Be Prepared: Your Summer First-Aid Essentials

July 12, 2021 By ,

With summertime fun comes an increased risk for accidents and injuries, including cuts, scrapes, falls, and insect bites. Whether at home or hiking, you want to equip yourself and your kids with the right knowledge and supplies. This guide details what you should know and have on hand to keep you and your loved ones safe.

First aid kits come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Here is a list of basics you should have on hand, in addition to personal items such as medications, emergency phone numbers, and other items your healthcare provider suggests.

Basics Supplies to Include in Your First-Aid Kit

  • First Aid Manual
  • Adhesive Tape
  • Bandages
  • Finger Splint
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Soap
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Antiseptic Solution
  • Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen
  • Calamine Lotion
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Safety Pins
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellant
  • Matches or Lighter
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Eyewash Solution
  • Thermometer
  • Flashlight and Extra Batteries
  • Duct Tape
  • Cup or Spoon
  • Emergency Phone Numbers
  • Blanket (Stowed Away, But Easily Accessible)
  • Instant Cold Packs
  • Cotton Balls
  • Whistle

In the event of an accident or injury, here are some basic recommendations and symptoms to be aware of, according to medical professionals.

Cuts and Scrapes

To prevent infection, tend to cuts and scrapes as soon as possible. Before applying antibiotic cream and a bandage, doctors recommend:

  • Use clean running water to cleanse the area of any debris
  • Gently wash the cut or scrape with soap and dry with a clean cloth
  • If the bleeding won’t stop, apply gentle pressure for up to 5 minutes

Heat Exhaustion

Possible signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, rapid heart rate, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, cool, moist skin, and faintness or fatigue. Protect against heat exhaustion by doing the following:

  • Stay hydrated, especially during and after physical activities, with either water or sports drinks with electrolytes
  • Take breaks and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day
  • Wear light and loose-fitting clothes, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses

Tick Bites

Though they may attach themselves anywhere, ticks are attracted to areas of the body that are warm and moist, like the armpits, behind the knees, and around the groin. Here are some steps to take if you experience a tick bite, according to the Center for Disease Control:

  • Remove the tick as soon as possible, as the longer it stays attached, the greater the risk of disease transmission
  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin as possible
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick
  • Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet. If you want to bring the tick to your doctor for identification, put it in rubbing alcohol or place it in a sealed bag

Bee Stings

If a bee stings you or someone with you, it’s important to stay calm and move away from the area to keep from being stung again by another bee. To treat a bee sting, health professionals recommend:

  • Removing the stinger as soon as possible using a fingernail or credit card. While tweezers may work great for tick bites, they’re not well-suited to remove insect stingers, as squeezing the stinger may cause more venom to be released
  • After removing the stinger, wash the area with soap and water
  • Apply ice or a cold compress to calm the pain or itching
  • Call 911 if your child is having trouble breathing, becomes dizzy or nauseous, or if swelling spreads

Nose Bleeds

Don’t tilt your head back; instead, doctors recommend that you:

  • Sit upright and lean forward to reduce blood pressure in the veins of your nose, which will discourage further bleeding
  • Gently blow your nose to clear blood clots, then spray both sides of your nose with a nasal decongestant containing oxymetazoline
  • Pinch your nose for 10 to 15 using your thumb and index finger. Breathe through your mouth.
  • If bleeding continues for more than 30 minutes, or if you or your child feel faint or lightheaded, you should seek professional medical help immediately.

Broken Bones and Sprains

Broken bones require immediate medical attention. If the injury is the result of major trauma, call 911 immediately and don’t move the person except if necessary to avoid further injury, according to medical professionals.  While waiting for medical help, doctors recommend:

  • Applying pressure to the wound with a sterile bandage, clean cloth, or piece of clothing
  • Immobilizing the injured area
  • Applying ice packs to limit swelling and relieve pain
  • If the person feels faint or is breathing in short, rapid breaths, lay them down with the head slightly lower than the trunk and, if possible, elevate the legs

Concussions

Thankfully, most head bumps are not serious and can be treated with a pack of ice or acetaminophen and ibuprofen; however, if you or your child bump your head, warning signs include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision
  • Bothered by light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy

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