Are you prepared for a first aid medical emergency? What do you have inside of your first aid kit? Cuts and scrapes happen all the time, but what do you do when there’s a deep gash or animal bite? You can never be too prepared for a basic first aid situation, so here are some quick tips on how to treat them!
First Aid Kit Must-Haves
Making sure your first aid kit is always stocked is important. It’s great to always have a kit on hand for treating minor injuries at home or on the go. You can always buy a first aid kit or you can make your own inside of a clear sturdy plastic box.
- Alcohol wipes
- Adhesive tape
- Allergy medicine
- Antibiotic ointment
- Different sized bandages
- Calamine lotion
- Gauze rolls/pads
- Hand sanitizer
- Latex gloves
- Pain relievers
- Cold packs
Your kit should be easily accessible and high up in a cabinet, out of reach of young children. It is always smart to travel with a kit in your car or purse just in case of emergencies! Make sure you restock your kit often so you you’re never missing something that could help a medical treatment.
How do I Treat Cuts and Scrapes?
When treating minor cuts and scrapes you always wash your hands first. Use soap and water so you don’t infect the cut and cause an infection. If you aren’t around a sink it is fine to use hand sanitizer.
Next, stop the bleeding by putting pressure on the cut with gauze. Keep holding pressure for a few minutes to ensure bleeding has lessened or stopped.
Make sure you rinse the wound under cool water or with a saline wash. Clean the area around the cut with soap and water, but make sure not to get soap in the cut because it may irritate the skin. You should never use hydrogen peroxide around cuts or scrapes.
You want to remove all dirt or debris inside of the cut. You can simply do this with a pair of clean tweezers.
Not every cut and scrape needs a band-aid. Sometimes they heal quicker if left uncovered and dry. If the cut is deep enough or on part of the body that it might get dirty, put a bandage over it. Make sure to change the bandage every day.
If the cut is deep, long or the edges are jagged, you may stitches. Also, if the cut came from a dirty or rusty object you will need to visit your local urgent care. Lastly, if you can’t stop the bleeding, can’t remove debris, cut becomes swollen, pus comes out of the cut or you have a fever, go to an urgent care immediately to seek medical assistance.
What to do with Nosebleeds
Nosebleeds always look way worse than they actually are, especially when blood comes running out of your nose and you feel like it’ll never end. Following these simple steps will help stop nosebleeds in no time!
- Start by leaning your head forward so your blood doesn’t run down your throat
- Take a tissue or washcloth and gently press your nostrils together
- Hold your nostrils for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes look to see if the bleeding has stopped, if it hasn’t, continue for another 10 minutes.
You should go to an urgent care if any of the following occur:
- You haven’t stopped bleeding for over 15 minutes or your nose keeps stopping and starting bleeding
- If your nose is bleeding fast and you are losing a lot of blood
- If you are bleeding from an injury to your face
- If you feel faint
How to Handle Animal Bites and Insect Stings
Sometimes even friendly pets can bite or scratch. Follow these steps when treating a bite:
- Hold gauze to the wound to stop bleeding
- Clean the wound with soap and water
- Cover it with a bandage
Animal bites may sometimes need an antibiotic to prevent infection. You should always call your doctor after being bit. If you are in these circumstances you should see a medical professional right away:
- The bite was from an animal you don’t know or from a raccoon, skunk or bat
- The bite is very large and doesn’t stop bleeding after 15 minutes
- The bite may have damaged bone, tendons or nerves because you are unable to bend or straighten that part of your body or you have lost feeling
- The wound is red and swollen or oozing fluids
If you are stung by an insect here is what you do:
- If the stinger is still in your skin, remove it by scraping it out with the edge of a credit card or dull knife. If you squeeze the stinger it will release more venom
- When the stinger is out, wash the surrounding area with soap and water
- Take an ice pack or cool washcloth and hold it against the area to stop swelling
- Use calamine lotion or baking soda and water to relieve the pain
- To stop the bite from itching use a hydrocortisone cream/spray
If you are allergic to the insect you will experience any of these symptoms, dizziness, hives, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, swollen tongue, trouble breathing. Call 911 immediately or visit the emergency room right away.
If you know you are allergic to bees or wasps always keep an epinephrine auto-injector accessible.
How to Treat Minor Burns
Spilling hot water or touching a hot stove can cause your skin to burn. When you get a burn, evaluate it to see how serious it is. These are the different types of burns:
- First degree burns turn red and may swell
- Second degree burns will blister and your skin will be very red and painful
- Third degree burns turn the skin white or make it look charred. This burn may not hurt because nerves are possibly damaged
First and second degree burns are treatable from home. Place the burned area under cool water for 5 minutes to reduce the swelling. Next, apply an antiseptic spray or aloe vera cream to soothe the area. Loosely wrap the burn with a gauze bandage. If you are experiencing pain, take pain relievers
Never use butter on burns or pop blisters. You could potentially damage your skin or cause an infection.
You need to be treated by a doctor if you have a third degree burn, the burn is larger than 2 inches, the burn is on your face, hands, feet or joint, the burn is wrapped around your hand, arm, foot, or leg, pain worsens, the burn was caused by electricity or chemicals or there is fluid or pus running out of your burn.
Touching poison ivy or other poisonous plants leaves a rash on your skin that is caused by the oil in the plant. The rash will sometimes itch or blister but they mostly go away on their own.
To stop the itch from poison ivy you want to wash your skin to remove as much of the oil as possible. Wash anything the plant touched including clothes and tools. The oil from the plant will stick to everything and can give you a rash later on if you touch them again. You can bathe in oatmeal to rid of the itch or you can apply a cool washcloth to your skin.
Apply calamine lotion to relieve the itch or see your doctor for an antihistamine or steroid to take by mouth. Also, if you are having trouble breathing or swallowing, large rashes on your face or genitals, swelling of your eyes, or a fever seek medical attention.
Las Vegas Urgent Care
You can always minimize injury by taking basic actions between the time the injury occurs and when you are able to get treatment. These first aid tips are helpful, but Las Vegas Urgent Care always has your back during an emergency! Call us with any questions or come in if you are experiencing a medical emergency.