When out camping with your friends or family, it’s always important to know the basics of first aid. You never know what you might come across out in the woods and a few easy steps could be the difference between a simple scrape and a nasty infection. If yourself or someone else gets cut, here’s what you should do.
Clean Your Hands
Before touching the wound the first thing you should do is clean your hands. Soap and water is best but if you’ve got a bottle of hand sanitizer that’ll have to do in a pinch. Vigorously clean up before coming into contact with the cut or scrape in order to avoid causing an infection through the dirt on your hands.
Stop the Bleeding
If there’s a lot of blood you’re need to stop it before you can do anything else. Apply pressure with a clean cloth that should be tucked away in your first-aid kit (you’ve got one, right?) or wrap it up tightly with a bandage until it stops.
Clean the Wound
After the bleeding has stopped you need to wash the affected area with soap and water. Use a clean cloth to wipe away any debris, but try to keep the soap from getting into the wound itself as that might cause pain. If there are rocks or dirt inside the cut gently remove them with a pair of tweezers if you can. Be sure that the tweezers have been sterilized with alcohol before using them on the wound.
Use an Antibiotic
Some people make the mistake of dousing the cut with antibiotic ointment in the hopes that’ll it’ll help it heal faster or protect it from infection. All you need is a thin smear of it over the cut to help keep out bacteria. In fact, putting too much on can prevent it from healing, as it still needs a little bit of air.
Wrap the Wound
Once you’ve cleaned up the cut and used an antibiotic you simply need to bandage the wound. Minor scrapes don’t really require bandaging, only the cuts that are somewhat deep and actively bled enough that it needed to be stopped. Don’t wrap or tape too tightly, but make sure the entire cut is covered in order to keep out debris and bacteria.
Change the Bandage
Once you’ve covered the bandage you’ll want to leave it alone for awhile while it heals, but be sure to check and change it at least once a day. This way you’ll provide a clean area around the cut and be able to ensure that there are no signs of infection.
Cut the Trip Short
What do you do if there are signs of infection? Well, that means it’s time to cut your camping trip short. Not trip outdoors is worth losing a limb over, so head back to the car and march straight to the emergency room. They’ll provide you with the care and treatment you need in order to get things sorted out so you can be back on the trail in no time.
Just remember that no matter how long you plan on heading out into the woods on your next camping trip it’s always essential to have a first aid kit on hand in case of an accident. Never leave home without one!