How to save a life when travelling. Travel can be dangerous, especially if an emergency occurs and there is no suitable medical infrastructure or resources available. If this happens, you need to be prepared and use your individual first aid kit ( IFAK). Your IFAK can be small and compact but needs to be more comprehensive than a few basic first aid items often carried by travellers.
What should you pack? The contents of your IFAK should reflect the nature of the environment you are travelling to and your anticipated medical risks. To help you prioritize, use this acronym: MARCH.
M= multiple hemorrhaging.
- Bleeding to death can occur in seconds unless treated promptly. Carry two CAT tourniquets, an Israeli bandage (T3) and Quikclot.
- Always ensure that the patient’s airway is clear and they can breathe. Carry two pairs of nitrile gloves and trauma scissors to remove restrictive clothing. Use Artificial Respiration (AR) by lying the patient on their back. Tilt their head back, raise the chin, pinch the nostrils and breath into their mouth. Carry a nasopharyngeal airway device (NPA) to protect yourself when performing AR.
- Make sure that the patient’s heart is beating. This ensures that oxygenated blood is reaching the brain and other organs.
- Ensure that the patient’s heart is beating and oxygen is being delivered throughout the body. If the patient is not breathing, start chest compressions. Perform this CPR until the patient can start breathing naturally. Carry two chest seals and some duct tape.
- Wind, cold, wetness and tiredness cause hypothermia. Move the patient into shelter, remove wet clothing and wrap them in an emergency blanket.
You can supplement the above emergency first aid items with medication to counter pain, diarrhea and nausea. Also, carry some rehydrate to replace electrolytes and bandages with an antiseptic for dressing minor cuts.
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