Accidents can happen anytime, so it is best to be prepared for emergencies


Flip the cloth up and tie a knot. The loosened end of the cloth at the elbow area should be kept inside the bandage to tighten the arm sling so it looks tidier.

AT FIVE, I dislocated my elbow after falling down.

Aside from the excruciating pain that I still remember until now, I learnt that a splint could be made using a bunch of thick magazines or newspaper.

My quick-thinking brother wrapped my arm with a triangular scarf before sending me to the nearest hospital.

Although my accident happened at home, improvisation and critical thinking certainly helped. During an emergency, they are especially useful in the great outdoors.

Knowing first aid and having a kit ready can make a big difference in many situations

A small container can be used to store medical supplies but even more important is knowing what to bring with you.

For example, you might want to bring along antihistamine cream or tablets for insects bites when hiking in a forest and mosquito repellent as well as salt to ward off leeches or treat fungal infections.

If one is travelling on dry plains where water sources are scarce, electrolyte drinks and hydration salts are important.

Aspirin is always useful to reduce pain and for mild fever while dressings such as plasters, triangular bandages and cotton can be used for their original purpose as well as tinder to start a fire.

You should also bring water-purifying tablets; each tablet can purify about a litre of water.

Some of the common accidents that can happen while being outdoors include sprains, fractures and lacerations.

For laceration, apply pressure directly to the wound if it is not very serious and press firmly before bandaging it with sterile cloth to stop the bleeding.

An injury may be a fracture if you feel intense pain while moving the affected body parts.

The fractured site might be swollen, bruised or distorted.

You should make a splint to immobilise the fractured parts to prevent further injury and support the joints above and below the fractured area.

However, making a splint can be difficult when there are limited resources, so sometimes you need to improvise.

Straight and small branches and sticks are some of the items that can be used as splints.

Position the splint to prevent the fractured limb from moving and bandage the area to secure it.

Personal hygiene is just as important outdoors.

Keep yourself warm and dry, especially your feet, as prolonged exposure to damp and wet conditions can cause trench foot.

If you have been stung by a jelly fish or a wasp, the venom can be neutralised with something acidic, such as lemon juice.

Most importantly, expect the unexpected and be prepared!

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