Trekking is a passion, a way of exploring nature, a means of connecting with the beautiful world around you. Let’s keep it at that as we stay ready to face all the challenges coming our way during treks. Just as there are rule-books for various activities, there are important ways of staying healthy and alive during treks too. Learn some simple first aid techniques while trekking, or better yet, just be aware of some of them and you will be good to go!
Using a bandage: This is one of the basic first aid techniques while trekking to learn. Know how to wrap a bandage around a sprained ankle or foot. Don’t keep it too tight or loose. It should be just right as a crepe bandage tends to contract a little after tying it around. Hold the roll in one hand and unwind the strip in an oblong fashion around the wrist or ankle.
Dressing a wound: Whether you have cut yourself a little with a branch or have a deep cut from stones or sharp objects, you need to know how to do your dressing right. Keep a dressing kit handy. The first thing to do would be to take a cotton swab and press it tight to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding is profuse, tie a tight cloth or belt on the arm or leg. Meanwhile, tear open an alcohol swab and apply it to the wound. Use Dettol in cotton if you don’t have a swab. After that, paste the dressing strip, antibacterial swab or secure the cotton swab with a gauze and surgical tape.
Performing a CPR: CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is performed on another person to restore their breathing and circulation. In case a person loses consciousness and is unable to breathe, you could resort to CPR technique. Remember that this technique has to be learnt and done properly. It involves 30 chest compression with both your hands in the centre of the chest. Check for blocked passageways if possible and tilt the person’s head and chin.
Removing a splinter: Tweezer-pinching sounds simple, right? As easy as it may sound, please remember that it is challenging as it ought to be done right. Always carry a tweezer to pull out small wood pieces, sharp twigs or a splinter from your skin. It could be dangerous if not done right. Hold the skin tight and get a good grip on the splinter before pulling it out. Pull it forward in the opposite direction of entry. If it’s too small or wrongly done, it could go further in and circulate in your bloodstream. Focus on this important first aid techniques while trekking.
Relieving the sprain: Twisted your ankle while trekking? Well, that’s not uncommon. You must ensure that you are wearing the right footwear, to begin with. A sturdy shoe with good ankle support goes a long way. Now that the damage is done, follow the RICE method: Rest for a while, apply Ice to the affected area, use some form of Compression like a light bandage and finally Elevate the foot or affected area for uninterrupted circulation and reducing the swelling.
Popping the pill: Not just any pill, but the one you would have pre-consulted with your physician. In case of a bad rash, sores along the leg or back, severe allergies or red rashes on the body, it is advisable to contact a physician at least over a call. If you’re unable to get through to him or her, pop the anti-histamine pill that you were advised by them to do so.
Dealing with sunburns: First off, it is imperative to use a sunscreen. If you haven’t done so or if the sun has been too hot to handle, you could end up with bad, itchy sunburns. To take care of this, use a cold compress. If you don’t have anything handy, take an ice cube or ice cold water bottle, wrap it around a handkerchief and dab it gently on the affected areas. Mild scalding-like burns should not be popped or tweaked. Leave them alone. Apply aloe-vera based lotion, Lacto calamine or a powder if handy.
Dealing with bites: Got stung by a bee or bitten by a nasty insect? Fret not. For the time being, take the stinger out of your skin. Next, apply a soothing cream or antihistamine. If you are a known case of allergy to bee or wasp stings, carry your prescribed medication. See a doctor as soon as you can.
Attending to hypothermia: This sudden dip in the body’s core temperature can shake a person up quite literally. Profuse shivering and dip in body temperatures are commonly associated when this sets in. Carry a hot drink always and have it at this time. Make the patient lie down and rub his feet and palms to make him warm. Body warmth is important. Layer them up as much as you can and call the trek rescue team.
Preventing dehydration: The best way to deal with dehydration is to prevent it from happening. Keep a tab of the colour of your urine. It shouldn’t get too dark and have water regularly. Once dehydration sets in, dip your headgear in water and soothe your scalp and forehead. Have plenty of fluids and dissolve glucose in water. If nothing works, you will need intravenous fluids.
Paying heed to some basic first aid techniques while trekking could really help you. It is a good practice to update your knowledge constantly and stay well-equipped in case of emergency.