1. Basic introduction

First Aid kit list

You never know when you might need to provide basic first aid. To prepare for the unpredictable, considering storing a well-stocked first aid kit in your home and car. It’s also a good idea to have a first aid kit available at work.

You can buy preassembled first aid kits from many first aid organizations, pharmacies, or outdoor recreation stores. Alternatively, you can create your own first aid kit using products purchased from a pharmacy.

A standard first aid kit should include:

  • adhesive bandages of assorted sizes
  • roller bandages of assorted sizes
  • absorbent compress dressings
  • sterile gauze pads
  • adhesive cloth tape
  • triangular bandages
  • antiseptic wipes
  • aspirin
  • acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • antibiotic ointment
  • hydrocortisone cream
  • calamine lotion
  • nitrile or vinyl gloves
  • safety pins
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • thermometer
  • breathing barrier
  • instant cold pack
  • blanket
  • first aid manual

It’s also smart to include a list of your healthcare providers, emergency contact numbers, and prescribed medications in your first aid kits.

1. Basic introduction

First Aid kit for babies

To prepare for potential emergencies, it’s a good idea to keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your home and car. You can buy preassembled first aid kits or make your own.

If you have a baby, you might need to replace or supplement some of the products in a standard first aid kit with infant-appropriate alternatives. For example, your kit should include an infant thermometer and infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

It’s also important to store the kit in a place where your baby can’t reach it.

Ask your pediatrician or family doctor for more information about infant-friendly first aid.

1. Basic introduction

First Aid for heart attack

If you think someone might be experiencing a heart attack, call 911. If they’ve been prescribed nitroglycerin, help them locate and take this medication. Cover them with a blanket and comfort them until professional help arrives.

If they have difficulty breathing, loosen any clothing around their chest and neck. Start CPR if they lose consciousness.

1. Basic introduction

First aid for heatstroke

When your body overheats, it can cause heat exhaustion. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke. This is a potentially life-threatening condition and medical emergency.

If someone is overheated, encourage them to rest in a cool location. Remove excess layers of clothing and try to cool their body down by doing the following:

  • Cover them with a cool, damp sheet.
  • Apply a cool, wet towel to the back of their neck.
  • Sponge them with cool water.

Call 911 if they develop signs or symptoms of heatstroke, including any of the following:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • mental confusion
  • fainting
  • seizures
  • a fever of 104°F (40°C) or greater
1. Basic introduction

First Aid for nose bleed

To treat someone with a nosebleed, ask them to:

  1. Sit down and lean their head forward.
  2. Using the thumb and index finger, firmly press or pinch the nostrils closed.
  3. Continue to apply this pressure continuously for five minutes.
  4. Check and repeat until the bleeding stops.

If you have nitrile of vinyl gloves, you can press or pinch their nostril closed for them.

If the nosebleed continues for 20 minutes or longer, seek emergency medical care. The person should also receive follow-up care if an injury caused the nosebleed.

1. Basic introduction

First Aid for bee sting

For some people, a bee sting is a medical emergency. If a person is having an allergic reaction to a bee sting, call 911. If they have an epinephrine auto-injector (like an EpiPen), help them find and use it. Encourage them to remain calm until help arrives.

Someone who’s stung by a bee and showing no signs of an allergic reaction can usually be treated without professional help.

If the stinger is still stuck under the skin, gently scrape a credit card or other flat object across their skin to remove it. Then wash the area with soap and water and apply a cool compress for up to 10 minutes at a time to reduce pain and swelling.

To treat itching or pain from the sting, consider applying calamine lotion or a paste of baking soda and water to the area several times a day.

1. Basic introduction

First aid CPR

If you see someone collapse or find someone unconscious, call 911. If the area around the unconscious person seems safe, approach them and begin CPR.

Even if you don’t have formal training, you can use hands-only CPR to help keep someone alive until professional help arrives.

Here’s how to treat an adult with hands-only CPR:

  1. Place both hands on the center of their chest, with one hand on top of the other.
  2. Press straight down to compress their chest repeatedly, at a rate of about 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  3. Compressing the chest to the beat of “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees or “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé can help you count at the correct rate.
  4. Continue performing chest compressions until professional help arrives.
1. Basic introduction

First aid for burns

What are burns?

Burns are one of the most common household injuries, especially among children. The term “burn” means more than the burning sensation associated with this injury. Burns are characterized by severe skin damage that causes the affected skin cells to die.

Most people can recover from burns without serious health consequences, depending on the cause and degree of injury. More serious burns require immediate emergency medical care to prevent complications and death.

Pictures of burns

Burn levels

There are three primary types of burns: first-, second-, and third-degree. Each degree is based on the severity of damage to the skin, with first-degree being the most minor and third-degree being the most severe. Damage includes:

  • first-degree burns: red, nonblistered skin
  • second-degree burns: blisters and some thickening of the skin
  • third-degree burns: widespread thickness with a white, leathery appearance

There are also fourth-degree burns. This type of burn includes all of the symptoms of a third-degree burn and also extends beyond the skin into tendons and bones.

Burns have a variety of causes, including:

  • scalding from hot, boiling liquids
  • chemical burns
  • electrical burns
  • fires, including flames from matches, candles, and lighters
  • excessive sun exposure

The type of burn is not based on the cause of it. Scalding, for example, can cause all three burns, depending on how hot the liquid is and how long it stays in contact with the skin.

Chemical and electrical burns warrant immediate medical attention because they can affect the inside of the body, even if skin damage is minor.

First-degree burn

First-degree burns cause minimal skin damage. They are also called “superficial burns” because they affect the outermost layer of skin. Signs of a first-degree burn include:

  • redness
  • minor inflammation, or swelling
  • pain
  • dry, peeling skin occurs as the burn heals

Since this burn affects the top layer of skin, the signs and symptoms disappear once the skin cells shed. First-degree burns usually heal within 7 to 10 days without scarring.

You should still see your doctor if the burn affects a large area of skin, more than three inches, and if it’s on your face or a major joint, which include:

  • knee
  • ankle
  • foot
  • spine
  • shoulder
  • elbow
  • forearm

First-degree burns are usually treated with home care. Healing time may be quicker the sooner you treat the burn. Treatments for a first-degree burn include:

  • soaking the wound in cool water for five minutes or longer
  • taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief
  • applying lidocaine (an anesthetic) with aloe vera gel or cream to soothe the skin
  • using an antibiotic ointment and loose gauze to protect the affected area

Make sure you don’t use ice, as this may make the damage worse. Never apply cotton balls to a burn because the small fibers can stick to the injury and increase the risk of infection. Also, avoid home remedies like butter and eggs as these are not proven to be effective.

Second-degree burn

Second-degree burns are more serious because the damage extends beyond the top layer of skin. This type burn causes the skin to blister and become extremely red and sore.

Some blisters pop open, giving the burn a wet or weeping appearance. Over time, thick, soft, scab-like tissue called fibrinous exudate may develop over the wound.

Due to the delicate nature of these wounds, keeping the area clean and bandaging it properly is required to prevent infection. This also helps the burn heal quicker.

Some second-degree burns take longer than three weeks to heal, but most heal within two to three weeks without scarring, but often with pigment changes to the skin.

The worse the blisters are, the longer the burn will take to heal. In some severe cases, skin grafting is required to fix the damage. Skin grafting takes healthy skin from another area of the body and moves it to the site of the burned skin.

As with first-degree burns, avoid cotton balls and questionable home remedies. Treatments for a mild second-degree burn generally include:

  • running the skin under cool water for 15 minutes or longer
  • taking over-the-counter pain medication (acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
  • applying antibiotic cream to blisters

However, seek emergency medical treatment if the burn affects a widespread area, such as any of the following:

  • face
  • hands
  • buttocks
  • groin
  • feet

Third-degree burn

Excluding fourth-degree burns, third-degree burns are the most severe. They cause the most damage, extending through every layer of skin.

There is a misconception that third-degree burns are the most painful. However, with this type of burn the damage is so extensive that there may not be any pain because of nerve damage.

Depending on the cause, the symptoms third-degree burns can exhibit include:

  • waxy and white color
  • char
  • dark brown color
  • raised and leathery texture
  • blisters that do not develop

Without surgery, these wounds heal with severe scarring and contracture. There is no set timeline for complete spontaneous healing for third-degree burns.

Never attempt to self-treat a third-degree burn. Call 911 immediately. While you’re waiting for medical treatment, raise the injury above your heart. Don’t get undressed, but make sure no clothing is stuck to the burn.

Preventing all degrees of burns

The obvious best way to fight burns is to prevent them from happening. Certain jobs put you at a greater risk for burns, but the fact is that most burns happen at home. Infants and young children are the most vulnerable to burns. Preventive measures you can take at home include:

  • Keep children out of the kitchen while cooking.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
  • Place a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen.
  • Test smoke detectors once a month.
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
  • Keep water heater temperature under 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Measure bath water temperature before use.
  • Lock up matches and lighters.
  • Install electrical outlet covers.
  • Check and discard electrical cords with exposed wires.
  • Keep chemicals out of reach, and wear gloves during chemical use.
  • Wear sunscreen every day, and avoid peak sunlight.
  • Ensure all smoking products are stubbed out completely.
  • Clean out dryer lint traps regularly.

It’s also important to have a fire escape plan and to practice it with your family once a month. In the event of a fire, make sure to crawl underneath smoke. This will minimize the risk of passing out and becoming trapped in a fire.

1. Basic introduction

First Aid bandage

In many cases, you can use an adhesive bandage to cover minor cuts, scrapes, or burns. To cover and protect larger wounds, you might need to apply a clean gauze pad or roller bandage.

To apply a roller bandage to a wound, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the injured area steady.
  2. Gently but firmly wrap the bandage around the injured limb or body part, covering the wound.
  3. Fasten the bandage with sticky tape or safety pins.
  4. The bandage should be wrapped firmly enough to stay put, but not so tightly that it cuts off blood flow.

To check the circulation in a bandaged limb, pinch one of the person’s fingernails or toenails until the color drains from the nail. If color doesn’t return within two seconds of letting go, the bandage is too tight and needs to be adjusted.

1. Basic introduction

Three steps for emergency situations

If you encounter an emergency situation, follow these three basic steps:

1. Check the scene for danger

Look for anything that might be dangerous, like signs of fire, falling debris, or violent people. If your safety is at risk, remove yourself from the area and call for help.

If the scene is safe, assess the condition of the sick or injured person. Don’t move them unless you must do so to protect them from danger.

2. Call for medical help, if needed

If you suspect the sick or injured person needs emergency medical care, tell a nearby person to call 911 or the local number for emergency medical services. If you’re alone, make the call yourself.

3. Provide care

If you can do so safely, remain with the sick or injured person until professional help arrives. Cover them with a warm blanket, comfort them, and try to keep them calm. If you have basic first aid skills, try to treat any potentially life-threatening injuries they have.

Remove yourself from danger if at any point in the situation you think your safety might be at risk.