Medical Emergencies while Camping – Are You Prepared?

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Are You Prepared?

Medical Emergencies while Camping – Are You Prepared?

I recently had a pretty scary thing happen to me and it got me thinking about medical emergencies while away from home. Granted, we have been here in Charleston for a few months, but neither of us has needed an emergency room or even a doctor for that matter. So when I found myself facing a rather serious medical emergency, I realized that I was ill prepared to manage it. I didn’t even know where the nearest emergency room was.

Here’s the kicker: I have had all my certifications for CPR (adult, child, and infant), AED, O2, and First Aid since I was a teenager. I have helped people in accidents, performed CPR on several people, including my own child, and dealt with various kid emergencies when my children were growing up.

There I was. I was in my camper and my blood pressure began spiking. I haven’t had blood pressure issues in years, but I had been dealing with a lot and the stress was catching up with me. A friend happened to text me while I was looking for an ER and told me of a facility that was only six minutes away.

When I got to the ER my blood pressure was 225/130. There was quite the flurry of activity and I had to stay in the hospital for tests. It was not fun.

So these are my tips for managing a medical emergency while camping.

Have a copy of your medical records or access to them.
Now that many hospitals and doctors are going to electronic health records (EHRs), patients have access to at least a portion of their medical records like tests, general stats, and doctor notes. Either keep a copy handy (especially if you have any health issues) or know how to access your EHR online.

Learn CPR and First Aid
Even if you aren’t camping, everyone should know CPR and at least basic first aid. Check with your local hospital, college, Red Cross, or YMCA for certification classes. It is well worth it and could save a life.

Get a First Aid Book
A good reference book on First Aid is something you should have in your RV or home all the time. The American Red Cross has a good one, or there is the Living Ready Pocket Manual First Aid.

Get a First Aid Kit
You should have a good first aid kit in your RV. Many that are ready made have the basics, but make sure that you add other essentials that your kit may be lacking, like eye wash, flashlight, and Pedialyte (for dehydration).

Read: Putting Together your RV First Aid Kit

Don’t Hit the Trail Alone
If you go hiking, make sure that you don’t go out alone. If something happens it helps having someone there to help you – and go get help if necessary.

Read: Basic First Aid Techniques for Safety in the Wild

Let Someone know where you will Be
If you are going hiking or camping on the trail, leave an itinerary with someone you trust. Outline your plans including the route, your destination, and the time you plan to return. That way, if something happens and you don’t return, people will know where and when to look for you.

Carry Extra Medication
If you are on medication for any reason, make sure you carry extra with you. If something happens while you are at a campground you may not have access to your doctor or have the ability to get a prescription filled when you need it. If you require an epi-pen, carry a couple in your RV, just in case.

Make sure Others in your Party know of any Medical Issues
If you have any medical issues, make sure that the people you are traveling with, hiking with, or camping with know about it and know what to do should something happen. If someone in your party has any medical needs, familiarize yourself with them so you can help if something happens.

Find the Nearest Emergency Room before you Need It
When you get to a new campground or camping spot, do a search and locate the nearest emergency room. Drive the route so that you are familiar with it. That way, if something happens and waiting for the ambulance is not an option you can drive to the hospital with some degree of comfort.

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Stephanie A. Mayberry


Stephanie A. Mayberry

Stephanie A. Mayberry escaped the hustle and bustle of city life in Washington, D.C. where she worked as an analyst, FOIA officer, and technical writer for the U.S. federal government to pursue her first love, freelance writing, full time. She has been a writer, author, public speaker, and photographer for more than 25 years; now she, her husband, and little dog Gizmo enjoy the laid back lifestyle as RV full-timers going wherever the wind takes them. Learn more about Stephanie at