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      Grill Safety - Preventing and Treating Cookout Injuries

      Grill Safety - Preventing and Treating Cookout Injuries

      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.

      Heat Exhaustion

      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.

      6 Things You Don't Need in Your First Aid Kit

      6 Things You Don't Need in Your First Aid Kit

      We talk a lot about items you need for a first aid kit, but what about the items you could do without? Knowing what not to include in your first aid kit keeps unnecessary items from taking up precious space. It also saves you from spending money on items you just don't need. Here's our list of the top 6 things you don't need to keep in your first aid kit.

      6 Things You Don't Need in Your First Aid Kit

      1. Overly Specialized Items: If you're creating a kit for everyday situations (such as for your home or car), there's no need to invest in a mountain of overly specialized items. Most home mishaps can be addressed with bandaids, stretch bandages, or a dose of antihistamine. Piling your container with splints, thermal blankets, and snake bite kits loads you down with stuff you just don't need.

      1. Irrelevant Gadgets: First aid kits for the home or office don't need many gadgets. A pair of scissors, a pair of tweezers, a thermometer, and a first aid guide are about all you need. Resist the temptation to stock up on survival gadgets. Knives and multitools may come in useful if you're hiking in the backcountry, but they're generally irrelevant in everyday life.

      1. Ipecac: Some premade kits and first aid checklists include ipecac. Ipecac used to be recommended as a way to induce vomiting after poison is ingested. Today, this strategy is considered outdated. Get rid of any ipecac you have in your current kit. If you're building a kit from scratch, don't bother adding it.

      1. Too Much Medication: Pain relievers, antihistamines, and medications for stomach issues are all wonderful things to add to a first aid kit. However, you can have too much of a good thing. All medications have a shelf life, and if they're left in your kit for too long they may lose their effectiveness. Don't overstock your kit with more medication than you know you'll use.

      1. Overly Complicated Items: Unless you're a trained first responder, it's likely that an emergency situation will cause you some stress. No one is at their best when stressed out, so do yourself a favor by keeping your first aid items easy to use. Don't include anything that requires special training to properly apply. Instead, focus in on items that are simple to open and use correctly.

      1. Inappropriate Items for Your Situation: It's worthwhile to put some thought into how and why you'll be using your first aid kit. Items that could save your life while hiking could be completely irrelevant if you're using your kit at home. Government regulations may dictate what you can and can't include in a kit for a workplace. Don't bother with items that aren't appropriate for what you're trying to do.

      Animal First Aid: How to Keep Your Pet Safe

      Animal First Aid: How to Keep Your Pet Safe


      We love our pets as much as we love many of the people in our lives. Therefore, it's important to understand how to help them in an emergency situation. Here are a few of the most common first aid issues pet owners experience, and how to deal with them effectively.

      Animal First Aid - How to Deal with Common First Aid Situations

      1. Choking: If your pet is having difficulty breathing, is making choking sounds while they breathe, is coughing excessively, is pawing at their mouth, or has blue tinged lips or tongue, it's likely an object is blocking their airway. This is an emergency. Find someone to bring you and your pet to the veterinarian immediately.

        Assess if your pet is still able to breathe. If they can, keep them calm and bring them to your veterinarian. If they can't, look in their mouth to see if a foreign object is visible. If you can, use pliers to gently pull it out. If you can't see the object, or if you can't remove it without pushing it further in the airway, try to dislodge it from the outside. Lay your pet on its side and use the palm of your hand to strike its rib cage three to four times. Repeat this until the object moves or until you reach your vet.

      1. Bleeding: If your pet is wounded and bleeding externally, reach for your first aid kit. Your pet is more likely to bite when they are in pain, so consider using a muzzle. Next, use a thick gauze pad and your hand to keep pressure over the bleeding area. Hold pressure for 3-5 minutes before checking to see if clotting has occurred. If the bleeding is severe or does not stop, bring your pet to a veterinarian.

      1. Poisoning: Generally speaking, anything that is harmful to you is harmful to your pet. Additionally, some substances that are safe for humans are toxic to some animals. If you believe your pet has ingested something harmful, contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance. You can also contact the Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 888-426-4435. Be ready to tell them your pet's species, breed, sex, weight, and age. They'll also want to know what your pet ingested and any symptoms they're having.

      1. Heat Stroke: Heat stroke occurs when an animal's body is unable to deal with excessive heat. This is extremely common in dogs left in cars on hot days. Avoiding heat stroke by staying diligent about your dog's environment is the most effective course of action. If your dog does show signs of heat stroke (excessive panting, drooling, agitation, increased heart rate, and trouble breathing), get them out of the sun and in a cool area immediately. Place a cold wet towel around its neck and head (don't cover the nose and eyes). Rewet the towel every few minutes. Pour cool water over your pets abdomen and between the hind legs to help absorb heat. Contact your veterinarian for further instructions, and to find out if you should bring your pet in for further assistance.


      Common Springtime Bug Bites and How to Treat Them

      Common Springtime Bug Bites and How to Treat Them

      The weather's warming up, and it's getting nicer outside. This is a good thing. Unfortunately, the nicer weather comes with a major downside: bug bites. While most bites are little more than an annoyance, in some cases insect bites can lead to serious issues. Here's what you need to know about the most common spring and summer bug bites, and how to treat them.

      Common Bite Number One: Mosquito - Mosquito bites are red, raised, and itchy. For most people, the issues stop there. A particularly strong reaction may lead to a small blister or welt. In the vast majority of cases, all that's needed for treatment is an anti-itch cream and time. However, keep an eye out for flu-like symptoms after a bite. This can be a sign that a mosquito-borne disease like West Nile virus may be present. If you suspect an infection has occurred, contact your doctor immediately.

      Common Bite Number Two: Tick - Ticks tend to be found in wooded areas. They burrow into your skin if given a chance. Use a tweezer to gently remove any embedded ticks, then wash the bite with soap and water. In most cases, this is all the treatment necessary. However, it's important to keep an eye on the bite. If you notice a bulls-eye shaped rash or experience any flu symptoms or difficulty breathing, contact a doctor immediately.

      Common Bite Number Three: Bee - A bee sting isn't technically a bite, but it can hurt just as much! In most cases, the only treatment necessary is to use tweezers to remove any stingers left behind and to wash the bite with soap and water. If a welt forms, a cold compress can help to relieve the swelling. However, keep an eye out for difficulty breathing, nausea, and dizziness: this can be a sign of a severe reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

      Common Bite Number Four: Flea - As your furry friends start to spend more time outside, they have a greater chance of bringing a bit of nature back in with them. Flea bites don't cause much risk to humans, but they certainly can be an irritation. The biggest issue caused by these bites is infection from scratching. Reduce your risk and make yourself more comfortable by using anti-itch creams or oral antihistamines.

      Common Bite Number Five: Fire Ant - If you're bitten by a fire ant, you'll know it by the itchy, pus-filled bites left behind. Resist the urge to pop the blisters, as this will only make the problem worse. Instead, use cold compresses, oral antihistamines, and oatmeal soaks to reduce irritation. If you notice dizziness, trouble breathing, throat swelling, or loss of consciousness, seek urgent medical attention - it is possible to have a severe allergy to fire ant venom.

      While most springtime bug bites aren't serious, they can be a major annoyance. Your best bet is to avoid them altogether. Wear socks and closed toe shoes while working outside, and invest in a good bug spray if you plan to be outdoors often.

      First Aid Kit Basics: Containers

      First Aid Kit Basics: Containers

      If you've ever put together a first aid kit, you've probably spent a lot of time thinking about what goes into it. But it can be just as important to consider your first aid kit container. The container you choose to house your first aid kit will have an impact on how, where, and when you can use your kit. There are pros and cons to any of the containers you choose. Read on to learn a few of them.

      First Aid Kit Basics: Container Pros and Cons

      Plastic First Aid Containers: You may choose to keep your first aid kit in a plastic container. This is a classic choice, and is often used for pre-made kits. Plastic cases are inexpensive, durable, and give you lots of space. Depending on its size, you may find that a plastic container is not particularly portable. This makes it a good choice for use in the home or in small workspaces.

      Metal First Aid Containers: Metal first aid kits give your contents added protection against the elements. Because they're waterproof, they're a great choice for outdoor situations. The downside is they are quite heavy, which reduces their portability. Metal containers make sense for outdoor work sites, as well as situations where your kit may encounter heavy use.

      Cloth Bag: A cloth first aid container usually features many zippers, pockets, and compartments. This can be a great way to keep your contents organized. They usually feature a handle or strap, which increases their portability. The downside to cloth containers is their lack of durability. We recommend saving cloth containers to low use situations, such as a car kit.

      Backpack: A backpack first aid kit builds upon the benefits of the cloth kit, providing plenty of organizational options with superior portability. It's easy to sling a backpack on your back and hit the trail with what you need. Again, the downside of this type of kit is durability. It's a good idea to use this container for situations where you'll be on the go, and avoid using it in heavy use areas.

      Makeshift First Aid Containers: It's not always necessary to purchase a separate container for your first aid supplies. If you're creating a kit for a very specific low use situation, makeshift containers can work just as well, or even better. Food storage containers give you a small, sturdy, weather-proof space for a few supplies. Ziploc bags are lightweight, waterproof, and easy to fill with what you need - perfect for hiking. Waist pouches can be a smaller alternative to cloth bags and backpacks, while a plastic storage bin gives you a large, durable stand in for a plastic or metal container.

      The right container can make a big difference in how safe and accessible your first aid supplies are. Don't be afraid to get creative, but do make sure the container you choose is right for your situation.