someone with a severe head injury.
2. Check the victim's airway, breathing, and circulation. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR.
3. If the victim's breathing and heart rate are satisfactory but he or she is unconscious, treat him or her as if there is a spinal injury. Stabilize the head and neck by placing your hands on both sides of the victim's head, keeping the head in line with the spine and preventing movement. Wait for medical help.
4. Unless there has been a skull fracture, attempt to stop any bleeding by firmly pressing a clean cloth on the wound. If the injury is serious, be careful not to move the victim's head. If blood soaks through the cloth, don't remove it, just place another cloth over the first one.
5. If you suspect a skull fracture, do not apply direct pressure to the bleeding site, and do not remove any debris from the wound. Cover the wound with sterile gauze dressing and get medical help immediately.
6. If a victim is vomiting, remember you must always suspect a spinal injury and roll the head, neck, and body as one unit to prevent choking. (Children often vomit once after a head injury. But even if the child does not vomit again and is not behaving differently, contact a doctor.)
7. Apply ice packs to swollen areas.
For patients with mild or moderate head injury and no loss of consciousness, a full medical evaluation should still be sought. If the patient is not hospitalized, you will receive instructions to observe the victim for any signs of a serious head injury over the next 24 hours. These instructions may include waking the patient every 2 to 3 hours during the night to check for alertness; you may be told to ask the victim specific questions, such as "What is your address?"
If the patient becomes unusually drowsy, develops a severe headache or stiff neck, vomits more than once, or behaves abnormally, get medical help immediately.
DO NOT remove the helmet of a victim if you suspect a serious head injury.
DO NOT wash a head wound that is deep or bleeding profusely.
DO NOT remove any object sticking out of a wound.
DO NOT move the victim unless absolutely necessary.
DO NOT shake the victim if he or she seems dazed.
DO NOT pick up a fallen child with any sign of head injury.
DO NOT consume alcohol within 48 hours of a serious head injury.
Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if
There is severe head or facial bleeding.
There is a change in the victim's level of consciousness (such as confusion or lethargy).
There is any cessation of breathing.
You suspect a serious head or neck injury.
The eyes are one of the most vulnerable parts of the human anatomy, and injuries to the eye should be taken seriously. Injuries to the eye include eyeball scratches, small foreign bodies in the eye, larger objects stuck in the eye, chemical exposure, burns, cuts and blows to the eye. Washing your hands with soap and water should always precede treatment of any eye injury.
In the case of an eyeball scratch, do not apply pressure to the eye and get medical help.
If a small foreign body like sand or dirt enters the eye, normal blinking and tearing will usually remove the object. Do not allow yourself or the victim to rub the eye. If pain and redness continues, try to locate the foreign object by doing a visual search in a well-lighted area. If found, try to wash out the foreign object with water, or try to brush out the object by pulling the upper eyelid over the lashes of the lower eyelid. Do not use a cotton swab or tissue to lift out the object. If the object cannot be removed, or if it is removed and pain continues, cover the victim's eye with a clean cloth or sterile pad and seek medical help.
If a large object is sticking out of the eye, do not attempt to pull it out. This will likely do much more damage than good. Instead, bandage the eye on either side of the object and tape a paper cup or cone over the object so that it cannot be touched. Also cover the uninjured eye to discourage eye movement. While emergency medical attention is being sought, reassure the victim, keeping him or her as calm as possible.
If a harmful chemical substance has entered the victim's eye, use water to flush it out while waiting for medical help. Turn the victim's head on its side with the injured eye down and pour fresh water into the eye for at least 15 minutes. You may have to force the eye to remain open. If chemicals are in both eyes, have the victim flush out the eye by taking a shower. Contact lenses should be removed only after the eye has been thoroughly flushed out. After flushing the eye, cover both eyes with a clean cloth, even if only one eye is afflicted, as this discourages eye movement.
If an eye gets burned, flush it with water if it is not too painful for the victim. Lightly apply a cool compress without putting any pressure on the eye. Seek medical help.
If the eye has either been cut or received a hard blow, lightly apply a cool compress without putting any pressure on the eye, even if the eye is bleeding. If blood is pooling in the eye, cover both eyes with a clean cloth to deter eye movement and seek medical help.
Note: Spinal injuries can be difficult
Do not move victim unless it is
absolutely necessary for safety reasons
In most cases, you should just stabilize the victim & wait for professional help to arrive.
What to do
It is unwise to treat a dislocation unless
you are a trained professional as permanent damage may occur.
Sprains are a sudden or violent twist or wrench of a joint beyond its normal range that results in a stretching or tearing of the joint's ligaments. Sprains are a common injury, and the most frequently sprained part of the body is the ankle. It is estimated that there are 27,000 ankle sprains in the United States everyday. Other areas commonly sprained are the wrist, knee, finger and toe.
Sprains can happen while playing sports or as easily as landing awkwardly while stepping off a curb. Even though sprains are often quite painful, they usually do not require professional medical attention to heal properly. When giving aid to a person with a sprain, call for emergency medical assistance if a broken bone is suspected or if there is an audible popping sound and the victim has difficulty in using the joint.
The first aid procedure for treating sprains can be summarized by the acronym R.I.C.E., which stands for rest, ice, compression and immobilization, and elevation.
If you are hiking & sprain your ankle - Construct a splint over your boot until you return to camp or vehicle - Once boot is removed, hiking is finished - Don't push an injured ankle!
There are to two types of fractures:
1. Closed Fracture, which is a break or crack in a bone that does not puncture or penetrate the skin.
2.Open Fracture, where there is a break in the skin caused by a protruding bone, or there is an open wound in the area of the fracture. Open fractures are more serious than closed fractures.
Some symptoms of a fracture are:
What to do
You can fold a triangular bandage into a sling
Seek medical attention as soon as possible with ANY broken bone
Examples of Leg Splints
To treat a fracture;
When someone is drowning, get help immediately, but do not place yourself in danger. Do not get into the water or go out onto ice unless your own safety can be assured. Rescue options may include extending a long pole or branch to the victim, or using a throw rope attached to a buoyant object, such as a life ring or life jacket. Toss it to the floundering person, then pull him or her to shore.
Keep in mind that victims who have fallen through the ice become hypothermic very rapidly and may not be able to grasp objects within their reach or hold on while being pulled to safety.
If a person is still floundering in the water and you are appropriately trained to attempt rescue yourself, do so immediately if conditions do not pose undue risk to your own safety.
If there is any likelihood of spinal injury, care must be taken to stabilize the victim's head and neck at all times during the rescue and resuscitation.
If the victim's breathing has stopped, begin rescue breaths as soon as you safely can. This often means starting the breathing process while still in the water.
Continue to breathe for the person every few seconds while moving them to shore. Once on land, check for a pulse (or other signs of circulation, such as spontaneous breathing, coughing, or movement) and administer CPR if needed.
For step-by-step instructions on rescue breathing, see CPR and rescue breathing first aid.
Heimlich maneuver should not be used routinely in the rescue of
Always use caution when moving a drowning victim. Always assume that the victim may have a neck or spine injury, and avoid turning or bending the neck. Take appropriate steps to immobilize the head and neck during resuscitation and transport. Either tape it to a backboard or stretcher, or secure the neck by placing rolled towels or other objects around it. It is important to keep the victim calm and to keep them immobilized. Seek medical help immediately.
In order to prevent hypothermia, remove any cold, wet clothes from the victim and cover him with something warm, if possible.
Once the victim is stabilized, administer first aid for any other serious injuries.
As the victim revives, he may cough and experience difficulty breathing. Calm and reassure the victim until you get medical help. All near-drowning victims should be seen by a health care provider. Even though victims may revive quickly at the scene, lung complications are common.
Signs & Symptoms:
For Hypothermia danger on land:
Treatment in Field:
Raise victim's body temperature with dry clothing,
Be careful not to burn skin with hot water.
Frostbite is the freezing of a part of the body, most often the nose, ears, cheeks, fingers or toes.
Causes of frostbite:
Remove victim from cold exposure, remove clothing from
affected body parts.
Do not rub affected areas!
If it is hot, you may be the victim of heat cramps, heat exhaustion or, in extreme cases, heat stroke.
(Note: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - drink plenty of liquids to avoid heat-related emergencies.)
Heat Cramps: These are the least serious & usually occur in the leg muscles due to loss of body salts from heavy perspiration - Move to a cool place, rest, affected muscle & drink water (cold water if available).
Heat Exhaustion: This can become serious & is indicated by cold, clammy skin, slightly elevated temperature & possibly loss of consciousness - Move immediately to cool place & elevate legs, give cool water, and seek medical attention ASAP.
Heat Stroke: This is the most serious heat-related problem, & the typical symptoms are hot, dry or wet skin, 105° temperature or higher, usually loss of consciousness - Move immediately to cool place & elevate head & shoulders. After victim is cooled, transport immediately to nearest medical facility -
Heat Stroke is life-threatening!
Compare heat stroke symptoms with those of heat
exhaustion in the figure below:
Children are more likely than adults to be affected by
heat and sunlight.
Overexposure to the sun's harmful rays during childhood has been linked to skin and other cancers later in life. To reduce injuries caused by heat and sun:
the time that children spend outdoors during the hottest part of the day
Parents should provide sun block lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 if children will be spending more than a few minutes in the sun.
Provide drinks for children before, during, and after playing outdoors.
that children wear protective clothing if they will be exposed to
the sun for extended periods, such as on a field trip outdoors.
Most burns in the woods are thermal (heat) burns, caused by fire, over-exposure to sunlight, certain chemicals & hot surfaces or substances.
For measuring body surface, the
palm of your hand is about 1%
What to do:
Determine the severity of burn (first, second & third degree burns increase in amount of skin layers destroyed)
clothing from burned area
Douse with cool water until pain stops
Cover with dry, nonstick, sterile dressing, keep area clean
Watch for signs of infection & dehydration
burn is over more than 15% of body, or appears to be deep
Do not Apply ice
Do not Break blisters if it can be avoided
Do not Apply any type of salve, ointment, sprays or creams
Do not Pull or cut away clothing around deep burns
The Unwelcome Dinner Guest
North Texas Poison Center
"It must be something I ate". When you think of a hamburger, what comes to mind? Is it a delicious treat - hot, juicy and fresh from the grill? Or do you imagine "Montezuma's Revenge" or some other unwelcome gastrointestinal upset? The prime causes of food-borne illness are a collection of bacteria with tongue-twisting names like Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, Vibrio vulnificus, and Shigella just to name a few. These organisms can become unwelcome guest at the dinner table. They're in a wide range of foods, including meat, milk and other dairy products, coconut, fresh pasta, spices, chocolate, seafood, and even water.
Egg products, tuna, potato and macaroni salads, and cream-filled pastries harboring these pathogens also are implicated in food-borne illnesses, as are vegetables grown in soil fertilized with contaminated manure.
Poultry is the food most often contaminated with disease-causing organisms. It has been estimated that 60 percent or more of raw poultry sold at retail probably carries some disease-causing bacteria. Bacteria are also often found in raw seafood such as oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops.
But that doesn't mean you should stop eating. Just be smart about how you buy, store, prepare and serve food, and you'll reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses. Careless food handling sets the stage for the growth of disease-causing "bugs." For example, hot or cold foods left standing too long at room temperature provides an ideal climate for bacteria to grow. Improper cooking also plays an important role in food-borne illness.
Foods may be cross contaminated when cutting boards and kitchen tools that have been used to prepare a contaminated food, such as raw chicken, are not cleaned before being used for another food such as vegetables.
Be wary of food poisoning.
When camping, remember the following;
- wash your hands thoroughly before handling food
- smell the food first. If it doesn't smell right, don't cook it and don't eat it.
- it is better to "overcook" than "undercook" food (surface bacteria are killed at 212°F)
- once meat has thawed,
- serve cooked food immediately
- avoid food that nourish bacteria (custard, mayonnaise, custards, bologna . . .)
Common symptoms of food-borne illness include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, headache, vomiting, and severe exhaustion. However, symptoms will vary according to the type of bacteria and by the amount of contaminants eaten. Symptoms may come on as early as a half-hour after eating the contaminated food or they may not develop for several days or weeks. They usually last only a day or two, but in some cases can persist a week to 10 days. For most healthy people, food-borne illnesses are neither long lasting nor life threatening.
When symptoms are severe, the victim should see a doctor or get emergency help. For mild cases of food poisoning, liquid intake should be maintained to replace fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhea. Sport drinks (or Pedialyte for small children), are especially good because they contain much-needed electrolytes.
The idea that food on the dinner table can make someone sick may be disturbing, but there are many steps you can take to protect your family and dinner guest. It's just a matter of following basic rules of food safety.
Prevention of food poisoning starts with your trip to the supermarket. Don't buy food in cans that are bulging or dented or jars that are cracked or have loose or bulging lids. Look for expiration dates and never buy outdated food. Check the "use by" or "sell by" date on dairy products and pick the ones that will stay fresh longest in your refrigerator. Choose eggs that are Grade A or better and that are refrigerated in the store. Make sure that none are cracked or leaking.
Save to the last frozen foods and perishables such as meat, poultry or fish. Always put these products in separate plastic bags so that drippings don't contaminate other foods in your shopping cart. Take an ice chest along to keep frozen and perishable foods cold if it will take more than an hour to get your groceries home.
The first rule of food storage in the home is to refrigerate or freeze perishables right away. Refrigerator temperature should be 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer should be zero. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow (less than 2 inches deep) containers as soon as possible and always within 2 hours of cooking. Arrange items in the refrigerator or freezer to allow cold air to circulate freely. "When In Doubt, Throw It Out"
Wash hands with hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds before preparing, serving and eating food. People with open cuts, sores, vomiting or diarrhea should not handle food. Clean all food preparation surfaces that will come in contact with food. Wash fresh fruits or vegetables with plain water before eating or cooking. Wash hands, utensils, plates, cutting boards and countertops after contact with raw meat or poultry. Use plastic cutting boards rather than wooden ones where bacteria can hide in grooves. Serve cooked food on clean platters with clean utensils. Keep dishwashing sponges clean. Thaw frozen meat or poultry in the refrigerator or microwave, not on the countertop. Bacteria can grow on the outer layers of the food before the inside thaws. Always marinate food in the refrigerator.
Cook at recommended temperatures to kill bacteria: poultry-180 degrees F, beef-160 degrees F and pork-160 degrees F. Don't taste meat, poultry, eggs, fish or any other food of animal origin when it is raw or during cooking. Cook eggs until the yolk and whites are firm. Cook foods as close to serving time as possible to limit bacterial growth. Cover and reheat leftovers to 165 degrees F before serving.
When faced with the problem of
rescuing a person threatened by an emergency,
Sometimes it is necessary to move a victim to safety
or to a medical facility. Moving a victim can be done in a variety of
ways. The safest way is to carry the victim on a stretcher
fashioned from poles and blankets.
If the victim can walk, put one arm around their
waist and with your other arm hold their arm around the back of your neck.
Do not move a victim with a
suspected spinal injury unless it is necessary to get the victim out
Moving a Victim
Moving a victim can be done in a variety of ways, some of which are shown here:
Standard stretchers should be used whenever possible
to transport casualties. If none are available, it may be necessary
for you to improvise. Sometimes a blanket may be used as a stretcher.
The casualty is placed in the middle of the blanket on his or her
back. Four people kneel (Fig.
1) on each side and roll the edges of the blanket toward
the casualty. Stretchers may also be improvised (Fig.
2) by using two long poles (approx. 7 feet long) and a
blanket. Most improvised stretchers do not give sufficient support in
cases where there are fractures or extensive wounds of the body!
The Fireman's Carry (Fig. 3) is one of the easiest ways to carry an unconscious casualty.
Placing The Victim Back Down from a Fireman's Carry
The tied-hands crawl may be used to drag an unconscious casualty for a short distance. It is particularly useful when you must crawl underneath a low structure, but it is the least desirable because the casualty's head is not supported.
1. Place the casualty face up. Cross the casualty's wrists and tie them together.
2. Kneel astride the casualty and lift the arms over your head so that the casualty's wrists are at the back of your neck.
The blanket drag can be used to move a casualty who, due to the seriousness of the injury, should not be lifted or carried by one person alone.
1. Place the casualty face up on a blanket, and pull the blanket along the deck.
The pack-strap carry can be used to move a heavy casualty for some distance.
1. Place the casualty face up.
2. Lie down on your side along the casualty's uninjured or less injured side. Your shoulder should be next to the casualty's armpit.
3. Pull the casualty's far leg over your own, holding it there if necessary.
4. Grasp the casualty's far arm at the wrist and bring it over your upper shoulder as you roll and pull the casualty onto your back.
5. Rise up on your knees, using your free arm for balance and support. Hold both of the casualty's wrists close against your chest with your other hand.
6. Lean forward as you rise to your feet, and keep both of your shoulders under the casualty's armpits.
There are several kinds of arm carries that can be used in emergency situations to move a casualty to safety.
The one-person arm carry
The two-person carry
2. Each rescuer puts one arm under the casualty's thighs; hands are clasped and arms are braced.
3. Both rescuers rise slowly to a standing position.
Do not attempt if the casualty is seriously injured!
If the attack was unprovoked,
consider the possibility of rabies.
bees, wasps and yellow jackets
Just when you thought you were
sitting down for a nice picnic lunch or a mid-hike snack, in come the
Avoid attracting undue attention by following a few simple guidelines.
What should you do if stung?
Cool the sting area with a cold compress.
If you were stung by a bee, scrape
the stinger out with the edge of a knife (don't cut yourself) or your
fingernail. A product called the Sawyer Extractor works very nicely
here as it uses suction to remove the bee venom and stinger.
If the pain persists, add a
topical ointment such as benzocaine to the site to numb it.
If the allergic reaction goes
beyond mild swelling, or if there are numerous stings to the face and
hands, then seek medical attention quickly.
Blisters are actually localizing second degree burns
caused by heat or friction.
Always make sure your footwear fits properly and is
broken in to YOUR foot.
Treatment for Hot Spots
A hot spot always comes before a blister. So if you feel a hot spot, STOP! You need to stop, and treat the hot spot before it forms into a nasty blister. This is easily done by placing a piece of duct tape over the hot spot. One way to pack duct tape with you on a backpacking trip where packing space is limited, is to wrap your water bottle in duct tape. This not only keeps you from lugging around that giant roll of tape, but it insulates your water bottle keeping the water cool in the summer and not frozen in the winter. To keep the duct tape from peeling up on the corners as all tape usually does when it is placed on the bottom a foot and walked on, just round the edges so that there are no corners to peel up. The ingenious of it all.
Treatment for Blisters
First of all, if you get a blister, you are foolish for not preventing it easily with duct tape, or treating the hot spot that occurred only moments before, so you probably deserve the blister. Remember, no blister is good blister. But now that you have a blister, it must be treated properly so that it doesn't pop and become infected. Here's your chance to redeem yourself from that foolish nickname you acquired. First off, the liquid in the blister is sterile, and as long as the blister has not been popped, it is a closed wound, and therefore, infection is impossible. To keep the wound closed, you need something thicker than ordinary duct tape. Moleskin works great for this (partly because blister treatment is what moleskin was invented for). Cut a square of moleskin large enough so that it covers the blister, and has an extra inch to two inches of moleskin surrounding the blister. Fold the moleskin in half. On the folded edge, cut a half circle the size of the blister. Open the moleskin up, and pee off the adhesive back. Place the moleskin over the blister so that the blister is in the hole of the moleskin. Do this again with a second piece of mole skin of the same proportions, and stick on top of the first piece for extra padding.
If the blister is so severe that you absolutely cannot
walk on it, even with moleskin, and evacuation is not available at
the current time, then you will need to pop the blister to continue
your trip. Take a sterile needle, and pop the blister at the
blister's edge where the blister meets the foot, not in the middle of
the blister. Gently squeeze the liquid out of the blister. Because
you have just popped the blister, you have upgraded the blister from
a closed wound, to an open wound. Dry the surrounding skin, and
bandage the blister to keep out bacteria and to prevent infection. To
bandage a blister on the bottom of your foot is slightly different
from bandaging other wounds. There is no other liquids being secreted
by the wound, so extra padding is not necessary. Simply place a piece
of gauze over the wound, and then wrap tape around your foot and over
the gauze. Make as many wraps as necessary to keep the gauze in
place. If possible, change into polypropylene socks, for they will
wick away moisture from your feet, keeping them dry. Change the
bandage twice a day.
The name "trenchfoot" came from World War I, when the troops stood in cold, wet trenches for days without relief. It is sometimes, today, called "immersion foot," nerve and muscle damage that results from prolonged exposure to moisture and/or cold without ice formation (as in frostbite) in the cells of the affected area.
Trenchfoot is encouraged by poor nutrition, dehydration, wet socks, inadequate clothing, and the constriction of healthy blood flow in the feet by too-tight shoes and socks. People who sweat heavily are more susceptible, but everyone can prevent trenchfoot by paying attention to their feet. Keep a dry pair of socks on hand at all times, preferably packed in a plastic bag to make sure they stay dry. Make sure your boots fit with plenty of room for the socks you choose to wear. Don't add more socks if your feet get cold--get bigger boots, or boots with more insulation, or add insulation to the outside of your boots with gaiters.
Trenchfoot is divided into three phases.
Phase one is the period of time when blood vessels are contracted by the cold and wetness inside the shoe or boot, and too little oxygen is carried to the cells of the foot. The foot is cold to the touch, slightly swollen, slightly discolored, numb, maybe a little tender to touch. When the foot is rewarmed, the damaged tissue usually looks red, and feels sensitive, and the discomfort may last from hours to days.
Phase two is the period when the cells of the foot have become damaged by the lack of adequate circulation. When the blood vessels open back up, the tissue swells with excess fluid. Patients complain of tingling pain that never lets up. A foot check will reveal swelling. On rewarming, blisters form, and, later, ulcers where the blisters have fallen off revealing dead tissue underneath. In severe cases, gangrene will result. Suffering may last from 2 to 6 weeks, and medications for pain are often prescribed.
Phase three may last weeks to months. The swelling subsides, and the foot takes on a normal appearance once again. During this phase, the patient may complain of increased perspiration in the foot, increased sensitivity to cold, and varying degrees of pain, itching, and paresthesia (a creeping, tingling, prickly feeling). The damaged foot may be more susceptible to cold injury in the future.
Here's what should be done if you think you, or a companion, is developing trenchfoot. Stop and carefully dry the cold foot or feet. If the foot looks dirty, carefully wash it before drying it. Keep it elevated above the level of the foot-owner's heart while you gently rewarm the foot with passive skin-to-skin contact. No rubbing or placing the foot near a strong heat source such as a fire or stove, both of which can damage the tissue of the cold foot. Start the patient on a regimen of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin or, even better, ibuprofen), following the directions on the label.
Remember it will probably take 24 to 48 hours before the severity of the damage is fully apparent. If you end up with a painful, obviously swollen foot that develops blisters, that patient needs the attention of a physician. Whether or not that patient can walk out to a physician will be determined by the patient. If they can do it, let them.
© 1999 Buck Tilton; All Right Reserved
Otitis externa is an inflammation, irritation, or infection of the outer ear and ear canal.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal.
Swimmer's ear (Otitis externa) - is different from a
regular ear infection. Usually, when people say a kid has an ear
infection, they mean otitis media, an infection of the middle ear.
But swimmer's ear happens when bacteria grow in the
ear canal, which leads to the eardrum. In that canal, you'll find
delicate skin that's protected by a thin coating of earwax. Most of
the time, water can run in and out of the ear canal without causing a
problem. For instance, you don't usually get swimmer's ear from
taking baths or showers -
Bacteria get a chance to grow when water stays in the ear canal and it washes away the protective coating of earwax. A lot of swimming can wash away that wax protection and lead to these wet conditions in the ear canal. Bacteria grow and the ear canal gets red and swollen.
swimmer's ear is fairly common, especially among
teenagers and young children. Swimming in polluted water is the most
common way to contract swimmer's ear.
Swimmer's ear may start with some itching, but try not to scratch because this can worsen the infection. Ear pain is the most common sign of swimmer's ear. Even touching or bumping the outside of the ear can hurt. The infection also could make it harder to hear with the infected ear because of the swelling that happens in the ear canal.
If a doctor thinks you have swimmer's ear, he or she will help you get rid of the infection. To do that, the doctor will probably prescribe eardrops that contain an antibiotic to kill the bacteria. Sometimes, the doctor may use a wick. Not the wick on a candle! This kind of wick is like a little sponge the doctor puts in your ear. The medicine goes into the sponge and it keeps the medicine in contact with the ear canal that's infected.
Use the drops as long as your doctor tells you to, even if your ear starts feeling better. Stopping too soon can cause the infection to come back. If your ear hurts, the doctor may suggest that your parent give you a children's pain medication. This can help you feel better while you're waiting for the antibiotic to work.
The goal of treatment is to cure the infection. The ear canal should be cleaned of drainage to allow topical medications to work effectively. Depending on how severe the infection is, it may be necessary for a doctor to aspirate the ear as many times as twice a week for the first two or three weeks of treatment.
Effective medications include eardrops containing antibiotics to fight infection, and corticosteroids to reduce itching and inflammation. Use of antibiotics to treat ear infections may result in treatment of the wrong cause of the infection because not all ear infections are bacterial; some are fungal, and it is possible to have both a bacterial and fungal ear infection.
Ear drops should be used abundantly (four or five drops at a time) in order to penetrate the end of the ear canal. If the ear canal is very swollen, a wick may be applied in the ear to allow the drops to travel to the end of the canal. Occasionally, pills may be used in addition to the topical medications. Analgesics may be used if pain is severe. Putting something warm against the ears may reduce pain.
Do note that it is imperative that there is visualization of an intact tympanic membrane before any curretage or drops are used. This often requires a health professional, as the inflammation can obscure the view. Use of certain medications with a ruptured tympanic membrane can cause tinnitus, vertigo, dizziness and hearing loss in some cases.
Protect ears from further damage. Do not scratch the ears or insert cotton swabs or other objects in the ears. Keep ears clean and dry, and do not let water enter the ears when showering, shampooing, or bathing.
Otitis externa responds well to treatment, but complications may occur if it is not treated. Some individuals with underlying medical problems, such as diabetes, may be more likely to get complications such as malignant otitis externa.
Consider putting a few drops of a 1:1 mixture of alcohol and white vinegar in the ears after they get wet. The alcohol and acetic acid prevent bacterial growth (alcohol is a sterilizing agent, and many bacteria and fungal agents are reduced by the slight acid environment of weak organic acids such as vinegar).
There are several products on the market with such
ingredients to cure Otitis externa (swimmer's ear)
When Can I Go Back in the Pool?
The question every kid wants to know is: "When can I swim again?" You'll have to ask your doctor, but be prepared to wait a little bit. It could be as long as a week to 10 days before the doctor says OK. That's a bummer in the summer, but it's better than having that awful ear pain again!
If you have a big problem with swimmer's ear or you're a kid who's always in the water, the doctor may suggest ways for you to protect yourself. For instance, your mom or dad can get some special drops to put in your ears after swimming to dry up the water in there. It's an extra step that just might keep your ears in super shape all summer!
CAUTION: If you already have an ear infection, or if you have ever had a perforated, punctured, ruptured, or otherwise injured eardrum, or if you have had ear surgery, you should consult an ear doctor before you go swimming and before you use any type of ear drops. If you do not know if you have or ever had a perforated, punctured, ruptured, or otherwise injured eardrum, you should consult your ear doctor.
For pool swimmers who swim to keep fit
CHOOSE A KIT
A well equipped first aid kit should be kept in both your home and your car, and should accompany you on trips whether they be civilized tours or backcountry camping.
first aid kit is one of the most important items to have when doing
any sort of outdoor activity.
Weight and space considerations are significant to your purchase decision and an increasing number of kits come in a variety of sizes and shapes designed with a sport-specific intent. For example, a soft triangular shaped kit for cyclists that fits securely between the bike's top and down tube with Velcro fasteners. Most cases are soft, making them more convenient to pack and lighter weight. Those for car and home use frequently have a hard case.
Size is determined by the number of people it supports and the types of products included. There are individual, family, and group kits designed to equip you for basic home and car needs, or for remote locations and travel.
The most common problems are insect bites, wounds, blisters, sunburn, asthma, allergic reactions and lacerations.
Proper management of abrasions and open wounds involves three steps;
Stop serious blood loss
Strains and sprains are best treated with the easy to remember formula RICE; which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
WHAT'S IN A KIT?
is nothing in a prepackaged first aid kit that you cannot buy separately.
AID MANUAL - a guide to the treatment of the most common and
serious emergencies. Almost everything in your first-aid kit is
designed to ease the pain and speed the healing, of relatively simple problems,
you are not up to date with first aid treatment, a handbook on first
aid would be useful
is important to know how to use everything in your first-aid kit beforehand.
an accident occurs, ...
GLOVES - when treating anyone, bleeding or not, gloves keep your
germs out of the wound and the other person's germs out of you. Vinyl
gloves are less expensive, but prone to leaking, so Latex gloves are
still the best choice.
CPR SHIELDS - protect a person while administering artificial breathing (mouth to mouth). They are compact and lightweight with a one-way valve that protects from infection.
MINERAL ICE - topically applied, cold-inducing gel for reducing pain and swelling caused by a strain, sprain, fracture, or other injury.
PAIN RELIEVERS - treatment for pain, inflammation, and fever. Ibuprofen is the preferred choice for inflammation reduction. Tylenol will reduce fever and relieves pain, but it does nothing for decreasing inflammation that can occur from a sprain or strain. Ibuprofen (Nuprin, Motrin, Advil) is the preferred choice for inflammation reduction. Benadryl is often included in today's kits as a treatment for mild allergic reactions, but medical doctors assert that if you are a frequent traveler in the backcountry you would be wise to add epinephrine in the form of an Epi Pen to treat more serious allergic reactions that might otherwise be fatal.
ORAL REHYDRATION SALTS - a combination of electrolytes and sugar that is ideal for replenishment of lost body fluids. It must be mixed with water and is far superior to salt tablets that are impossible to digest and frequently induce vomiting.
tablets were the standard for oral re-hydration needs, but what a
lousy standard. Salt tablets are virtually impossible to digest and
frequently induce vomiting--
Health Organization oral re-hydration salt packets for treating
diarrhea and dehydration are the standard in most good kits.
SYRINGES - cleanse a wound via high-pressure using a normal
saline solution, diluted Betadine (1%), or purified water.
SCRUB SPONGES - clean dirty abrasions, where the grime is ground
into the wound and the irrigation syringe is not fully effective. Use
the sponge and aggressively scrub the wound clean. Follow the
scrubbing with a clean water flush.
OINTMENT - topical disinfectant to wipe wounds clean after
flushing with water from a water bottle or irrigation syringe. Iodine
can also be dissolved in unsafe water to create a disinfectant flush.
Wait 20 minutes after putting it into the water to ensure full
CUPS - flush the eye of foreign particles or liquids. They are
fine for home kits, but are too heavy and bulky for backpacking.
- topical antibiotics have minimal effect on the lives of germs, but
do help and keeping a dab on open wounds helps maintain a moist
environment around the would speeds healing significantly.
FABRIC BANDAGES (Band-aides) - cover small wounds after they have been cleaned.
KNUCKLE BANDAGES - cover small and difficult-to-bandage scraped knuckles. This bandage allows an almost full range of motion after application.
MICRO-THIN BANDAGES - similar to a piece of sterile Gore-Tex, it "breathes" while it protects and lets moisture from the wound escape. Once the wound is clean and prepared with the antibiotic ointment, this see-through "window" bandage allows you to monitor the wound for signs of infection. It is important to watch very carefully for these signs or for an excess of fluid buildup. The bandage functions at a slow rate and if fluid builds up underneath, the chances of further skin damage and infection will increase.
ELASTIC BANDAGE (usually ACE) - for wrapping sprained wrists and ankles, although the support is not ideal unless you use athletic tape as well. Also for holding splints, large bandages and ice packs in place.
TRIANGULAR BANDAGE (with safety pins) - to sling and swathe upper extremity injuries, such as severe sprains or even fractures. Also used to tie splints and to hold large wound dressing in place. Serves as an excellent pressure bandage, and will work as a tourniquet (as long as you fully understand when and how to do it).
BUTTERFLY CLOSURES OR PROXISTRIPS - pull the edges of a gaping wound somewhat together before bandaging and until a physician can suture the wound. Proxistrips are thinner and breath better than the old-fashioned butterfly bandages.
GAUZE PADS, COHESIVE & ADHESIVE TAPE - used to create a very effective cover for larger open wounds. Remember to touch only the edges when you're handling sterile material. A dab of triple antibiotic ointment on the wound first helps prevent the gauze from sticking to the wound. Adhesive tape can also be used on hot spots to prevent blisters.
the old days of traditional 4x4 gauze pads, wound dressings have
gotten more sophisticated and feature non-adherent designs and
hydrogel dressings such as Spenco 2nd skin. Cleansing a wound is now
best performed via high-pressure irrigation utilizing an irrigation
NON-ADHERENT DRESSINGS - designed for wounds that tend to weep excess fluid, they help prevent sticking.
2ND SKIN DRESSING - 97% water held together in a gel. It can be used to cover small burns after cleaning, and for the treatment and prevention of blisters. It is best to leave an intact blister alone since it is nature's way of cushioning the raw area and, if still intact, provides a sterile environment.
up the surface around the blister with a piece of moleskin by
cutting a hole (the size of the blister) in the middle. Apply the
second skin to the blister inside this cutout, and then apply tape or
a bandage to hold it all in place. Most blisters on hard surfaces,
withstanding abrasion (such as on your heel when hiking) will pop
anyway. Once this happens, or before if you wish, a blister is best
managed by taking the entire top off the blister, washing the area
with a mild antiseptic, and applying the 2nd Skin. The 2nd Skin is
then held in place with tape.
SPLINTS - for nearly every type of orthopedic injury, they can
be cut and molded to fit any extremity, can be fashioned into a
usable cervical collar, are reusable, aren't affected by temperature
extremes, and are X-ray permeable.
POISON OAK/IVY SOAP - helps to breakdown the oily resin, making it easier to rinse away. Plain soap, used within 30 minutes after contact, is sometimes effective. Regardless, the sticky resin clings to almost anything and, though you may not have reacted to it last time, a sensitivity can be developed at any time. Handle contaminated clothing, shoes and gear carefully and wash them immediately. The resin can stay active for years!
MEDICATIONS (like Benadryl) - help alleviate the pain and itch
of bug bites and mild allergic reactions. For backcountry trekking,
add epinephrine (by prescription only) to treat more serious,
possibly fatal reactions.
EXTRACTORS - a hand held suction pump that creates powerful
suction to remove venom and toxins from insects, snakes, marine, and
plant life. No cutting is necessary and it is reusable! The best
first aid for a snake bite is to get the victim to a hospital where
antivenin can be safely administered.
electric shock treatment, constriction and those tiny kits with
razor-sharp blades and miniature rubber suction cups are not safe,
according to wilderness medical experts, and can do much more harm
that good when treating for a snake bite.
recommended first aid?
the contents before every trip and make sure the tools are clean and
supplies in good condition.
Tips to consider regarding child-specific needs in the outdoors:
Standard first aid kits carried by families must be adapted to meet infants' and children's special needs. Actual items carried will vary depending on the ages of the children, preexisting medical conditions, length of travel, specific environment traveled in, and the first aid knowledge of the parents.
Infants can develop infections and become hypothermic, hyperthermic, and dehydrated more rapidly than adults or older children. Carry a digital thermometer and the appropriate lubricant for monitoring rectal temperatures. Temperatures 100 degrees F and over require immediate medical attention in a child younger than four months of age. A bulb syringe is also useful because not only because it can be used to suction mucus from the throat and nasal passages of infants, but also because it may be used to flush foreign bodies from ears and administer enemas.
Blisters bother all ages. Feet should receive attention the minute friction or irritation is noticed. Always leave blisters intact unless infection is suspected. A fluid, gel-laminate (Spenco 2nd Skin) and an adhesive pad is very effective in prevention and treatment of blisters.
Most children under five cannot swallow pills. Chewable medications are preferred. If chewable is not available, liquid will work, but they add excess weight and can leak. Most children can chew tablets once their first molars are present--usually around fifteen months. For children who cannot chew, chewable medications may be crushed between two spoons and mixed in with food.
Reduction of weight and bulk is a primary concern in any first aid kit. One way to do that is to select medications and items that have multiple uses. For example. Desitin, best known for helping to prevent diaper rash is also an excellent sun block as it contains 40-percent zinc oxide.
Review of Important Principles
Do Not Panic - Stay Calm!
Do not put yourself in danger!
Do not move the victim unless he/she is in danger and the situation is stable for you to enter/help.
Administer necessary first aid.
Reassure the victim and make as comfortable as possible.
Stay with the victim until help arrives.
Medical: The information on this site is for entertainment and personal knowledge enrichment only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this site to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
Copyright © 2000 Jon's Images, Inc. All rights reserved
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