Basic First Aid You Should Know And Have In Times Of Emergency
Know the basics and be equipped in times of emergency, especially since hospitals are now at full capacity
It’s week three of the community quarantine and while it’s been tough, everything has been slowly acclimating to this new normal, albeit temporary set-up. In fact, many have taken up to learning new things to spend their time productively—cooking, starting a new hobby, painting, planting, and so much more.
With the whole family cooped up at home, one of the most important things to get familiar with (if you are not yet) is first aid. First aid is the immediate medical assistance than you can provide yourself or someone else in the event of an illness or injury to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, and promote recovery. With hospitals swamped nowadays because of the COVID-19 pandemic and with many services at a halt, all the more must we be prepared to tackle minor injuries and illnesses that will happen in our households.
What kind of first aid do I need?
There are two things that you must be equipped with when it comes to first aid: a first aid kit and first aid skills.
A first aid kit is a must in every home to help you treat minor ailments and injuries. It’s something that will come in handy at all times, especially with unforeseeable accidents. First aid skills are easy-to-learn skills that you should be familiar with—some of these knowledge might make the difference when faced with something more serious.
Before building your first aid kit or looking up first aid skills that you need to know, it’s also important to know who you are building it for. The size of your kit, for example, will vary if you live alone, live with a pregnant wife, or live with the elderly. Know the needs of the household before packing up your kit.
Building your first aid kit
Once you know who you’re building the kit for, then you can start filling it up with: one, the necessities; and two, medicine and things that are specific to your household.
For the necessities, here is the full list of things that
should be in a basic first aid kit for a family of four, as recommended by the American Red Cross:
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes), also found within our Family First Aid Kit
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 emergency blanket
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 3 in. gauze roll (roller) bandage
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 3 in. x 3 in. sterile gauze pads
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- 2 triangular bandages
Apart from the basic medical supplies, make sure that you also buy medications specific to your household’s needs. Is someone in your family experiencing asthma? Diabetes? Rheumatitis? Hyperacidity? So make sure you buy enough medicine for afflictions your family members usually experience.
On top of these, you might want to include these over-the-counter medications as recommended by the UC San Diego Health:
- Ibuprofen, 20+
- Paracetamol, 15+
- Aspirin, 15+
- Anti-histamine, x10
- Immodium/Loperamide, x10
- Nasal decongestant, x10
- Throat lozenges, 10+
- Antacid, x20
- Oral rehydration, x3
First aid skills that you should know
Gone are the days when you would have to trust old herbal tricks and pray they actually work. Now, we have the convenience of technology when we need help with something. So put your Google search to good use! (Make sure you tap into a legitimate resource though)
There are several first aid skills that we believe everyone should know. Here are some of the most important ones that you can start learning now, which can help you when the need arises.
to clean and dress a wound
This may be one of the most common minor accidents that we can encounter everywhere, but many people really don’t have an idea how to properly clean and dress a wound. Although you can treat some wounds at home, remember that you should see a doctor if the bleeding doesn’t stop with direct pressure and persists longer than 20 minutes.
CPR & Infant CPR
CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training has changed in the last few years and there is actually a big difference in administering CPR for adults and babies. For adults, here is a good video to help you learn how to administer CPR.
For infants and babies, check out this video.
someone from choking
Did you know that choking is actually one of the leading causes of unintentional death? The Heimlich maneuver or abdominal thrusts is very handy when you need to help someone expel a trapped object from their airways. Check out this video to learn how to properly perform the Heimlich maneuver:
How to treat a sprain
Maybe you were doing some HIIT exercises at home and you accidentally land badly on your ankle, or your child is running around the house and they hit their knee on the furniture. Sprains are not too serious, and can heal easily when treated effectively right away.
Many medical institutions such as the The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recommend the R.I.C.E. method, which means Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate.
to manage diarrhea
In most cases, diarrhea will resolve itself in a few days. But it’s important to know what the right foods to eat are and the importance of drinking plenty of fluids to keep yourself from getting dehydrated. Check out this comprehensive list of tips on what to eat and what not to eat by UW Health to help you when tackling diarrhea.
How to treat a burn
Most minor burns can also be treated at home, and should heal within a couple of weeks. However, when the burns cover large areas, if it’s deep enough that it affects deeper tissues (when the skin looks leathery), or when the skin has patches of black, white, or brown, it’s better to seek medical assistance. For first aid burns, check out the video below by St. John Ambulance:
When should you go to the hospital for COVID-19 symptoms?
Here is a handy infographic from the Australian Government breaking down the symptoms of COVID-19 versus the common flu:
Since hospitals now are nearing their capacity, it is best not
to run to the hospital at the first sign of sore throat or fever. The American
College of Emergency Physicians stresses that if your fever and cough responds
to OTC medicine, stay at home and self quarantine for the meantime.
However, if you’re experiencing severe manifestations like difficulty in breathing, you should call the hospital first to know if you need to be evaluated. See below the updated list of hospitals that are still able to accept COVID-19 patients:
Stay healthy, stay home, and stay safe everyone!