First Aid Basics When You Go Hiking
Canada has an incredible 7 million square kilometers of wilderness covering 23% of the country. In fact the only country that has a larger area of wilderness in the world is Russia. Having such a vast amount of wilderness makes Canada a haven for wildlife and perfect for hiking. If you are heading out for the day, or even going on a hiking vacation, it is important that you take a well-stocked first aid kit. From blisters to cuts and bruises, you should make sure that you have everything necessary to treat minor injuries, aches and pains.
- Antihistamine cream
- Cooling lotion
- Insect repellent spray
Mosquitoes are extremely common in Canada between the months of May and September. Manitoba is well known as the province that has the most mosquitoes, and due to the colder temperatures, they can grow very large by the time they reach maturity. Mosquitoes are very active in the evenings, and where the surrounding environment is damp and shady. You will also find an abundance of mosquitoes near any area of fresh water, where they lay their eggs. In your first aid kit you should carry an antihistamine cream to treat any bites and some cooling lotion for the itchy symptoms. If you are particularly prone to mosquito bites, take preventative measures, like using an insect repellent spray.
- Antiseptic wipes
- Sterilized Needles
- Antiseptic Ointment
- Gauze Pad
- Duct tape
Blisters can turn a wildlife hike from wonderful to miserable very quickly. They are caused by moisture, heat and friction. Firstly you should make sure that your socks and boots fit properly before you start out. Bear in mind that your feet will actually get longer if you are hiking for very long distances - it is not unusual for feet to grow two sizes. In your kit you should keep at least one extra pair of socks, so that you can keep your feet dry and comfortable. Toe socks are a good idea as they can prevent toe blisters. To treat a blister, first you should clean it with an antiseptic wipe and then use a sterilized needle or safety pin to drain the blister. Once you have done this, cover the blister in antiseptic ointment and then use a gauze pad or Bandaid to cover the area. Tape over this with some duct tape or KT tape to keep the bandage in place while you are walking.
Cuts and scrapes
- Antiseptic spray
- Assortment of bandages
If you are hiking in the wilderness, cuts and scrapes are common, particularly if you are in dense woodland areas. You should carry with you an assortment of bandages to cover and protect any minor skin injuries, as well as an antiseptic spray. Before you cover a scrape, graze or cut however, make sure that there is nothing left in the wound like gravel or splinters. You should keep a pair of tweezers in your first aid kit to deal with this.
- Ibuprofen tablets
- Acetaminophen tablets
- Aspirin tablets
When you are out hiking in remote areas, you certainly won’t have a drugstore nearby if you get a headache. You should make sure that you carry at least two doses of the common medication used for pain relief. Ibuprofen tablets like Advil are good for pain relief and also act as an anti inflammatory. Acetaminophen like Tylenol are good for headaches as well as other minor aches and pains. Aspirin is also an essential first aid kit item, and can even be taken to prevent heart attack.
When you are hiking in the Canadian wilderness, a well-stocked first aid kit is an essential. Blisters, insect bites, cuts and scrapes are common, and can be easily treated so that you can carry on with your hike and enjoy being out in nature.