All that you need to know about treating Minor Injuries out on the trail!!


Hiking and backpacking can be fun only when you enjoy it safely…while you might say what’s life without a little risk? …often enough these slight risks taken become major issues. Just imagine if the slight swelling of the ankle during a hike becomes a full blown ligament problem afterwards…and what if it gets out of control on the trail itself!! That’s why; you need to know the treatments for some minor injuries while on the trail itself…it saves you a lot of pain and trouble.

But to be able to treat the minor injuries you might suffer, you need to have some basic first aid know-how.

The importance of a Hiking first aid kit:

Since you don’t always have an adequate medical clinic of sorts near at hand when you are on a trail, a good first aid kit is absolutely mandatory.

Hiking first aid kit facts file:

  • The kit should be able to cover anything from minor burns and cuts to bug bites and slight infection, etc.
  • Just pack the bare minimums; it is a smaller and compact version of the domestic first aid kit or the one you keep in your car.
  • Check the expiry dates on the meds you carry, and make sure the bottles are wrapped adequately. Try duct tape.
  • Carry a small first aid handbook if you are unfamiliar with first aid treatments. Boy scouts do it all the time!
  • Organize your first aid kit, and make sure you miss out nothing.
  • DON’T FORGET DUCT TAPE, out on the trail, it is irreplaceable and can make you feel invincible.

Moving on to the principles for hiking safety and first aid:

You have to ….

1.    Preserve life – that’s the first priority!
2.    Prevent impairment – you can’t let the casualty get any worse.
3.    Promote recovery – help the casualty towards recovery safely and smoothly.

Pointers about hiking rescue include:

  • Be prepared for the worst…no amount of planning is enough to keep the chances of minor crisis absolutely nil.
  • Even if you are trying to help another party, Do Not compromise on your own needs and necessities, and do not endanger your party at any cost.
  • If you call emergency rescue services, be precise about your LOCATION, CONDITION and POSITION.

What you need to know about treating minor wounds:

You ought to know the basics so that you are not at a loss if you face any or more of the following conditions…

  • Ankle twist or worse still, fracture of any sort. You might take a tumble, but if you do, make sure to check for a pulse below the injury. If you find one,good. If you don’t, get a splint and bandage it with adequate duct tapes. Pad the empty spaces with extra padding. Get help!

  • Burns are the worst nightmares when on the trail. All it takes is a pot of boiling water to tumble. But never try to remove the clothing from the burnt area, it will make it worse. Run cold water over the wound for at least 10-15 minutes and then bandage it with gauze. Leave the wound some breathing space. Administer anti inflammatory drugs and get medical assistance at the earliest, depending on the intensity of the burn.
  • Blisters are very common on backpacking excursions. Uncomfortable clothing and footwear are mostly to blame, as constant friction with clothes causes loss of serum. It is the fluid between the two skin layers, and loss of it precipitates a ‘bubble’ that might burst, emitting pus. It can also get infected very easily. So never underestimate blisters! Use a good dressing pad to dress the wound and keep it from getting infected. You can try stuff like Compeed. Dry the wound, and hold down the adhesive side of the Compeed for at least a minute and add adhesive to keep it in place.
  • Cuts need immediate care so that you don’t infect the wound. Clean the wound, wash off the blood and stop the bleeding. Dress it with medicines and wrap a gauze bandage, but do let it some breathing space.

And further, it would do you good to have a bit of Wilderness first aid training.

  • Register yourself with proper government organizations.
  • Get a certificate after you enroll and pass the course.
  • There are various levels of course training such as Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness EMT, etc.
Now that you know the importance of and measures for treating minor wounds while on a hike, make the best of your trip. Once you know these measures, there is little to fear!!

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