Hitting the highways and byways of the UK in your trusty motorhome is an experience that can’t be beaten. But whether you’re hiking along mountain trails or sitting around a campfire, medical emergencies can happen at any time.
From sprains and strains to sunburn and skin allergies, every year many thousands of people suffer injuries while enjoying the great outdoors.
So, having a well-stocked first aid kit could make the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major health problem. Acting quickly with the right care may even save a life, especially if you’re travelling in a remote location.
If you want to know what to pack in your motorhome first aid kit then read our handy guide. But providing emergency first aid is only part of how to prepare yourself for any eventuality.
Having the right insurance for a motorhome in place helps to protect you, your home on wheels and other road users, too.
Your motorhome first aid checklist
Basic supplies to get you started
Scratches, scrapes, bumps and cuts can happen at any time. And no matter how well prepared or tough you are, it’s important that no injury goes untreated.
When putting together your motorhome first aid kit you’ll need a range of basic supplies. Start off with thinking about how you’ll clean and treat wounds.
Remember, it’s also important you cover a wound so you don’t bump it and cause even more pain or infection. Pack the following basics as a minimum:
- Antiseptic wound cleaner
- Disinfectant wipes
- Saline solution
- Hand sanitiser
- Cold packs
- Eye wash
- Eye dressing/pad
- Sterile non-stick gauze pads
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
- Adhesive bandages of all sizes
- Cloth bandages to help support a sprain
- Gauze rolls (for hard-to-dress wounds)
- Heat pads
Medicines and creams for any eventuality
When you’re caught in a tricky situation far from home, don’t forget about these medications and ointments that could help save your trip.
- Antibiotic/antiseptic cream
- Calamine lotion
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Insect sting relief cream
- Insect repellent
- Anti-inflammatory pain relief such as Ibuprofen
- Anti-diarrhoea medication
- Rehydration sachets
- Sun cream (High factor)
- After sun
- Any prescription medication
- EpiPen (if advised by your medical practitioner)
Tools of the trade
Just like the basic tools you need to keep your motorhome maintained; you also need a few first aid kit accessories, too.
- Medical gloves
- Safety pins
- Pocket knife
- Foil emergency blanket
- Surgical scissors
- Surgical mask
- Small torch
This is a very simple breakdown of items anyone should carry in their motorhome first aid kit. If you’re taking part in riskier activities or going to more remote areas, it’s important to adjust your kit accordingly.
While there are lots of pre-made kits available on the market you must make sure whichever you choose is suitable for the task.
If you plan on putting together your own bespoke first aid kit, it’s important you use a protective container that’s watertight and has a strong securable lid.
Also make sure your tools, bandages, and medications are in good condition, clean, sharp, and dry. As part of your regular pre-trip checks it’s worth checking expiration dates and replacing items as required.
Where should you keep a motorhome first aid kit?
No matter how good your kit is, in an emergency it needs to be in a prominent, easily accessible location in your motorhome where it can be retrieved promptly.
Make sure everyone on board knows where the first aid kit is located. That way, if there’s an emergency, any member of your group can get to it quickly.
While you’ll keep your main first aid kit back at the motorhome, it’s also useful to take a smaller version with you wherever you go.
This small, light pack will contain items like antiseptic wipes, plasters, and gauze. They can be a true lifesaver if you find yourself injured and far away from the campsite.
How to use a first aid kit
Equally, there’s no point having a kit that’s full to bursting if you don’t know how and when to use it.
As well as getting to know basic first aid techniques, you also need to understand the correct role each item plays in effective medical treatment.
It’s well worth finding out more about basic first aid and learning about first aid courses. There’s bound to be a training centre near you, or even on-site training at your workplace or home.
Undertaking certified first aid training is a great way to keep your trip on track, but so is having motorhome insurance.
Basic first aid procedures
When out and about in your motorhome there will be many situations where basic first aid can be vital.
Here we take you through some of the most common accidents and emergencies you might come across and give you the basic tools on how to help.
Even this beginner level of knowledge could make the difference between life and death or help prevent further injury. But remember, whatever the emergency, always make sure the area is safe before giving first aid.
Allergies and rashes
When you’re touring in your motorhome, you’ll probably be spending more time outdoors than ever before. However, this can leave you and your skin vulnerable to a wide variety of irritations.
From rashes caused by allergic reactions, to the sun itself, it’s important to protect your skin while touring.
As well as practising good sun safety it’s also wise to avoid exposure to toxic plants like giant hogweed.
If you do develop any kind of rash, wash it thoroughly and change into a clean pair of clothes. Taking an antihistamine tablet is a good way to get relief from mild allergic reactions such as hay fever.
Some allergic reactions can be severe, particularly after an insect sting or exposure to food allergens such as nuts. A life-threatening situation can quickly develop if someone suffers anaphylaxis.
Call for an ambulance immediately if you believe someone is experiencing this. A person who is susceptible to severe allergic reactions might carry an Epi-Pen or other medication.
Cuts while camping are very common. But if you’ve followed our first-aid packing list, you should have everything you need to treat any minor cut or wound. For such injuries your main concern is to keep the wound clean to avoid infection.
If the casualty is bleeding heavily then you’ll need to call an ambulance as soon as possible.
After checking there’s nothing embedded in the wound, apply pressure until the bleeding stops. Use a clean bandage to dress the wound and wait for help.
From campfire flare ups and stove accidents to scalds from boiling water spilled during cooking, burns can happen in many different ways. The NHS advises you do the following:
- Stop the burning process.
- Remove clothing or jewellery near the burnt area (unless it’s stuck to the skin).
- Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm water.
- Be careful not to chill the casualty. Never use ice or iced water.
- Clean and dress the burn.
- Manage the pain with ibuprofen or paracetamol. Keep the patient well hydrated.
- Seek further medical treatment.
Sprains or broken bones
Strenuous activities like mountain biking, hiking or swimming, can often lead to sprains and strains. In your first-aid kit, you should have various bandages as well as medical tape, so you can treat these kinds of injuries.
To bring down swelling and support the injury follow the four steps known as RICE therapy:
- Rest – Don’t put any weight on the injury.
- Ice – Apply an ice pack to the area for up to 20 minutes every two to three hours.
- Compression – Use a bandage to support the injury.
- Elevate – Raise the injury as much as possible.
If you think someone has broken a bone, advise them to keep still and support the injured part to stop it from moving. St John Ambulance advises people to call 999 or 112 for emergency help.
Unless they’re in immediate danger, don’t move the casualty until the injured part is secured. You can secure an upper limb fracture with a sling and a lower limb fracture with broad fold bandages.
It goes without saying that you should not try to drive or move your motorhome with a suspected broken bone.
Choking is dealt with in different ways depending on whether it’s mild or severe.
Mild choking is when the airway is partly blocked but they can still speak, cough, or breathe.
If this happens the blockage can usually be cleared by the person coughing. If that doesn’t work, then try hitting them on the back to dislodge the obstruction.
Severe choking is when the airway is totally blocked and they can’t speak, cough, or breathe. This is an emergency, so do the following:
- Stand behind and slightly to one side of the casualty. Support their chest with one hand and lean them slightly forward.
- With the heel of your hand give up to five sharp blows between their shoulder blades.
If the obstruction remains then you might need to give up to five abdominal thrusts using the following technique:
- Stand behind the casualty, place your arms around their waist and bend them forward.
- Clench one fist and place it just above the person’s belly button.
- Place your other hand on top of the fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards.
- Repeat up to five times.
If the blockage isn’t cleared then call an ambulance. Continue back blows and abdominal thrusts until help arrives.
Being outdoors, particularly in hot weather, can lead to dehydration. If left untreated, this can develop into a more serious condition. If you think someone is suffering from dehydration then do the following:
- Give them plenty of water or a rehydration sachet to replace any salt or minerals lost.
- Encourage them to rest. Help them to stretch and massage any cramped muscles.
- Seek medical advice if they don’t improve.
Depending on the time of year and location, insect bites can be extremely annoying. However, they can also become more serious if left untreated. The NHS advice is as follows:
- Remove the sting, tick or hairs if still attached to the skin.
- Wash the area with soap and clean water.
- Apply a cold compress or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
- Elevate the area if possible.
- Avoid scratching or bursting any blisters.
Call an ambulance immediately if you spot symptoms of a severe reaction, such as:
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Swollen face, mouth or throat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Elevated heart rate
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of consciousness
While camping in the UK isn’t a dangerous activity, poisoning can occur if someone accidentally swallows a toxic substance, or eats poisonous wild plants or fungi.
If you suspect poisoning then call 999 immediately. While waiting for an ambulance to arrive remember the following:
- Try to find out what has caused the poisoning.
- Don’t let the person eat or drink.
- Don’t try to make them sick.
- Stay with them.
- If they become unconscious, check for breathing and, if necessary, perform hands-only CPR.
Hands-only CPR is simple to learn and easy to remember. An excellent starting point is to watch this video from the British Heart Foundation featuring ex-footballer Vinnie Jones!
Motorhome insurance through Motorhome Protect
Life on the open road can be perilous if you don't have your trusty motorhome to keep you safe and warm. So, whatever the risks, the caring team at Motorhome Protect will do their best to protect you and your precious vehicle.
Motorhome insurance arranged through us can come with a number of benefits including:
- Unlimited cover across all countries that are part of the EU
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- Discounts for club members
Protect your home on wheels by getting a quick quote for motorhome insurance today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.