Guest Post: The Importance of First Aid on Vacation

A vacation should be relaxing, fun and even exciting and yet all too often this long awaited treat is ruined by an accident or a mishap. Some essential first aid training may well allow someone to proficiently patch up the casualty and, at best, might help save someone’s life.

First Aid training

In order to be prepared for any accidents that might occur when on vacation it’s a good idea to take a short course in first aid training before going away for that break. These courses will act as a useful guideline should a traveling companion become ill and need medical aid. The first lesson to remember is that if someone has had a serious accident, it is important to place him or her in the recovery position and then summon help. A good first aid training course will teach students how to deal with this situation. Health and safety training in the workplace, will equip the traveler with the basic procedures to be used in case of an accident. Schools, local healthcare providers and also the US National Library of Medicine also provide very useful advice about emergency medicine.

 Pre-existing conditions

If a traveler has a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes, asthma or a heart condition, ensure that all are aware of the situation. All the major health charities will advise that a card is carried by such individuals, giving useful advice for anyone trying to assist in an emergency. Anyone that is suffering from these conditions should always carry, spare insulin, asthma pumps and emergency heart medication at all times. If the patient does not appear to have recovered after application of emergency procedures then local healthcare services should be contacted.

First Aid kits

 The specialists at The Mayo Clinic suggest that in some instances a first aid kit can save a life. A few of the essentials that they advise are carried in this kit are common sense but might be forgotten in the packing drama that usually takes place before leaving for vacation. Among the list of essentials are; bandages, elastic wrap, cotton wool, cold packs, adhesive tape, scissors and tweezers, though if traveling through an airport make sure that the latter are clearly labeled and packed securely. Aspirins should never be given to children, and a general rule of thumb with a high fever in a child is to contact the local doctor or hospital. Bites can usually be treated with calamine lotion.

The official line is that only someone who has been trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) should attempt this procedure on a collapsed or injured patient. If it is a situation where no such trained person is available and the patient’s life is in danger then you should try to resuscitate anyway. If you take no action the patient may well die and you will never know if an attempt at resuscitation might have succeeded or not. But be aware that it is not as easy as it looks on the TV: it can be very physically demanding.


 The carefree sense of adventure that often accompanies a successful vacation can often lead to accidents. If someone cuts himself or herself and the bleeding looks serious it’s essential to stop the loss of blood. Even just tearing off a strip of clothing and applying pressure to the wound can help in this instance. After the blood flow has ceased then clean the wound, and unless the wound needs stitching, apply Band-Aid. If the accident is more serious and a limb might have been broken it is important never to move the patient, they can be far better helped by a reassuring voice telling them that help is on the way.

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