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Learning basic first aid techniques
Fundamentals can prevent larger problems
Published Thursday, June 28, 2012 7:17 am
by Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity

Emergencies and accidents can happen at any time. Keeping you and your family healthy is a priority.

Knowing when and how to administer first aid can prevent a visit to the emergency room, can help provide important information emergency workers or prevent anxiety and serious complications if you do have to go to the emergency room.

How do you handle a nosebleed, a sprain, broken bone or scratches? What to do if your child has a seizure? What is the best way to relieve minor eye irritations caused by dirt, sand, or something in the eye?

What to do if your child swallows something poisonous like cleaning fluids? What not to do if this happens?

Twisting a muscle can be very painful ... What can you do to relieve the pain? These are all common occurrences for which we should be prepared.

In addition to knowing where to seek help, it is important to have a first aid kit at hand. Having all necessary equipment in advance may help handle emergencies and accidents, and prevent further injury. You should have a first aid kit in your home and your car. You should make sure to have it with you when you go on vacation as well.

To make a first aid kit you should choose a container that is roomy, easy to carry, easy to open, and durable. Plastic tool or fishing boxes are ideal because they are lightweight and have a handle to carry them with. The kit should be stored in an accessible place but out of reach of children. Each kit should include (at least):

• First aid manual (can be obtained through the Red Cross by calling 1-800-438-4636)
• 10 Sterile gauze pads
• 25 adhesive bandages (such as Band-Aids)
• 2 absorbent compress dressings
• Ace bandages/elastic bandages (like you would use to wrap a sprained ankle or wrist)
• Soap
• Triple antibiotic cream (like Neosporin) – at least 5 packets/2 tubes
• Antiseptic solution (hydrogen peroxide)
• Hydrocortisone cream – at least 2 packets/1 tube
• Calamine lotion
• Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Motrin)
• Prescriptions for prescription medicines you are taking (especially if you go on vacation)
• Instant cold packs
• Alcohol wipes (at least five packets) or a bottle of alcohol
• Tweezers
• Sharp scissors
• Tape
• Safety pins
• Thermometer
• 2 pairs plastic gloves
• Flashlight and batteries
• Protective mask to administer mouth-to mouth (may be obtained from the Red Cross)
• Emergency phone list (hospital, doctor, local law enforcement, fire/rescue department)
• Blanket

You should read your first aid manual to familiarize yourself with anything in your kit that you do not know how to use. You should also review this manual with other members of your family so that they also know how to use the kit. Remember to check your kit regularly and replace anything or medicine that has expired. You may also be able to purchase a first aid kit at your local drug store. Some kits are designed for specific activities, such as hiking, camping or boating, so be sure to include in your kits that are appropriate for the activities you are doing. You should also ask your health care provider if there are any items specific to you and your family you should include.

For more information on first aid, contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-438-4636 or www.redcross.org.

Do you need further information or have questions or comments about this article? Please call toll-free 1-877-530-1824. Or, for more information about the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, go to: http://www.wakehealth.edu/MACHE.


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