Why You Need a Waterproof First Aid Kit
Summer is right around the corner, and that means all the seafarers, beach bums, and water sport enthusiasts will be taking to the water soon. But before you set sail, are you prepared for the dangers that can lurk amongst the tranquil waves?
Common Water Injuries & How to Treat Them
No one wants to water ski only to end up colliding with a tree stump like a tragic Looney Toons character, but it's not impossible. When you or your friends are as unlucky as Daffy Duck, you need to know what to do!
For all these injuries, you first remove the patient from the water and pull them into the boat. From here, steps vary depending on the extent of the damage.
While all injuries aren't fun, this one is particularly unenjoyable. ACL injuries are a tear or sprain in the ligament that connects your shin and thigh bones. In short, your knee will hurt a lot, and you might be walking like a peg-legged pirate for a while. ACL injury symptoms include hearing a pop from your knee when it's initially injured, severe pain, swelling, unable to stand or walk on the injured leg.
There are two main types of ACL injuries: torn and sprained. For both of these, you'll want to see a doctor for treatment options, and you might need surgery. Other treatment options include limiting activity, ice, compression bandages, and crutches.
Everyone's dealt with their fair share of bruises, but larger, more painful contusions can quickly swell up. To keep the swelling under control, use hot and cold compression and elevate the area.
Concussions + Other Head & Neck Injuries
Millions of people a year suffer from brain, head, and neck injuries. In water sports, concussions and whiplash are the most common. If someone has taken a hard tumble and you suspect a concussion, whether or not the victim has fallen unconscious or not, watch for these symptoms:
- Memory Loss
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Slurred Speech
Whiplash occurs when the neck is rapidly propelled in one direction. While it is most common from motor accidents, you can easily get it in watersport wipeouts or by tripping on the beach (it happens, and it's embarrassing). Regardless of how you sustained this injury, treatment depends on how bad the damage is. Whiplash symptoms include:
- Concussions (Exactly what you wanted to hear!)
- Memory or Concentration Loss
- Neck Pain & Stiffness
- Possible Numbness (Mainly in arms)
- Shoulder Pain
- Sleep Problems
Pain from minor whiplash will be manageable, and you won't have a concussion, memory loss, or numbness. You can treat this with pain meds, cold/heat packs, gently stretching the area occasionally, and avoiding overworking the injury. See a doctor for treatment if you have memory loss, numbness, or excruciating or long-lasting pain. The reason depression is on the list is patients who suffer from chronic pain, including that caused by whiplash, often develop depression. However, this varies from case to case, so it isn't a definitive sign of whiplash. Rather, it's a side effect of the injury.
If you suspect Davey Jones is trying to stuff your friend in his locker, immediately call 911 so a professional can treat them.
Cuts & Lacerations
No matter what body of water you visit, there will be potentially hazardous natural and manmade material floating on the surface and chilling on the bottom. Consequently, you may end up with a nasty-looking cut. Minor cuts must be disinfected, covered, and kept out of the water. Deeper or longer cuts may need butterfly bandages to keep them shut. Lastly, large lacerations may need stitches, which should be put in by a professional.
Muscle Strains & Sprains
Strains and sprains are pretty much the same. The only difference is that they affect the tissue that connects different things. A strain is an injury between a muscle that connects to the bone, and a sprain is an injury to tissue connecting two bones. Treatment for both of these includes rest, elevating the wounded area, ice, and pain medication. They will generally heal within two to four weeks if you don't worsen the injury.
You can get hurt in more places than just around water. If you’re worried about getting hurt at work, read our common workplace injuries blog!
Water Injury Prevention
If at all possible, we'd all like to avoid an injury cutting into our free time. And lucky for you, there are some things you can do to prevent injuries!
General Water Safety & Preparation
Most kids dive into a pool that blatantly says "do not dive" at least once in their lives. You shouldn't dive headfirst into a natural body of water unless you're absolutely positive it's deep enough and you won't careen right into a sunken truck. You never know what's in the water!
Another good rule of thumb is to never swim alone. You could get caught in a riptide, your boat could sink, a shark could suddenly find you very appetizing, or you could be forgetful and forget where you parked your car. Anything's possible, and it's not uncommon for people to become paralyzed from diving head first.
This may seem obvious, but just in case, please swim sober. I won't point fingers, but some people make very dumb decisions when they're under the influence.
No self-respecting sea dog would set sail without his anchor, so why would you leave home without the necessities? Plenty of water, sunblock, and food is required for the perfect day trip. On top of that, a waterproof first aid kit should be included in your list of necessities juuuuuust in case someone does get injured.
Check the weather forecast and water quality before you arrive. Even on the sunniest days, a storm could appear out of nowhere, lightning could strike, or it could be 107 degrees, and you didn't have enough sunscreen to keep yourself from getting chicken fried. Poor water quality may not physically injure you, but it can get you sick!
Dehydration can impede your performance in several ways. One of the most noticeable effects is having a headache, but a lot more can happen. For example, it can negatively impact your body's thermal regulation, your blood becomes more concentrated and has to work harder to pump it, and your muscles are more likely to cramp, sprain, strain, and tear!
You rarely notice how much you sweat when in the water. Be sure to take a break and grab a drink every once in a while, especially in the heat.
Know Your Limits
If you know that you've recently injured your shoulder, don't try to butterfly stroke a mile. You will regret it. Along the same lines, if you know you have trouble with one thing or another, don't stubbornly try to do it. You can, by all means, work up to something, and you shouldn't limit your goals, but overdoing it is a great way to get yourself hurt.
Know What's in the Water
Nature is a beautiful thing! But sometimes, it's a little sketchy. Before getting into the water, make sure you know what's in it. Wildlife, for one, can sneak up on you. Big ol' buggers like sharks, alligators, and large fish are more obvious, but you also need to be cautious of the little guys. Algae blooms, parasites, and even tiny jellyfish and crabs can make your life miserable. I would especially be careful of baby crabs unless you want them inside your swimsuit. Ten out of ten don't recommend.
Helmets aren't just for bikes, people! As if it wasn't hard enough to get people to wear helmets on land, it's even harder to convince people to wear them in the water! Helmets' only job is to protect your noggin, so let it do its job!
Whether kayaking, floating, or wakeboarding, you must wear a lifejacket! We recommend wearing a lifejacket whenever you're on, in, or around water. However, since many will think it's overkill, at least wear a lifejacket when you're in water you can't stand up in, on a water vehicle, participating in a water sport, or near water alone.
Water sports are the same as any other sport and strain your body. To reduce the risk of pulling something, warm up properly before doing anything crazy. Do light stretches such as lunges, arm circles, and calf stretches before wetting your feet.
Try New Things Safely
One of the biggest mistakes of my life was thinking, "I can do that," and then proceeding to break my front tooth in half…on black Friday when all the dentists were closed. Don't be like me! It's essential to consider your limits and take things slowly. Especially if you've never done anything like it before. If you hop onto a jet ski for the first time, don't full send it. Give yourself a chance to get comfortable with it before you go x games mode.
Why You Need a Waterproof First Aid Kit
Capsizing isn't uncommon in kayaks, canoes, jet skis, and other small seacrafts. Unfortunately, this means everything you have on or inside your vessel falls out along with you. Commonly lost items include phones, food, and first aid kits. A waterproof first aid kit that floats will majorly decrease your likelihood of losing it or ruining the contents when your belongings decide to take a dip.
Even if your kit doesn't disappear, the water can ruin some of your supplies. Gauze will no longer be sterile, bandages can lose their stickiness, and metal items like shears could rust.
Depending on the size and contents of your first aid kit, it can be challenging to dry out soggy kits completely. And depending on the type of water, your first aid kit can be swamped with salt, sand, or other unsavory particles. As a result, microscopic bacteria, organisms, and tiny pests could flood in and die, or worse, thrive. In addition, if your kit is waterlogged for an extended period, mold could grow inside. Besides being gross, it further contaminates your supplies and eats away at previously secure packaging.
Where You Need It
No matter the job, you need the right tools. A waterproof first aid kit is incredibly important for various situations. Here are some situations and places where you’d need one:
- If you have a toddler with a really good arm
- Onboard all water-worthy vessel
- Lounging on the beach
- Off-roading in wet environments
- The apocalypse - It may involve flooding
- Any outdoor adventure. You never know what may happen!