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Basic First Aid Instructions
For Camping

It's a good idea to know basic first aid instructions anytime - but especially when you set off on a camping trip.

Being in the outdoors can bring its share of hazards!

poison ivy


tick bites

heat stroke

wasp stings


With the right knowledge, you can treat these many of these ailments yourself.

More importantly, most of these can be avoided altogether by taking some simple precautions.

Life-threatening emergencies

Dealing with severe emergencies is beyond the scope of this page. If you are going camping off the beaten track, it's a good idea to take a first aid training course that includes CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) training and basic first aid instructions.

You probably will never need the CPR training - but wouldn't it be a comfort knowing that in case of a real emergency you could sustain life until help arrived?

Memorize these symptoms!

Even without taking a first aid course, you can learn how to recognize potentially deadly conditions so that you can seek medical help immediately.

If someone in your group experiences a heart attack or stroke, getting help quickly can mean the difference between life and death.

Heart attack symptoms

Please be aware that not all of these symptoms will necessarily be present. If you suspect a heart attack - even if you are not sure - call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.

  • pain in the center of the chest
  • pain in the shoulder, arm or back
  • pain in the upper abdomen
  • shortness of breath
  • fainting
  • nausea, sweating, vomiting
  • a feeling of uneasiness, dread or "impending doom"


Stroke symptoms

Signs of a stroke appear suddenly and without warning.

  • paralysis or numbness of the face or body - especially if just one side of the body is affected
  • weakness of the arms and legs - especially if just one side of the body is affected
  • trouble speaking or comprehending (inability to find the right words; slurred speech; confusion)
  • vision problems (blurred vision; seeing double; no vision)
  • difficulty walking or maintaining balance; dizziness
  • severe sudden headache, perhaps with vomiting

If memorizing this list of symptoms is daunting, just remember the 3 letters "STR" (the first 3 letters in the word "stroke"):

  • S for smile
  • T for talk
  • R for raise arms

If the person is unable to smile, talk coherently or raise both arms above the head, there is a good chance that he or she is having a stroke. Call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.

Basic Camping First Aid Instructions

Chances are that you will encounter only minor injuries when you go camping. You'll be able to prevent many of them by using common sense, and you'll be able to deal with most of the rest with the help of your well-stocked first aid kit.

Here's a good first aid kit checklist.

well stocked first aid kit

Let's talk about the most common camping mishaps, and the basic first aid instructions for dealing with them.


Blisters are tiny but nasty. They can ruin a hike and make their victim miserable for days. Left untreated, they can become infected and really be a problem. Here's how to prevent blisters on feet.

hiking shoe

If you do get a blister, you'll want to know what do about it. Click here to read about first aid for blisters.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is the result of too much sun and too little water.

desert scene

Left untreated, it can morph into heat stroke, a potentially deadly condition. Fortunately, both heat exhaustion and heat stroke are easily preventable.

Here's what you need to know about heat exhaustion symptoms.

Here is how to prevent heat stroke and here are heat stroke first aid measures.

Poison ivy

Do you know how to recognize poison ivy? Do you know what to do if you accidentally wander into a poison ivy patch?

poison ivy

Here's some information about avoiding poison ivy.

If it's too late for that, here's everything you need to know about treating poison ivy.


Sunburn is an ever-present danger in the summer!

children at the beach

Here are basic first aid instructions on how to treat a sunburn and how to apply sunscreen so that you don't get a sunburn at all.

Tick bites

Tick bites are not an issue at all unless the tick happens to carry disease.


Here's what you need to know about avoiding ticks on humans.

If you are bitten by a tick, don't panic. Read this to learn how to remove ticks.

Insect stings

Wasp and bee stings are painful for everyone, and very dangerous for some.


Here's some information about wasp sting prevention as well as basic first aid instructions for wasp sting first aid.

Knowing basic first aid instructions will give you peace of mind, and might prevent an unnecessary trip to the emergency room. Knowing that you can recognize the serious things and deal with the minor things will help to ensure a successful and relaxing vacation!

Have a safe and enjoyable trip!

Now that you know all about basic first aid instructions, go to the The Camping Family home page for more tips about camping.

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