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Questions tagged [first-aid]

First aid is about treating minor injuries, providing temporary aid for major injuries until care can be reached, and determining which is which and how urgently medical care needs to be obtained. Questions regarding temperature-induced conditions such as frostbite, hypothermia, and heat stroke are also matters of first aid and should be tagged as such.

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69 votes
8 answers
5k views

What are essential items in an emergency kit?

What are must-have items in an emergency kit for a multi-day hiking trip?
Pekka's user avatar
  • 1,441
18 votes
2 answers
3k views

What are the first aid precautions to be taken in case of a snake bite?

I'll be trekking through a dense monsoon forest which has a sizable population of king cobras and vipers. I'll be at least 5 hours away by walk to the nearest human settlement and another 1-2 hours by ...
Ricketyship's user avatar
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31 votes
4 answers
8k views

How do I treat hot spots and blisters when I have no moleskin?

A few times I've been out walking or backpacking and have no moleskin with me. Sure enough, my boots start giving me blisters. How can I prevent or treat hotspots and blisters without using moleskin?...
Pulsehead's user avatar
  • 2,365
54 votes
7 answers
37k views

Should you pop a blister?

When I'm home running or on a day hike, I prefer to pierce the skin as soon as a blister forms and drain all fluid from a blister to reduce the pain and further irritation/inflammation. In this case, ...
bmike's user avatar
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25 votes
5 answers
33k views

Can any waterborne pathogens survive boiling?

I know that boiling does little to break down chemical contaminants or heavy metals. But I'm unsure if it kills all microbial life. Are there any waterborne illness-causing viruses/bacteria/protozoa/...
J.T. Hurley's user avatar
19 votes
11 answers
2k views

What are some effective ways of reducing itching from a mosquito bite?

There are a lot of options for trying to prevent mosquito bites (DEET on skin, permethrin on clothing, mosquito nets while sleeping, etc.), but what about after you get bitten? What is the most ...
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 3,725
42 votes
6 answers
22k views

What essential items should go in a small first aid kit?

Another question asked what survival equipment should be carried in an emergency kit. But very little was about medical or first aid supplies (band-aids, gauze, tylenol, moleskin, etc). What items ...
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 3,725
34 votes
8 answers
57k views

How do I avoid leeches?

The last time I was attacked by leeches I thought I'd taken enough precautions such as pulling my socks over my trousers and avoiding walking through particularly wet areas or long grass but I still ...
John Doyle's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
23k views

Why are tourniquets not recommended as a first aid for a snakebite?

Why are tying the tourniquets or restricting bandages not recommended or in fact to be avoided to treat a snakebite before getting the proper medical attention? Closely related questions: Am I able ...
WedaPashi's user avatar
  • 31.7k
15 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is there a large difference in WFA (Wilderness First Aid) programs?

I am looking at taking a WFA (Wilderness First Aid) class and there are a couple of outfits in my area offering it. Namely, SOLO, NOLS, and The American Red Cross. I have heard nothing but great ...
MaskedPlant's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
1k views

Am I able to "open up" a snake bite and suck the venom out of it?

Someone told me that you should treat a snake bite (in the wilderness) by cutting a X in the skin (with a knife) and sucking the stuff out of it. This sounds a little weird to me. Is this really a ...
OddDeer's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Preferred way to wrap someone with Hypothermia?

So I know How to treat hypothermia. That question and answer, however, do not address the old recommendation I have heard a 100 times of strip them down and get in a sleeping bag with them. Is that ...
MaskedPlant's user avatar
  • 6,232
12 votes
3 answers
645 views

Case example on Altitude Mountain Sickness: How to detect and react properly?

I know the theory behind effects of high altitudes on the human body is not entirely understood and because of cross-influence it is a difficult topic. It's not an exact science. Having said that I ...
Wills's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
354 views

How do you diagnose severe altitude illness?

If someone is feeling bad at high altitude, how do you tell if their condition is so severe that it threatens their life unless they descend immediately?
user avatar
71 votes
12 answers
22k views

I've just been bitten by a rattlesnake; how, exactly, do I "keep calm"?

My question is prompted by the answer of @WedaPashi to this question, which is about rattlesnakes, specifically: • Remain calm and first move beyond the snake's striking distance. • Keep calm, ...
ab2's user avatar
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28 votes
2 answers
57k views

Is whiskey a good disinfectant?

You see this a lot on films, the hero/heroine is injured and disinfects their wound(s) by pouring whiskey on it. I'm a bit sceptical. If I'm in an emergency scenario and need to prevent infection. ...
user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
30k views

Is it safe to use denatured alcohol as an antiseptic?

A lot of hikers carry denatured alcohol for cooking. Is there any risk to using it as an antiseptic for cuts and lacerations?
Russell Steen's user avatar
22 votes
9 answers
945 views

How should I treat poison ivy?

If I'm struck by poison ivy, what should I do? Is there a way to suppress the itch?
Jasper's user avatar
  • 2,019
18 votes
2 answers
2k views

What are the different stages of frostbite?

My brother and I were out backcountry sled-skiing yesterday, and my brother froze his feet in his new ski-boots. We were sitting at just above 2000m, my brother had his boots off and was trying to ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
  • 53.6k
17 votes
2 answers
2k views

What should you do if you are bitten by a rattlesnake?

You should obviously avoid rattlesnakes if at all possible. But if you do get bitten by one, what should you do? What supplies can be brought ahead of time to allow for the best treatment, and what ...
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 3,725
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

What to do if you're bitten by an adder?

I've heard that while adder bites are venomous the number of people who have died from them are extremely low. If you're on a trek and you're bitten is it safe to continue for a couple more days ...
berry120's user avatar
  • 22.6k
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

What can an injured person in the outdoors do to prevent infection by flesh-eating bacteria?

Perhaps you've heard about Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old adventurer who contracted a flesh-eating disease after getting injured in a zip line accident over the Tallapoosa River. She's already lost ...
samthebrand's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

How to reduce pain of wasp stings?

Assuming I am not allergic, or showing signs of allergic reaction, what's the best way to treat multiple yellow jacket (a type of wasp) stings in the outdoors while hiking/backpacking? My key concern ...
Russell Steen's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
346 views

Is there any evidence that suction devices are helpful for snake bites?

Back in the old days, it was recommended that for a snake bite you cut an X and suck the venom out. That is no longer recommended, however, they still sell suction devices such as the Sawyer Extractor ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
2k views

How should you treat an open wound in the backcountry?

If someone were to get an open wound in the back country, say a knife slipped while cooking dinner and sliced the person, how would you treat that? We already have one question about using whiskey, ...
Charlie Brumbaugh's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

What is the recommended wilderness first aid treatment for a scorpion sting?

I'm going to be doing some backpacking in a desert environment state park. In the event that someone in my party is stung by a scorpion, what is the proper first aid? Note that we may be in a remote ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 657
6 votes
1 answer
6k views

What to do if someone gets impaled in the stomach?

Background: This question is motivated by an accident that happened to my sister in a very rural area. She was on a fence and fell onto a t-post which basically impaled her, but which fell out by the ...
That Realtor Programmer Guy's user avatar