First Aids For Common In-Home Incident

Cuts and Abrasion Wound
Cuts and abrasions of all kinds can happen every day, from scraped knees on a patio to deep cuts on fingers and hands in the kitchen and workshop. Cuts are skin wounds that involve separation of the skin and are usually caused by a sharp object like a knife or a piece of glass.

Take the following steps to care for simple cuts and abrasions:
  1. Wash your hands with soap and water and then wash the wound under running water. For wounds that are bleeding, apply direct pressure with a sterile cloth or bandage and elevate the wound.
  2. Apply antibiotic cream, but avoid using iodine or hydrogen-peroxide solutions, as they can cause further damage to injured tissues and may cause allergic reactions in people reactive to iodine and shellfish.
  3. Dress the wound with a sterile gauze, preferably nonstick, bandage to protect the wound from infection and water loss until a scab forms.
  4. Keep the area around the wound clean and change any dirty dressings promptly.
Change most dressings daily and replace dressings when any fluids soak through, to decrease any chance that the wound will dry and stick to the dressing. Cleaning open wounds can sometimes cause bleeding, which can be easily stopped with direct pressure using a sterile
gauze pad.

In the case of lacerations that are deep enough to see fatty tissue:
  1. Pull the edges of the wound together and use butterfly closures to secure them.
  2. Apply antiseptic or antibiotic ointment over butterfly closures, cover with a bandage, and seek medical attention.
See a doctor :
  1. For cuts that don’t stop bleeding after ten minutes or applying pressure
  2. If there is a chance that nerves or tendons have been affected
  3. If there is something embedded in the cut
  4. If the cut is caused by an animal or human bite or was punctured by anything dirty that may cause infection
  5. If the cut is on the mouth, face, hand, or genitals
If stitches are needed, keep the wound closed with butterfly closures until you can get professional care. If the wound is very dirty or is likely to be so, such as with human or animal bites, you only have about six hours before the wound is too contaminated to stitch. Other
wounds may go as long as eight hours after the injury before being stitched, but the longer you wait, the less likely that stitches will be possible and any scarring can be minimized. For any signs of complications such as numbness or decreased movement; tenderness, inflammation,
swelling, or red streaks around the wound; or fever seek immediate medical attention.

Puncture Wounds
A puncture wound is a small but deep hole caused by such things as fangs, pins, sticks, staples, nails, or any object capable of penetrating the skin deeply. Puncture wounds don’t usually bleed a lot, but can cause internal injury, and it’s difficult to estimate how deep the wound may be. First aid for puncture wounds are :
  1. Wash your hands with soap and water and wear gloves.
  2. Clean the wound under a stream of running water, using soap followed by povidone-iodine.
  3. Bandage loosely and monitor the wound daily for signs of infection suh as increased swelling, redness, or discharge.
Never seal the puncture wound and do not use antibiotic ointments because sealing the wound may actually increase the chance of infection. Don’t attempt to clean a major puncture wound as this may cause more serious bleeding. Never try to remove an imbedded object from a puncture wound. Depending on where the wound is located, this can cause further damage, bleeding, and
even immediate death. Never probe or remove debris from a wound, attempt to push body parts back in, or breathe on a wound or dressing because doing so may cause serious infection later. Call 911 immediately for any serious puncture wound. If the wound is bleeding heavily, apply direct pressure until help arrives.

Localized infections taking the following steps:
  1. Wash the area daily with soap and water.
  2. Apply antibiotic ointment or cream and cover the infected area lightly with a dry gauze, nonstick bandage.
  3. Watch for signs of a more serious infection such as increased redness, pain, swelling, or pus.
Handle Accidental Tooth Loss
A knocked-out or partially dislodged tooth can usually be reinserted in the socket within thirty minutes of an injury. Adults should hold the tooth in place with clean gauze, trying not to touch the root of the tooth. You may handle the tooth with a sterile gauze or pad and rinse it with water if it has become very dirty, but it is best not to clean a dislodged tooth. If you are not able to hold the tooth in place for any reason or you cannot reach a dentist or emergency room within thirty minutes, the tooth may be placed in a container with fresh whole milk or the person’s own saliva for transport. For an empty bleeding socket, place a fold of sterile gauze or pad over the socket and bite down on it. Maintain this pressure for twenty minutesor until bleeding stops.

Handle Broken Teeth
Rinse the mouth with water and cover the broken tooth with a sterile gauze pad. Hold a cold pack against the face to reduce pain and swelling. Keep the broken portion and call your dentist, as the dentist may be able to reattach it. Do not eat or drink anything before receiving dental care.

First Aid for Toothache
If your tooth starts to become sensitive to cold or heat and progresses in level of pain, it’s an indication that there may be gum disease or a problem related to the nerve inside the tooth. Sensitive teeth can be treated daily using a toothpaste that is designed for sensitive teeth, but if you really have a toothache you need to see a dentist.
  • In the early stages of a toothache, astringent mouthwashes are antiseptic and help to shrink swollen tissue.
  • Use a cold pack on the face and take aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen for pain and swelling.
  • (Remember, never give aspirin to children younger than sixteen due to the risk of a life-threatening condition called Reye’s syndrome.)
  • Rub ice on your hands. According to a Canadian study, rubbing an ice cube on your hands kills tooth pain because the cold, rubbing sensation travels the same pathway to the brain as tooth pain, and overrides the signals from your mouth about half of the time. Try wrapping a cube and rubbing it where the bones of your thumb and index finger meet.
  • See a dentist if the pain persists. An abscessed tooth with swelling and inflammation that is progressing from your tooth to other parts of your face is life threatening and needs immediate medical or dental care.
Diabetic Emergencies
When a person has diabetes, her body doesn’t produce and properly use insulin, the hormone required by the body to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy. Prolonged blood-sugar extremes in diabetics can cause loss of consciousness known as a diabetic coma. Symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar often appear gradually and some or all of the following symptoms can signal the onset of a diabetic coma:
  • Fruity-smelling breath
  • Frequent urination
  • Fast heart rate
  • Deep and rapid breathing
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Warm, dry, red skin
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea with upper abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Agitation, behavior changes, irritability
In the case of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, take the following steps:
  1. If you know the person is diabetic, or if you find a Medic Alert bracelet stating the person is diabetic, ask if she has taken her required insulin. If she has not or you are unsure, call 911 for help.
  2. In the case of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, give her some form of sugar such as fruit juice. Don’t give hard candy to someone who is very ill or in an altered state because of the risk of choking.
Many people are aware of how to treat their diabetes and how to test their blood-glucose levels. If tested blood remains below 60 mg/dL or if the person continues to have symptoms of severe hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, or insulin reaction, call 911 and get to an emergency department.

First Aid for Earache
In the case of a high fever or discharge from the ear canal, get immediate medical attention, as antibiotics are necessary if the cause of the earache is an infection. Take the following steps:
  • Children should always be seen by a doctor.
  • Take the entire course of any prescribed antibiotics.
  • Use OTC painkillers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin (adults only), eardrops, and hot packs to help alleviate pain.
  • To help prevent ear infections, wash hands often.
  • Use a bulb syringe to suction mucus gently out of the nose of infants and toddlers and keep baby’s head tilted up during feeding.
  • Elevate the head of a child’s bed a few inches (place item under the mattress, not on top where it could lead to suffication) to help drain the fluid that collects behind the eardrums and use a humidifier in your child’s room at night.
  • Never place cotton-tipped swabs, matches, hairpins, or anything else in the ear. This can push wax further into the ear canal or perforate the eardrum, resulting in severe
    ear damage.
Treating an Ear Injury
Ear injuries are typically accompanied by pain, dizziness, hearing loss, and bleeding from inside the ear canal. Take the following steps to treat an ear injury:
  1. Cover the outside of the ear loosely with a bandage or dressing to soak up blood and drainage, but do not attempt to plug the ear or try to stop any flow.
  2. Place the person on the injured side with the injured ear facing down to drain the blood, and call 911 or go to an emergency department immediately.
First Aid for Food Poisoning
Use the following guidelines for treating food poisoning:
  • Anyone who is experiencing short episodes of vomiting and small amounts of diarrhea that last less than twentyfour hours can be cared for at home by abstaining from solid food during the nausea and vomiting phase and drinking plenty of fluids, ideally clear liquids.
  • Try to avoid alcoholic, caffeinated, or sugary drinks, and use over-the-counter rehydration products that are made specifically for children, such as Pedialyte and Rehydralyte, and sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade diluted with water (full-strength energy drinks contain too much sugar and may worsen diarrhea) for adults.
  • After nausea and vomiting have stopped and you have been able to tolerate fluids, resume eating regular food slowly beginning with plain foods such as rice, wheat cereals and breads, potatoes, bland cereals, lean meats, and baked chicken that are easy on the stomach. Unless you have lactose intolerance you can safely drink milk also.
Most of the time, you do not need an OTC medicine to stop diarrhea, but they are usually safe if used as directed and only by adults. If you have any concerns or symptoms of dehydration or nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that last longer than twenty-four hours, bloody diarrhea and/or
high fever, seek medical attention.

[ source : The Everything First Aid Book by Nadine Saubers, R.N. ]

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