What at You Need for Health Problems at Home

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A lot of accidents and health problems happen at home.  Springfield Mercy’s Dr. Laura Waters gives you what to have at home to deal with everyday health problems.


First Aid Basics for Home:
 
Animal Bites:
·       Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
·       Apply an antibiotic cream and cover the bite with a clean bandage.

Seek prompt medical care if:
·      Wound is a deep puncture
·      Skin is badly torn, crushed or bleeding significantly
·      Signs of infection: increasing swelling, redness, pain or oozing
·      Concerns about rabies

Burns:
·      Major burns require immediate (often emergent care):
o   Deep
o   Cause skin to be dry or leathery
o   Skin appears charred or has patches of white, black or brown
o   Larger than 3 inches
o   Covers hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or a major joint
·      Minor burns can be treated at home
o   superficial redness similar to a sunburn
o   may be painful or blister
o   covers an area NO LARGER THAN 3 INCHES 
·      First place under cool water or apply cool, wet compress
·      Don’t break blisters that protect from skin infection. If blister breaks, clean with water (+/- soap) and apply antibiotic ointment
·      Apply moisturizer (petroleum jelly) +/- aloe vera
·      Loosely wrap sterile gauze bandage to protect the skin and reduce pain
 
Cuts and scrapes:
·      Wash your hands
·      Stop bleeding by applying gentle pressure from clean bandage or cloth
·      Elevate wound until bleeding stops
·      Clean the wound with running water and soap
·      Hydrogen peroxide and iodine are often irritating and generally not recommended, if used, don’t use after the initial cleaning
·      Apply antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly and cover, if minor, no need to cover
·      Change dressing daily or sooner if dressing becomes wet or dirty
·      Get a tetanus shot if the wound is deep or dirty and you haven’t had one in the last 5 years
·      Watch for signs of infection
 
Choking:
·      Look for these signs:
o   Universal choking sign (hands clutched to throat)
o   Inability to talk
o   Trouble breathing or noisy breathing
o   Cough
o   Blue or dusky colored skin, lips and nails
o   Flushed skin that turns blue or pale
o   Loss of consciousness
·      Give 5 back blows
·      Give 5 abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver)
·      Alternate those actions until choking is relieved (can also just do the Heimlich maneuver)

Nosebleeds:
·      Lean forward (don’t lean back and swallow the blood that irritates your stomach)
·      Pinch nose for 10-15 minutes (breath through your mouth)
·      Still bleeding? Hold for another 10-15 minutes
·      If still bleeding then after 30 minutes, seek medical care
·      Once bleeding stops, keep kids from picking, can apply moisturizer to nose
 
Insect Bites and Stings:
·      If needed, remove stinger by scraping with credit card or paper, don’t use tweezers
·      Wash area with soap and water
·      Ice the area, or use cold compress (can do 20 minutes every 2 hours)
·      Use baking soda paste on site
·      Apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream 4-5 times daily for 1-3 days
·      Can take antihistamine like Benadryl or Zyrtec to help with itching
 
Sprains:
·      “RICE” therapy
·      Rest for 48-72 hours
·      Ice: 20 minutes every couple of hours for first 48 hours
·      Compression: apply a compression bandage to minimize swelling
·      Elevate injured area above the heart as much as possible

What’s in my First Aid Kit:
·      Petroleum jelly (Vasoline)
·      Antibiotic ointment
·      Hydrocortisone
·      Aloe vera
·      Benadryl
·      Bandages
·      Gauze
·      Ibuprofen
·      Compression bandage (Ace wrap)
·      Ice packs in the freezer

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