Whether you are sending your kid to a classroom, in the woods, or just to the local park, be sure you know what they’re getting into. Basic first aid can help you keep your family safe and prevent more serious injuries from taking place.
Here are some tips for providing care for common summer camp threats, as well as keys to prevention.
Gently push out the stinger using a blunt-edged object such as a credit card or the dull side of a knife. Don’t pluck it out with your fingers because you may squeeze venom back into the skin. Clean the wound with soap and water, apply ice, and then dab on ammonia or a paste of baking soda and water to relieve the pain. If your child is wheezing or having trouble breathing, this could signal an allergic reaction; get to an emergency room immediately.
Prevention: Don’t cater to the bee’s sweet tooth: At a picnic, serve lemonade or soda in sports bottles and sippy cups. And avoid using heavily perfumed soaps or shampoos.
A cool bath laced with baking soda or oatmeal will rinse the rash-spreading oil. Afterward, apply calamine lotion or cortisone cream to ease the itching. Be sure to wash your child’s clothes (including sneakers) and sheets; the potent oil can adhere to fabrics and other surfaces for up to a month, posing a risk of reinfection. If the rash starts oozing or the skin is swelling, call your doctor.
Lightly grip the tick with tweezers, close to the skin, then pull it off. Clean the area and apply an antiseptic. If within three to 30 days the bite mark expands or turns into a bull’s-eye-shaped rash larger than three inches in diameter, it could be a sign of Lyme disease. Fever, achiness, and headache may follow. With any of these symptoms, consult a doctor. But you’ll have to wait until six weeks after the bite for testing — the antibodies won’t react until then.
Prevention: If kids will be playing in the woods or in tall grass or brush, dress them in long-sleeved shirts and tuck their pants into their socks. On warmer days, applying insect repellent makes more sense. But you need one that contains 30 percent DEET to be effective. DEET can be harmful if over applied to kids’ skin, so one alternative is to spray Nix or A200 (permethin-based head-lice products) on kids’ clothes; this will kill ticks on contact. Then, check for ticks nightly at bath time ; it takes 24 hours for infection to occur, so this will significantly reduce the risk. A Lyme disease vaccination is currently available for people 15 and older, and a children’s version is expected before next summer.
If your child’s ear is red and itchy — and the pain gets worse when you tug on it — he probably has swimmer’s ear, which may be caused by a bacteria or fungus. Use over-the-counter swimmer’s-ear drops. Also, keep him away from the water for a few days — or at least have him swim with his head above water. If the pain doesn’t let up within 24 hours, see a doctor.
Prevention: Before the kids go swimming, pick up some Mack earplugs (a type that molds to the ear) to block out water. Or try the homemade version: a piece of cotton dipped in petroleum jelly. If your kids are prone to swimmer’s ear, limit diving and underwater swimming.
As you scrape away the jellyfish tentacles — a credit card will do the trick — rinse the area with salt water. (In fresh water, the tiny tentacles can expand and actually sting your child all over again.) Ask a lifeguard for vinegar, which neutralizes the venom. For pain relief, make a paste of baking soda and meat tenderizer mixed with water, and apply the paste to the wound.
Prevention: Ask a lifeguard about the water conditions before swimming in the ocean.
CUTS, SCRAPES, OR BRUISES
First Aid Advice For Severe Bleeding:
1. Place 2 or 3 sterile dressings (or a clean towel or washcloth) over the wound immediately.
2. Apply direct pressure to the wound, using your entire hand.
3. If bleeding continues, apply pressure more forcefully or to a slightly different spot.
4. Act quickly because ongoing blood loss can cause shock.
First Aid Advice for Shock:
Lie down with the feet elevated.
First Aid Advice for Penetrating Object:
If penetrating object still in place, don’t remove it (Reason: removal could increase internal bleeding).
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If…
Major bleeding that can’t be stopped (see FIRST AID)
Call Your Doctor If…
You think your child has a serious injury
- Bleeding won’t stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
- Deep cut and can see bone or tendons
- Skin is split open or gaping, especially on the face
- Pain is SEVERE (and not improved after 2 hours of pain medicine)
- Age under 1 year old
- Dirt or grime in the wound is not removed after 15 minutes of scrubbing
- Wringer-type injury
- Skin loss from bad scrape goes very deep
- Skin loss involves greater than 10% of body surface (Note: The palm of the hand equals 1%)
- Cut or scrape looks infected (redness, red streak or pus)
Parent Care at Home If…
Minor cut, scrape or bruise and you don’t think your child needs to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MINOR CUTS, SCRAPES OR BRUISES
Cuts, Scratches and Scrapes:Apply direct pressure for 10 minutes to stop any bleeding.
1. Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes. (Caution: never soak a wound that might need sutures, because it may become more swollen and difficult to close.)
2. Gently scrub out any dirt with a washcloth.
3. Cut off any pieces of loose skin using a fine scissors (cleaned with rubbing alcohol).
4. Apply an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin (no prescription needed). Then, cover it with a Band-Aid or dressing. Change daily.
Liquid Skin Bandage for Minor Cuts and Scrapes:
1. Liquid skin bandage is a new product that seals wounds with a plastic coating that lasts up to 1 week.
2. Liquid skin bandage has several benefits when compared to a regular bandage (e.g., a dressing or a Band-Aid). Liquid Bandage only needs to be applied once to minor cuts and scrapes. It helps stop minor bleeding. It seals the wound and may promote faster healing and lower infection rates. However, it is also more expensive.
3. After the wound is washed and dried, the liquid is applied by spray or with a swab. It dries in less than a minute. It’s resistant to bathing.
4. This new product is available at your local pharmacy.
1. Apply a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a wet cloth to the bruise once for 20 minutes to stop the bleeding.
2. After 48 hours apply a warm wet wash cloth for 10 minutes 3 times per day to help reabsorb the blood.
1. Give acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen as needed for pain relief.
Call Your Doctor If:
- Bleeding does not stop after using direct pressure to the cut
- Looks infected (pus, redness, increasing tenderness)
- Doesn’t heal within 10 days
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the “Call Your Doctor” symptoms.
All of these helpful First Aid tips were gathered from the following sites: