5 Top Tips for Summer First Aid
Last year when we were camping I forgot our First Aid kit! I only realised I didn’t have it when I needed it. So here are my 5 top tips for summer first aid.
#1 Remember your first aid kit!
Make sure your first aid kit is stocked with what you need and remember to take it with you when going away. Common things are plasters dressings, slings and bandages. I’m not a fan of anti-septic creams I think they create just the right environment for infection and that you’re far better to wash a wound well with tap water and then cover it with a suitable plaster if needed.
#2 Bites and stings
Bites and stings often get red, swollen, hot and itchy for the first 24-48 hours, sometimes they get infected – especially horsefly bites. It’s also worth remembering that vinegar is good for wasp stings and bicarbonate of soda for bee stings as it neutralises the sting. Apply it direct to the sting with cotton wool or gauze.
You can use anti-histamines and ice packs to sooth the irritation and itch but it’s important to be aware of the signs of infection. Signs of infection are spreading redness, heat and swelling, red lines travelling away from the bite up your arm or leg (depending on where the bite is), pain in your arm pit or groin again depending on where the bite is and feeling generally unwell, the wound may also ooze/discharge blood, liquid or pus. You may not have all of these signs but if you have any it’s worth getting advice from your GP surgery, local Minor Injuries Unit or Walk-in centre or 111.
#3 cuts/grazes wounds
Grazes can be large and dirty so for those times when grazes are covered in mud or gravel tap water is fine for cleaning. Therefore if it’s a large area there’s nothing wrong with getting in the bath or shower to clean off. This then means that you can see what to do next. If a wound needs stitches, paper stitches or gluing then it’s worth bearing in mind that generally you’ve got 12 hours to do this otherwise the wound starts to heal. Closing it then increases the chances of the wound getting infected. The signs for an infected wound are similar to an infected bite and it will also be slow to heal.
Twists and strains are common in the summer when we’re running around in less supportive footwear. The general treatment for sprains is Rest, Ice and Elevation.
Bandages need to go from toe to knee for an ankle injury and knuckles to elbow for a wrist injury. Often they’re worn too short and this can affect the circulation. Unless you’re sure what you’re doing with a bandage I would suggest leaving them off. Instead rest it as much as possible for the first 24-48 hours and when resting elevate. Ideally, if it’s your ankle above the level of your hip or if it’s a wrist injury above the level of the heart. Take whichever common painkiller you prefer and as soon as you can begin to exercise your wrist or ankle. An easy way to do this is to write the alphabet in the air with your finger or toe. Apply Ice packs 10-15 minutes at a time, once in any hour for as many hours as you can manage in those first 24-48 hours.
#5 First aid essentials – choking, recovery position and CPR
My final tip is to brush up on your general first aid. A good way to do this is to use the Lifesaver app from the Resuscitation Council (UK). This is a game that you play along with but it takes you through what you need to do in an emergency. Also I offer sessions for not-for-profit groups that cover first aid essentials for free. Contact me for more details.
I hope you enjoy a fabulous summer and stay injury free.
Do you have top tips for summer first aid you’d like to share? Please add them below in the comments.