Taking care of minor injuries during a hunting expedition
Minor cuts and some other injuries may be an undesired part of a hunting expedition, and even when we must do our best to avoid them, certainly there's a real risk of cuts and other injuries when we are hunting.
After all, we will be dealing with very sharp knives, branches, thorns, bones, and all kinds of dangerous stuff, thus just a minor mistake may lead to cuts or other injuries and we must be ready to deal with them since help might be away from us.
The first thing to do is to pack a first aid kit when we are preparing our equipment. There's no way to take care properly of an injury if we lack basic medical equipment, so besides our gun and ammunition, the first aid kit must be among our top priorities.
There are many first aid kids available in the market. From very simple ones up to those equipped with basic surgical instruments. The best for you will depend on how far will be your hunt, your basic medical skills, and the type of hunting you do.
If you are on private land, near a road, or with a medical qualified guide, perhaps a basic kit is enough for you, instead if you are planning to hunt in a remote area with a small hunting group, something more complex is required.
But all the equipment is useless if you don't know how to use it, so let's take a look at some basic principles you need to keep in mind when dealing with injuries during a hunting expedition.
1. First aid training
It's important to know what to do and how to do it in case of an injury, and nothing is better than a certified first aid training where you will learn the basics about medical procedures that may be performed during an excursion or hunting raid.
However, even when many people take lessons about first aids, they don't practice regularly and may forget many details during the adrenaline rush of an accident, so keep your mind clear and try to remember as detailed as possible all your training.
But if you don't have training or have forgotten most of those lessons, keep reading to go over some basic principles.
2. Don't panic!
Most people panic in front of an injury, especially when there's too much blood, but the real thing is that blood does not ever imply a bad injury, so keep calm, wash the blood and carefully evaluate the injury.
If it's impossible to see because of the blood flow, excerpt some pressure over the wound or use a tourniquet to facilitate evaluation.
Many times, pressing the wound a couple of minutes will be enough for the blood to clot and allow a proper evaluation. Once the clot is formed, don't remove it or you will be starting from zero again.
3. Once you have evaluated the injury it's time to take care.
Perhaps if just a tiny cut, or might be a deep wound needing medical attention but regardless of the situation, there are some procedures you may perform to improve evolution and make the injured person comfortable.
Wash the wound
That's critical to avoid infections. Wash thoroughly the wound with fresh water and be sure to remove sand, debris, and dirt. The mechanical effect of freshwater irrigation is the best way to clean the wound and avoid infection.
Antiseptic solutions are useful but before using them it's critical to properly wash the wound. Use as much water as you need, in this regard, the most is the better.
Once you have washed all the blood, dirt, and debris, it's time to apply an antiseptic solution. Iodine solutions are a good choice but you must be sure the person is not allergic to them.
Treat the pain
No matters the size, a cut or injury is always painful, so get sure to properly manage pain.
In a medical setting anesthesia is the standard of care but when we are out in the bushes that's not an option, however, some strategies might help.
A cold pack is able to diminish local inflammation and pain, in addition, it helps to control bleeding, so use a cold pack over the injured area during 10-15 minutes. Perhaps the pain will still be there, but the severity will be milder.
If you count with over the counter pain killers in your first aid equipment, that's also a good choice.
Properly dress the wound
No matters if it's a small injury that allows you to continue your hunting or a big one requiring medical attention, it's mandatory to dress the injury to avoid contamination.
There are many techniques but the easiest one is to cover the wound with some kind of antiseptic gel, put a gauze sponge over it and fix it with bandages. Don't excerpt too much pressure, the aim is just to keep everything in place until healing or professional advice.
4. Keep the dressing clean
Once the injury has been properly dressed, keep it clean and dry. For minor cuts, daily cleaning and new dressing will be enough while for more complex situations it's necessary to seek medical attention promptly.