With over 9,800 campsites in France, the French are very lucky when it comes to the great outdoors. Whether it is mountains, lakes, or beaches, France is no doubt has some of the best places to camp and caravan in the world, making it one of the top destinations for tourists during summer.
According to new data released by Tourism Research in France, in 2015, campers spent approximately 113 million nights on campsites in France which was a 3.5% increase from the year before.
However, with the rise in camping activities in France comes unexpected injuries and accidents. What happens when not all goes to plan, and you or others sustain an injury?
When camping, they always say, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”
While most of us think of being prepared when camping is equivalent to having all necessary items on our camping checklist, it is also important to have the skills and knowledge to handle simple, common camping injuries that have the potential to ruin a trip or, worse cause death.
Whether the injured person is you, someone in your group, or just someone you encountered along the trail, the first responder or the first person on the scene is usually the one to intervene and perform necessary first aid, as professional help can be hours or days away from the scene.
We have compiled the list of the most common camping injuries, alongside the treatments that we’d consider essential for anyone who is considering camping anytime soon.
Animal and Insect Bites
You need to find out what type of animals and insects live in the area you are planning to visit. Do more research on animal habitats and how to respect them. For insects, it is best to take extra precautions, as mosquitos kill more people on earth than any other creature.
Make sure to apply insect repellents, bring bug sprays, and learn how to treat insect stings and spider bites.
If you are worried about a bite/sting, do the following:
- Remove the sticky, tick, or hair remaining on the skin.
- Wash the affected area using soap and clean water.
- Apply a cold compress or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
- Raise or elevate the affected area, above heart level.
- Reduce the risk of infection by avoiding scratching or bursting any blister from the bite or sting.
- The pain, swelling, and itchiness may sometimes last for a few days but if any unusual symptoms occur such as high temperatures, excessive sweating, and loss of consciousness, seek medical help.
“Where there is camp, there are campfires.”
And during campfires, you are likely to be handling fire, boiling water, and hot pots. Burns are another common injury that you should be aware of when camping,
The very first step for treating burns is to stop the burning process, then:
- Soak the burned area in a cold, clean water
- Cover the area with antibiotic treatment and clean gauze or clothing
- Take ibuprofen for substantial pain with any deep burns
- Keep the burned area elevated to reduce the swelling
Evacuate the burn victim to the closest medical facility if he/she exposes deep layers of the skin and/or the burn covers a significant or sensitive area of the victim’s body.
Cuts, Bruises, Scrapes
Falling and getting a cut, scrape, or bruises during camping is normal. However, you still need to be prepared for these minor camping injuries.
These guidelines can help you care for minor cuts, bruises, and scrapes.
- Stop the bleeding by applying gentle pressure to the wound. Use a clean bandage or cloth and elevate the wound until the bleeding stops.
- Rinse the wound under running tap water and wash with soap. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or iodine as it can cause irritation.
- Apply antibiotic cream or petroleum jelly to keep the wound surface moist and prevent scarring.
- Cover the wound by applying a bandage or gauze with paper tape. This helps in keeping the wound clean and away from infection.
Whether you are hiking on a trail, crossing a stream, scrambling up boulders, or climbing a tree, you put yourself at the risk of letting gravity do its thing and cause falling.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), falling and drowning are considered the two most common causes of death in the great outdoors.
Falls can also cause ankle, foot, and toe injuries. When this happens, use the RICE method.
- Rest the injured body part by getting of it immediately
- Ice the area of injury to reduce swelling
- Compress the joint using an elastic band
- Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart
If you suspect major injuries from the fall, including head or limb injury, seek emergency medical help.
Drowning accidents occur most often because people around do not recognize that their friends or co-campers are in trouble until it is too late.
It is worth noting that drowning victims does not usually call for help as they are trying to catch their breath or getting out of the water. Be extra observant, especially near water.
First Aid for Near Drowning
- Immediately take the person out of the water.
- Check for breathing by placing your ear next to their mouth and nose. Also, check for a pulse.
- If no pulse is detected, perform CPR.
- Repeat CPR until the person restores their normal breathing or until help arrives.
Once the person is breathing normally again, check for any signs of hypothermia. Remove their wet clothes as soon as possible, and get the person warmed up.
Camping Safety Tips
Even though accidents and injuries happen, this should not be a discouraging factor for you and others who are planning to go camping on your next holiday.
Here are additional camping safety tips from The First Aid Course Sydney if you are new to camping or considering camping for the first time.
Research the location and area of where you are going
This includes conditions, weather, service reception, landmarks, and even campsite facilities.
Test your equipment before leaving the home
Trying your equipment out in advance at home is important. This will help in knowing how it all works and will stop you from looking like a total beginner camper.
Research on how to campfire safely
If you are planning to use campfires for cooking your food, it is best to check with the local fire authority website regarding the fire bans. Not all campground allows campfire, so it is suggested not to rely on the campfire for food.
Choose the right gear.
Do not make the mistake of buying low-quality gears and risk getting shivers in the middle of the night. Research carefully about the weather conditions you will be sleeping in and buy the appropriate gear.
Know the importance of lighting
In camping, do not underestimate the importance of lighting. It is the only way to see around camp easily, especially at night. We do not want injuries from tripping over ropes, branches, and rocks during our trip.
All accidents and injuries aside, camping is a great way to get into the outdoors and embrace what the French landscape has to offer.