How to Handle Common Injuries when no Nearby Medical Center is Available

Suppose you are on a picnic with your family at a hill station, and your daughter receives an injury. Unfortunately, you are far away from the medical center. What will you do now?  Accidents are always unexpected, and knowing what to do in distant places is essential.  Therefore, it is necessary to have average knowledge about handling minor injuries by yourself. 

Common Injuries and First Aid Treatment:

Sprains and Strains:

A sprain is a sudden stretching or tearing of the ligament. Ankle sprain and groin strain are one of the most common injuries. It happens when joints turn or move opposite their average motion direction. Similarly, strain is the stretching or tearing muscles or tendons when they push beyond their normal position or limit. 

If you receive a sprain or strain, do the following things to lessen the pain;

  • Immediately stop the movement of the injured part. 
  • Gently apply an ice pack or packet of frozen vegetables covered in a tea towel for 15 -20 minutes every 2-3 hours.
  • Cover the injured part with a bandage to stabilize it.
  • Try to place it in an elevated position.
  • Take a painkiller like an acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Fractures:

Fractures are referred to as breaks, especially in a bone. It is called open or compound fracture if skin or muscle is torn away due to fractured bone. In case of fracture, immediately follow the steps that are mentioned below;

  • Immediately immobilize the joints present below and above the injured bone. It will stabilize the fracture and reduce the pain.
  • In case of open fracture, stop bleeding first by applying pressure with a sterile bandage or fabric. 
  • If splints are available in the first aid box, then apply these splints below and above the fracture site.
  • Apply ice for 15-20 minutes every hour. 
  • Take painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  • If a person feels faint, rapid, or short of breath, then lay him down straight with head slightly lower to abdomen and legs at an elevated position (if possible). 

Burns:

It is a common injury to burn yourself accidentally while working in a kitchen or anything else. However, it is essential to treat the burn immediately to remove heat from the skin and prevent the burn from getting infected. 

Unfortunately, if anyone gets burned, follow the steps that are mentioned below;

  • Rinse the burn with cool or lukewarm clean water for 20 minutes.
  • Never use ice or iced water. Instead of removing heat will trap it against your skin and may cause frostbite or soft tissue damage.
  • Keep the burned person warm.
  • Apply any antibiotic ointment to injury.
  • If no antibiotic ointment is available, apply honey, petroleum jelly, and aloe vera. 
  • Afterward, cover the burn with a sterile bandage or fabric. 
  • Make sure to take a tetanus shot within 48 hours of injury. 

Muscle Cramp:

A muscle cramp occurs when you become dehydrated, or the electrolytes balance in your body gets disturbed. It can be excruciating and may prolong. If your muscle gets cramped and no healthcare provider is nearby, do the following steps to lessen the pain. Includes,

Gently stretch the injured muscle and massage it to get it relaxed.

Apply a hot pad or warm towel to cramped muscles. 

On the other hand, applying ice to a tight or tensed muscle may relieve pain. 

Try to move the cramped muscle. 

In case of a calf cramp, put your whole body weight on the cramped leg and try to bend your knee moderately. 

If you can’t stand, sit on the floor or a chair and extend your leg straight.

Cuts and Wounds:

Cuts and wounds are the most commonly occurring injuries. Follow these guidelines for urgent treatment and infection prevention if someone sustains any abrasion or wound. These guidelines include,

  • Wash the injured area. It will remove germs and debris and prevent infection.
  • Clean the wound with sterilized cotton or fabric.
  • Then apply antibiotic ointment. 
  • You can apply petroleum jelly, aloe, or honey if no antibiotic is available. 
  • Cover the wound with a sterilized bandage or clean cloth to stop the bleeding. 
  • If bleeding doesn’t stop, put the injured part in an elevated position. It will lower the blood flow in the damaged part and alleviate the bleeding. 
  • However, if the bleeding doesn’t stop even after 10 minutes, then the cut needs stitches. 
  • Ensure to get a tetanus shot. 

Neck and Spine Injuries:

Extreme pain in the back or feeling of pressure in the head, back, or spinal cord after an accident indicates injury in your head or spine. Spine or neck injuries can be severe because both parts are fundamental to all body functions. Injury to these parts usually occurs when you dive into shallow water, in vehicular accidents in which your head or back hits a solid object, and falls from height. It can cause permanent or flaccid paralysis or, in some cases, death. 

When spinal or neck injury occurs, there are chances of vertebrae fracture, and broken vertebrae may rupture the spinal cord also. Thus, If someone receives a spinal or neck injury, try to hold them as still as possible. If a car is burning, evacuate the people from the car as gently as possible. Lay them on the flat surface and tell them to stay straight and don’t move. Hold the C-spine of an injured person by placing hands along the side of his neck and head to hold the cervical spine until any help reaches. 

Bee and Wasp Stings:

Bee and wasps wander in considerable numbers in parks and courtyards, especially during the summer. Therefore, we frequently witness bee and wasp stings, especially in children who play in parks. Furthermore, we often plan for picnics during the spring and summer seasons.  

Unfortunately, if a bee stung someone, immediately remove the stinger first. Stingers are the elements that release venom into the skin. You can remove stingers with the help of tweezers. However, if you don’t have tweezers, you can remove them by rubbing them with any solid object, such as a credit card. 

Furthermore, you can also apply ice for 15-20 minutes to lower the pain, swelling, and itching. Oral or topical antihistamines can also be used to treat the stings. You can take pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen in case of extreme pain. In some instances, bee and wasp stings can lead to severe conditions such as anaphylaxis. 

What is Anaphylaxis? 

Anaphylaxis is an overactive immune condition. Our immune system releases many chemicals in response to foreign elements, such as a bee sting. It can trigger severe reactions in the body, such as sneezing, allergy, swelling, wheezing, dizziness, or sometimes difficulty breathing. 

In anaphylactic conditions, blood pressure drops abruptly, and airways narrow, shortening breath. Its symptoms include rapid or weak pulse, skin rash or redness, vomiting, and nausea. Therefore, if someone experiences the symptoms mentioned above, take them immediately to the hospital. An anaphylactic reaction can be fatal. If not treated with epinephrine injection or other medical treatments, it leads to complications. 

Back Injuries or Back Pain:

Your back and spinal column are the primary support system of the entire body. Thus, these often undergo considerable stress. With time, this stress accumulates and causes pain in the back and vertebral column. Extreme loads of work may lead to inflammation around the back and vertebrae muscles, or sometimes injury to the discs that cause severe pain in the lower or upper back. Furthermore, a sudden jerk to the back may also dislocate the discs in the vertebral column. 

Treatment of back pain or back injuries depend on the type and severity. The best way to treat back pain is to relax your muscles. Apply an ice pack to your back to reduce the swelling and pain. You can also apply heat to alleviate pain after 2-3 days of icing. 

However, if pain increases with time, then consult your doctor. You can also take pain relieving medicines on the doctor’s recommendations. 

Concussion:

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury due to a sudden jerk, jolt, blow or bump to the head that moves the brain rapidly back and forth. It can be minor or severe depending on the pressure or severity of the hit. 

The sudden blow to the head may cause a twist in the skull, releasing any chemicals or damage to the brain cells or tissues. It may lead to severe symptoms such as dizziness, headache, or sometimes loss of consciousness. If someone accidentally hits his head, then ask him to stay still for some time and don’t move his head. Put an ice pack for 10-20 minutes on the head. However, if an ice pack is unavailable, apply direct ice to the head but place a thin cloth between the skin and ice cubes. Furthermore, gently massage his head and shoulders. 

What Do I Need in my First Aid Kit: 

While going outside, having a first aid kit with you is essential to handle common injuries that don’t require hospital visits, such as minor cuts and wounds, bee stings and burns, common accidents, etc. Thus, to manage these injuries, you should have a fully-stocked first aid box that supplies you with all the things required to treat most common injuries. 

Following are one of the primary items a first-aid kit must include,

  • Bandages and dressings (elastic bandage for sprains, sterile gauze, sterile cotton swabs)
  • Medicine for cuts, wounds, and burns.
  • Latex gloves
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezer to remove insect stings and ticks.
  • Antibiotic and antihistamine
  • Sterile eyewash saline
  • Scissors 

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