Summer First Aid Secrets
The summer season is fast approaching, and with it the typical list of skinned knees and elbows, bug bites and sunburns. Sometimes something more serious happens as well though – would you be prepared to assist if someone nearby broke an arm or leg, or was in some other way seriously injured? In order to be prepared for these minor cuts and bumps as well as for more serious personal injuries, it is important to have sufficient first aid supplies as well as skills.
It’s important not only to have plenty of first aid supplies, but to have the right ones – many kits may include hydrogen peroxide for sterilizing cuts and scratches as well as syrup of ipecac for administration in the even of poisoning. Although these are sometimes considered “traditional wisdom” both come with cautions – health experts point out that hydrogen peroxide does not necessarily kill bacteria as is widely believed, and for some types of wounds it has been proven to actually slow healing.
Syrup of ipecac can cause nausea and vomiting for extended periods of time – so although it will eliminate a noxious substance from the system, it can also cause other complications such as severe dehydration and damage to the stomach lining, especially in small children. Your best bet for poison control is an activated carbon/charcoal tablet system – administering this to the poisoned individual may help while you wait for additional assistance from Poison Control.
As far as wounds – for all but deep or ragged wounds, soap and water is your best bet for sanitization; however with any serious wound or injury, get professional medical help as soon as possible. A basic first aid kit should include at least two dozen individually wrapped adhesive tapes in assorted shapes and sizes, along with several sterile gauze pads in case of a serious wound – the larger the pads the better, as they have many potential uses.
It’s important to have a large role of some type of micropore adhesive tape as well, in case a custom adhesive needs to be fashioned to keep a gauze pad in place, and scissors or shears will be needed both for cutting tape and gauze as well as potentially cutting clothing to expose an injured area or to fashion a sling. Tweezers, a thermometer, and an antibiotic lotion or healing salves of some kind are mainstays of any first aid kit, and calamine lotion should be included particularly for the summer season.
Make sure that you have a set of sterile, disposable gloves (preferably non-latex in case of sensitivities), chemical hot and cold pads, and a thermometer as well – whether you purchase these items in a ready-made kit from a first aid training authority or obtain them separately and put them together in a kit on your own, such a collection of health and wellness items will certainly serve you well this summer. We all hope never to need them, but they can literally be life savers if you keep them handy!
About the Author: Steve Larson is a retired paramedic, and a contributor to firstaid101.com – an informative online guide to home first aid kits, oxygen packs, blood pressure monitors and more.