Medicine/First Aid

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Subject classification: this is a medicine resource.
Subject classification: this is an education resource.

First aid is any assistance that can be given to a victim before medical help arrives. It can range from putting a bandaid on a cut to administering CPR. Medical emergencies do not occur every day, but being prepared and knowing how to treat them can help you keep your calm in these situations. It is important for all adults to have a functional knowledge of how to handle common medical emergencies.

Common injuries/emergencies

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The most common injuries/emergencies requiring First Aid are:[1]

  • Allergic reactions
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Animal bites
  • Blisters
  • Bruises
  • Burns
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Chemical burns
  • Chest pain
  • Choking
  • Corneal abrasion (scratch)
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Dislocation
  • Electrical burns
  • Electrical shock

  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • First aid kits
  • Food-borne illness
  • Foreign object in the ear, eye, nose or the skin
  • Foreign object, inhaled or swallowed
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Frostbite
  • Gastro-enteritis
  • Head trauma
  • Heart attack
  • Heat cramps
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke
  • Human bites
  • Hypothermia

  • Insect bites and stings
  • Motion sickness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Ocular injuries
  • Poisoning
  • Puncture wounds
  • Severe bleeding
  • Shock
  • Snakebites
  • Spider bites
  • Spinal injury
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Sunburn
  • Tick bites
  • Tooth loss
  • Toothache

How to Make a First Aid Kit

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You should keep at least one first aid kit in your home and one in every car you and your family own. Whether it is a bee sting or a cut, a well stocked first aid kit will have all the supplies you need to treat minor ailments. A first aid kit should include:

  • First Aid Manual
  • Sterile Gauze
  • Adhesive Tape
  • Adhesive Bandages in Several Sizes
  • Elastic Bandages
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Soap
  • Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen
  • Tweezers
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Safety Pins
  • Disposable Instant Cold Packs

  • Calamine Lotion
  • Alcohol Wipes or Ethyl Alcohol
  • Thermometer
  • Plastic Gloves
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Antiseptic Solution
  • Hydrocortisone Cream
  • Flashlight and Extra Batteries
  • Mouthpiece for Administering CPR
  • List of Emergency Phone Numbers
  • Blanket (Stored Nearby)

Make sure that you read the first aid manual and know how to properly use all the items in the kit. Make sure you also train your family in how to use the kit, because you may be the one who needs the treatment! The best place to keep your first aid kit is in your kitchen, since this is where many activities take place. The bathroom is not a good place to keep your kit because the humidity can shorten the shelf life of many items.

A list of emergency numbers can also be useful in case a minor injury or sickness turns into something more serious. An easy template for all your local emergency numbers can be found at

How Can I Learn More About First Aid?

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Many hospitals, health departments, and other health organizations will offer First Aid and CPR classes to its community members. In these classes you will have the opportunity to learn directly from health professionals. You will be able to observe as well as demonstrate First Aid procedures for most of the common injuries/emergencies mentioned earlier. Upon successful completion of the course you will receive a certification in First Aid and CPR. To find out more about First Aid/CPR classes in your area, you can contact your local health department or hospital. You can also visit the American Red Cross website to search for classes in your area.

See also

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