November 29, 2019
Whether you’re on the trail or completely off the grid, there’s always the potential for something to go wrong. Even the smallest cuts or scrapes can be irritating and painful when you’re in the backcountry and have a long trek home to get off your feet. In this post, we’ll offer some insight into the most common injuries hikers encounter and what you should have in your backpack to do first aid treatment on the fly. Let’s explore.
The Most Common Injuries Hikers Experience
With a little foresight, many of these common ailments are avoidable — but you never know when Mother Nature will strike. As they say, it’s always best to be prepared for these types of injuries:
- Blisters: Blisters are among the most common and most irritating hiker injuries. They won’t kill you, but they may ruin your hike. Prevent a blister by making sure your shoes are broken in and you’re wearing moisture-wicking socks. If a blister does develop, treat it by washing the area with water and mild soap, applying antibiotic ointment and covering it with gauze.
- Burns: Campfires or cooking stoves may occasionally lead to burns. Put the burned area in cold water for a few minutes, then apply pain-relief cream and wrap it in a loose bandage.
- Cuts: For shallow cuts, stop the bleeding by applying pressure, applying antiseptic and covering with a bandage. Deeper cuts will need pressure from gauze and then a tightly wrapped bandage. You’ll also want to head to the hospital as soon as possible in case you need stitches or other treatment.
- Rashes: Rashes can be caused by a number of factors, such as poisonous plants, allergies, or heat. Try to identify what’s causing your rash and avoid it if possible. Wash the area with soap and water — and avoid scratching!
- Heatstroke: If your body temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re susceptible to heatstroke. If you notice any symptoms — dizziness, fatigue, and headaches are common ones — immediately find the closest shaded spot to lie down. Be sure to hydrate and apply a cold compress if you can. Call 911 if you have cell reception, too, as heatstroke can be a very dangerous condition.
- Dehydration: You should be drinking at least half a liter of water per hiking hour. If you aren’t drinking enough, you’re likely to experience dehydration, which has the telltale signs of thirst, headache, a dry mouth, and fatigue. Take a break for as long as you need to sit in the shade and slowly drink water.
- Sprained Ankle: There are a variety of tricky obstacles lying in a hiker’s way, from tree roots to rocks and uneven ground. Many will eventually take a tumble or roll an ankle, leading to a twist or sprain. Apply ice, if you have any, and take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help reduce swelling and pain. Wrap your ankle tightly in a bandage. If your sprain is too severe to continue hiking, contact someone and call for help.
Prepare for Common Hiking Injuries With Dutchware
Ready to head on your next hiking adventure in the great outdoors? Stock up on your first aid kit essentials so you’ll have all the tools you need at your fingertips should you encounter any of these hiking ailments. Find what you need at Dutchware today!