Responding appropriately in an emergency situation requires knowledge. Unfortunately, first aid know-how isn't something people are born with. It's up to you to improve your understanding and skills. Consider exploring some of these resources to learn more.
- Read a First Aid Guide: Most first aid kits come with a first aid booklet. These booklets provide instructions for responding to some of the most common first aid situations. First aid guides are useful for familiarizing yourself with the problems you're most likely to face in daily life. However, they can only take you so far. If you're already comfortable with first aid basics, you'll need to consult more detailed sources.
- Watch Videos Online: The internet is a great resource for learning more about first aid. A quick search will connect you with hundreds of videos demonstrating skills you may need. Online videos allow you to expand your knowledge in the comfort of your home. However, be wary. Only trust videos from reputable sources. If you're not sure about the information you're receiving, move on.
- Take an Online Course: An online first aid course will provide you with quality information presented in a clear, logical way. Completing such a course will make sure you encounter all of the information you need to be effective in a number of different situations. Some online courses may also offer certification tests, which may be mandatory for certain employment opportunities.
- Take an In-Person First Aid Course: There is no substitute for an in-person first aid course. An in-person course puts you face to face with an expert in the field, allowing you to ask questions and receive targeted guidance. Basic first aid courses are available in a number of places, including YMCAs, community centers, and pools. While this option will cost more than online courses, the hands-on experience makes the price tag well worth it.
- Become CPR Certified: Take your knowledge a step further by attending a CPR class. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is performed when someone has stopped breathing and doesn't have a pulse. A 1 to 3 hour course will teach you how to perform CPR correctly and safely. While this course does not go as in-depth as paramedic training, it does equip you with the information you need to save a life.
- Take a Targeted First Aid Course: Depending on your occupation and lifestyle, you may find yourself needing first aid training that goes above and beyond what you'd find in a basic course. A targeted first aid course will help you hone in on the skills that are most relevant. Courses in workplace safety, backpacking first aid, boating safety, first aid for mental health, and many other topics are commonly available.
Keep learning and refresh your knowledge regularly to make sure you know what to do if the unexpected strikes.
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Rumors, myths and gossip. We hear some almost every day. But if we then spread that unfounded information, we can cause people great harm. That goes double for the many first aid myths that still float around society. Doing the wrong thing can have serious repercussions.
Most people have never taken a first aid course, so when a medical emergency arises they only have memories of stuff they’ve heard somewhere. Sure, they can look online for answers, but along with the credible sources of first aid information, there are too many that give incorrect advice.
Let’s dispel some first aid myths once and for all. A good start in this area is to buy a first aid kit and look through what’s inside, because doing that will tell you plenty about proper first aid procedures.
MYTH: Apply Butter to Soothe a Burn
Any oily substance applied to a burn will worsen it, increase the risk of infection, and impede healing. Treat all burns with cool water first. For serious burns, consult a doctor, paramedics or ER professionals.
MYTH: Apply Ice to a Burn
Ice will cause further damage to burnt skin and increase the severity of scarring. A burn should be left open until the pain stops. Cool water is what to use.
MYTH: Tilting the Head Back for a Nosebleed
Tilting the head back is definitely a myth. What it can do is potentially fill the throat with blood. Lean forward, pinch the nose just below the bridge, and hold it closed until the bleeding stops.
MYTH: Give Alcohol to Someone with Hypothermia
That stuff about giving a cold person brandy or rum is just plain wrong and harmful. Alcohol dilates the blood vessels which will cause heat to disappear faster through the skin. Don’t be too concerned by shivering – it’s a natural response by the body trying to raise its temperature. Alcohol can suppress that response. Give the patient warm water, soup, tea or coffee and pack warm clothes or blankets around them.
MYTH: Suck the Venom Out of a Snake Bite
Did this crazy first aid myth come from cowboy movies? It’s impossible to suck out the venom. It is not contained at the bite. It spreads into the bloodstream. Instead, call 911 immediately. Then keep the patient calm and lying down still, as any movement will speed up the heart rate and spread the venom faster.
MYTH: Induce Vomiting When Poison is Ingested
Inducing vomiting is no longer recommended by health professionals. Immediately call 911 or Poison Control or your doctor for advice.
MYTH: Breathe Into a Paper Bag When Hyperventilating
Shortness of breath is not always hyperventilation. The person could be having an asthma or heart attack, in which case breathing into a paper bag will worsen the situation. Assist the person to become calm and breathe more slowly.
MYTH: Restrain a Person Having a Seizure and Use a Bite Block
Neither of these measures is recommended during a seizure. Keep your fingers out of the person’s mouth, put him on his side, and clear the area around him to prevent harm.
MYTH: Treat Sprains with Warmth
Who knows how this first aid myth started? But apparently some people still do it. Warmth will only increase the swelling. Apply ice (or plunge the injury into cold water) and a compression bandage, then elevate it.
MYTH: Urine to Reduce the Pain of a Jellyfish Sting
What Joey did to Monica in Friends was wrong. Urine on a jellyfish sting could cause more pain. Instead, rinse the area with seawater and gently scrape the area to dislodge the jellyfish stingers. Only then apply vinegar and/or calamine lotion.
These are just a few of the many first aid myths that continue to endure. All of them are useless, and some can be downright harmful. PLEASE… learn the right procedures, don’t listen to rumors, and always keep a proper first aid kit handy wherever you go.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to First Aid Shoppe and a clickable link back to this page.
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Every day somebody, somewhere, needs first aid. You know you should keep a good first aid kit on hand, but how do you know which is right for your needs? No two kits are the same. They’re all different. Some are good for basic cuts, scrapes, burns and such, while others are more elaborate. How do you know which one you should have?
When you understand the first aid kit differences out there, you can choose the right match for your needs.
The biggest difference in first aid kits is if they are certified or not. Buy a kit that meets OSHA and ANSI standards (Occupational Health and Safety Act and the American National Standards Institute.) Avoid any kit that is not certified.
ANSI approved kits are separated into Class A and Class B. Class A is for common injuries in a workplace and Class B is for more serious and complex problems.
A Basic Kit for Cuts, Scrapes and Minor Issues
You can find key differences in first aid kits in their intended purposes. A basic kit should be in your bathroom at home, or the kitchen, for treating simple problems like small cuts, scrapes, burns, bumps, bruises,even headaches and nausea. A kit like this is inexpensive, small, portable, and refilled easily. It will contain bandages, salves, aspirin, gauze, cleansing wipes, antiseptic ointment, maybe even a cold pack.
This is the kind of kit you may want to keep in your backpack when out and about. Great for hiking, cycling, picnicking and such.
Some first aid kits display the number of persons they are designed for. When you see one showing it is for 12 people or 25 people, you know it’s a good choice for work, or church, or a social club, or a sports team.
Some people keep multiple first aid kits because they may face situations of different risk. For more severe injuries, a regular kit won’t be enough. They need a trauma kit. The differences in this first aid kit are that it should include tourniquets, gloves and QuikClot sponges for stopping heavy bleeding quickly.
CPR Mask or Bust
Get a first aid kit that includes a CPR mask. It is not mandatory under many standards, but it’s a life-saving device. The small key chain CPR mask used by the American Red Cross is perfect. It fits anywhere, has a one-way air valve and protective barrier, and even includes an instructive guide to help anyone.
Emergency Preparedness Kit
The biggest difference with an emergency kit is that it’s not only for first aid. It’s a catch-all that can have you prepared for almost anything. It might include a radio, emergency blanket, whistle, light, batteries, and waterproof matches, among other items. It’s a must for adding to your bug-out kit you keep outside your home (for earthquakes and such) and for going on long trips or into remote areas.
It’s All in the Packaging
Otherwise,first aid kit differences come down to what they’re contained in. Small zip-up cases are portable and can fit in bags, glove compartments, and so on. Hard case kits are for visible mounting or storage.
Like the Boy Scouts say, be prepared. Know your different first aid kits and get the kind(s) you need.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to First Aid Shoppe
and a clickable link back to this page.
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