Submitted by Carol Tomlinson, RN BS
Community Health Educator
First Aid For Common Summer Emergencies
Summer is a great time to be active and outdoors! However, there are some dangers associated with summer activities. In order to have a safe and happy summer, the American Red Cross recommends the following tips to help you be prepared in case of these common emergencies.
Symptoms: Cool, moist, pale or clammy skin. Heavy sweating, headache or nausea may also be present.
Treatment: Move the person to a cool place, help them loosen their clothing and have them lie down. Apply cool wet cloths and raise their feet 8 to 10 inches. If not vomiting, give cool (not iced) water or juice. Make sure they sip it slowly and give them half a glass about every 15 minutes for an hour. If symptoms worsen or continue longer than an hour, seek medical attention.
Symptoms: Hot, red skin, rapid and strong pulse, possible unconsciousness, confusion and even convulsions. Call 911!
Treatment: Until medical help is available, move the person to a cooler place, reduce body temperature with a cool bath, or wrap cool sheets around their body and fan them. Give cool water or ice chips unless vomiting or reduced consciousness is present.
Symptoms: Pink or red skin that feels hot and painful to the touch (first degree burn). Blistering indicates a more severe, second degree burn.
Treatment: The American Academy of Dermatology recommendations include:
- Move out of the sun ASAP
- Take frequent cool baths or showers. Gently pat dry but leave some dampness.
- Apply a moisturizer that contains aloe vera, soy or hydrocortisone cream. Do not treat with a “caine” product like benzocaine.
- Do not pop blisters. Cover blister if needed with a light bandage.
Apply direct, gentle pressure until the bleeding subsides. Wash the wound with soap and water. Don’t try to clean deep wounds. Apply a clean, dry bandage. Seek medical attention if the bleeding persists, is very deep, or there has not been a tetanus shot for more than 5 years.
Bruises (seek medical attention for bruises on the chest or abdomen)
Apply a cold compress for 10 to 15 minutes several times during the first 24 hours. After the first day, apply heat 3 to 4 times a day for up to 48 hours.
Muscle or Joint Strain or Sprain
Rest the affected area by not using it.
Ice the area as soon as possible to limit swelling. Continue to ice it for 15 to 20 minutes, four to eight times a day for the first 24 to 48 hours.
Compress the area with an elastic wrap.
Elevate the area above the heart, if possible, to prevent further swelling. Get medical assistance if you are unable to bear weight, you can’t use the joint, it feels numb, or the pain is severe.
Remember, prevention is the best treatment of all!
For more information, or to attend a class on First Aid/CPR, contact the American Red Cross at 462-7461 (redcross.org), your health care provider, or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our new wellness center at 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.