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  • Can you Recognize the Signs of a Stroke?

    |15 COMMENT(S)

    Can you recognize the signs of a Stroke?

    Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States.  Approximately 800,000 people suffer strokes each year, and almost 130,000 of those victims die. According to the experts at stroke.org, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States will have a stroke and one stroke will take a life every four minutes.

    Strokes can happen to anyone at any time regardless of age, sex or race.  In fact, 34 percent of the 130,000 stroke-related deaths reported each year are to people under the age of 65. Women will suffer about 55,000 more strokes a year than men, and African Americans are twice as likely to suffer a stroke as Caucasians.

    So would you know how to recognize the signs of a stroke?  Here’s what you should know to act F.A.S.T if someone you love (or a stranger, for that matter) experiences a stroke.

    Types of Strokes

    Ischemic strokes occur when arteries are blocked by a small blood clot or as plaque and other fatty deposits build up in the arteries.  Almost 90 percent of all strokes are ischemic

    Hemorrhagic strokes: Happen when a blood vessel in the brain breaks open and starts to leak. Hemorrhagic strokes account for just over 10 percent of all strokes.  However, hemorrhagic strokes account for more than 30 percent of all stroke-related deaths.


    Act F.A.S.T.

    Learning to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and getting help immediately are very important.  Over 2,000,000 brain cells die every minute during a stroke, and can quickly cause irreversible brain damage. The faster you can recognize the signs of a stroke and get treatment, the more likely any permanent damage can be reversed.  To recognize the signs of a stroke, remember the acronym F.A.S.T.

    Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does their face look uneven?

    Arm weakness: Ask them to raise both arms out in front of them. Does one arm drift downward?

    Speech difficulty: Ask them to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound strange?

    Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms call for help fast. Call 911!

    It’s very important to learn to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and call 911 as soon as possible.  Time saves brain tissue and could even save a life.  Just remember to act F.A.S.T. Always note the time of day you recognize the first symptoms of a stroke.

    For ischemic strokes, if treatment with clot busting medication is given within the first three hours of the first symptom, long term disability can be reduced greatly.

    There are also other stroke treatments available that may help reduce the effects of the stroke.  Hemorrhagic strokes most likely will need surgical intervention to relieve the buildup of blood in the brain and to fix the leak in the blood vessels.




    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: health, health and wellness, First Aid

  • Salmonella: The Outbreak that Just won't Quit

    Salmonella: The Outbreak that Just won't Quit

    Over the last couple of months, we’ve been warned about possible outbreaks of measles and MERS; norovirus on cruise ships and at resorts; and strains of Ebola spreading through Africa and worrying health officials. So, this headline should make us all feel better:

    U.S. salmonella outbreak widens, 574 now sick from Foster Farms chicken

    Yeah, remember that salmonella scare from last March? Turns out that hasn’t actually ended yet. At the end of May, the outbreak was still rampant. Fortunately, the year-long outbreak hasn’t resulted in any fatalities, but that doesn’t make me any less wary about the disease—especially this particular strain, which is proving resistant to drugs and increasingly leading to blood infections.

    An AP article, “5 Things to Know About Salmonella in Chicken,” outlines the current situation (including an explanation of why the CDC doesn’t seem to be able to get this in hand), describes the symptoms, and reminds us of the number one preventative practice: cook your chicken.

    And, not to pile it on here, but did you know that chicken is not the only carrier of salmonella? According to the CDC, just about any raw dairy, meat, fruit, or veggies can be contaminated; so can water sources that come into contact with human or animal waste, as well as certain domestic animals themselves. In fact, an info sheet from Utah’s Bureau of Epidemiology reports “Utah as well as the rest of the U.S. has seen an increase in Salmonella infection as the result of increased ownerships of exotic animal species such as reptiles.”

    Okay, yuck!

    So, besides sealing myself in an anti-septic bubble for the rest of my life, what can I do? The CDC’s “Salmonella Prevention” page has a comprehensive list of tips to keep from contracting the bug (my favorite: “Don't work with raw poultry or meat, and an infant [e.g., feed, change diaper, etc.] at the same time.” I mean, I know we moms gotta multitask, but really?).

    Another helpful resource is “How to Prevent a Salmonella Infection,” from about-salmonella.com. And if you’re worried about your own water sources (either at home or on the trail), read through our article, “Making Water Drinkable: Ways to Filter and Purify Water You Have on Hand.”


    Be prepared to stay healthy, and jump into the discussion here to share your best prevention tips!



    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: health, health and wellness, Current Events, First Aid

  • A Surprising Cause of Heart Attacks I Never Would've Expected

    What do Daylight Savings and Heart Attacks have in common?

    Most of us struggle when it comes to turning our clocks forward in the spring for daylight savings. That one little hour seems like an eternity of sleep that we must suddenly give up. But being groggy the next day or two is not the biggest issue that comes from lack of sleep—did you know that during this time we’re at a higher risk for heart attacks? Especially those already vulnerable to heart disease.

    This lost hour of sleep may be the culprit of these sudden attacks. Fox News reported a study which shows the number of heart attacks increase by 25 percent on the Monday after daylight savings begins, and then drops in the fall by 21 percent on the Tuesday just after we’ve turned our clocks back. Previous studies have shown that there is a link between lack of sleep and heart attacks.

    “Our study,” said Dr. Amneet Sandhu, a cardiology fellow at the University of Colorado in Denver who led the study, “suggests that sudden, even small changes in sleep could have detrimental effects.”

    The study researched hospitals in Michigan over a four year period and only researched those admitted and treated by the hospitals rather than including those who immediately passed away as a result of a heart attack.

    To read more about Sandhu’s study, check out Fox News’ article, “Daylight saving time linked to heart attack, study shows.”

    Since sleep is so important for your health, it’s important to get enough of it every night…even in an emergency. Sleep naturally provides the energy you need to go about your day without relying on caffeinated drinks or other options. This is especially important in an emergency where you may need to stay more alert than normal.

    Preparing you and your family for an emergency can help you sleep better at night if a disaster strikes. Without all the worries of how you’ll provide for your family, you can get a good night’s rest. If you haven’t already, start preparing yourself and your family by building a food and water storage supply, and by including essential gear such as light, communication tools, hygiene supplies, and more into your preparedness supply. The better prepared you are, the less you’ll stay up at night worrying about a crisis or emergency.

    Check out the following sources for some good tips to help you get a better night’s rest:


    What tips do you have for getting a good night’s sleep?





    Photo Courtesy of Fox News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid

  • Measles on the Rise

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    Measles on the Rise

    What do New York City and Orange County, California have in common? Celebrity sightings. Overpriced real estate. And a recent measles outbreak that has made residents nervous. Experts are calling it the worst epidemic of this particular disease in decades. In early April, there were 25 confirmed cases in NYC and 21 cases in the OC (read the CBS news report here).

    As of May 15th, the measles outbreak has spread to Ohio where 68 cases have been reported in six counties. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 187 cases of the measles outbreak nationwide this year.

    Measles can be fairly scary, with rare but very serious possible complications. Prevention, however, is fairly straightforward. The Mayo Clinic recommends isolation (measles is highly contagious through body fluids) and vaccines (which had nearly eradicated the disease in North America). If you live in areas where outbreaks are being reported, authorities are asking that you contact your doctor and give the office heads-up, so that containment protocols can be put in place—contaminated clinics being a possible culprit in the NYC measles cases.

    There is a larger issue at work, though, as measles is hardly the only infectious disease to spread quickly and threaten the population with an epidemic. Most of us remember the swine and bird flus, SARS, and West Nile virus. Some of us might even remember the Asian flu or Hong Kong flu. Pandemics like these can inspire spectacular, worst-case-scenario kinds of fears (remember Outbreak?). Or they can inspire proper preparation.

    So what can you do?

    • Second, stay healthy. Epidemics and pandemics most typically (though not exclusively!) affect the physically vulnerable: children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. Need some motivation? Read our post on fitness for survival. Eating right and exercising regularly are only half the battle. Remember what your mom taught you: cover your mouth when you cough, wash hands frequently, and stay home if you’re sick to avoid infecting others.
    • Third, make sure your food storage and other essentials are in good shape, in case of a hunker-down situation. The ABC News article mentioned above suggests storing food and supplies for at least 7 days (Ha! Amateurs…). And don’t forget to store things like respirator masks and vinyl gloves to minimize contact with infection.

    Remember, natural disasters aren’t always big and loud. Sometimes they’re microscopic. Keep your families safe, healthy, and prepared with these resources.


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid

  • Using an AED Machine

    Using an AED Machine

    You’re spending the day at the mall with some friends--shopping and having a great time--when you suddenly hear someone cry out for help. What do you do?

    You look and see a crowd of people screaming, staring at something. You rush over and notice a man lying on the ground who appears not to be breathing, and his wife says that he just collapsed as they were walking along. After checking for a pulse and signs of breathing (and finding neither, you start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) immediately and direct someone to call 911, while someone else is instructed to go and get an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).

    CPR should be continued until the AED arrives and is attached to the victim. CPR and use of an AED are key ingredients for any chance to save this man’s life.

    When someone collapses from a cardiac event, their chances of survival drop by 10 percent for each minute that passes without immediate interventions. Many times, CPR alone will not restart a heart which has stopped because of what is often referred to as “sudden cardiac arrest”.

    This often happens because the electrical activity of the heart is not working correctly. CPR keeps the blood circulating until an AED can be placed on the patient and a shock delivered, if needed, which gives the victim the best chance of surviving a cardiac event.


    What is an AED?

    An AED is a portable device that can help diagnose life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and, in certain cases, provide an electrical shock to the heart in order to reestablish a regular heart rhythm.

    These machines are simply designed and easy to use during a high stress situation so the layperson doesn’t need to be afraid of the machine when someone has collapsed and their life is at risk. Use of an AED is now taught in many first aid, first responder, and basic CPR classes.

    Many public places and companies with a large number of employees or patrons are starting to place AED’s in their buildings. Sporting arenas, malls, movie theaters, government buildings, airports, bus stations, and on planes, and trains are just a few of the locations where you might find an AED. Many public safety officers are also starting to carry them in their vehicles because often times they’re the first emergency responders to arrive at a scene.


    How does an AED work?

    An AED analyzes the heart rhythm of the person it’s attached to. There are three main life-threatening arrhythmias that cause someone’s heart to stop, and lead to irreversible brain damage or death. These rhythms include asystole (more commonly referred to as flat line, no cardiac activity), ventricular fibrillation (VF or V-Fib) where the heart electrical activity is unorganized and the ventricles quiver rather than contract normally, and ventricular tachycardia (VT or V-Tach) where the bottom chambers of the heart beat too fast and can’t pump blood effectively throughout the body.

    An AED will not shock asystole because there is no electrical activity to shock. In V-Fib and V-Tach, the AED will provide a shock, which is designed to try and reset the normal electrical activity of the heart.


    How to use an AED

    When you turn on or open the AED, it will instruct the user to attach the defibrillator pads to the patient’s skin. You should remove all clothing on the upper part of the patients’ torso.  Bras and piercings on the upper body must also be removed before attaching the pads to avoid arcing and burns to the body.

    Some AED units will automatically start to analyze the heart as soon as they are attached, others will need you to push the analyze button to start the process. When analyzing, stop CPR—no one should touch the patient. After a few seconds, the AED will tell you whether or not a shock is advised. If a shock is advised, make sure no one is touching the patient when the AED delivers the shock. If the AED advises no shock, continue CPR for another two minutes and then reanalyze (leave the AED pads on during this process). This cycle should be continued until emergency responders arrive or the patient regains consciousness.


    Can an AED be used on a child?

    The use of an AED was previously recommended only for adults over 8 years of age. Some manufacturers have modified their AED equipment to include adult pads and cables, as well as pediatric cables and pads; typically these models will automatically reduce the energy so the AED can be used on children between the ages of 1 and 8.

    However, if an AED with pediatric capability and cables is not available and you’re confronted with a child between the ages of 1 and 8 who is confirmed to be in cardiac arrest, you should use the adult AED and pads. Just make sure the pads do not touch each other when placed on the child.  If necessary, you can place one pad on the child’s chest and one on their back.  If at all possible, use an AED with the pediatric capabilities, but in an emergency, it is acceptable to use an adult AED.


    What if something goes wrong? Am I liable?

    AED units are simple enough to use that many states now have what are called “Good Samaritan Laws”.  This means that anyone using an AED cannot be sued or held civilly responsible for harm or death to someone when that harm or death was not intentional and the responder was acting within the limits of their training and in good faith.

    To find out about Good Samaritan Laws in your state for CPR and the use of AEDs, check out this website:  http://www.cprinstructor.com/legal.htm

    CPR and use of an AED are proven to save lives

    Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Nearly 350,000 people will suffer a sudden cardiac arrest this year. Quick use of an AED is the only effective treatment for restoring regular heart rhythm during cardiac arrest, and is best when used in conjunction with effective CPR.

    In the U.S., the average response time of emergency personnel is 8 - 12 minutes. As mentioned above, a person’s chance of survival goes down by 10 percent with each minute that passes. This is why immediate CPR and defibrillating as soon as possible gives victims the best chance of survival. The American Red Cross estimates that as many as 50,000 people can be saved each year by the use of an AED.

    Every adult, teen, and even child need to learn first aid, CPR, the use of an AED, and how and when to call 911.  By taking some time to learn these skills, you just might be the one who can provide life-saving help to someone in the future.






    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid

  • Just when you thought Flu Season was Over...MERS


    Just when you thought flu season was over. .. MERS

    So, I suppose this was inevitable. After following the news stories on the MERS virus for several weeks now, the report has finally come of the first US case in Munster, Indiana.

    For those less interested in tracking potential pandemics, MERS stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The initial breakouts took place on the Arabian Peninsula; it is related to the SARS virus. According to Indiana’s Fox affiliate, MERS acts like a cold gone haywire, leading to possible organ failure. And though it’s in the same family as SARS, originating with an animal, it doesn’t appear to transmit as easy between humans.

    Thank heaven. And it sounds like the infected man is on the mend, another bright spot in an otherwise scary story. In fact, the update on the Indiana patient’s status commends the local hospital for “quickly isolating the patient and diagnosing him.” They also took correct precautions for protecting their staff and containing the virus.

    As crucial as it is for institutions like hospitals and local governments to have protocols in place to deal with the rapid spread of life-threatening diseases, it is individuals’ education and preparedness that make the real difference. Would you know what to do in the case of a pandemic?

    The same article series we’ve been quoting here includes a write-up on lessons learned from Hong Kong’s SARS experience. This portion of the article includes basic hygiene practices to stem the spread of infection. The CDC’s site, flu.gov has a specific page dedicated to pandemic education. And a county in my own home state has actually put together a fantastic little comic book on pandemic history and preparedness (you can request a hard copy, or scroll down to the bottom to download the pdf).

    As the weather warms up, we may feel like we’re in the clear, as far as flu season is concerned. But good hygiene practices, as well as smart preparation in the case of a break-out, are always a healthy idea!



    Check out these articles for more updates on MERS

    "Florida MERS patient Sat in Busy ER for Hours

    "Health Officials Alert Airport Customs for MERS

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid

  • 10 Natural Remedies that Work

    |9 COMMENT(S)

    10 Natural Remedies that Work

    In an emergency, when drug stores or pharmacies may be closed, it might not be easy to get medications for an upset stomach, the common cold, or other illnesses. Of course you can store these important medications in your emergency kit. But what happens if you forget to pack them, you run out, or they expire?

    You can use items from your food storage supplies, garden, and other natural resources you find to create natural remedies for minor illnesses, stings, aches, and even acne.

    Here are 10 natural remedies you can use to keep yourself and your family healthy in an emergency or in everyday life.

    1. Rice Water—relieves stomach flu, diarrhea, and nausea. It can even protect you from getting the stomach flu.  Boil one tbsp. of rice to one cup water. Cook until rice is tender. Drain water from rice.  Rice Water can be taken hot or cold. Double or triple the recipe to make more rice water because the rice typically absorbs some of the water, so you’ll less rice water after the rice is cooked than you think you will have when you begin. Note: I’ve used this method in my home when my husband got the stomach flu—this stuff really works.

    2. Pumpkin—for gas and indigestion. Pumpkin helps to reduce the gas created in our systems when we do not digest our food properly. Pumpkin has the ability to soothe your stomach. Eat one cup of pumpkin (boiled, mashed, baked, etc.) with your dinner and the gaseous effects will subside.

    3. Honey and Cinnamon—sore throat/cold preventative. You know that itch you get when you think you’re getting a cold? Mix together one tablespoon of raw honey and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon for several days until the itch is gone. Since raw honey is thick, simply suck the honey off the spoon. Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight germs that cause the common cold. Cinnamon kills bacteria that would cause the common cold. Note: I used this a couple mornings ago because I had a sore throat for days, after eating this, the pain and swelling went down within minutes.

    4. Pineapples/Pineapple Juice—soothes a sore throat. Pineapple doesn’t cure a sore throat, but helps to alleviate the pain. It’s a great remedy for kids who don’t like the taste of cough drops. Pineapple has natural anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the pain and burning sensation of a sore throat.

    5. Vinegar Vapor—for sinus congestion. Boil a big pot of white or apple cider vinegar. Lean over the pot with a towel over your head. Breathe in deeply. The steam and smell of the vinegar will help to clear your sinuses.

    6. Baking Soda Rinsetoothache relief. Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of warm water. Baking soda helps kill bacteria in your mouth. After drinking this, your pain will diminish.

    7. Mud—to remove stingers and venom from bees, and relieves itchy bug bites. Apply mud and wait for it to dry. It will draw out the venom and stingers for bees. And will soothe bug bites. Mud also helps to soothe the pain from stinging nettle Note: Kim, one of our bloggers, used this remedy last summer for stinging nettle and it worked so well that she’s recommending it to others.

    8. Honeysuckle Juice—relieves discomfort from Poison Ivy. Puree 3 cups honeysuckle leaves and 1 cup water. Strain the leaves, but keep the juice. Apply juice to the rash.

    9. Strawberries and Honey—a homemade acne treatment. Strawberries are rich in Salicylic acid which is an ingredient in many over the counter acne treatments. It opens clogged pores and kills bacteria. Honey also battles bacteria and is an anti-inflammatory. Mash up ½ cup strawberries (make sure they don’t get over-mashed or runny) and mix in 2 teaspoons of honey. After washing your face, apply and wait 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water, pat dry, and moisturize. Use twice a week for a month.

    10. Lavender Foot Bath—headache relief. Soak your feet in warm water infused with a bit of lavender.

    This list just illustrates a couple of natural solutions you can use. There are hundreds of natural remedies that are used today.



    Do you use natural remedies? Share you tips with everyone in the comments!



    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid

  • Disaster Triage Part One: Becoming a Triage Leader

    |31 COMMENT(S)

    In just about any large-scale disaster, there will likely be a large number of people who will experience minor, critical, or life-threatening injuries. First responders may not reach your neighborhood for hours, or even days. So if a disaster happened in your area, injuring dozens of people, what would you do?

    You and your neighbors will have to select a triage leader and set up a triage area where the injured can receive treatment until medics arrive. In disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis a triage could last for days or weeks.

    Disaster Triage (part one): Becoming a Triage Leader

    Photo Courtesy of Otis Historical Archives Nat'l Museum of Health and Medicine

    The goal of disaster triage is to separate people into groups ranging from minor injuries to those who are deceased. You must ‘sort’ these people into specific areas as quickly and efficiently as possible so they can receive the help they need.

    The purpose of this article is to help you perform the role of ‘triage leader’ to the best of your abilities before medical experts arrive.

    Your role as the triage leader

    First, let’s look at your role as triage leader. You must understand that Triage is not treatment. It’s only a means of sorting people into appropriate areas, which takes limited medical skill. However, a triage situation is just one reason why everyone should get some sort of medical training (CPR, basic first aid, or Community Emergency Response Team [C.E.R.T] training). These classes are available just about anywhere.

    If you do not have an extensive amount of medical training, no one expects you to be perfect. Your instincts, calmness, and direction can get you (and those who have volunteered to help you) through a disaster situation, whether you have medical training or not. The main purpose of disaster triage is to do the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

    Once you’ve sorted everyone, others can be assigned to take care of victims in the different groups . When medics arrive, they will assume the role of triage, and you can assist them in any way they deem necessary.

    Three main objectives you must be aware of as a triage leader:

    1. Safety- If the area you plan to use as your triage area is not safe, move it to a place that is. In inclement weather, make sure you can find a building or shelter that is not damaged, and won’t cause further injury to anyone.

    2. Surroundings- Be continually aware of your surroundings. Stop, look, and listen. Look for any overhead or adjacent dangers around you. Ideally, you want to find a spot that’s large enough to handle the number of victims you have and that will be safe for the duration of the disaster. Don’t let your guard down. Continually monitor the area for safety concern. Just because an area has been deemed safe at first, it doesn’t mean it can’t become a danger at a later time.

    3. Victims- Call out to any victims in your area and ask them if they are able to come to the sound of your voice. Based on their responses, you can start to triage these victims and sort them appropriately. Have the un-injured spread out and tell others of your triage location. Have them help the injured get to your triage area. Assigning the un-injured this task will give them a way to help, if they are looking for one.

    If you become the triage leader, you’re going to have to make some very difficult decisions. You’ll have to put your personal feelings and emotions away and stay focused on the task at hand. The people you will have to triage may be strangers, neighbors, or even family and friends.

    You can’t get personally involved and forget your role; if you do, you may delay treatment to other victims whose conditions may worsen. By providing quick triage and rapid treatment, many lives could be saved.

    Triage Categories

    During medical triage, victims’ conditions need to be evaluated quickly (20 to 30 seconds per person.) Victims can be marked with anything you have available—tape, markers, strips of cloth or other materials you can find that will distinguish their level of triage. After marking them, you can prioritize them into one of the following four categories:

    •  Immediate (I):  The victim has life-threatening injuries (airway, bleeding, or shock) that demand immediate attention to save his or her life; rapid, lifesaving treatment is urgent, and they should be the first ones sent to the hospital when first responders arrive. These victims are marked with a red tag or labeled “I”

    •  Delayed (D):  Injuries do not jeopardize the victim’s life. The victim may require professional care, but treatment can be delayed. They have severe bleeding that can be stopped and maintained, and severe limb injuries that will require hospitalization or possibly surgery. These victims are marked with a yellow tag or labeled “D”.

    •  Minor (M): Walking wounded and generally ambulatory. They may have cuts, scrapes, injured extremities or other minor injuries. These patients can even assist with those who may have more severe injuries. These victims are marked with a green tag or labeled “M”.

    •  Dead (DEAD): No respirations after 2 attempts to open the airway. Because CPR is a one-on-one care and is labor intensive, CPR is not performed when there are many more victims than rescuers. There are going to be those who are obviously deceased because of their injuries. There are going to be those who are critically injured, and it may take lots of resources to possibly save them. You will have to make a decision as to whether or not you have the resources available to provide care that may or may not save their life. These victims are marked with a black tag or labeled “DEAD”.

    One of the most important things you can do is set up the area for the dead in a location close to your triage zone, but away from the view of victims in the other three categories. It’s very emotional and difficult for those who are injured and being treated  to see those who have not made it through the disaster.

    How to Assign Victims to Categories


     Evaluating a Victim During Triage

    Remember that this needs to be done in 20 to 30 seconds per victim, and then move on to the next casualty. If patients need immediate treatment, such as stopping severe bleeding or opening their airway, have your volunteers take care of these tasks so that you can continue to sort victims into the appropriate areas.

    Posted In: First Aid and Sanitation, Insight Tagged With: emergency response, triage, First Aid

  • First Aid Resources: A Quick Review

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    We thought we’d wrap up our First Aid series with an overview of some useful products and resources. And since medical emergencies come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, we’ll look at a range of items, from “basic,” to “comprehensive,” to “crazy-hard-core.”


    First aid kits

    Basic: Cut finger? Skinned knee? The Pocket 1st Aid Kit has you covered. Ideal for a diaper bag, school backpack, glove compartment, or Christmas stocking, this go-anywhere collection of bandages and skin cleaners can take care of minor bumps and scrapes.

    Comprehensive: I really like the compactness of the 100 Piece First Aid Kit. Bandages, splints, gloves, and even booklet of first aid instructions all come in a neat, little plastic case. Fits perfectly under the seat of a car, stashes neatly in a closet or pantry, or saves space in a 72 hour kit.

    Crazy-hard-core: The 397 Piece First Aid Kit not only contains enough square yards of bandage to wrap an entire adult, head to foot, but comes with both a sturdy storage bag and a mini backpack. Use the small backpack for temporary trips, or divide the contents between the two bags to double your readiness (house/car, upstairs/downstairs, home/travel).

    *Bonus: None of these exactly what you need? Browse our loose supplies and assemble your own customized kit. Don’t forget a sturdy medic bag with lots of pockets, like this one:

    medic bag


    Basic: The American Safety & Health Institute’s little pocket guide, CPR, AED, and Basic First Aid: Pocket Reference Guide is a must. Throw one in your kit and keep another handy for a quick refresher.

    Comprehensive: For a bit more information, Emergency Essentials' Tips for Preparedness includes a whole chapter on first aid and sanitation. A bit bulky for the 72 hour kit, this is a good reference guide to keep on the bookshelf for family education.

    Crazy-hard-core: If you’re planning on skinning your knee or getting a snake bite, say, in the middle of Death Valley, skip the traditional first aid guides and grab Dr. Eric Weiss’s Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine. This one assumes you can’t just dial 911 and tells you how to treat everything from a thigh bone fracture to a collapsed lung.



    Basic: Pocket First Aid and CPR from the American Heart Association includes basic instruction for choking and CPR, but also lets you store medical profiles for family members—particularly handy in an actual emergency. ($1.99)

    Comprehensive: I just downloaded the First Aid app by American Red Cross, and I’m amazed at the amount of information here! There’s a separate tab for information about different medical emergencies, one for emergency preparedness, and another with step-by-step instructions first aid instructions. Plus, it includes tests and other resources for certification and volunteering. And all for free!

    Crazy-hard-core: If you’re the type needs Dr. Weiss’s guide, it would also be worth your $.99 to invest in the Military Medic Book Collection – Army Medical First Aid Guide app. This uncanny collection of 25+ official military field manuals lets you download as many books as you want onto your device (for the one-time price of the app), as well as sort, scroll, and bookmark them. Because, really, who doesn’t need to know how to deliver a baby in a combat zone?


    The ability to quickly look up first aid tips on an app could be a lifesaving factor in an accident while you’re out around town. But keep in mind that many disasters will knock out power and you may not be able to charge or access your apps. That’s why having a printed first aid manual or book is so essential. Having these resources on hand (or on your phone/tablet) will enable you to respond to all kinds of first aid situations when the time comes.


    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Book, First Aid, skills, resources

  • First Aid for Burns

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    Do you know how to provide First Aid for burns? Many burn injuries occur in the home while doing everyday tasks like laundry or cooking a meal. Those everyday, run-of-the-mill moments can turn into dangerous situations with life-long effects, as demonstrated in the story below:

    When the wires in her family's laundry room overheated, setting her home on fire, Hayley Dabbs of Eden, North Carolina began her journey as a burn survivor at the age of three. Now 19 years old, as she grew older, Hayley became increasingly self-conscious about the burn scars that covered 80% of her body.

    Recently, Hayley’s story went viral on Facebook: “after years of hiding from herself and the world, she became tired of missing out on life.” Her inspiring message of hope for those suffering from self-image issues challenged those living with burn injuries to not let their injuries dictate their lives. Read more of Hayley’s story.


    Recognizing and Treating Different Burns

    If you find yourself in one of these situations, how can you help to reduce the life-altering effects of a serious burn? Knowing how to identify and treat different types of burns can be the difference between permanent damage and an infection-free and (relatively) fast recovery. There are various degrees and types of burns. Each has their own set of symptoms and best treatment methods. Learn what to look for so you know how to treat burns properly, whether on yourself or someone else.


    Girl having her arm wrapped in gauze

    1st degree burn (also called superficial burn)

    First degree burns are the least serious because only the outer layer of skin is burned. They usually take about 3 to 6 days to heal. Common 1st degree burns are sunburns or burns from hot drinks. Symptoms include:

    • Red Skin
    • Swelling
    • Pain

    Usually these more superficial burns do not require medical attention from a doctor. To treat a first degree burn you should:

    • Hold the burn under cool running water for several minutes
    • Cover the burn with a sterile, non-stick bandage to avoid infection, depending on the severity of the burn.
    • Give the victim an aspirin or pain reliever
    • Soothe the area with a burn cream like [BurnFree]


    2nd degree burn (also called partial-thickness burn)

    A second degree burn occurs when the first and second layers of skin are burned. Its symptoms include:

    • Blisters
    • Severe Pain and swelling
    • Skin has a red and blotchy appearance

    Depending on the severity of the second degree burn, the National Safety Council suggests that if the burn is no larger than 3 inches in diameter, treat it as a minor/first degree burn.

    If the burn is larger than 3 inches in diameter:

    • Seek medical attention
    • Soak the burn in cool water for 15 minutes. If the burn is on the back or chest, gently pour cool water over it using a bucket or container.
    • If the burn is minor and small (but larger than 3 inches in diameter), place a cool, wet cloth or compress on the burn for at least 5 minutes.
    • If the burn is severe (we’re talking tons of blisters, redness, and swelling) keep soaking the burn in cool water until you can get to a doctor.
    • If the burn is extensive you can put cool, wet compresses on the burn, but do not put cloth directly on the wound. Cloth fibers will attach to it, making the pain worse—especially when the doctor has to rip it off to treat the wound. For tips on how to wrap the wound and apply a cool compress, check out [familyeducation.com.]
    • Do not break blisters or try to remove clothing stuck to the burn. Get to a doctor who can more effectively (and gently… and safely) remove melted-on or charred clothing.
    • Give the victim a pain killer or Ibuprofen (if they are an adult). Inform medical personnel which pain killer was given, how much, and at what time.
    • University of Maryland Medical Center also suggests elevating the burn above the heart.


    3rd degree burn (also called full-thickness burn)

    A third-degree burn occurs when all layers of the skin are burned and cause permanent damage to the skin, tissue, muscle, or even the bone. Its symptoms include:

    • Charred skin on the burn site
    • Skin may appear dry and white
    • Difficulty breathing (if smoke inhalation accompanies burn)

    No ifs, ands, or buts about it—get this person to a doctor!

    • If they are on fire, have them stop, drop, and roll—or help them extinguish the fire by smothering it with a blanket.
    • Call 911.
    • Check that the victim is breathing. If necessary, use CPR to re-start circulation and breathing.
    • Continue to check vital signs (pulse, rate of breathing, blood pressure) until the ambulance arrives.
    • New York Time’s Health section suggests that you should take these steps to prevent shock:
      • Lay the person flat; elevate the feet about 12 inches.
      • Cover the person with a coat or blanket.
      • However, do NOT place the person in this shock position if a head, neck, back, or leg injury is suspected or if it makes the person uncomfortable.


    What Other Types of Burns are there? How can I treat them?

    Many times when we think of a burn, we just think of fire or sunburns. But there are several other types of burns that you can experience. Here are some tips for how to treat two of the most common:

    Chemical burn:

    • Find out what chemical caused the burn.
    • Call 9-1-1.
    • Move the victim away from fumes of the chemical or ventilate the area.
    • Flush the area with running water for twenty minutes, wrap with a sterile bandage until Medical assistance arrives.
    • DO NOT remove any clothing before you begin flushing the area.
    • If the chemical burn is in the eyes or mouth:
      • Call 9-1-1 immediately.
      • Flush the burn until the ambulance arrives or you can get medical attention.

    Electrical burn:

    • Make sure the victim is away from electrical source and that the current is not running through them still before you touch them.
    • Turn off the source of the electrical current if you can do so safely and quickly.
    • Check for breathing and administer CPR if needed.
    • Treat for shock.
    • Cover the affected area with a sterile bandage.
    • Seek medical attention.


    What should you NEVER do when treating a burn?

    According to the National Safety Council:

    • Never remove any clothing that is stuck to the burnt skin, wrap in a sterile dressing or clean sheet.
    • Do not soak large burn injuries in water—it may cause shock; use cool, wet compresses instead.
    • Never use ice on a burn.
    • Don’t put oils, butters, or ointments on severe second and third degree burns. Doing so may cause skin to fall off and increase chances of infection to the area.
    • Never pop blisters.


    Burn injuries can have devastating effects. It is important to learn first aid for burns--the techniques you'll master will help minimize those negative effects and help the victim to recover successfully.

















    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: burn care, emergency preparedness, First Aid, skills

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