Each year over 40 million people in the United States participate in hiking activities. There are numerous amazing trails and nature reserves, such as the Yosemite National Park or the Yellowstone National Park, that are perfect for day hiking or weekend campouts.
However, like any other outdoor activity, many people end up getting injured while hiking. According to the CDC, over 200,000 people are treated for outdoor recreational injuries each year, and hiking accounts for over 6% of those injuries.
Many pro-hikers are accustomed to common hiking injuries and understand how to prevent major incidents. They are also aware of how to treat hiking injuries and prevent infections.
Beginner hikers and camper on the other usually do not know what to do in case they get injured. They might end up treating the injuries incorrectly, and increase the risk of developing infections.
Here are some common hiking injuries and the best way to treat them:
Small cuts and grazes can be easily managed by cleaning them with fresh water and slapping on a bandage. For deeper cuts, the first thing to do is to stop the bleeding by applying a clean gauze pad in the area.
Deep cuts usually require medical assistance, so it’s essential to get to a medical facility as soon as possible. The injured person should avoid walking as it can accelerate their heartbeat resulting in rapid blood loss.
A sprained ankle is a common injury among all hikers, whether they are pro or beginners. It usually occurs when the hiker is not paying attention where they are stepping and end up twisting their ankle on uneven terrain. The best thing to do for a sprained ankle is to sit down immediately to take the pressure off of it.
The next step is to stabilize it with ace bandages and call for medical assistance. While medical assistance is not mandatory, it is better to have the injury checked to make sure there is no further damage to the ankle.
Blisters and Rashes:
Nasty rashes and blisters can occur on long hikes or even smaller ones where you have to navigate through dense woods with too many plants. In case of a rash or blister, you must wash the area thoroughly and then apply some anti-bacterial cream to soothe the inflammation. Depending on the severity of the rash or blister, you can also apply pain relief creams to relieve it and reduce inflammation.
It takes a single moment of carelessness to lose your footing and take a nasty spill that results in broken bones. If you think you have a broken bone, the first step is to stop moving the area and stabilize the bone to prevent further damage.
The next step is to call for medical assistance and have an ambulance take you to the hospital where the bone can be set and bandaged.
If the injured person is experiencing loss of consciousness or shortness of breath, it might indicate a shock, and it’s essential to keep them awake and conscious till help arrives.
Heat Stroke / Hyperthermia:
Hiking in summer can be dangerous as it increases the risk of heat-related illnesses such as heat cramping, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. The best way to avoid a heat stroke is to take proper measures such as staying hydrated and keeping in the shade as much as possible.
If you feel your body overheating and cramping, take a break by sitting down in a shady spot with good ventilation. You can also educate yourself regarding the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion to avoid heat stroke which can be fatal.
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