Care for Common First Aid Situations
Do you know what to do for small emergencies? Follow these simple steps for common first aid needs. Click here for all your first aid kit essentials!
Soothe a Bug Bite
For painful bites or stings, start with an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol or Naproxen. For itchy bites, apply an ice pack or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. You can also take antihistamine (Benadryl). Usually, the signs and symptoms of a bite go away in a few days. Call your doctor if you are concerned about the bite – and call 911 if the injured person has difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, eyes or throat, hives, nausea, cramping, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, faintness or confusion.
Treat a Burn
Minor Burn | A minor burn may involve superficial redness similar to a sunburn, pain, blisters and covers an area no larger than three inches in diameter. A minor burn does not require emergency care.
To treat a minor burn, place cool (not cold) water over burned skin by immersing the skin or running cool water over the skin until the pain subsides.
Because a burned area can swell, remove rings or other tight items from the burn. Cover loosely with sterile gauze. You may apply petroleum-based ointment two to three times a day but not more. Do not pop the blisters, and don’t put any lotions or cream on the burn. To ease the pain of a burn, take Tylenol, ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). See your doctor for these reasons:
- if you see signs of infection – like increased pain, redness, swelling, fever or oozing.
- if your Tetanus booster is out of date (you need one every 10 years)
- If the burn blister is larger than two inches or oozes
- if hands, feet, face or genitals are burned
Major Burn | Major burns are deep. They cause the skin to be dry and leathery and may appear charred or have patches of white, brown, or black. A major burn is larger than three inches in diameter or covers the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or a major joint. For major burns, call 911 or seek immediate care.
The first treatment of a major burn is to call 911. Make sure the burned person is away from harm, is breathing and has a pulse (start CPR if they are not). Remove jewelry, belts and other restrictive items around the burn. Cover the area of the burn with sterile bandage or cloth. Don’t immerse large severe burns in water because you could cause hypothermia. Lastly, elevate the burn area (above heart level if possible) while you wait for medical professionals.
Stop a Bloody Nose
When you have a nosebleed, sit upright to discourage further bleeding and lean forward in your chair to prevent you from swallowing blood. Pinch your nose shut for 10 to 15 minutes. If it continues to bleed after 15 minutes, pinch it for another 10 to 15 minutes. If it continues after 30 minutes, see a doctor. To prevent re-bleeding, do not pick or blow your nose and don’t bend down for several hours after the bleeding episode.
A nosebleed is an emergency when it fails to stop after 30 minutes or if you feel faint or lightheaded. It’s also an emergency if the nosebleed is caused by an injury like being punched in the face. Call your doctor if you have frequency bloody noses or you are on blood thinners. Your doctor might need to change your blood thinner dose.
Treat a Cut On Your Finger
First stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or gauze for up to 30 minutes. If you’re able, raise the wound above the level of your heart to slow the bleeding.
Next clean the area with running water and soap. To keep the wound moist and help prevent scarring, you can use antibiotic ointment. Keep in mind that some people can be allergic to antibiotic ointment and may develop a rash. Cover the wound if it’s located in a place that can get irritated or dirty. Leaving a wound uncovered will help it heal faster.
See a Doctor if the wound becomes tender and inflamed or drains. Also if wound develops red streaks around it or you have a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Reasons to see your doctor? If the wound continues to bleed after 30 minutes, you may need to go see your doctor or go to the emergency room. Deep would that can’t close on their own will needed stitches. You may also need to see a doctor if you have a gaping cut or jagged edge cut, if dirt or debris is trapped in the wound, if the wound develops red streaks around it, or you have a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. To avoid scaring, see your doctor if the wound is deep or on your face.
Even minor emergencies can be stressful – but that’s why it’s so important to be prepared. Although every situation is different, a visit to the emergency room is necessary when a person is unconscious, bleeding is not stopping, the person is having difficulty breathing, or is experiencing confusion or swelling of the face or throat.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Baker at CHI Memorial Chattanooga Internal Medicine Group, call (423) 495-2690.