Lecture 2 Basic first aid for trampers
Many incidents can be avoided
- take a trampers first aid kit
- take the right equipment
- be prepared for all eventualities
- know the ability of everyone in your group ó donít go beyond it
- leave contact details and intentions
- check weather forecasts, take advice
- take emergency radios or personal locator beacons
- take rests and eat properly
- be prepared to change your plans
Dealing with an incident
Ensure the safety of the rest of the party ó you donít want any more injuries
- try and find out what happened
- find out how many injured people there are ó some may be out of sight
- write down as many details as possible including location
- decide if you need to be evacuated. Sometimes you just need rest. You can redistribute weight, use sticks for support etc.
- send at least two people for help
- phone the Police or DOC
- remember Dr's ADC: Danger, Send for help, Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation
Cuts and scratches
- if minor clean with sterile pads and cover
- for major bleeding apply pressure, elevate
- wash out large wounds with sterile water
- check for infection
Burns and scalds
- always fill stoves outside, keep them maintained and check for leaks
- apply cold water until the burning stops ó may take ten minutes
- running water is best. Can also soak clothes in cold water and apply. 0 * cover to prevent infection
- for severe burns seek medical attention
- donít pull off clothes if they are stuck to the skin.
- RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
- don't apply ice for too long
- you may be able to continue after rest
- can take anti-inflammatory medication
- leave boots on if you still need to walk
Fractures and dislocations
- main symptoms are pain, bruising, swelling and deformity
- immobilise as much as possible and make the patient comfortable
- seek medical attention
- it you suspect spinal injuries, only move the patient if they are in a life threatening situation
Bites and stings
- use insect repellent to avoid
- not serious unless you have an allergy
- more severe reactions can occur if widespread ó e.g. if you fall into stinging nettles
- most likely to occur from bites and stings, also food
- for local reactions such as itching apply cream or take an antihistamine
- for a more severe reaction dissolve an antihistamine tablet under the tongue ó this makes it work more quickly (but it doesn't taste nice)
- if the persons face and/or neck swells they will soon have difficulty breathing. They may carry adrenaline (EpiPen) inject themselves.
- if an EpiPen is used you must evacuate casualty to emergency medical care, use the PLB
- otherwise seek medical attention urgently
- includes things like asthma, diabetes, epilepsy
- find out if anyone has any of these conditions
- ask them how you know if they are having an attack and what you should do
- make sure you know where their medication is
- never (ever) administer any medicines to others yourself
- if asthma medication not available, get them to breath in steam
- prevention important here ó storage of food, personal hygiene, drinking water etc.
- rest as much as possible
- give small amounts of fluids
- can take medications such as imodium
Dehydration and exhaustion
- very common on tramping trips
- first sign of dehydration is a dry mouth. Later on a headache.
- drink regularly to prevent dehydration. Avoid tea, coffee, fruit drinks.
- can take a panadol, but better to drink some water (check not allergic to panadol or other analgesic).
- exhaustion often occurs towards the end of a long day. You can start to feel too tired to do anything but put one foot in front of the other. In this state you are more likely to trip over or get lost and are at a higher risk of developing hypothermia. You may also be too tired to eat properly in the evening making the next day harder too
- treatment ó force yourself to eat something!! This will raise your blood sugar and you will feel better almost immediately. Repeat as required!
- heat exhaustion and sunstroke ó avoid by wearing a hat and keeping out of the sun.
- if affected, get into the shade and drink sips of water.
- donít try and cool down too quickly.
- rest until recovered, then take it easy.
- always carry a tramper's first aid kit. Here is Nina Sawicki's first aid kit. Here is Dave Reynolds' First Aid Kit
- why not take a lightweight first aid manual too? You would for your car if you were going out where the tow trucks don't go. If you don't want to carry a book, what about an app for your phone? Here is the Red Cross app