Basic First Aid
Accidents happen. Do you know how to properly care for a wound?

 

Here are some tips for dealing with different emergency conditions:

 

Burns

 

  • Never put butter or greasy ointments on a burn. They seal heat into the wound and may cause infection.
  • Always seek medical attention if ...
    • Victim is a child or elderly
    • Burn covers more than one body part
    • Burn is located on any sensitive area of the body (hands, face, feet, etc.)
    • Burn is third degree
    • Burn is caused by chemicals

Cuts

  • Cleanse area thoroughly with soap and warm water, carefully washing away any dirt.
  • Apply direct pressure to wound until bleeding stops.
  • Put sterile bandage on wound.
  • If cut is deep, get to a doctor as quickly as possible.

Abrasions

  • Wash thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • If it bleeds or oozes, bandage it to protect it from infection.

 

Signs of an infected wound:
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Presence of pus

 

Fainting

Before losing consciousness, the victim may complain of...
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Pale and clammy skin

 

If a person begins to feel faint, he should...
  • Lean forward
  • Lower head toward knees; as the head is lowered below the heart, blood will flow to the brain.

 

If someone becomes unconscious, put them in the recovery position:

 

  • Keep the victim lying down with head lowered and legs elevated
  • Loosen any tight clothing
  • Apply cool, damp cloths to face and neck
  • In most cases, the victim will regain consciousness shortly after being placed in this position.
  • After the victim regains consciousness, do not let him get up until you have questioned him (Who are you?, Where are you?, Do you know what day it is?) to be sure he has completely recovered.

 

Frostbite

  • Take the victim indoors, if possible
  • Remove any wet clothing he/she may have on
  • Immerse the frostbitten parts in warm (not hot) water until they regain their pink color. If warm water is not available, wrap the affected parts gently in a sheet and warm blankets and keep the parts elevated.
  • Do not rub or massage the frostbitten area. This could cause gangrene(decay of body tissue when the oxygen supply is obstructed) to set in.
  • Do not try to warm the victim with a heat lamp or hot water bottle or place him near a hot stove. This could also cause gangrene.
  • Do not break any blisters the victim may have because the blisters may become infected.
  • If the victim is conscious and is not vomiting, give him warm liquids to drink to help the warming process.
  • After the frostbitten parts are warmed, have the victim exercise them to maintain good circulation in those areas.
  • If the victim's toes or feet are frostbitten, do not let them walk until they are warm. Walking could cause gangrene just as rubbing can.
  • A doctor should be seen as soon as possible to make sure the parts heal properly.

 

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac

Signs:
  • Rash
  • Blistering
  • Swelling
  • Burning
  • Itching

 

Treatment:
  • Remove any contaminated clothing.
  • Wash the affected area of skin thoroughly with soap and cool water to remove any poisonous residue. Be sure the water used to clean the area does not spread poison by running over other parts of your body. Using a washcloth could also spread the poison.
  • Rinse the area with rubbing alcohol.
  • Apply calamine lotion to the area to relieve itching and burning.
  • If the victim develops a fever for several days or experiences an excessive amount of inflammation, irritation, oozing, or itching, he/she should be treated by a doctor.

Sprains/Strains

Signs of a Strain:
  • Affected joint begins to swell immediately
  • Joint may also turn black and blue due to the escaped blood from torn blood vessels
  • Victim will experience excruciating, shooting pains at the time of the injury because many nerves are injured in a sprain

 

Treatment:

 

  • Thermotherapy (applying moist heat) promotes healing but should not be applied to a muscle or ligament injury for at least 24 hours because heat will increase the swelling. After the swelling has gone, you should alternate applying cold compresses and moist heat to the injury.
  • To treat the injury with warm, wet packs, place a water-dampened towel in a microwave oven for about 30 seconds. Check to make sure the towel is not too hot before placing it on the skin. If a microwave oven is not available, run a towel under very hot tap water, wring it out, and apply it to the injury.
  • A sprained arm should be placed in a sling.
  • Most sprains take at least 6-8 weeks to heal.

Heat Stroke

  • Cool the body of a heatstroke victim immediately.
  • If possible, put him in cool water; wrap him in cool wet clothes; or sponge his skin with cool water, rubbing alcohol, ice, or cold packs.
  • Once the victim's temperature drops to about 101 F, you may lay him in the recovery position in a cool room.
  • If the temperature begins to rise again, you will need to repeat the cooling process.
  • If he/she is able to drink, you may give him some water.
  • DO NOT GIVE A HEATSTROKE VICTIM ANY KIND OF MEDICATION.
  • You should watch for signs of shock while waiting for medical attention.
Last Updated on Sunday, 27 January 2008 23:59