Are you a hero? If you learn some basic first aid, you could become a hero when you least expect it. Knowing first aid can help you save a life, reduce the impact of injury or even just provide comfort until medical attention is available.
There are some must-know first aid tips that are simple but can provide huge relief to you, your friends, family, co-workers, and community.
- Cuts and Scrapes
When a friend accidentally drops a wine glass and rushes to pick up the pieces only to cut themselves. You see the blood gushing. What do you do?
First, wash your hands. Then, grab a clean cloth and gently apply pressure to the site of the cut. It could take 3 to 15 minutes for the bleeding to stop.
When the bleeding has stopped, clean it under lukewarm running water without getting soap inside the wound. If there is any glass in the wound, remove with tweezers that you’ve cleaned in alcohol. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide or iodine. Pat the wounded area dry, apply some petroleum jelly to keep the surface moist and cover the wound with gauze.
You’re enjoying an ice cream cone while walking barefoot on the boardwalk at the beach when Zing! You feel a splinter from the wood plank pierce your tender foot.
Before you pick at it, wash your hands with soap and water. Use a pair of tweezers sterilized with alcohol to gently pull the splinter out. Wash the wounded area with soap and water again.
A burn can come from contact with fire, hot water, corrosive chemicals, electric currents, and most common of all, the sun. The first step in treating a minor burn is to put it under cool running water. Then wrap the burned area with a wet, cool compress. If you see blisters, don’t break them!
Apply a moisturizer to the burned area and loosely wrap with gauze. Over the counter pain relievers can help reduce the pain of a burn.
- Heat Exhaustion
Sweating is a body’s natural mechanism to cool off. But there are some situations of extreme heat and humidity when your body simply can’t keep up. This is when heat exhaustion or even heat stroke can occur.
Symptoms of exhaustion can include muscle cramps, weakness, nausea, a fast heartbeat, heavy sweating, and dizziness. If you suspect heat illness, first get the person to a cool area. Elevate their legs to get the blood flowing to the heart. Remove any tight-fitting clothes. Apply cools towels to the skin.
If possible, take a cool bath. Putting cold packs in the armpits can help the body cool down more quickly.
If possible, take their temperature. If it’s greater than 104 degrees, they could be suffering from heatstroke and medical assistance is needed right away.
- Insect bite or sting
Many insect bites are annoying but harmless. But some can be very serious if you have an allergy or if the insect happens to be a tick.
In the case of a bee sting, check to see if a stinger was left in the skin. If so, use a fingernail to gently scrape the skin’s surface to remove the stinger. Don’t use tweezers as this might squeeze more venom out of the stinger.
In the case of a tick attached to your skin, use fine-tipped tweezer to grasp the tick. Pull up and away from the skin without jerking or pressure. You don’t want pieces of the tick to break off and stay in the skin. After removal, cleanse the area and your hands with alcohol.
The first step in helping a person with a nosebleed is to get them to sit upright. It’s tempting for them to tilt their head back to prevent blood from dripping, but don’t let them!
First, have the person lean forward. Pinch the end of their nose just above the nostrils. They should breathe through their mouth. Continue to pinch the nose with constant pressure for ten to fifteen minutes.
First Aid Kit and Training
Your first aid kit – or your hero kit – should contain some very basic items. At a minimum, you should include:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Petroleum jelly
- Bottled water
- Instant cold compress
The first aid tips we’ve reviewed here are for minor accidents and injuries. If you want to be prepared for more serious situations that require CPR or the Heimlich maneuver, do some research about first-aid resources courses in your area. This helpful training can make all the difference between life and death.
Are You Prepared to Be a Hero?
Accidents are frightening. Whether you’re the victim or a witness, you have a fight or flight reaction. If you’re prepared with first aid tips and a simple kit, you can be a survivor!