25th – 31st July is National Parks Week 2016
I’m lucky to live within one of our National Parks. I decided to use this theme this week to write about some first aid.
Always make sure you’re dressed appropriately and have the necessary equipment when hill walking. I’ve watched the hills disappear and reappear twice already today, the mist and fog on the hills can descend very quickly. Always make sure that people are aware of your route too.
If you need to access Mountain Resuce then call 999 or 112 and ask for the Police, then ask for Mountain Rescue.
Sprains and Strains
The treatment for a sprain or strain is RICE. Therefore the first key aspect is to rest the injured part for 24-48 hours. Take regular painkillers (always ensuring to follow the instructions on the packet), simple painkillers tend to be more effective if you take them regularly. The second part is to use ice packs. Apply ice for 10-15 minutes at a time, once in an hour. C is for compression. However, unless you’re using a specific joint support I’m not a fan of bandaging or tubigrip. They are difficult to apply correctly and I often see people wearing incorrectly applied tubigrip. It’s better not to use it than to use it incorrectly. E is for elevation. Elevate the injured part above the heart if possible, or as much as tolerated. Elevation helps to reduce the swelling which will aid recovery and reduce the pain.
It’s not true that if you can move it it’s not broken. Therefore, if you’re concerned that a bone is broken please seek advice from a health professional. It’s a good idea to take some painkillers before you go as it’s actually easier to examine you if you’re not in so much pain.
The first aid for a wound follows SEEP
Sit or lie the person down as appropriate
Elevate the injured part
Examine the wound
Apply Pressure to stop the bleeding, then dress it appropriately.
NB: In October 2015 the European Resuscitation Council produced some first aid guidelines and they removed elevation from the management of a wound. Personally I still like to elevate a wound as it makes it easier to examine.
If a wound is dirty and bleeding a small amount then it’s a good idea to clean it. Washing it under the tap is a good idea; this might make it easier to see how severe the wound is too.
If you think you need to go to hospital then bear in mind that there is a ‘window of opportunity’ to close a wound with stitches, steristrips or glue and that’s generally 12 hours.
If you don’t think you need to see anyone then a clean dry dressing is all you need. I’m not a fan of antiseptic ointment as that can create a great environment for infection.
Be on the lookout for signs of infection – redness, heat, swelling, increasing pain, pus or discharge and any red lines that are spreading from the wound. Any of these then seek medical advice.
I hope you enjoy a happy and safe summer.
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