Make the most of your camping holiday by avoiding common injuries while spending time outdoors. Know what are common camping injuries and how to treat them with first aid.
Camping In Australia
Australians are very lucky when it comes to the great outdoors. Whether it is bushland or beaches, the land down under no doubt has some of the best places to camp and caravan in the world. In fact, it is one of the top destinations for tourists during summer.
According to new data released by Tourism Research Australia in March of 2019, caravan and camping trips are a favourite holiday option among Australians. Its popularity reaches a record of 377,000, which marks a 7% increase from 2018.
However, with the rise in camping activities in Australia comes unexpected injuries and accidents. What happens when not all goes to plan, and you or others sustain an injury?
When camping they always say, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”
While most of us think that being prepared is equivalent to having all the necessary items on our camping checklist, it is also important to have the skills and knowledge to handle simple, common camping injuries. Without first aid knowledge, these injuries have the potential to ruin a trip or, worse, can cause death.
Whether the injured person is you, someone in your group, or just someone you encountered along the trail, the first responder or the first person on the scene is usually the one to intervene and perform necessary first aid, as professional help can be hours or days away from the scene.
First Aid For Common Camping Injuries
We have compiled the list of the most common camping injuries, alongside the treatments we’d consider essential for anyone considering camping anytime soon.
Animal And Insect Bites
You need to find out what type of animals and insects live in the area you are planning to visit. Do more research on animal habitats and how to respect them. For insects, it is best to take extra precautions, as mosquitos kill more people on earth than any other creature.
Make sure to apply insect repellents, bring bug sprays, and learn how to treat insect stings and spider bites.
If you are worried about a bite/sting, do the following:
- Remove the sticky, tick, or hair remaining on the skin.
- Wash the affected area using soap and clean water.
- Apply a cold compress or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
- Raise or elevate the affected area above heart level.
- Reduce the risk of infection by avoiding scratching or bursting any blister from the bite or sting.
- The pain, swelling, and itchiness may sometimes last for a few days, but if any unusual symptoms occur, such as high temperatures, excessive sweating, and loss of consciousness, seek medical help.
“Where there is camp, there are campfires.”
Burns are a common injury that you should be aware of when camping.
The very first step for treating burns is to stop the burning process, then:
- Soak the burned area in a cold, clean water
- Cover the area with antibiotic treatment and clean gauze or clothing
- Take ibuprofen for substantial pain with any deep burns
- Keep the burned area elevated to reduce the swelling
Evacuate the burn victim to the closest medical facility if the deep layers of the skin are damaged or if the burn covers a significant or sensitive area of the victim’s body.
Cuts, Bruises, Scrapes
Falling and getting a cut, scrape, or bruise during camping is a common occurrence. However, you still need to be prepared for these minor camping injuries.
These guidelines can help you care for minor cuts, bruises, and scrapes
- Stop the bleeding by applying gentle pressure to the wound. Use a clean bandage or cloth and elevate the wound until the bleeding stops.
- Rinse the wound under running tap water and wash with soap. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or iodine, as it can irritate the injury.
- Apply antibiotic cream or petroleum jelly to keep the wound surface moist and prevent scarring.
- Cover the wound by applying a bandage or gauze with paper tape. This helps in keeping the wound clean and away from infection.
Whether you are hiking on a trail, crossing a stream, scrambling up boulders, or climbing a tree, you put yourself at the risk of letting gravity do its thing and cause falling.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), falling and drowning are the two most common causes of death in the great outdoors.
Falls can also cause ankle, foot, and toe injuries. When this happens, use the RICE method.
- Rest the injured body part by getting of it immediately
- Ice the area of injury to reduce swelling
- Compress the joint using an elastic band
- Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart
If you suspect major injuries from the fall, including head or limb injury, seek emergency medical help.
Drowning accidents occur most often because people around do not recognise that their friends or co-campers are in trouble until it is too late.
It is worth noting that drowning victims does not usually call for help as they are trying to catch their breath or get out of the water. Be extra observant, especially near water.
Here are first aid steps to follow in a drowning or near-drowning emergency.
- Immediately take the person out of the water
- Check for breathing and or pulse.
- If the person remains unresponsive, perform CPR.
- Repeat CPR until the person restores their normal breathing or until help arrives.
Once the person is breathing normally again, check for any signs of hypothermia. Remove their wet clothes as soon as possible, and get the person warmed up.
All accidents and injuries aside, camping is a great way to get into the outdoors and embrace what the Australian landscape has to offer.
Be ready for any injuries in the great outdoors by enrolling in a first aid course. Learn about CPR, wound care, RICE treatment, and many more.
Visit our course page for more information.