It’s Easter, and many Sunshine Coast families head for the beach or the bush for a camping holiday.

So, check the weather, check your vehicle, and most importantly, check your first aid kit. Make sure you are prepared for common emergencies that can occur while camping.

Burns

  • Keep children away from campfires and hot barbecues, which may retain their heat
  • Put out all fires using water
  • Be aware that previous campsite occupants could have put their campfire out with sand rather than water; sand retains heat
  • First aid treatment for a burn is to place the injured area under cool running water for 20 minutes and seek medical treatment immediately by phoning triple zero (000). Make sure you remove any jewellery or clothing from the infected area unless it is stuck to the patient.

Click here to access our free treatment for burns chart. This is a handy reference tool for you.

Sunburn

  • Wear sunscreen and protective clothing
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun

First aid treatment for severe sunburn is to cool the burn with cold compresses. Applying aloe vera may also soothe the affected area. Drink extra liquids to stay fully hydrated. Wear loose, soft, breathable clothing to avoid further skin irritation, and stay out of the sun.

Dehydration and heatstroke

  • Carry plenty of fresh water for drinking (avoid excessive tea, coffee and alcohol, which can increase dehydration)
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day
  • Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing made with ‘breathable’ fabrics that allow sweat to evaporate. Wear a large hat to shade your face and back of your neck.

Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency, so if you suspect a person has heat stroke, immediately call emergency services for an ambulance. While you are waiting for the ambulance, place the casualty in a cool place (if available), remove excess clothing, and sponge the skin with a moist cloth or washer, or spray with a fine spray of cool water, while fanning continuously. Apply cold packs or wrapped ice to neck, groin and armpits.

Bites and stings

  • Pack a good insect repellent
  • In the bush, wear light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs
  • Ensure your first aid kit contains fine tipped forceps for removing ticks
  • Ensure your first aid kit contains pressure bandages for treating snake bite
  • In the case of snake bite, ensure the safety of everyone. Call the ambulance on 000.

First aid treatment for snake bite is immobilisation – keep the person still and as calm as possible to slow the spread of the venom – and pressure – apply firm pressure on the bite. For bites on limbs, apply pressure bandages, and splint the limb to restrict movement; mark the bite site on the bandage (this helps the paramedics and doctors). If the bite is not on a limb, apply firm direct pressure on the bite site. If cardiac arrest occurs, provide cardio pulmonary resuscitation. Record as much information as you can – time of the bite, description of the snake, time the bandage was applied. Click here to access our free treatment for snake bite chart. This is a handy reference tool for you.

Cuts and scrapes

First aid for minor cuts and abrasions is to clean the wound with a non-fibre shedding material or sterile gauze, and use an antiseptic such as Betadine. After five minutes, rinse the wound with sterile saline or flowing tap water. Cover the cleaned wound with an appropriate non-stick sterile dressing. Small, shallow cuts heal faster if the edges are held together with a wound closure strip. Cover deeper cuts or more extensive abrasions with island or film dressings

Strains and sprains

  • Wear appropriate footwear for specific activities
  • Take care when walking/climbing in unfamiliar terrain

First aid treatment is RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Rest the injured part – this may include using crutches or a cane if the ankle or leg is injured, or using a sling if the arm or wrist is injured.

Apply ice wrapped in a wet cloth to the site of the injury for 15 minutes every two hours for the first day, and then every four hours for the second day.

Apply compression to the injury with a compression bandage extending well beyond the injury, wrapping from below to above the injury.

Elevate the injured part above heart level if practicable.

Accidents involving water

  • On the beach, always swim between the flags
  • Avoid swimming in flooded creeks – you cannot see what hazards lie beneath
  • Always wear life jackets for any boating and watercraft activities
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs if you are going to be operating any sort of watercraft. On beach and boating outings, designate non-drinkers to watch toddlers and small children.

Finally, before you go …

Make sure your CPR and first aid certifications are up-to-date. Download any of the free first aid charts on the Allens Training Sunshine Coast website, and download the free Allens Training first aid app.

Allens Training on the Sunshine Coast delivers regular first aid training in our Birtinya Training Centre. We are committed to delivering quality training so you walk away with the skills you need.

If you would like to book into one of Sunshine Coast First Aid courses, please book online or phone 07 5438 8888 to find out more. 

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