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What to do when a member of the team gets injured/becomes unwell while trekking

Trekking is becoming increasingly popular in India. But during trekking, the team-members may get injured may suffer from any medical condition. In this article, the author discusses how to tackle such problems. Read on to know the details.

Trekking is becoming more and more popular in India also.Trekking can be defined as a form of walking, undertaken with the specific purpose of exploring and enjoying the scenery. It usually takes place on trails in areas of relatively unspoiled wilderness. In India, trekking is done mainly in the middle and lower ranges of the Himalayas. Sometime, people also trek along a river in the jungle. But there are several instances when members of the trekking team get injured or become unwell during the trek. This article discusses how the trekking team members would tackle such situations.

Before the trekking: Proper planning is necessary

If the trekking team wants the expedition to be a grand success, it must plan in a proper manner. Not only finalizing the trekking route, the team must know the locations of big cities near the trekking route, hospitals and nursing homes. The trekking team must plan beforehand the equipment to be carried. The team leader must ensure that the team carries first-aid kits with sufficient medicine, tourniquet, bandage, etc. The team should also carry ORS and arrange to purchase mineral water bottle just before commencing the trek. It would be excellent if a qualified doctor is included in the team. If any doctor is not a member of the team, at least some members of the trekking must have good knowledge of giving first-aid and also about essential medicines. Proper planning in respect of medical emergencies definitely plays a major role in the success of trekking expeditions.

Major injuries/problems which occur during trekking

The members of a trekking group generally face the following common problems:-
  • Blisters : It is the most common occurrence. Blisters can be painful and if not treated properly, may cause a serious problem
  • Knee pain : This is another common problem among the trekkers. Carrying loads and getting dis balanced on the uneven road may cause injury to the knees. I some cases, the injury may be serious requiring proper medical attention.
  • Shoulder pain : Shoulder pain among the trekkers is due to carrying a heavy load for long periods. Most of the time, this is not serious and sleeping in proper posture with medication subsides.
  • Back pain : This is also a common problem among trekkers caused by carrying a heavy load and walking for long hours
  • Sprain : It is another very common occurrence among the trekkers. The sprain can be painful and hamper the movement.
  • Bee stings or insect bites : This situation occurs when the trekkers move through a jungle. In some cases, this becomes serious.
  • Dehydration : This problem is also frequent among trekkers. Long and exhaustive walk and rationing of water may cause the problem of dehydration.

Treatment and first-aid

Before commencing the trekking, the trekkers may use med-tapes to prevent blisters. But if the blister occurs during the trek, using proper ointment is necessary. To prevent blisters, proper trekking shoes are a must. For knee pain, shoulder pain and back pain, massaging with balms gives immediate relief. But if there is a knee injury, antiseptic must be applied. In case of serious injury, the injured member may require to be hospitalized. In case of a sprain, applying balm and bandage provides necessary relief. In case of bee stings and insect bites, the stings are required to be removed. Use of pain relievers, cold pack, anti-itching cream and antihistamines will give relief to the affected trekker(s). In case of dehydration, plenty of water and ORS is required to be taken.

Final words

Before trekking, proper planning and carrying first-aid boxes and kits are absolutely necessary. Proper and timely first-aid solves 99% of the common problems and injuries suffered by the trekkers. But in case of serious problems where medical attention is required, medical help must be sought. In such emergency cases, nearest army/armed forces' camps can provide necessary assistance. So, before the commencement of trekking, gathering information about army camps in the vicinity would be useful.

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