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Learning basic First Aid
How to respond to life's bumps and aches
Published Wednesday, June 26, 2013 4:00 pm
by Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity

Summer time is always filled with fun, vacations and all type of adventures. Unfortunately, bumps, bruises and broken bones can often accompany these adventures, and emergencies and accidents can happen at any time. Knowing when and how to administer first aid can prevent a visit to the emergency room, and/or 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. 

Most scrapes, scratches and bumps can be treated at home without the need for professional medical care. It is important though, that anytime you know or suspect that someone may have a minor trauma, such as a sprained joint or minor cut, that you seek medical care with your health care provider (or an urgent care facility if you don’t have a primary care provider). You should go to the Emergency Room or call 911 if someone has an injury that results in any of the following symptoms: Stopped breathing, stopped or slow heartbeat, bleeding that cannot be stopped, loss of consciousness, head or eye injuries, broken bone, injury while on blood thinning medications and/or severe pain.

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 5 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 the Maya Angelou Center toll-free at 1-877-530-1824. Or, for more information about the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, visit our website: http://www.wakehealth.edu/MACHE.


Great article! My moms group have a training class comig up in the QC! Anyone is welcome to join in for a small fee! Just google Queen City Stay At Home Moms if you can't get it there just message me over on fb The QCSupermom!
Posted on June 26, 2013

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