Expert Care by ER Physicians

Weekend Camping Trip? What Should Be In Your First Aid Kit

Posted by Jesse Schoff on Friday, August 25, 2017
Updated on: Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Keywords: camping first aid

With three locations in the Twin Cities, The Urgency Room plays host to a lot of campers and outdoorsmen and women who encounter an issue while out exploring Minnesota’s beautiful vistas. Whether you’re camping in the woods or hiking across the bluffs, The Urgency Room wants you to have fun and be safe while off exploring the wilderness. Summer is here, why not enjoy it outdoors.

A basic knowledge of first aid is an important tool that anyone should have in their mental arsenal while out traversing the woods. Knowing which items to keep in your traveling first aid kit is equally important. There are quite a few common injuries that can be treated with simple first aid while out and about, but for more severe injuries, or if you are unsure as to whether your injury requires medical treatment come and visit us at The Urgency Room in any one of our three convenient Twin Cities locations.

The Injury

As mentioned above, there are quite a few common injuries associated with camping. Some can be treated with your first aid kit, and some will need the intervention of a medical professional. It should be noted that each injury and individual is different and should be treated as such. For some, a cut might seem like no big deal but for others with preexisting medical conditions such as anemia a simple cut can be a much bigger issue. Before you go camping, you should know your physical limits and bring with any medications for any pre-existing medical conditions such as severe allergies.

Typically, most camping injuries can fall into one of the following categories:

  • Plant-induced    
    • Oleander
      • Oleander is a pink blooming plant that has a strong fragrance. This plant can cause heart problems and attack your central nervous system.
    • Wolfsbane
      • Wolfsbane is a tall flowering plant that comes in a variety of colors that can grow even in the harshest of climates. Wolfsbane is a powerful paralytic that will remove your ability to feel pain, your sense of touch, and your ability to feel temperatures.
    • Poison Oak
      • Poison Oak resembles the common oak leaf in its three-leaf pattern. Poison Oak can be identified by the velvety appearance of the two lower leaves in each set or by the white/green berries that may grow on the plant. Side effects of Poison Oak include itching, burning, and rashes.
    • Poison Ivy
      • Poison Ivy is a tricky plant as it can grow as a vine, shrub, or single plant. The leaves on a Poison Ivy plant are smooth with pointed tips. Side effects of Poison Ivy include rashes that may be bumpy, itchy, or oozing. The best rule of thumb when it comes it poison plants is “Three leaves let it be.”
    • Stinging Nettle
      • Stinging Nettles can be identified either by their height or by the fuzzy white flowers that grow along with the plant. If you come into contact with Stinging Nettles, you’ll experience itchings, redness, and swelling on the affected area.
    • Water Hemlock
      • Water Hemlock, also known as Poison Hemlock, or just Hemlock, is one of the most toxic plants in America. Numerous cases of Hemlock poisoning have resulted in death in both animals and human. Hemlock is a white flower type plant that resembles a firework.
  • Weather-related
    • Frostbite
    • Heat stroke
    • Dehydration
    • Sunburn
  • Bites
    • Tick bites
    • Snake bites
    • Mosquito bites
    • Fly Bites
  • Sprains and fractures
    • Wrist
    • Knee
    • Ankle
  • Lesions and burns
    • Blisters
    • Campfire burns
    • Grill burns
    • Cuts
    • Gashes
    • Scrapes
  • Head traumas
    • Concussion
    • Bruising
    • Headache

The Kit

Now that we’ve discussed what injuries you’re likely to sustain while camping let's decide on what items should be in your first aid kit. You want to be prepared for any emergency while keeping your first aid kit light enough to be carried with you. Below is our list of items that we recommend you bring with you for your next camping adventure. Always be sure to check the forecast and research if there are any specific dangers associated with your destination before you head out.

  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Antibacterial Ointment
  • Adhesive Bandages (Band-Aid or similar brand)
  • AfterBite
    • To keep bug bite from itching
  • Antihistamines
    • To treat allergies
    • Zyrtec
    • Benadryl
    • Allegra
    • Claritin
  • Bandage Adhesive
  • Blister Kit
  • Butterfly Bandages
  • Guaze
  • Medical Tape
  • Pain Relievers
    • Aspirin
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • Ibuprofen (Advil)
    • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Fine-Point Tweezers
    • For removing splinters and debris from wounds
  • Safety Pins
  • First Aid Manual
  • Poison Ivy and Oak Treatment Cream
    • Tcenu
    • IvyX
    • Zanfel
    • Ivarest
  • Rolled Gauze
  • Elastic Wrap
  • Ice Pack
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Aloe Vera
  • Aspirin
    • To treat heart attacks and heart attack symptoms
  • Oral Rehydration Salts
  • Antifungal Foot Powder
  • Injectable Epinephrine
  • Blunt Tip Shears
  • Q Tips
  • Thermometer
  • Latex Gloves
  • Needle-nose Pliers
  • Duct Tape
  • Headlamp
  • Flashlight
  • Whistle
  • Heat-Reflecting Blanket
  • Sunscreen
  • Vaseline®
  • Bug Spray
  • Soap
  • Pump Kit
    • To remove venom or stingers from animal and insect bites
    • An alternative form of removing a stinger includes using a credit card to scrape the stinger out of the skin. Do not use a pair of tweezers as this might push the stinger in further.
    • Here’s how to properly remove venom if you have been bitten by a snake.


Hit The Trails With Confidence

Don’t let this list deter you from camping. While this list may seem long, if something happens to your while out camping you’ll want to have the items you need on hand. When in doubt we recommend that you come and see one of our experienced medical professionals for your camping wound. Each of our three Twin Cities locations is staffed with board-certified ER physicians who specialize in emergency medicine. When minutes count, you can count on us.

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