Children and first Aid

First Aid tips for common injuries that most likely you can treat yourself include the following:

Animal bites: If the animal is your own child’s pet and the injury is only a scratch and no skin has been broken, wash the area and apply a little antibiotic ointment and that should be all that’s necessary. If there’s a question about a bite with an unknown dog and the bite broke the skin, consult your doctor for more advice.

Allergic reactions: If these are not serious, maybe there are hives or whelps and some itching, then it is safe to do what you usually do, give an over the counter antihistamine, (Benadryl, or its generic equivalent, diphenhydramine). Keep the liquid variety of this very important medication on hand. It is designed for children. Sometimes a very small amount works as well as a regular amount. Be cautious.

If the allergic reaction is more severe, call for emergency help immediately.

Bleeding: For small cuts put pressure and when the bleeding stops wash with warm water and soap and dry the area and apply an antibiotic ointment. This will prevent an infection that will need more care and possibly heavy antibiotics. For nosebleeds pressure on the lower half of the nose is all that is needed. Sometimes ice in a small plastic bag will help.

First degree burns: Burns are common and prevention is the best cure but this is not always possible. The treatment for burns depends on the degree of the burn. When only the outer skin layer is burnt this is a first degree burn. It will burn and the area will be red, but it will not blister. The best treatment is cold water soaking for several minutes. Sun burns fall into this category.

Second degree burns: This kind of burn hurts more and the tissues below the first layer of skin are involved and there will be blistering. Hold the area, an arm, leg or hand under a cold water faucet to stop the burning from going deeper, or soak the area in cold water for several minutes. This also will lessen some of the pain.

A third degree burn: All the layers have been burnt and the burnt will have a charred look. The nerve endings have been severed and there may not be any pain. This may need further treatment. As a parent you decide.

A fourth degree burn: This is an extensive burn and muscles and bones have been involved. For all burns immediate treatment is best. The cold water treatment for first and second degree burns. No ointment, or butter, or no ice is to be used. Be careful not to break any blisters and remove clothing and call your doctor for instructions. Put a dressing over the area and for a second and third degree burn, call your doctor.

Choking: If you see a child choking you see if he is choking on and if at all possible remove it form his mouth. A very small child you can pick them up and with their head down pat them firmly on the back and often this will dislodge whatever they are choking on. If they are turning blue and cannot talk call your emergency services. Learn the Heimlich Maneuver for older children. This has been known to have saved many lives.

Poisoning: Call your local poison control center for instructions. (1-800-222-1222). Keep this number near phone and on your cell phone. Do not give Syrup of Ipecac. This is no longer recommended.

Seizures: Place on back and turn head to the side. Do not put anything in the mouth.

Insect bites: Remove stinger if you see it. Do not pinch area but remove it by dislodging it with something dull like a butter knife or a credit card scraped over it. If the bite is from a poisonous spider, snake, or if there are allergic reactions, call emergency services.

Fractures: Keep the arm or leg immobile if you suspect a fracture. Look for swelling of the area, and if the head is involved watch carefully for at least six hours. If there seem complications get help immediately.

Learn CPR. Basically this life saving maneuver consists of A. keeping airways clear; B Breathing, (breathing for them when they cannot do it for themselves) C. Circulating the blood flow by compressing on the chest.