Winter is here! And with it comes a new set of first aid emergencies that you can be prepared for. This week, we go over the top 3 first aid emergencies that happen in winter, how to treat them, and what you should have in your first aid kits to be winter prepared.
Frostbite happens when part of the skin and other tissues freeze due to low temperatures. It's one of the leading First Aid emergencies during Winter, so it's important to know what to do if you or someone else suffers from Frostbite. There are two types of frostbite, superficial (external skin is frozen) and deep (internal structures and tissues are frozen).
👉 To treat Deep Frostbite;
- Follow DRSABCD.
- Prevent any further heat loss from the frozen part and rest of the body by covering the person with a blanket or sleeping bag.
- Move the person to a warm, dry place (sheltered from wind and rain)
- Call 000 and wait for an ambulance. If medical assistance is not readily available;
a. Fill a container large enough to hold the frozen part with warm water (approx 40°C - dip your elbow in the water and it should feel just warm).
b. Keep adding warm water to maintain temperature, and do so until the effected part is pink (can take up to 40mins)
c. Keep the area raised and warm and wait for medical assistance.
Number 2 on our top list of winter emergencies is Hypothermia.
Hypothermia is a condition when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature.
👉 To treat hypothermia;
- Follow DRSABCD.
- Move the patient to a warm, dry place, and remove any wet clothing.
- Place the patient under blankets and then wrap in an emergency blanket.
- Cover the patient's head to maintain body heat.
- Give the patient warm drinks if they are conscious (not alcohol).
- If sources of external heat are available such as hot water bottles or heat packs, place them directly on the patient's neck, armpits, and groin. (If these are not available, body-to-body contact may be used).
- Call 000 for an ambulance if the condition is severe or deteriorating.
Sunburn can happen all year round. In fact, it happens equally in Winter as it does Summer. People generally don't expect to get sunburnt on a cold winter day and do not apply sunscreen before going outdoors.
With outdoor adventure activities like snow skiing, the sun is reflected back and causes increased exposure to the sun and risk of sunburn. Sunburn is a sign that the skin has been exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays for too long, but skin damage isn't always evident. Sunburn typically presents as a reddening of the skin and blistering, along side dizziness and nausea for more severe cases.
👉 To treat Sunburn;
- Rest in a cool and shady place.
- Cool shower, cool bath, or sponge with cool water for 10 minutes. Repeat if it eases discomfort.
- Apply wet gauze padding to the sunburnt area.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Seek medical assistance for infants and casualties with blisters.
Preparing your First Aid Kit for Winter
It's important to have an appropriately stocked first aid kit for winter activities. You never know when an emergency can happen, and it's good to be prepared.
If you're starting from scratch, here are some great first aid kits to get you started:
- Survival Pack First Aid Kit - Covering all your outdoor adventure first aid needs. Unique colour coded modules for easy location of contents.
- R1 Vehicle Max First Aid Kit - The ideal deluxe vehicle kit for your road trips, easily slotting behind or under a seat in your vehicle.
R2 4WD Outback First Aid Kit - If camping in winter is your thing, be sure to be prepared with this value packed kit!
If you've already got a first aid kit, that's great! We'd recommend that you check all its contents are up to date and ready to go, and suggest you consider these additions for outdoor winter activities to help with treatment of the top 3 winter first aid emergencies :
- Emergency shock blanket - Perfect for keeping a patient warm.
- Sunscreen - Protect your skin during Winter outdoor activities.
- Hydrogel - Forgot to slip, slop, slap? Our aloe vera based burn gel is perfect for soothing Sunburns.
- Heat Pack - To help increase warmth in vital areas on the body.
- Torch - The hours of sunlight are shorter in Winter, it's a good idea to keep a torch handy in case it gets dark whilst you're treating an unexpected first aid emergency.
Have questions about your first aid kit? Or not sure what first aid kit is right for you? Get in touch with us!