From eDiets -
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summer months will offer numerous opportunities to participate in outdoor
activities. The majority of outdoor emergencies involve sprains, strains,
fractures, dehydration, non-specific viral syndromes and diarrhea. Although not
considered emergencies, blisters, small bleeding wounds and head injuries can
also be problematic.
Sprains and strains can result from walking
on uneven or rugged surfaces. If such an injury occurs, the RICE [Rest Ice
Compression Elevate] principle should be applied. After 20 minutes of RICE, the
area should be allowed to re-warm naturally.
If the injured part cannot be moved or the
pain is severe, there may be a fracture. See a physician as soon as possible.
Wearing high-top boots, taping or simply emphasizing trail awareness may
prevent recurring injuries to the ankles.
Diarrhea field treatment is limited to rest
and plenty of fluids. Carry medication for diarrhea in a first aid kit.
Improved hygiene and water disinfection practices will prevent diarrhea.
Hydration and heat maladies can be avoided
by drinking the normal amount of water required daily -- six 8-oz. glasses.
This amount must be increased if strenuous activity and/or high temperatures
result in fluid loss through perspiration.
Since thirst is not a reliable indicator,
you should drink water in appropriate amounts regardless of thirst. Remember to
encourage children to drink regularly. Salt tablets and commercial products
with added sugar and electrolytes are not necessary. Replacement is adequately
made through regular meals. Drinking alcohol and/or sodas, natural dehydrating
agents, can be counterproductive.
Water is the safest, most convenient,
economical and satisfying hydrator. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: heavy
sweating and cold, clammy skin, dizziness, a rapid pulse, throbbing pressure in
the head, chills, flushed appearance, nausea and/or confusion. If such symptoms
appear, the victim should be cooled immediately by dousing with cold water and
fanning to promote evaporation. If the condition does not rapidly improve, you
should seek medical help.
There should be no further activity until
the following day, and then it should be preformed at a reduced intensity.
Symptoms of heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition, may also include
cessation of sweating, low blood pressure, confusion, unconsciousness and/or
ashen or gray skin. If such symptoms appear, begin cooling the victim
immediately with ice water and transport to a medical facility as soon as
Blisters should be pierced at the edge with
a sterilized needle, being careful to leave the skin in place after the fluid
has drained. Application of an antiseptic is recommended. Place a protective
donut bandage over the drained blister. Wearing two pairs of socks and keeping
your feet dry can also prevent blisters.
Small bleeding wounds can be cleaned with
antiseptic after the bleeding has stopped. If you dont have antiseptic,
wash with soap and clean water. Be sure to flush with clean water to remove all
soap residue. Cover the wound with a sterile dressing and check it daily for
signs of infections.
Head injury symptoms range from fluid or
bleeding from nose or ears to unusual bruising around eyes or ears and include
persistent vomiting, large unresponsive or irregular pupils, loss of
coordination, difficulty speaking, severe and worsening headache, double
vision, excessive drowsiness and/or convulsions. If any of these symptoms
appear within 48 hours of an accident, get medical help.
Eston R. Dunn recently received his
Master's in Health Science from Stafford University. Eston has been in exercise
videos and is certified in exercise leadership/weight-room training through the
Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), personal training through
the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and health-fitness instruction from the
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).