Outdoor First Aid Tips for Hikers

by Dennis Kim

Photo Credit: Danka & Peter

It’s the perfect time of year to get out into the sun and enjoy the great outdoors.

If you are a hiker or a camper, it’s best you know these important first aid tips whether you have had first aid training or attended a first aid course.

How to Stop or slow bleeding.

It is not unknown to take a tumble well moving over difficult terrain when hiking. It is best you know how to treat these kinds cuts so that the patient won’t get any sort of infection. If a patient loses more than 2 liter of blood they will be in serious trouble. Work to stop bleeding by elevating the wound above line of where the patient’s heart is and then apply direct pressure. Keep gloves on hand in your first aid kit before touching someone else’s wound. Apply gauze to bleeding wound to slow bleeding replace with more gauze if it’s is becoming to wet with blood.

Avoiding infections

When bleeding has been controlled you can work to avoid infection. Wash the wound out (not in the river!) remove any dirt from the cut. Use something with some high water pressure to clean the wound properly. If some pieces of grime and dirt are stubborn use tweezers to remove the remaining dirt. The use of cleaning the surrounding area of the cut with alcohol wipes (but not directly in the cut) is great to fight infections. Then cover the cut with antibiotic ointments and gauze. Make sure to check the cut for puffy red surrounding skin, a sign an infection is occurring.

It is worth cancelling a trip early if infection occurs, as it is not worth the risk.

Joint injuries

Injuries to the joints are another common occurrence when hiking. Most commonly seen is the ankle sprain which can happen easily when scrambling over unlevelled terrain. The best thing to do to remedy a sprain is by avoiding pressure to that area, use of ice packs and ice baths till the pain goes away.

These are just three easy tips for preventing and treating these common injuries that occur when hiking for more advanced tips on first aid training or to sign up for a first aid training course visit our course page at: