How to Treat Injuries in the Wilderness [Prevention and Cure]

Spread the love

Every crew hopes for the best when preparing to go for a bushcraft hike or camp in the wilderness, and they tend to forget about the worst.

Having a detailed backpacking checklist is quite vital, but the skills and knowledge on how to handle the wilderness maladies are the best. Injuries have the potential of ruining your trip in the wilderness.

Therefore, it is essential to learn how to treat injuries in the desert before thinking about the trip. Unfortunately, it is hard to plan for anything as far as adventure is a concern.

The article provides a detailed guide on how to deal with several injuries ranging from belly aches to broken bones.

Common Wilderness Maladies and Treatment

There are a lot of scenarios that happen during an adventure in the wilderness, and you need to know about wound care to make your trip successful. If you happen to lack the skill of managing wounds in the wilderness, then you’re in the right place. Read on to learn how to treat injuries in the desert.

Strains and Sprains

Movement in various terrains in the wilderness involves the use of muscles and tendons. These are some of the key features on the feet that are prone to strains and sprains. Strains usually affect the muscles while sprains affect the tendons.

This is a common phenomenon among many hikers trailing the mountains or rainforest. Some of the common regions that are usually affected by these injuries are the ankles and the knees.

An individual is likely to experience pain, swellings, and limited range of motions. These injuries are the top hinders of trips in the wilderness since they require a lot of time to heal.

You will be required to take more rest foster healing process. There is no time for resting while in the wilderness; thus, it is recommended to pack painkillers to help in relieving the pain.

In the long run, you will be able to find your way out of the forest. Furthermore, it is also recommended to do some warm-ups before heading for a hike. T

his will help to strengthen joints and promote fitness. Here are steps on how to reducing swelling in case of the occurrence wilderness maladies. The tips include:

  1. Soak the injured foot in a cold lake or river. You can also use snow pack wrapped in a cloth then apply on the swelling. It will help in short term control of pain before finding your way out of the wilderness.
  2. Wrap the affected area with an elastic bandage. Massage the area gently and try to stretch the affected muscle gently.
  3. Lift the limb above the heart while resting for about 2o minutes in mild cases and all night in case of severe cases.

Abdominal Pain/ Stomach Pain

Exploration in the wilderness requires a lot of energy and water. Sometimes, the packed foods and bottle water usually get exhausted. You need to devise methods for survival in the wilderness like the search of wild foods and water.

This is the reason behind most bellyaches while in the desert. Most of these abdominal pains can range from the accumulation of gases to GI infection to kidney stones.

Some of these problems can be tricky to diagnose while scavenging in the wilderness. Remember to pack antacids and thermometer for checking fever when packing before starting the trip to the wilderness

. They can help minimize the pain and also treating minor problems. If the symptoms become severe, it is recommended to drink plenty of fluids and eat bland foods before addressing the main issues.

Here are the circumstances to consider when the situation of growing worse day-by-day. Therefore, evacuate if:

  • The pain does not go away before 24 hours.
  • The abdomen feels rigid or painful when touched.
  • The issue is related to pregnancies.
  • There is the presence of blood in the urine, feces or when the fever temperature is high.
  • The pain is localized, and it persists for more than 12 hours.

Allergic Reactions

There are plenty of different types of plants and insects in the wilderness. Some plants tend to be poisonous such that if the leaves touch the skin result in extreme itching and even formation of some of the rashes.

An insect sting in the wilderness is a common thing, and the most popular insects known for stinging are wasps and bees. The chemical content inserted in the body result in itching and also the formation of rashes.

Ensure your backpacking checklist has skin cleanser, antihistamine, and wash off the oil. This equipment will help to relieve the itching and the rashes.

To prevent the occurrence of such scenarios then avoid walking in thick vegetation like poison ivy. Also, remember to wear long pants and sleeves while moving underbrush.

In case of allergic reactions, it is recommended to wash the area immediately. Apply Urushiol which helps to bond the skin after ten minutes. Avoid scratching the area to avoid infection. Get out of the wilderness in case a severe disease begins.

Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea

Some wilderness like desert has inadequate water supply, and this makes them be prone to various health problems. Many bushcrafters prefer to drink water instead of washing their hands before eating the foods.

It is the reason behind the diarrhea issue. To avoid the occurrence of these issues, then it is recommended to wash hand with soap and remove any dirt in the fingernails.

Also, wash utensils with hot water and soap. In case of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea hit you then drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. Take some time to rest. If the cramping pain persists then find your way out of the forest and seek medical attention.

Broken & Dislocated Bones

Movement in the wilderness is tricky, especially if you’re the first time scavenger. Fractures on the legs, ankles, and wrists in the desert are common.

Dislocation on the shoulders and ankles usually result in a lot of pain. The pain and swellings in these regions make movement difficult. Always remember to pack elastic bandage while planning for a forest trip.

In case of such a situation, it is advisable to use trekking poles and exercise caution when scrambling. Never pop a dislocated back into position. However, in case of injuries, then use the following tips for treatment.

  1. Place a pad under the affected region on the leg.
  2. Tie the padding on the area afflicted with an injury.
  3. Ensure the wrap supports the ankle and keep it at the right angle.

Cuts and Scrapes

Prepping food and water in the wilderness result in cuts or scrapes on the body. This is because the case involves the use of sharp objects like bushcraft knife.

Flush the cut region with some amount of clean and fresh water. Place the gauze over the bleeding wound and apply firm pressure.

If the gauze gets soaked with blood, add more until the blood stop. Bandage the area to hold up the dressing. Ensure the affected area remain clean to avoid the occurrence of infection.


This is also a common injury in the wilderness, and it mainly occurs on the feet due to long hours of wearing bushcraft boots. In case you happen to experience such a scenario, then it is recommended to follow the treatment tips listed below:

  1. Clean the bubble-up with water and soap.
  2. Use a sterilized needle for popping a blister.
  3. Apply antibiotic ointment then bandage the region with moleskin. Cover it finally with duct tape.

Final Thoughts on Preventing and Treating Outdoor Injuries

I hope this comprehensive guide helped you understand the most common outdoor injuries and how to combat them if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email.

Spread the love

Leave a Comment