Knowing the essentials of first aid can help you save lives, including your own. In an emergency situation, it is imperative to assess the situation and know what you can do to minimize damage, both human and material. It is also essential to learn to distinguish between what really helps and what can make the situation worse. For example, a simple gauze bandage is usually more effective than a tourniquet when it comes to stopping a bleed.
We want you to know how to take care of yourself and others in all circumstances, so we’ve put together some quick first aid tips that could one day save your life or the lives of your loved ones.
In case of injury, always try to place the affected limb above the level of the heart. This will reduce inflammation and help drain fluid away from the area. If the injury is in the hips or buttocks, lie down and elevate the area with pillows. If you can’t elevate the wound, at least try to keep it at or as close to the heart as possible.
2. First-degree burns
First-degree burns, also referred to as superficial burns, have an effect on the highest layer of skin. Although they can be very sore , they are not serious. To deal with them, swill the wound with lukewarm water. Putting the burn under cold water may seem obvious, but in reality it can further damage the tissue. After cleaning the burn area, apply an ice pack with butter, this is an old remedy, but it can slow down the release of heat, preventing you from feeling relief. A paste made of water and baking soda can also help lower the temperature.
3. Heart attack
In the case of a heart attack, early intervention is essential to reduce the damage. Chewing aspirin can help because it inhibits the platelets that cause blood clots, which in turn block the arteries. It is important to take a small dose and chew the tablet instead of swallowing it, as this helps it work faster. And of course, you should call for emergency help.
4. Bee stings
If you’ve been bitten by a bee, you have to remove the stinger. Although it is commonly accepted that removing it from the skin minimizes the effect of the venom, you should try to do this as soon as possible, either by scraping it off or using tweezers. When a bee loses this part of its body, it releases a pheromone that attracts its comrades, who will probably sting you as well to defend themselves. Once you remove the stinger, wash the wound and apply a cold compress. If you are allergic, try to always have an epinephrine injection on hand and call for help as soon as possible.
One of the most essential first aid tips that you need to know is dealing with fractures. If you have a fracture, don’t try to repair the broken limb. Keep it stabilized and immobile with a splint, but do not change its position. Although this injury may be a simple dislocation or sprain, always consult a doctor to make certain the damage is not more serious than you think, or even to avoid making the situation worse.
6. Eye Injuries
When you hurt yourself, the first thing to do is usually to clean the wound. However, when it comes to injuries to the eye, the most important thing is to cover the area and ask for help. If you try to clean your eyes yourself, you risk causing even more damage or even permanent injury. The prime exception to this rule is when chemicals get into your eyes, in which case you should immediately rinse them out with water.
Splinters are flooded of germs and can infect open skin, so always wash your hands before treating these wounds. If you have a splinter that is completely embedded under the skin, first clean the area with an antiseptic and then try to move the foreign body with a sterilized needle in boiling water. Once you have done this, you can delete it with tweezers. Then clean the area with soap and water.
8. Snake Bites
In series and movies, when a person is bitten by a venomous snake, his first reaction is to suck the venom. But by then it will have already entered the victim’s bloodstream, so it’s useless. If a snake bites you, the most important thing is to stay tranquil. You need to keep your heart rate low to slow the spread of the venom, and be aware that taking painkillers can dilute the blood and speed up the effect of the venom. Contact medical services immediately to get the appropriate antidote. If you must travel to get help, do not run. Walk and try to stay tranquil. If possible, try to apply coconut oil to the wound (which can help fight bacteria and parasites) and a bandage. Even if the chance of getting bitten by a snake in your country is rare but it is considered one of the most important first aid tips.
9. Jellyfish stings
Nothing can ruin a beautiful day at the beach more than a jellyfish sting. You can try rinsing the wound with salt water, hot water, vinegar, or cover the area with a baking soda solution. Charcoal can also help remove the venom from the jellyfish. You’ve probably heard the urban legend that urine can treat this type of bite, but in reality it’s not acidic enough to neutralize the venom. Although it is said that urine can reduce pain, hot water is just as effective.
When you hurt yourself, you may think that a nasty scar will be inevitable, but in reality, there are steps you can take to prevent such a mark from forming. As such, baking soda has disinfectant properties that help prevent scars, remove a hardened crust, and even help prevent infections. If a scar is treated with this product, it is important to leave the wound exposed to the air. In addition, this product can also be mixed with water to form an antiseptic.
11. Obstructed breathing
Usually, if a person stops breathing, it is because there is a blockage in the airway. Lie the person on their back, check their mouth and remove anything that might be blocking their breathing, including liquids. To open the airway, tilt the person’s head back by placing your hand on the person’s forehead. You can also do what’s called a “jaw thrust” by placing your fingers under their lower jaw, without moving their neck, to open their mouth. This will move his tongue away from his airways and help reduce air obstruction. Then tilt his head until airflow is restored.
Bonus: tips for removing dressings
Care is not only important when you are injured, but also during the healing process. To protect the affected area, try to dissolve the glue from bandages or strips by covering the wound with baby oil, alcohol or even hot water. You can also use ice cubes to let the area frozen. Although it may be tempting to simply rip off the bandage, it is just as important to remove it slowly, otherwise you run the risk of removing the crust or even reopening the wound.