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Every home should have a first aid kit with essential tools for medical safety. First aid emergencies can arise at any time and could require any number of different items. For cuts and bruises, sprains and breaks preparation can eliminate or minimize pain, infections or other complications.
The last thing you want is for an emergency to present itself and not have what you need to control the situation. Make sure you have the proper equipment in your first aid kit to handle the various situations you might encounter at any given time.
Here are some things that you should make sure to include in your kit.
Sunburns can be extremely painful and make day-to-day activities difficult, if not impossible, to perform. If you live in an area that has a fair amount of sunny weather or are going on vacation somewhere that does, adding a few things to your first aid supplies can be a lifesaver.
Aloe or calamine lotion will help cool and soothe the skin when you have a sunburn. You should also have either a thin towel you can dip in cold water or an ice pack for cold compress.
Taking care of the rest of your body is just as important as the area that is burned. If you have a sunburn you are most likely dehydrated as well. Drink plenty of fluids like ice water to keep your body cool.
Avoid direct contact between the affected area and sunlight until it is fully healed. And make sure to regularly reapply sun block. Putting a layer on once in the morning when you are in the sunlight all day is not going to cut it. It is also important to use a sun block that is waterproof so swimming or sweat does not wash it way.
Keep a bottle of sun block in your first aid kit along with the cold compress and aloe. This way you will be prepared to stop a sunburn as well as treat one. For other home remedies that can help deal with sunburns check out free online first aid videos.
After sustaining an injury it is important to not make the situation worse when trying to treat it. Bandaging a sprain or cut improperly can restrict blood and oxygen flow, causing weakness in limbs, numbness, increased pain and much more. Improper treatment of an injury can often be worse than the injury itself. Applying a bandage is a first aid technique that is very commonly done incorrectly.
When applying a bandage you need to check circulation just above and below the injured area. If the bandage is on the wrist/forearm area, for example, check the hand and the elbow. Press your finger into these areas until the skin turns white. If color does not come back to the target area immediately the bandage is too tight. Reapply it, looser this time.
If you experience any tingling sensations, numbness or increased pain, or if your skin turns unusual shades like purple or red or unnaturally pale, these are also signs the bandage may be too tight.
Whenever any of these warning signs present themselves, adjust the bandage so it is looser and does not restrict circulation. Regularly check circulation when you have a bandage on to make sure no further damage is done. If the symptoms persist after loosening the bandage, call your doctor for further advice.
First aid emergencies can happen at home or on the road. Being prepared means being ready to deal with such an emergency in any setting. This is especially important for people and families who travel a lot. It is not, however, exclusive to this group of people.
It is common to have roadside kits in your car with flares, tire sealant, maps, etc. You never know when you may get lost or get a flat tire or have your car break down. You also never know when you might cut or burn yourself trying to fix an engine problem on the side of the road.
A first aid kit should always be kept inside your car. Whether it is in the glove compartment or trunk, having one is essential to maximizing your safety and the safety of your passengers.
Having first aid equipment on the road with you can prevent minor injuries from becoming major ones, and it can give you the extra time needed to get to a hospital for any serious problems.
Make sure to let other family members know that there is a kit in the car and where exactly it is located. Show them what supplies are in the car so they can handle an emergency if you are unable to.
Ankle sprains are very common and are often the cause of lifelong discomfort. Sprains can be worse than breaks in many cases because bone will heal itself when set properly. The ligaments in your ankle need a little more care.
Even a mild sprain can be more serious then you might think. Most people try to “walk it off” rather than staying off their feet for a little bit. When a sprain does not heal properly the ligaments are weakened. This makes them more vulnerable to future sprains. First aid safety is as much about preventing injuries as it is about treating them.
When one sprain does not heal properly you are more likely to suffer multiple subsequent injuries over time. Each one does a little more to damage the ankle. Make sure to use heating pads or ice often. Avoid putting pressure on that foot for a few days and keep it elevated to avoid swelling.
Keeping a pair of crutches in the house is a good idea, especially if you play sports or engage in activities where injuries can frequently occur.
Just like the rest of the human body, you can exercise the ankles. By making them stronger you can increase balance, speed and strength while reducing the chance of injury. Use resistance bands, placed at the ball of your foot, and point your toes away from your body. Then bring your toes back up as close to your body as you can. Now repeat. This will strengthen your ankle and increase range of motion.
There is more to icing an injury than most people would think. If you want to heal an injury in the quickest and most efficient way possible, you should learn what ice does for the body and how it helps. You also need to know how it can make an injury worse if applied incorrectly.
Ice is meant to help with pain and reduce the increased blood flow after an injury that causes swelling.
Make sure you do not place ice directly over a nerve. This can cause permanent damage to the nerve and leave you with much larger problems. Refer to some first aid videos online that explain where nerves are located in the area you have hurt so you can avoid this.
The ice must be evenly distributed. Do not place the bulk of it on one small area and ignore the surrounding areas. It is also important to keep a layer between the ice and your skin, like a towel, to avoid a “cold burn.”
Timing is very important with most injuries. Never apply ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. Doing so could actually increase pain and discomfort. It is fine to use ice several times throughout a day, but space the treatments out with about an hour or more in between.
After 72 hours you can switch to using heat to treat an injury. This will increase blood flow and nutrients which can heal the area and reduce inflammation. Make sure you do not use heat immediately after an injury, though. Heat should only be used after the icing period or for chronic conditions.