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ASK THE HIGHLAND DOC: What do I need to pack in my first aid kit for hill walks?

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Hillwalking is good for health but pack a first aid kit.
Hillwalking is good for health but pack a first aid kit.

Q. I’m planning some hillwalks in the next few months. What do I need to pack in my first aid kit?

A. Knowledge of first aid is a valuable skill for anyone heading out into the hills and mountains, where they may well be a long way from professional help.

Some important items include a tick hook, duct tape, triangular bandage, a wound dressing, a crepe bandage, a roll of general purpose medical tape, and a selection of plasters and/or Compeed-style blister plasters.

You should also include scissors or a knife, a few pairs of rubber or plastic gloves, and pain killers – although if you are at all unsure about administering pain killers, you should not.

Hillwalking can be a great activity for mental and physical health, however, it is absolutely essential that you take steps to prepare for possible accidents and it’s vital that you think carefully about whether it is safe for you to set out.

Accidents when hillwalking can quickly turn serious and advice is not to take on hillwalks during the winter months where conditions are much more dangerous.

Q. I read something about chilblains and cold weather. Can you advise me what they are and how I can prevent them?

A. Chilblains are small, itchy swellings on the skin that occur as a reaction to cold temperatures.

They most often affect the body’s extremities, such as toes, fingers, heels, ears and nose. They typically cause a burning and itching sensation, which can become more intense if you go into a warm room. If you’re susceptible, reduce your risk by limiting exposure to the cold and looking after your feet.

Try to keep active in the cold to improve circulation.

If your skin gets cold, it’s important to warm it gradually. Heating it too quickly, such as placing feet in hot water, is one of the main causes.

Search ‘chilblains’ on NHSinform.scot for details.

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