There are more life threating accidents that happen at home, more than you think, and even more than when travelling by car, plane or even bus. It’s a statistical fact; in fact, a study in the UK proved that playing sport is safer than staying at home! The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) noted that more than 5,000 people die in household accidents annually.
It’s a simple truth that Children are more accident prone compared to adults. So let this be an extra warning to all parents, grandparents, friends and even siblings be vigilant for the little ones! Ensure that when they are old enough they know the most important first aid tips, teach their nannies their grandparents and even their baby sitters too!
Before we look at the most important first aid tips let’s have a look at some of the most common accidents that occur at home and how to treat them:
- Drowning (e.g. baths, pools, buckets of water)
- Fires (e.g. heaters, braais, fireplaces, smoking)
- Electrical shocks and burns (e.g. damaged wires, electrical appliances in the bathroom, overloaded electrical sockets)
- Heating and cooking (e.g. gas leakages, stove tops, hot oil, boiling water, sharp knives)
- Broken glass (e.g. sliding doors, cracked windows, drinking glasses)
- Access to medicines and chemicals (e.g. household cleaners, all medications, insecticides)
We would suggest you do a Basic First Aid Course, especially if you have children. Keeping this in mind, The most important first aid tips to know according to the RedCross can be read here.
Resuscitating someone if they are not breathing from choking or drowning: Always check inside the mouth first to remove any objects or fluid. Perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): Click here to see how to perform CPR, or view it below:
Treatment for burns:
Fire: Smother any flames with a blanket and drop on the floor and roll.
Once the flames have gone out, do not remove any clothing that is stuck to the skin.
For immediate relief, apply cool, clean, damp cloths to the area and aloe vera lotion.
Wrap the area in a loose sterile bandage and get to the doctor ASAP.
Hot water or oil: Immediately run cold water over the affected area.
Apply cool, clean, damp cloths to the area.
Pat it dry and apply aloe vera lotion.
DO NOT apply ice or butter to the area, this will do more damage to the skin.
Go to the pharmacy and ask for antiseptic cream for burns, and pain relievers with Ibuprofen and naproxen in to help with swelling.
Electrical burns: Do not touch someone until the source of electricity has been turned off. The current may pass through you.
Use wood or cardboard to remove the source away from the area.
Check to see if the person is breathing, if not, perform CPR.
Elevate the legs so they are higher than the abdomen to prevent them from going into shock.
Cover the area with a sterile gauze bandage.
Seek medical assistance ASAP.
Treatment for bleeding:
Nose bleeds: Lean forward so that the blood does not go down the throat.
Pinch the nose just below the bony bridge. Hold it for 5 minutes.
If the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes, seek medical attention.
Cuts: Use a cloth, or item of clothing to cover the area and put pressure on it to stop the bleeding.
Apply hydrogen peroxide to the affected area, gently dabbing the area.
Place some antibacterial cream onto a bandage and cover the area. Use micropore adhesive tape to stick the bandage to the skin.
Do not remove any large object that penetrates deeply into the area. Treat the area around it as above.
Seek medical attention if the bleeding does not stop and may require stitches, if the object is still in the skin, or if there is sand or dirt in the affected area.
Ingestion of chemicals/poison:
Clear the mouth of any objects or fluids and perform CPR if they are not breathing.
Remove any clothing that may be contaminated.
Identify what the chemical/poison was.
Seek medical attention immediately.
Overdose from medication:
This can be very serious, especially if the person is not conscious. The best you can do is find out what they have ingested by checking the area around them for bottles, syringes etc. if they are not conscious and unable to talk.
Get them to the emergency unit immediately. If there is someone who can perform CPR this will help, but they need medical attention ASAP.
Keep an emergency number on your phone – South Africa 10111.
A useful first aid kit to keep at home:
Micropore adhesive tape
Aloe Vera lotion
Calamine lotion (for inflammation)
Hydrocortisone cream for itches
Pain relievers (have a selection of pain relievers with aspirin, paracetamol, codeine)
Anti-nausea tablets (e.g. Avomine)
Treatment for constipation (e.g. Movicol)
Treatment for diarrhoea (e.g. Imodium)
Epipen (for people allergic to bee stings)
Prevention is always better than cure. In your daily activities be vigilant and if anything looks like it may cause any harm, place it in a safe place or dispose of it.
As much as Affinity Rescue provides access to immediate medical attention, we would prefer it if you and your family do not come to any harm, but accidents do happen and Affinity Rescue is there for you if you need us.