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.
The sun is shining, your friends are over, and you're ready to eat. Time to fire up the grill! Backyard grilling is a fun and delicious way to spend time with loved ones. However, if it's approached the wrong way it can also be a source for injuries. Make sure your next BBQ stays fun by knowing how to prevent and respond to common grill-related mishaps.
Cooking over an open heat source makes it very easy to receive a burn. While most grilling burns are minor, a second's inattention can result in a trip to the emergency room. Keep yourself and your family safe by following these prevention tips:
- Keep your grill or fire far away from where your guests are walking and playing.
- Clean your grill regularly to keep flammable grease from building up.
- Instruct any children present to stay at least three feet away from the grill or fire at all times.
- Use long-handled tools designed for grill use.
- Don't add starter fluid after your grill is lit.
Unfortunately, even with the best intentions it's still possible to receive a burn from your grill. If you or someone else is burned, assess the area to determine the extent of the damage. First and second degree burns are generally safe to treat at home. However, if the burned area blisters immediately or goes deep enough to impact the muscle or bone, get medical help right away.
To treat minor burns, remove any clothing or jewelry near the affected area. Immerse the burned skin into cool water for 15 minutes. This helps relieve pain and minimize swelling. Protect the burned skin with a bandage, use an over the counter pain reliever to help manage discomfort, and consider applying aloe vera. Avoid applying butter or milk to the burn: both can slow healing and may increase the risk of infection.
Minor burns will heal without additional treatment, but it's important to keep an eye out for infection. Contact a doctor if you see a change in the color of the skin surrounding the burn, if the burn suddenly grows deeper, or if you notice pus or discharge exiting the wound.
Spending time in the sun may feel good at first, but too much heat and too little water can lead to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion happens when your core body temperature becomes elevated and you haven't had enough fluids. You may experience extreme thirst, headache, physical weakness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramps, or fainting.
Prevent heat exhaustion by staying hydrated, particularly if you're serving alcohol at your barbeque. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat exhaustion, get them out of the sun and into a cool area immediately. Encourage them to drink water, and offer a cool wet towel to help them cool down.