First Aid and Prevention

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Knowing basic first aid is one skill that everyone should have in their toolkit of life skills.

Nosebleeds:

  1. Sit up straight and tip your head slightly forward not back. Try not to swallow any blood. This could lead to nausea.
  2. Gently pinch the soft part of your nose. Nosebleeds usually occur here. Spraying the nose with a medicated nasal spray could reduce the nosebleed.
  3. Apply an ice pack to your nose and cheeks to constrict the blood vessels and reduce the bleeding.
  4. Keep pinching for a full 10 minutes.
  5. If it is still bleeding after 10 more minutes, continue with letters 2-4.
  6. Put a thin layer of vaseline inside your nose to keep the blood vessels moisturized. Most nosebleeds are due to the drying of the nasal membranes and nose picking.
  7. Resist the urge to blow your nose for at least 12 hours.
  8. Rest quietly for a few hours.

Major Bleeding:

  • Call 911.
  • Cover your hands with gloves or a plastic bag if you have time.
  • Make sure the person’s body is elevated with their head lower than the rest of their body.
  • Remove rocks or accessible objects from the wound, but don’t clean it.
  • If an organ is showing, don’t push it back where it belongs. Simply cover the wound.
  • Put a towel or shirt over the wound and apply pressure until the bleeding stops or the medics arrive. Don’t put pressure on organs or deeply embedded objects.
  • Do not remove the wound coverings when they become saturated, just add more layers as needed.
  • If arms or legs are bleeding, prop them so they are elevated.
  • Talk with the person to keep them calm until the emergency services arrive.

Major Burns:

  • Call 911.
  • Elevate burned arms or legs above the heart.
  • Use a cool, moist, sterile fabric or gauze to cover the burn.
  • Do not try to treat the burn with cold water.
  • Do not remove clothing, especially clothing burned to the body.
  • Talk with the person to keep them calm until the emergency services arrive.

Bug Bites:

  • Buck Moth Caterpillars
    • The spines of the caterpillar release toxins and cause pain as long as they are in your skin. First, wash the area with soap and water and make sure it is dry before you pull out the spines. The best way to do this is by covering the area with tape and gently pulling the spines up with the tape. Rubbing alcohol and ammonia applied topically will help with the itching and stinging. Antihistamines or an ice pack will also help.
  • Red/Fire ants
    • Such a painful bite! The pain usually subsides in 30 to 60 minutes. Then you will see a small blister filled with pussy dead tissue. Put an ice pack on the sting in 15-minute intervals. If possible, raise the stings above your heart to reduce swelling. Take an antihistamine and use hydrocortisone cream for itching. An allergic reaction is rare but dangerous. If you experience hives, nausea, diarrhea, chest tightness, dizziness, or mouth swelling, call 911.
  • Ticks
    • Ticks are found in wooded areas. They can crawl up your clothes and embed themselves in your skin. As a rule, after going into the woods you should have someone check you for ticks. If you find one on you, it is important to take it out carefully to avoid pieces of its body remaining in you.
      • Grasp the tick closest to your skin with pointed tweezers. The long mouthpart is covered with barbs, so removing it requires patience. Do not squeeze. Pull steadily until it eases out of your skin.
      • Wash your hands and the area with soap and water.
      • Save the tick in a glass jar or bag until you are certain that the area on your skin is not red with a rash. If it is, take the tick to your doctor.
  • Mosquitos
    • PREVENTION (NOTE: Always do a 24-hour skin test for oil sensitivity)
      • DEET BASED REPELLENTS: Although some report side effects of skin irritation and redness, flu symptoms, numb or burning lips, dizziness, or disorientation, Deet based products are still the most utilized in repelling mosquitos.
      • BOTANICAL REPELLENTS: healthier alternatives to DEET are Picaridin and oil of lemon Eucalyptus. Both have been used widely outside of the U.S. and are experiencing U.S. popularity
      • CATNIP: the essential oil found in the Catnip is about 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes.
      • CITRONELLA: A high-quality citronella essential oil from a natural food store can be applied to the skin.
      • GARLIC: Garlic taken as capsules or ingested effectively repels mosquitos.
      • LAVENDER has multiple uses and is a calming scent. It is best diluted in a carrier oil like coconut oil to repel mosquitos.
      • ORGANIC SOY OIL – this natural body moisturizer is a strong mosquito repellent.
    • TREATMENT:
      • ESSENTIAL OILS anything containing essential oils like menthol, camphor, tea tree, eucalyptus, nutmeg, and thymol can have anti-inflammatory properties to assist in skin discomfort.
      • TOOTHPASTE – the menthol in toothpaste can give temporary relief to a mosquito bite.
      • OATMEAL WITH HONEY IN IT: Oatmeal and honey both have soothing properties.
    • Brown Recluse
      • This large, brown spider with an hourglass pattern on its back hides in dark places but can be found under beds or near clutter. It can look like other less dangerous spiders. If you know you were bitten, go to the doctor. If you were unaware that you were bitten, but you develop an intense itching and painful blister, go to the doctor. A week or so following the bite there will be a breakdown of tissue (necrosis) that makes a nasty looking wound. Antibiotics might be necessary to manage the infection.
    • Black Widow
      • Black widows are black and shiny, with a red hourglass on their abdomens. Spiders love dark areas like shoes and closets. These spiders aren’t aggressive and only bite when threatened, but their venom is fast-acting. You may not feel the bite, but the area will begin to swell and redden. You could have muscle spasms and experience difficulty breathing. Nausea, chills, increase in blood pressure, headache, sweating, weakness,  and fever are not uncommon. If you are bit, put the wound under ice or cold water, and call for medical assistance. You can also call Poison Control for assistance at (800) 222-1222
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photo by Pixabay

Emergency conventional CPR:

A friend or family member suddenly collapses, is a victim of drowning, or is overdosing on drugs. What do you do?  Ask the person if they are OK. If they don’t respond, first call 911 then follow these steps provided by the American Heart Association and the Red Cross (www.redcross.org).

  • Roll the person onto their back (if they are not already)
  • Open their airway by tilting the head back slightly
  • Lift the chin and check for steady breathing for no more than 10 seconds.
  • If they are not breathing, begin CPR. Place your hands, one on top of the other in the middle of the chest. Use your body weight to administer compressions that are at least 2 inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute. Push hard and fast.
  • Deliver rescue breaths. With the person’s head tilted back slightly and the chin lifted, pinch the nose shut and place your mouth over the person’s mouth to make a seal. Blow into the person’s mouth to make the chest rise. Deliver two rescue breaths, then continue compressions.
  • Note: If the chest does not rise with the initial rescue breath, re-tilt the head before delivering the second breath. If the chest doesn’t rise with the second breath, the person may be choking. After each subsequent set of 100 chest compressions, and before attempting breaths, look for an object and, if seen, remove it.

Adjust the CPR based on the age of the person

  • Infants:
    • Place 2-3 fingers below the nipple line. 30 (1/2 – 1 in) compressions. 2 gentle breaths until chest rises. 100 comp/min
  • Children:
    • Use 1-2 hands in the center of the chest. 30 (1-1 1⁄2 in) compressions. 2 breaths until chest rises. 100 comp/min
  • Adults:
    • Use 2 hands. 30 (1-2 in) compressions in the center of the chest. long breaths until chest rises. 100 comp/min

Hands Only CPR is a website that has even more information as well as a number of songs which work with the 100/120 beats per minutes. They can help you keep time during a crisis.

Shock:

  • Call 911.
  • If the person is not vomiting, roll them onto their back.
  • Give CPR if needed.
  • Increase their comfort and body temperature by offering blankets or additional clothing.
  • Keep the person still and talk calmly until help comes.
  • Discourage the person in shock from eating or drinking.

Choking:

  • If someone’s airway becomes closed from choking, deliver several blows to their back between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
  • If this doesn’t work, administer the Heimlich Maneuver by making a fist with your thumb on the outside. Then stand behind the choking victim and hug them with the thumb side of your fist facing inward, in the center, right below their rib cage, but above the navel.
  • Support your fist with the other hand so it looks like you are giving them a bear hug. Push the fist upward into the upper abdomen with a quick thrust.
  • Repeat this maneuver until the choking victim expels the object they were choking on.
  • You will need to take a different approach if your choking victim is a child, a pregnant person, or if they are unconscious. Learn more about the Heimlich Maneuver at  www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid-choking

Stroke: 

FAST is an acronym that was developed to help increase responsiveness to stroke victims. “FAST” stands for

  • Facial drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulties
  • Time to call emergency services

These signs occur as a result of brain damage. Recognize this emergency and you could save a life.

Heat Stroke:

When the body is dehydrated or cannot sufficiently dissipate heat, heatstroke can occur. A headache, lightheadedness, skin discoloration, lack of sweating, cramping, weakness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, confusion, seizures, shallow breathing, and unconsciousness are all signs of heatstroke

Get your friend or loved one out of the heat. Cool them off with a moist towel, a fan, or spray them with cool water. Get fluids into them. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks should be avoided at all costs. Call 911. Untreated heatstroke can be deadly.

RESOURCES:


Being prepared, know how to respond to violence, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Learn the steps to dealing with sexual assault and other vital tips to live by. Check our Covid-19 page for ways to stay safe during the pandemic. Our weather and storm activity page will fill you in on specifics regarding hurricane activity in the south.