Hiking First Aid
Some understanding of first aid is essential when you are camping or hiking. A good first aid kit is a must and some knowledge on what you might encounter out there can be very helpful.
Below is some useful information on a couple creatures you may come across whilst out camping or hiking through the bush.
Ticks are often found in bushland and rain forest and rain forest areas often frequented by campers and hikers and they can lodge onto your body as you traipse through these areas. Although rare, they can cause paralysis and sometimes death.
Paralysis is caused by neurotoxins in the saliva of the adult female tick and early symptoms, including limb weakness, unsteady gait and lethargy, can start several days after attachment. it is often a good idea to do a quick check of your head and body after you have been into the scrub.
To remove a tick you can kill it first with kerosene or insect repellent containing pyrethrins. Then use fine pointed tweezers to grasp the tick by the head as close to the skin as possible and gently pull the tick out. Avoid squeezing the body of the tick and it is very important not to just knock the body off but to get the head out as well.
The leech is another parasite found in damp and wet areas where hikers and campers may find themselves. The leech feeds on blood and attaches itself to the body by a suction action. The best way to remove a leech is with your fingernail to release the sucker seal.
I always used salt or a flame to remove them but apparently these can cause the leech to regurgitate its stomach content, which may cause disease. The leech will fall off itself after it has sucked enough blood to satisfy itself ( about 20 minutes).
After removal, the area should be cleaned and bandaged as bleeding may continue for some time due to the anticoagulant effect of the leeches secretions.