Mon Tour du Mont Blanc

Injuries

Infections, internal and external bleeding, how to treat injuries in the mountains

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External hemorrhaging

Hemorrhaging/bleeding happens when tissues are damaged in a way that releases blood from its vessels. Hemorrhaging is considered external when blood fluids exit the body from an open wound.

External bleeding can be arterial or venous in nature.

The former is very dangerous because it involves the rapid loss of large quantities of blood, and can be recognized by the blood's bright red color and the fast speed of blood loss.

What to do:

  • Call for help;
  • Use two fingers to compress the artery upstream (closer to the heart) from the wound, apply a sterile gauze and tie it firmly to compress the bleeding area;
  • Do not use a tourniquet unless the bandage compress is ineffective and you know the proper procedure.

The latter case is signaled by the dark red color of the blood and the slower, less abundant blood loss.

What to do:

  • A tight bandage over the area of bleeding is usually sufficient.

Internal hemorrhaging

This happens when blood vessels deep inside the body are damaged and no blood exits from the body. It is usually fairly difficult to detect, unless the damage is near an organ that communicates with the outside (lungs, kidneys, stomach).

The most significant symptoms are:

  • Intense paleness;
  • Weak, rapid pulse;
  • Fainting sensation when you try to stand up;
  • In more serious cases, loss of consciousness.

Warning: these symptoms are also shared with other conditions, so call for help immediately if you suspect internal hemorrhaging because rapid intervention is critical.

Infections

This is about the penetration and multiplication of microorganisms (such as viruses or bacteria) into the human body, and can be caused by injuries when body tissues come into direct contact with infectious agents.

What to do:

  • Disinfect the wound with abundant quantities of disinfectant: oxygen peroxide (not painful - bubbling brings any tiny foreign bodies that may have penetrated the tissues to the surface), iodine tincture, boracic water, merbromin, povidone iodine... Avoid using alcohol, if possible, which is painful and poisonous to the tissues;
  • Cover the wound with sterile gauze and attach them securely.