Q&A: Talking first aid with Premier Healthcare

Today's post is a little different. We have a Q&A with Premier Healthcare, talking first aid kits and first aid in the home. As a Mum to two little ones, whilst I have some basic items, I don't have a full first aid kit and in all honesty, I wouldn't know exactly what to include. So today's post will hopefully help myself and other mums to put a kit together...

What basic items should be included in every first aid kit?
It's important to have a well-stocked first aid kit in your home, so you can deal with minor accidents and injuries. Your first aid kit should be locked and kept in a cool, dry place, out of reach of children. Many people also keep a small first aid kit in their car for emergencies. Your basic first aid kit may contain:
  • plasters, in a variety of different sizes and shapes
  • small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings
  • at least two sterile eye dressings
  • triangular bandages
  • crepe rolled bandages
  • safety pins
  • disposable sterile gloves
  • tweezers
  • scissors
  • alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • sticky tape
  • thermometer, preferably digital
  • skin rash cream, such as hydrocortisone or calendula
  • cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings
  • antiseptic cream
  • painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16), or ibuprofen
  • cough medicine
  • antihistamine tablets
  • distilled water, for cleaning wounds
  • eyewash and eye bath
It may also be useful to keep a basic first aid manual or instruction booklet with your first aid kit. Medicines should be checked regularly to make sure they are within their use-by dates. 

What else would you recommend be included - for a really comprehensive kit? 
The new  Small British Standard kits have contents which cover most eventualities in the workplace or home. You may wish to include a saline solution (eyewash) product in your first aid box for cleaning eyes and washing wounds and both an ice and heat pack for reducing swelling and aiding recovery from bumps and bruises.  If you need any more than that to cope with an accident in the home it’s time to go to A&E!

Are there any age-specific items to consider? For example, something that an infant might need that's not really necessary for an older child.
No.  Everything in a kit is fit for a specific function.  All products are suitable for children and adults.

Do you have any advice on how to store a first aid kit (location, environmental conditions, etc?) 
Store in a cool, dry place that is quickly and easily accessible.

Going beyond a first aid kit, what should be included in a home emergency kit?
Blue Detectable plasters are ideal for use in a kitchen.  As blue is the only colour not naturally occurring in food, blue plasters are easier to see if dropped in food.

What about when you're out and about - do you recommend carrying a first aid kit in a car/pram/nappy bag? 
Most new cars come equipped with a first aid kit. However, contents can vary and products expire after a period of time and will need replacing.  Be careful when travelling abroad in your car as rules are quite strict on the items required.  A first aid kit is essential for travel in Belgium, Germany and Austria.  On the spot fines can be issued if you fail to comply. The British Standard Travel Kit would be ideal.

For simplicity when out and about a Kidsfirst aid kit or a bum bag style 1 person kit are both compact enough to carry.

When an accident occurs what would be the most important thing to remember?
It’s easy to say but try not to panic.  Take a few seconds to analyse the situation.  If in any doubt about the severity of the injury call 999.

Do you have any further advice on health and safety in the home?
Essentially you need to perform a risk assessment of your home and make your own judgement where to minimise any risk.  When children are involved look at things in the home from their point of view.  Ask yourself whether they can push or pull items or trip/fall onto objects.  Keep sources of heat guarded from little fingers and although electrical items should be safe and CE marked, it’s better to be safe than sorry so double check. 

Are there different procedures for different burns?   
Yes.  There are 3 main categories of burn;  Thermal, Electrical and Chemical.  Time is critical in all instances to minimise injury and discomfort.  Untreated burns will continue to grow larger and deeper as time progresses.

Water has traditionally been used as a cooling method, however there are disadvantages to this method:

1 - Large quantities are required to provide effective cooling.

2 - The casualty must stay close to the water source for cooling to take place.  This is not possible when en-route to a hospital.

3 - Treating specific areas is difficult (head, face, groin).
4 - There is a risk of cooling the body too much and in some cases may even result in hypothermia.

Burns dressings and gels are safe to use on all burn types.  Water based and safe to use on both children and adults, Burnshield gels cools and moisturise the affected area and provides a protective layer.

Thermal Burns (Caused by flames, steam or hot liquid)  - Apply a burnshield product immediately.  Seek medical attention if necessary.  Always seek medical attention if the burn is on the face, neck or groin.

Electrical Burns - Apply a burnshield dressing to the affected area immediately and secure with a bandage.  ALWAYS seek medical attention ASAP.

Chemical Burns – rinse the affected area with water if possible.  Cover with a burnshield dressing and secure with a bandage.  ALWAYS seek medical attention ASAP.

Bumps/Wounds - How to treat a bump to the head?
As long as the injury is minor and superficial the same processes as above apply. Cold compress, clean and cover wound if required.  You can take medication to relieve symptoms but please take professional advice first. If symptoms persist or get worse it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention. 

How to treat a nosebleed?
Nosebleeds are common in small children but most can be treated at home.  Pinch the nose just above the nostrils and tilt the head slightly forward.  Applying an icepack or cold pack to the nose will constrict the blood vessels and help stop the bleeding.  Most nosebleeds will stop after 10 minutes or so.  If you are having frequent or heavy nosebleeds it’s best to seek medical advice

Thanks to Premier Healthcare for their useful advice, I shall definitely be organising a more comprehensive first aid kit!

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