Summer is here and children are flocking outdoors. As kids play hard, they are vulnerable to a host of minor injuries, from bee stings to scrapes. It’s time to brush up on some basic first aid and learn how to take care of your child’s aches and pains. Think about it this way: If you prepare now, you’re more likely to remain calm and soothe your child faster.
If you or your child happens to get a sunburn, there are several remedies to help alleviate the sting. To start, use cool compresses to draw the heat from your skin. You can also use a cold cream such as Noxzema. An aloe vera gel or lotion may suffice, too. Other suggestions include sitting in a tepid bath and taking Ibuprofen to reduce the pain.
Bee Sting Remedies
Watch your child carefully after he has been stung by a bee to determine if an allergy exists. If he begins to exhibit signs that he has difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1 immediately.
If a stinger is visible, remove it immediately. Scrape it away from the skin using a credit card or your nails, but take care to not squeeze or pinch the skin to get the stinger out. Doing so can release more venom or push the stinger in even further. If you know your child has no allergies to bees, you can administer an antihistamine such as Benadryl to calm itching or apply calamine lotion to the affected area. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen will ease any discomfort.
Poison Ivy Remedies
When your child brushes up against poison ivy, it’s important to quickly wash the skin. Urushiol oil is what causes the rash and itching to occur. Using soap or an alcohol-based antibacterial gel is most effective because without it, water is unable to wash away the oil.
If a rash and itching occur, which happens when the oil has been on the skin for over fifteen minutes, use topical remedies such as lotion with oatmeal, calamine lotion, and corticosteroids to help. Once the oil has been washed away, or the rash has developed, the person is no longer a risk for contaminating others. Clothing, however, retains the oils so be sure to wash all clothing.
Dry, hot climates tend to bring out the nosebleeds. You may have always heard or seen people with nosebleeds holding their heads back. This can actually cause your child to choke on her blood. The right method to stopping a nosebleed is to pinch your nose and tilt your head forward slightly for twenty minutes. As tempting as it is to continually check to see if the bleeding has stopped, doing so too quickly can cause the clot that is forming to loosen.
Remedies for Scrapes and Cuts
First and foremost, cleanse the area with water to remove any debris. Gently pat the area dry and put antibiotic ointment or spray on the cut. Next up comes the band-aid. Check the wound at least once a day for signs of infection. See your doctor if the wound doesn’t stop bleeding or if it appears infected. If the cut or scrape is caused by an animal bite, consult with your doctor immediately.
Prop the limb up if possible and begin applying ice to ease the swelling. Alternate having the ice on for twenty minutes, then off for twenty minutes, for four to six hours, or less if the sprain isn’t too severe. Wrapping the sprained area in a bandage can help contain the swelling and help with healing.
Insect bite Remedies
As hard as it is, a child with a bug bite needs to resist the temptation to scratch it when it begins to itch. Offer antihistamines or put calamine lotion or other topical analgesics on the bite to ease the itch. If the bite is swollen, place ice on it for awhile and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for discomfort.
If your child gets a minor burn at home, the immediate action is to place the burned area in cool water. This will draw the heat out of the skin and stop the burn. Use a product that treats and heals the skin, such as Neosporin or a burn-relief gel, followed by a light bandage. The wound will have to air a bit each day until it is healed. If the burn is severe, covers a large area of the body, or doesn’t seem to be healing, seek medical treatment from a professional at once. (A popular belief is that butter on the skin will help treat the burn, but this is just a myth. Butter can actually coat the wound and allow bacteria to set in.)
Summer injury prevention tips:
- Always wear a helmet and protective gear when riding a bike, skateboard, or scooter.
- If you have a pool and young children, gate the pool area and be sure you know CPR. Never leave your child unattended in the pool area.
- Have non-emergency numbers and the number for poison control stored in your cell phone and near household phones.
- If you live in an area with lots of berries, learn which are edible and which are poisonous. Teach your child the difference if he’s old enough to understand.
- Wear sunscreen daily and reapply every two hours.
- Check the springs of your trampoline on a regular basis to ensure its safety.
- Stock up the medicine cabinet with this list of first aid items.
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