When camping, you always run the risk of getting injured or suffering from a heat-related illness and inevitably getting some type of bug bite. Whether you camp on your own, with family or friends you should know the risks involved. You should also know how to prepare for and treat the common aliments you might encounter in the great outdoors:
- Bug bites
- Bee and wasp stings
- Minor burns
- Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac
- Cuts, scrapes and scratches
- Heat-related illness and sunburn
- Broken bones
- Snake bites
A good first aid kit specifically designed to treat these injuries is an essential item in your camping gear. The Master camping first aid kit treats all levels of wounds and bites including trauma injuries. The kit is well-stocked with over 200 items and will treat up to 50 people. Not only does the Master camping first aid kit have everything you need to treat your typical outdoor injuries, but it also includes an instructional booklet that covers CPR and almost every type of injury you could imagine. Besides various bandages, gauze and wraps, the first aid kit has an emergency blanket, splint, three shake-to-activate ice packs, calamine lotion, pain reliever, bug-bite cream and even a pupil gauge—which also acts as an emergency flash light.
Minor Cuts, Scrapes, and Scratches
Rugged terrain, falling on rocks and rough brush can cause minor cuts, scrapes and scratches. When first treating a cut, stop any bleeding. Apply pressure with a cloth and elevate the cut. After the bleeding stops, you will want to prevent infection. Wash the area with soap and clean water. After it dries, apply antibiotic cream and apply a bandage. Minor cuts, scrapes and scratches will not ruin the rest of your camping trip. Keep the injury clean and bandaged so dirt doesn’t get in it and make it worse. If the cut is more than ¼-inch deep; will not stop bleeding; has something embedded in it; is caused by something rusty, or has a jagged edge, go to the emergency room for treatment.
Mosquitoes and other bugs are a nuisance. You can prevent bug bites by wearing bug repellent. The best bug repellent contains DEET. If someone gets bit, apply an anti-itch cream and monitor the area around the bite. If it gets red, swollen, painful, or worse seek medical attention. It is also important to watch for a severe allergic reaction. The Master first aid kit does not include an EpiPen, but there is plenty of room in the bag to add one.
Bee and Wasp Stings
First remove the stinger by scrapping it out with your fingernail, a credit card or your driver’s license. You may also remove the stinger with tweezers. The tweezers in the Master first aid kit are plastic, so replace them with a durable, stainless steel pair. Remove any jewelry or other restrictive items in case the sting swells. I like to make a paste of baking soda and water to ease the pain of a sting. You can also put hydrocortisone cream on the sting. The instant ice packs will help with pain, as well. Apply one for 15 to 20 minutes every hour. You may also keep a cool, damp cloth on the affected area.
Some people can have a severe—and possibly fatal—allergic reaction to bee stings. If the person who has been stung has shortness of breath, tightening of the chest, weakness, breaks out in hives, is dizzy or has chest pain, get medical attention immediately.
Ticks are gross and can carry Lyme disease. The quicker you find a tick on your body and remove it, the better. To remove a tick, use a pair of tweezers as close to the head of the tick as possible and pull straight up. Do not leave the tick’s head embedded in the skin. After you have completely removed the tick, wash the bite with soap and water and apply rubbing alcohol or iodine. The Master first aid kit includes both rubbing alcohol and iodine wipes. A fellow blogger who got bit by a Lyme disease-carrying tick a few years ago told me, “According to my doctor, there’s just no need to risk waiting to see if the tick that bit you was a Lyme disease carrier. You should go ahead and get on antibiotics as soon as possible to knock out any potential infection.”
Scorpion stings can be potentially dangerous on younger people. If you suspect that a young child has been stung by a scorpion, you should seek medical attention. Scorpion stings are painful, but they can also create a tingling feeling, numbness, or burning. Wash the sting with soap and clean water. Remove any jewelry or other restrictive items in case the area swells. Apply an ice pack to the sting for 10 minutes and elevate the limb.
It is rare, but sometimes people have an adverse reaction to a scorpion sting. Someone who is experiencing numbness, a swollen tongue, having a hard time swallowing, blurred vision, or difficulty breathing you should go to the emergency room as quickly as possible.
Scorpions like dark places, like your sleeping bag and shoes. Check areas where scorpions may hide before getting in.
If someone has been bitten by a snake, have them lie down and keep the bitten area lower than the heart. Remove any jewelry or other restrictive items in case of swelling. You can cover the bite with a loose bandage. It is best to seek medical attention after a snake bite, however do not move the person for at least 30 minutes so the snake’s venom can localize.
Do not cut the bite, suck out the venom, or apply ice to the area.
Spider bites are actually pretty rare, as most spiders’ fangs are not big enough to puncture us. A black widow or a brown recluse spider bite is dangerous and should be treated by a medical professional. A black widow bite may or may not be painful, but you will see fang marks and swelling. Within an hour the person who has been bitten may have a dull numbing pain that travels from the bite mark to the stomach and back. Severe cramping of the stomach muscles might also happen. A brown recluse spider bite will sting, have fang marks, and produce redness and swelling. You should expect increasing pain within two to eight hours.
What’s camping without a campfire? Therefore, you run the risk of someone getting a minor or major burn. First and second degree burns can be treated in the field, however a third degree burn needs to be treated by a medical professional. Rinse a burn with cold water until the pain has lessened. Apply burn cream or aloe Vera gel to the area. Aloe is something else I would add to the first aid kit. It isn’t necessary, but if you want, you may wrap the burn with sterile gauze or a bandage.
Poison ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac
Your first line of defense against getting a painful, itchy rash from poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac is to familiarize yourself with these plants and avoid them. If you know you rubbed up against one, wash the area with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol as soon as you can. You may prevent a rash after exposure if you remove the oil fast enough. A rash from poison oak, sumac or poison ivy will develop in 12 to 48 hours. The rash will look streaked and may blister. Apply a cold compress and calamine lotion to ease the itch and pain. Aloe vera can also help. Remove any clothing that came in contact with the plant and wrap it up in a plastic bag. When you get back home, wash the clothes separately a few times to make sure you get all the plant’s oil out.
Usually, when you break a bone you know it. I know I did! A broken bone may look out of place or break out of the skin. Bones can also fracture or break without any noticeable appearance. In general, you will not be able to move the limb that was broken and you will feel intense pain. To treat a broken bone, apply a splint to the limb and apply an ice pack. Don’t move the bone because this can further damage the bone or the surrounding blood vessels, nerves and tissue. You will need to seek medical attention to set the bone.
If you suspect someone has broken their neck, head, hip, pelvis, or back, do not move the injured person and call for medical assistance.
Sprains occur when you have damaged your ligaments. Ankles, knees and wrists are most likely to get sprained. Sprains swell almost instantly and are incredibly painful. To treat a sprain, apply an ice pack for 20 minutes a few times a day and elevate the limb. You can also compress the sprain with a bandage. For the pain, you may take an over the counter pain medication. Sprains heal best if you rest the injury. Some sprains are so bad that the ligament is completely torn. This is when you will need medical assistance. If you can’t put any pressure on it, it goes numb, or you can’t use your joint connected to the area that is sprained, it might be a torn ligament.
Heatstroke or sunstroke can happen when the temperature is as low as 80 degrees. Someone suffering from a heat-related illness will feel faint, weak or dizzy. Their skin will most likely be hot and dry. They may even stop sweating. Muscle cramps, headache, fever, and vomiting are also common. Remove the person from direct sunlight and put them in the shade. It is important to rehydrate them, so have them take sips of cool water or sports drink such as Gatorade. You may also cool them down with cool compresses.
Getting sunburned is 100 percent preventable. Wear and reapply a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays with a 30 SPF rating or higher. If you are unfortunate enough to get a sunburn take a cool shower or apply cool compresses to the area. Aloe vera gel works wonders on sunburn. Keep skin moist with aloe or any other type of moisturizing lotion. Taking an over-the-counter pain medication might help ease discomfort. The Master first aid kit includes 30 pain pills, but I add more.
Before attempting to remove a splinter, wash the area with soap and water. You can remove it using a needle and tweezers disinfected with alcohol. The Master camping first aid kid includes alcohol wipes. With the needle, follow the path of the splinter and gently break the skin just enough to expose the end of the splinter. Then you can pull it out with the tweezers. After you have the splinter removed, clean the area with soap and water again, apply antibiotic cream, and put a bandage on it.
You should see a doctor if you cannot get the splinter out, it is bleeding badly or it is underneath a fingernail or toenail.
The Master Camping First Aid Kit
The Master camping first aid kit is durable, with impeccable stitching. The handles are reinforced from the bottom of the bag. There are three, double mesh pockets on one side with a little extra room to add more gear. The other side has five smaller pockets, one 15-inch wide large compartment and 10 elastic straps of varying sizes to secure items. It is a very thorough kit and with a few extra items that I mentioned above, you have everything you need to treat many typical outdoor injuries.
Master camping first aid kit list of contents:
- 1 pen light
- 1 first aid book
- 5 pair exam gloves
- 5 abdominal pad 5″ x 9″
- 30 pain relievers
- 6 safety pins
- 1 emergency blanket 84″ x 52″
- 1 hand sanitizer 2 ounce
- 1 calamine lotion 6 ounce
- 1 hand soap
- 9 after bite wipes
- 1 Sam splint/universal splint
- (2) 6″ elastic bandage
- (10) 4″ X 4″ sterile sponges
- (3) 1″ tape
- 1 blood stopper kit
- 3 eye pad
- 2 triangular bandage 40″ x 40″ x 56″
- (32) 1″ x 3″ bandage strip
- 10 butterfly strip
- (10) 2″ x 4″ bandage strip
- 10 knuckle bandage
- 3 ice packs
- 1 EMT shears
- 2 SS hemostats
- 1 tweezers
- 3 tongue depressor
- 1 irrigation syringe
- 15 antiseptic wipes
- 15 iodine wipes
- 15 clean wipes
- 15 alcohol wipes
- 2 ammonia inhalants
- 2 multi trauma dressing 12″ x 30″
- (1) 16 ounce skin flushing solution and eye wash
- 5 triple antibiotic
- 10 first aid/burn package
What do you include in your first aid kit that I may have forgotten? Tell me in the comment section.