Common Outdoor First Aid Problems and Solutions

Posted on Nov 13, 2018. No comments

Whether you're hiking in the backcountry or working in the yard, the great outdoors is rife with potential first aid problems. Prepare for the worst by understanding how to respond to some of the most common outdoor injuries. If one of the following happened, would you know what to do?


  1. Cuts, Scrapes, and Other Wounds: Although most cuts, scrapes, and wounds are minor, they can quickly become serious if unaddressed. Reduce the risk of infection by responding appropriately. First, apply direct pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. Use gloves or another barrier to protect yourself: never use your bare hands unless there is truly no other option. Press down for five to ten minutes. If the bleeding hasn't stopped, continue for another ten minutes. Clean out the wound with clean water, use an antiseptic spray to disinfect the area, and apply a bandage.


  1. Muscle Strain: It's easy to lose your footing while hiking or overdo it while playing an outdoor sport. If you have a fall that twists a knee or ankle, assess if you need urgent medical help. If the pain is minor, you don't have any excessive bleeding, and you are able to move, find a safe place where you can rest. Take ibuprofen to help reduce swelling and alleviate pain. If you have one in your first aid kit, use an elastic bandage to wrap the injured area.


  1. Dehydration: Finding uncontaminated sources of water while on the trail is tougher than you might think. Combine this with the exertion that comes from hiking and it's easy to see why dehydration is a common issue while spending time outdoors. When it comes to dehydration, prevention is the best cure. Don't head out without at least two liters of water. Bring more than this amount if you anticipate a long or strenuous hike. If carrying enough water isn't practical, bring a filter to clear harmful pathogens from natural water sources. If all else fails, boil water before drinking. If you become severely dehydrated, hospitalization may be necessary, so make sure you have a way to contact help if you need it.


  1. Reactions to Insects and Plants: From mosquitoes to poison ivy, the great outdoors is full of irritating plants and insects. If you're working or playing in an area known for either, take pains to dress appropriately. If you find yourself bitten or stung, inspect the site. Use a credit card or another flat object to scrape away any stingers you find. Wash the area and apply calamine lotion to help reduce itching. Use a similar strategy for plant irritation. Wash the affected area well, then apply calamine lotion.


You never know what could happen while spending time outdoors. Approach your next adventure with first aid knowledge and a well-stocked kit to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable experience.

Read more »

10 First Aid Tips, Tricks and Hacks to Save Time

Posted on Apr 10, 2017. No comments

10 First Aid Tips, Tricks and Hacks to Save Time

Let’s face it. A first aid kit is a definite ‘must have’ in any home and in every car. You never know when something will happen and you will need one. The old Boy Scout motto “Be prepared” is always relevant.

But if you get caught in a situation where you don’t have access to a first aid kit, you can still be prepared. Here are some nifty first aid tips, tricks and hacks that will help in non-emergency situations.

Bacon Makes Everything Better… Even a Nosebleed!

Everyone seems to be bacon crazy these days. So, it makes sense that bacon can be used as a first aid time saver with nosebleeds. Of all the first aid tips in this short eBook, this one was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2014. (That’s NOT actually a Nobel Prize. The Igs are parody prizes for unusual achievements in scientific research.)

Bacon can help to stop a nose bleeding. Just take some bacon and place it inside the nostril. The bleeding will stop in short order because pork contains natural clotting features. Meanwhile, the salt in the bacon is a desiccant and dries out the area.

Homemade Ice Packs

If you’re short of ice packs around your home, or when a first aid kit’s ice pack is a ‘one use only’ item, there is still a solution. Kids and adults alike are all prone to trips, twists, strains, sprains, falls, bumps and tumbles. Here is a first aid hack for making your own ice packs. Of course, frozen peas in a zip bag are always good, but you may want something reusable.

You’ll Need:

  • Sponges – different sizes and shapes are good
  • Water
  • Zip baggies

Soak the sponges in water and wring out until damp. Place each sponge in a baggie, seal and freeze. That’s it. They’re reusable and you can buy everything you need in a dollar store.

Scrapes and Cuts Holistically (And Cheap)

Most first aid kits you purchase include some sort of antibacterial product. Ointment, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol wipes are common. But what do you do when you run out? This first aid hack is easily created and used on the fly.


  • Salt
  • Water
  • Honey

Heat a cup water until it’s warm to the touch and add a couple of pinches of salt. Stir to dissolve the granules. Use this solution to clean a scrape or cut. Once cleaned, apply honey to the wound. Honey has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It’s also hypoallergenic and the only natural food item that never goes bad.

Keep in mind that this first aid hack is intended only for minor cuts and scrapes. For anything serious, clean the wound with a gentle saline solution, bandage, and seek assistance.

Banana vs. Mosquito Bites

There is nothing pleasant about mosquito bites. They bump up, itch like crazy and are just annoying. Young children especially don’t cope well and want some relief from the persistent itch and irritation. If you don’t have calamine lotion, ice or an ointment, one of the simplest first aid hacks is to rub a banana peel on the bite. The peel has enzymes and minerals that help to neutralize the inflammation and itchiness.

Pineapple for a Bruise

Yes, a tropical fruit first aid hack. If you get a bruise, sprain or strain, or tendonitis or arthritis, often an ice pack or cold pack is the first order of business. After that, without any ointments handy, the delicious pineapple can be a good help in reducing inflammation and swelling. Just to be clear, use the internal flesh of the pineapple; you really don’t want to rub the skin on yourself. Rub the pulp onto the area in question. Even pack some on and hold it in place. The bromelain in the fruit will get into the skin, break down the fluids that accumulate to cause swelling, and the problem should ease faster.

101 Millionth Use for Duct Tape: Prevent Blisters and Chafing

That ever versatile duct tape practically holds the world together. It was crucial in saving the crew of Apollo 13. And it can save you from getting blisters in your shoes, whether they be running shoes or hiking boots or stilettos. Place a strip on your areas of concern – usually, heel, Achilles area and toes - and a “non-chafe” barrier will be formed by this first aid time saver.

Glue for Splinters and Cuts

Plain white glue, like wood glue or the stuff you used in school, is a great first aid hack for splinters. In a pinch, rubber cement could be utilized. If you get a splinter that is difficult to remove and you don’t want to use a pin or needle, apply white glue over the area. When it dries, peel off the glue and your splinter should come with it.

If you get a cut and haven’t a Band Aid or bandage handy, clean the wound as best you can, squeeze it gently together (so it’s not open), then add glue. It can form a temporary seal.

Cuts and Bandages

You can’t have one without the other. If you get a cut, you need to stop the bleeding, seal the wound, and bandage it to keep out infection. If glue isn’t your thing or won’t work quickly enough, try cayenne pepper. Be warned, it will sting or burn like crazy, but the bleeding will stop.

Need a quick bandage? A sanitary napkin (i.e. feminine pad) is great. Better than tissue paper that will tear after it gets blood on it, and certainly better than staining any clothing you use. The absorbency of the pad works incredibly well to soak up blood, prevent seepage, and protect the wound until better aid can be administered.

Hacks for Sunburn Pain

If you get sunburnt, it hurts. Your skin’s pH level is really thrown off by it. Cold water can help somewhat but try vinegar as well. It will help you level out the pH and thus reduce the discomfort. Combine any type of vinegar to equal parts water (1:1) and soak a shirt in that. Wring it out and wear it. It may not smell nice, but you’ll see how fast your sunburn stops hurting.

At home, another first aid time saver for sunburn relief is to fill an ice cube tray with aloe vera liquid and stick it in the freezer. Prepare a couple of trays as summer begins. If sunburn strikes, pop out the aloe vera cubes and rub them over the area.

Basil the Bug Repellent

Maybe this isn’t a first aid tip, but it’s a great prevention measure that really works. Bugs are a force of nature… literally. You want them away from you, especially mosquitoes with the added danger of the Zika virus. The simple item you need: basil. We love it, bugs do not.

Boil some water and add fresh basil leaves. Turn off the burner, cover the pot, and steep the leaves for about three hours. Strain the water and be sure it’s cool. Pour your mixture into a spray bottle from the dollar store and add a few fresh basil leaves. Spray it on your skin to keep bugs away. You can also spray it on clothes and upholstery, and around windows and doors.

Want to make it even more powerful? Add some vodka to the mix.

That’s a few helpful hacks and time savers for first aid. Of course, the best thing you can do is ensure you are never caught short. Order yourself a quality and comprehensive first aid kit now. In fact, order a few – one for home, one for the car, and one for outings.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to First Aid Shoppe and a clickable link back to this page.

Read more »