Camping 101: First Aid Tips and Tricks

Whether you're taking a morning hike, heading out for a weeklong camping trip or pitching a backyard tent, you need to be prepared. Here's how:

Prepare a basic first aid kit.

The first step to prepare for a camping trip is packing a first aid kit with basic medical supplies. This will provide temporary solutions in case an injury occurs.

Your kit should include:

  • Elastic bandage and butterfly bandages
  • Gauze, gauze pads and adhesive tape
  • Scissors 
  • Nail clippers
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Personal medications
  • Tweezers
  • Aspirin or ibuprofen
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Antihistamine 
  • Insect repellant 
  • Sunscreen 

Only eat foods that are safe to consume.

It’s certainly easier to bring your own food than to rely on your expert hunting and fishing skills — but either way, you need to be sure your food is safe before you eat it. 

So, always:

  • Keep all food items sealed tight in plastic bags or containers.
  • Separate raw items from cooked items to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Cook foods to proper temperatures.
  • Remember to wash your hands and sanitize often.

For more information, refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Don’t let the bugs bite.

The great outdoors will have bugs. Lots of them. Research the area where you'll be camping in before you go to find out what types of bugs and animals usually reside there.  

To prevent insect bites:

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET and apply to your skin according to the directions on the bottle.
  • Reapply often.
  • Wear light-colored clothing, closed-toe shoes, long sleeves and pants to stop ticks from biting. 
  • Tuck your pants into your socks to limit exposure.
  • If you get bitten by mosquitos and suspect to have Zika Virus, know the facts of the disease.

Protect yourself from the sun.

Hats and broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF will help to prevent sun damage while you're on your adventure. And because you'll likely be sweating a lot, it’s better to bring waterproof sunscreen and reapply often. 

Wearing proper sun protection on your camping trip can greatly reduce your risk of getting skin cancer later. For more information on skin cancer, specifically melanoma, check out our recent blog post.  

Be aware of poisonous plants.

Poison sumac

Poison sumac

Depending on where you’re hiking or camping, you may come into contact with many types of dangerous plants.  

It’s important to know which plants are safe to touch and which plants you should stay away from. 

Poison sumac grows as a shrub or small tree and is easy to spot.

Poison ivy

Poison ivy


Poison oak and ivy grow in groups of three and contain the same oil in the sap that causes itching, irritation and burning when it comes in contact with skin.     

A visible difference between poison ivy and poison oak is the sharpness of the edges of the leaves — poison oak has much more rounded edges.  

Poison oak

Poison oak


 If you come in contact with any of these plants, change your clothes and wash your body as soon as possible to get rid of the oils that can spread to your fellow campers.

If you’re in need of medical attention or a checkup, Patient Plus will be happy to treat you when you return. (Contact with poisonous plants rarely requires emergency care.)

Be careful on your camping adventure and have fun!

Patient Plus Urgent Care – Get in, Get better.

When you’re sick or injured, whether routine or urgent, quality medical care should be easy to find and available when you need it. That’s the idea behind Patient Plus Urgent Care, with convenient locations in Mid City, Bocage and, coming soon, Southdowns.

Patient Plus treats most common illnesses and injuries — the sniffles, rashes, fevers, aches, breaks and other conditions that deserve prompt treatment, but aren’t serious enough to require a trip to the nearest emergency room. The clinics provide complete diagnostic services, including X-rays, EKGs and flu and strep tests. Other services include physicals, vaccinations and more. Patient Plus clinics are open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and patients never need to call first or make an appointment.