When you set off on your next walk, hike or ramble, you must be sure that you have an adequate First Kid kit with you. A First Aid kit can help you to treat injuries that may occur during the course of your route. Without treatment, many of these injuries could easily become worse. Prompt treatment reduces the chances or infection or more serious damage occurring. It may also mean that the injured party is able to continue to walk on until they are able to reach further medical treatment. In the case of minor injuries, the person may even be able to continue with the route and fully enjoy the rest of their day.
Here is some further information about some of the components which should be included in a basic walker’s First Aid kit. Remember that if you are forced to use any of these components when you are out and about, you should replace them as soon as possible, so that you will have them available to you again next time that you are in need of them.
Antiseptic cleaning wipes
Individually wrapped cleaning wipes are used to clean the area around the wound to remove mud, dirt, blood and any other substance. Cleaning the wound helps to remove foreign bodies from the damaged tissue and helps to reduce the risk of the wound becoming infected at a later time.
Clean the wound gently, rather than scrubbing at it, because scrubbing can cause further damage to the area. If there are any larger foreign bodies embedded in the wound which cannot be removed with your antiseptic wipe, use clean tweezers to extract them before dressing the wound.
Pain relief, such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, will help to reduce the amount of pain that the patient is feeling from a wound, sprain or headache. Ibuprofen also contains anti-inflammatory agents which will help to reduce any swelling that has occurred. Some people are allergic to certain types of pain medication, so make sure that you check with the other person if you are administering them to someone else.
Antihistamines are used to reduce the effects of an allergic reaction, including itchy, swelling and stinging. They can be used to treat light reactions if walkers have been affected by any allergens during the course of the walk, such as plants or pollen. They can also help to reduce the level of irritation caused by insect bites and stings.
Antihistamines are very useful when travelling through areas of Scotland where midges are present.
Assorted plasters and adhesive dressings
Plasters should be applied to open wounds to help to keep the wound clean until the tissue has healed or until the risk of contamination has been reduced. Breathable, waterproof dressings also prevent the wound from getting wet. When you are choosing an adhesive dressing from your selection, you should pick one that is large enough to cover the whole of the wound. Small wounds (scratches, grazes and light cuts) can be uncovered once you are home. This will allow them to breathe properly during the healing process.
Crepe bandages or tubular bandages seek to offer light compression to areas which have been strained or sprained. This helps to minimise swelling and offer additional support to the injured area in order to reduce further strain. They are normally reserved for knee, ankle, wrist and elbow injuries. If the sprain or strain is more severe, then you may need to seek further medical assistance onsite rather than trying to use one of these bandages.
A triangular bandage can be fold in various ways to enable it to be used as support for a broken, strained or sprained body part. The most common use of a triangular bandage is to act as a support for a broken arm or wrist. It can be folded up so that it ties around the neck and creates a sling which keeps the arm bent at a right angle.
Gauze is used to help to reduce blood loss in people who have been suffered larger wounds. Applying pressure to the wounded area with gauze can help to slow or stop the blood flow.
Surgical tape is used to hold any non-adhesive dressings in place. It may be used to temporarily attach gauze to the wound site to slow bleeding.
Blister packs are an important part of a walker’s first aid kit, because blisters are one of the most common types of injuries amongst walkers. Good blister treatments clean the affected area and then help to relieve the pressure in the affected area. This should reduce the friction as the walker continues on their path and can prevent the blister from becoming worse over time. It will also reduce discomfort for the walker.