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Each year in the United States there are around 131 million visits to the emergency room. It’s hardly surprising that these departments often feel busy!

However, knowing some basic first aid tips could save you a visit to the hospital altogether and stop a minor injury from becoming a major problem.

Not familiar with what to do when you sustain a minor injury? Then you’re in the right place!

Read on to find out the best ways to treat minor injuries at home, and when you should seek medical assistance.

Putting Together Your First Aid Kit

Every home should have a first aid kit complete with some basic essentials. Having this ready to use will make it quick and easy to deal with any minor injuries.

You first aid kit should include:

  • Adhesive tap
  • Alcohol or antiseptic wipes
  • Antihistamines and other allergy medication
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Several different sized bandages, including elastic bandages
  • Calamine lotion
  • Cold packs
  • Gauze rolls and pads
  • Hand sanitizing gel
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Latex-free medical gloves
  • Pain relief medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Saline wash
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers

It is a good idea to store your first aid kit somewhere obvious, such as in the bathroom or with other medication. However, basic first aid safety tips recommend that it’s stored high up enough that children won’t be able to get into it.

First Aid Tips for Cuts and Scrapes

Minor cuts and scrapes are fairly common injuries, especially in children. Thankfully, they’re easy to treat with these quick first aid tips.

Before treating a cut, wash your hands with soap and water. You can also use hand sanitizer if you’re out and about. Then apply pressure on the cut with a clean cloth or piece of gauze to stop the bleeding.

Once the bleeding has stopped, clean the wound using a saline solution or running water. You shouldn’t use soap to do this as it can cause irritation. If any dirt or debris is left in the cut you can try to remove this using tweezers.

If you are worried about the cut getting dirty or infected then wearing a bandage can protect against this, just make sure to change it regularly. Getting air to the cut will help it heal quicker.

You should seek medical attention if: 

  • The cut is long, deep, or has jagged edges.
  • You got the scrap from a rusty or dirty object.
  • The cut was caused by an animal or human bite.
  • It doesn’t stop bleeding when you apply pressure.
  • Debris is stuck in the cut.
  • The cut is on your face.
  • The area around the edges of the cut becomes red, swollen, or develops streaks of red.
  • There is a puss coming out of the cut.
  • You have a temperature of 100.4 F or more.

In these situations, the cut may be an infection risk so you will need extra treatment from an urgent care specialist.

Treating Nosebleeds

A nosebleed can look scary but these simple first aid tips will fix the problem in no time.

You should lean your head forward to stop blood from running down the back of your throat and press your nostrils for five minutes. Holding a tissue or cloth under your nose will stop your nosebleed from making a mess.

After five minutes, check whether or not the bleeding has stopped, and if it hasn’t, continue to squeeze your nose for ten more minutes.

You should seek medical attention if: 

  • The nosebleed doesn’t stop after fifteen or twenty minutes.
  • It starts again.
  • You start to feel faint, dizzy, or weak.
  • Your nose is bleeding fast and heavily.
  • The nosebleed is the result of another injury to your face.

If you find that you are having more nosebleeds than normal, it may be worth speaking to your doctor about them to find out why this is happening.

Removing Splinters

Removing splinters can be tricky and unpleasant, especially when they are in young children. Your aim should be to keep the splinter site as clean as possible and not to push the splinter in any further.

Make sure you wash the area around a splinter. You may then be able to pull it out at the same angle it went in, using tweezers. If the splinter is under the skin, you may need to use a sterilized needle to break the skin above it.

Once you’ve removed the splinter, make sure you clean the area again with soap and water.

Insect Stings

Insect stings are common injuries in the summertime and, provided you don’t have any insect allergies, should be fairly minor. A few basic first aid tips will have your sting sorted in no time!

The first thing to do is to remove the stinger if it’s left in your skin. Try to scrape it out with the blunt edge of a knife rather than using tweezers. Then hold a cool press on the sting and apply some calamine lotion.

Always try to avoid itching stings as this can lead to infections. If you think you have been stung or bitten by a poisonous insect or are having an allergic reaction then you should visit the ER.

Treating Minor Burns

Burn injuries can be very painful and it’s important to get them under control quickly. This prevents them from doing further damage.

After receiving a burn you should run it under cold water for a minimum of five minutes and then apply coolant spray or cream to the area. Depending on the intensity of the burn, you can use a loose gauze bandage to wrap it.

You should seek medical attention if: 

  • You have third-degree burns.
  • The pain gets worse with time.
  • The burn is located on your face, hands, or feet.
  • Fluid or puss comes out of the burn site.
  • The burn is bigger than 2 or 3 inches.
  • You suffer a chemical or electrical burn.

More severe burns will require treatment to stop them from causing further tissue damage.

Try Not to Panic!

Sustaining any sort of injury can be a shock and it’s easy to panic. However, remaining cool and calm is one of the top first aid tips around. This allows you to assess the injury rationally and give it the proper treatment.

If you’re concerned about your injury, get in touch with an urgent care doctor today. We’re here to help!