Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is used to return someone to normal breathing. Formal CPR training is much better, but here are some tips in the meantime that may help if an emergency occurs while hiking.
First, immediately call 911 or the local emergency rescue team if you can. Yell out loudly for a trained medical specialist or physician who may be on a nearby trail or lodging. If it is necessary, especially if the person is turning a bluish color, there are several things to consider and check.
Consider how the problem happened. If they were swimming in cold water, they may simply need warmed up. A sunny climate will not suffice in those situations. Now, if they went under the water and were pulled out, try putting them on the stomach and remove the water by short, modest compressions on the diaphragm located below the chest just above the stomach.
Place them on their back, hold their nose and breathe into their mouth while watching for any chest expansion. Then, stop and tilt the body allowing the water to exit the body. Repeat this, giving two breaths of two seconds in length. If this does not work, try chest compressions by pushing down firmly right above the diaphragm along the sternum.
Secondly, the Heimlich maneuver is used to remove foreign objects such as food from air passages interfering with breathing. Do not slap the person on the chest as this will cause the object to lodge even deeper in the throat.
Rather, stand them up, move behind them and grasp your wrist with your opposite hand so that the bone at the base of your thumb is against their body. Make a short, firm jerk inward against their diaphragm watching for the object to dislodge. You may have to repeat this several times, but be sure to press against the diaphragm only and not the rib cage.
Finally, fractures can range from a simple toe break to a painful, compound fracture. The most serious fracture is a compound fracture when the bone is protruding from the skin leaving the additional threat of infection. Apply sterile gauze to cover the wound. A splint should be used to keep the limb straight and immobilized, whether it is a straight stick or walking pole. Secure the limb with medical tape or a thin vine if none is available.
Do not try to straighten the fracture yourself, and be careful not to completely shut off the blood flow to the leg to avoid gangrene.
If goes without saying that in all of these situations you want to get professional help as soon as possible. Nearby lodging is a good place to start, if available. But, never continue to hike!
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Article Added on Wednesday, September 19, 2007
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