First Aid Tips

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Following are some basic guidelines for treating common injuries. However, there is no replacement for professional medical help, particularly for severe injuries.

How to treat external bleeding

  • Treat external bleeding by placing a clean, absorbent material on the wound and applying firm hand pressure until the bleeding stops.
  • Elevate the wound above the victim's heart. This will minimize the flow of blood to the affected area.
  • Depending on the severity of the wound, call for emergency medical treatment or take the wounded person to a hospital emergency room.
  • A tourniquet should be a last resort to control life-threatening bleeding that cannot be stopped by any other means.

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What to do in the event of a poisoning

In the event of a poisoning, immediately remove the hazardous material from the vicinity:
  • If the poison is a solid, such as pills, plants or mothballs, remove it from the mouth using a clean, wet washcloth wrapped around your finger. Don't try this with an infant, as you may accidentally force the object down the child's throat.
  • If the poison is a gas, take the victim out of the affected area.
  • If the poison is corrosive to the skin, such as an insecticide, remove the victim's clothing without getting any of the corrosive material on yourself. Flush the affected area with water for at least 15 minutes, then wash the area with soap and water.

Call 911 or your local poison control center immediately. Be prepared to tell them what the poison is and how much was ingested. Don't treat the victim without professional advice. The treatment instructions on product labels may cause more harm than good.

To induce vomiting as a poison remedy, you should always have a bottle of ipecac syrup in your household. Before you use it, check with your doctor or a poison control center.

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What to do when someone is choking

If you think someone is choking, ask them if they can cough, speak or breathe. If they can, don't take action. The universal distress signal for choking is a hand around the neck.

If someone is choking and cannot breathe, try the Heimlich maneuver to get rid of the obstruction and clear the airway.

  • If the victim is standing or sitting (conscious), stand behind him/her, wrap your arm around his/her waist and make a fist with one hand.
  • Place the thumb side of the fist against the victim's abdomen, slightly above the navel.
  • Grab the fist with your other hand and press the fist into the victim's abdomen with a quick upward thrust.
  • Each new thrust should be a separate movement.
  • Call for medical help immediately.

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    Treating Burns

    First degree (redness, mild swelling and pain)
    • Apply cool water and/or sterile dressing.
    • Don't apply butter, margarine, etc.
    Second degree (deeper, blisters develop)
    • Immerse in cool water and blot dry.
    • Apply sterile dressing.
    • Treat for shock.
    • Obtain medical attention, if severe.
    • Don't break blisters, remove shreds of tissue or use antiseptic, ointment spray or home remedies on severe burns.
    Third degree (deeper destruction, skin layers destroyed)
    • Cover with sterile cloth to protect.
    • Treat for shock.
    • Watch for breathing difficulty.
    • Obtain medical attention quickly.
    • Don't remove charred clothing that is stuck to the burn, apply ice or use home remedies.

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    This contains generally accepted first aid information. However, because every situation is different, the publishers are not assuming liability for the accuracy or use of the information contained herein.