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8 First Aid and Safety Tips For Runners

Running. It's a high energy, cardio based workout that helps your body in numerous ways. Some people run as exercise, some run for fun, some run for stress management, and others run professionally. Whatever your reason is, it is still best to know that injuries and accidents can happen along the way. Though not a contact sport, conditions, such as muscle cramps, a torn ligament, or a busted kneecap can quickly have you on the sidelines. 

What should you do to be prepared for the unexpected? Here, at Mountainside Medical Equipment, we offer a few safety and first aid tips that every runner should know, and products that they should carry with them. Whether you are running a couple of miles, or participating in a well-known marathon, these tips and products will help you be ready for any little mishap along the way.

8 Safety & First Aid Tips Runners Should Know

1. Clean Cuts, Scrapes, Gashes, Immediately

A simple misstep can lead to an open cut that can put a pause in your run. Although it may be tempting to push on, you should tend to the wound first. The best thing to do is to control and stop the bleeding first, then clean and protect the affected area. You can use something small and simple, such as pocket sized, antibacterial wipes to clean and disinfect the area immediately. When able, clean the area with hydrogen peroxide or warm, soapy water.

You'll want to keep the area moist, so be sure to use an antibiotic ointment, such as a small tube of Neosporin, or plain petroleum jelly to do so. If the wound is not bleeding, you can keep it exposed, but if it is, you'll want to keep it covered with a bandage until the bleeding stops or is better controlled. If you don't have any of those supplies available, researchers recommend using a T-shirt - especially if the wound is gushing. Tear off a piece of your shirt and tie it on the area for compression.

2. Leave Blisters Alone

As tempting as it may be to pop or cut a blister, it is best to leave it alone, as cutting it would increase the infection risk. Cleaning the blister is a good idea, but experts say not to use water because the combination of sweat and water has the increased potential to create more blisters. To speed up the healing, it is suggested to use blister pads or petroleum jelly.

3. Hydrate!

It can be easy to lose track of hydration, especially as the heat and humidity change. Regardless of the temperature or season, it is crucial to remain hydrated at all times - especially when performing physical tasks, such as running. Dehydration can quickly happen and cause lightheadedness, unconsciousness, confusion, and cramping. If you feel any of the symptoms of dehydration, doctors warn to stop running, rehydrate, and give yourself time to rest and reset.

To prevent dehydration, always carry salt or electrolyte tablets with you to add to your water bottle, or put them in before hand. Remember, some gel packets contain caffeine, which is also a diuretic, so it is best to avoid caffeinated packets.

4. Wear Sunscreen

Applying sunscreen before a run is a must in the summertime. However, if you happen to forget and end up with a not so friendly sunburn, the best move would be to get out of the direct sunlight. Find a way to properly cover up your skin, or seek some shade. If you do end up with a sunburn though, you can easily find relief with aloe, lidocaine, and other sunburn creams to cool your skin and treat the burn. Doctors do warn against using petroleum jelly, as this can trap the heat that your body is trying to release. This is also where proper hydration comes in to play because sunburns dramatically increase your risk for dehydration.

5. Stock Up On Supplies For Your Car

Realistically, it's impossible to carry every first aid product with you on your run, but be sure to keep an on the go, travel sized kit for your car. Having a cold compress, elastic bandage, antibiotic cream, hydrogen peroxide, blister pads, and more, can save you the hassle if you're unable to return home right away.

6. Never Run Alone

While running is therapeutic, and some enjoy doing it alone, running solo is never a great idea. In case of emergency, you need someone there to help. If you plan to run a more quiet and remote route, ask a friend to go along. If not, certain apps on some smartphones can actually be utilized for your friends or family members to keep track of you during your run.

7. Always Let Someone Know Your Plans

When running alone, it is always safe to share your specific plans. Let your family members or friends know your route, where you'll be running, and what time to expect you home.

8. Know When to Call 911

Carrying your phone with you is a necessity today. If you aren't feeling well when running, or feel as if you will lose consciousness, you should immediately seek medical attention. If you develop abnormal chest pain, difficulty breathing, or if your running partner experiences those symptoms, stop and call 911.

At Mountainside Medical Equipment, we have several products that are specifically designed for athletes of all kinds - including those who love running! Please visit our website at to see all of the various products made for runners, or feel free to call 1-888-687-4334 to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable medical supply specialists! And, don't forget to subscribe to our weekly emails! Be the first to know when new products arrive, and any coupons or savings that we have!  

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