We’ve written recently about the essential bicycle tool kit to carry in route and about common cycling aches and pains and what to do about them, and now we would like to close our care and maintenance series for cyclists with this post. Here we will give you basic first aid tips and talk about the essential items that you should carry with you while cycling in order to be ready for any mishap.
As cyclists, we have to be aware that there’s a risk of suffering accidents that, even when relatively minor, require us to have some training in order to care for a fellow cyclist or even ourselves.
If the accident is more serious and unless we are a healthcare professional, the first thing to keep in mind is that our aim when applying first aid is to relieve the pain and anxiety of the injured person while the emergency teams arrive.
Essential first aid kit
Before actually getting to the steps to be followed, we are going to go over all the items we need to carry in our first aid kit, especially if we’re into road cycling or MTB. The most important and necessary tools are:
- Wound dressings.
- Velcro bandages.
- Ventilation mask.
- Clear tape.
- Sterile swabs.
- Wound closure strips.
- Needle and thread.
- Thermal blanket.
- With all this, we’d have everything needed to deal with practically any type of incident during a long ride.
First aid in cycling
Now let’s talk about some scenarios where first aid is needed and how we should proceed.
- The first thing to do is to keep calm and not move the victim, keeping him/her horizontal. If we absolutely must move them, it should be while keeping them stable.
- Help the victim remain calm throughout and try to avoid him/her seeing the injury.
- In case of dizziness, you can loosen his/her helmet, but NEVER take it off.
- You may do the same with their clothes, you can loosen them but not remove them.
- Ask for medical assistance, even if you think the injury is not severe. Only healthcare professionals should determine how to proceed.
- And remember, you must not give the victim any food or drink.
We must give the victim a quick examination to check if he/she is breathing, has pulse or is bleeding.
It’s important to keep in mind how to act in severe cases while waiting for the emergency services to arrive and let the professionals take care of the victim.
It’s not easy to identify broken bones, so the best we can do is assume that any injury in the limbs can be a bone fracture and help the injured person feel comfortable while waiting for the healthcare team to arrive.
It’s with flesh wounds where we can help the most. These are the three steps we should follow:
- Place the victim on the floor.
- Elevate the wound.
- Apply direct pressure.
Concussions can be caused by common accidents involving a blow to the head. They can even happen in simple falls, even at low speed. After hitting our head, we can suffer a concussion that in the worst cases will cause dizziness, loss of memory, headache… visiting medical facilities as soon as possible is recommended.
Shock is the body’s response to stress and its major symptoms are extreme cold, vomiting and shallow breathing. First, we must be sure that there is no damage to the spinal cord or the head. Then, we can place the victim in an upright position and help him/her elevate his/her feet slightly in order to ease the blood flow.
These are some of the most common mishaps that can occur when you go cycling often. Though we usually only get minor scratches, it is good to be aware of the steps we should follow to react properly in each case. If we’re involved in a more severe situation, such as a cardiac arrest, we encourage you to ask the American Heart Association for information about how to proceed.
We hope you never need this info!!!