Have you ever **really** listened to the words in those children’s rhymes and songs we teach our children? The old man who bumped his head, for example? Yeah. He smacked his head and then he couldn’t wake up in the morning, y’all. That song now teaches me two things…
First, that poor old man just died from a brain bleed from the bed head trauma. And second, you can take the ginger out of the ER, but she’ll always be an ER nurse. And now I’ll be teaching my kids some health and first aid on their dolls, because those darn monkeys are jumping on the bed, getting concussions left and right, y’all.
First Aid 101: Tips and Tricks for Wounds and Burns
Okay, so assuming nobody’s an old man or a monkey jumping into bed, let’s cover the basics first. Because extensive head trauma is a little bit beyond first aid, anyway.
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All wounds bleed. Clean ’em and apply pressure.
Generally speaking, my family is amazing at amassing wounds. It’s like they want to make sure I’m keeping up on my first aid skills… but that’s okay. When you see a wound, the two first things you want to do are clean it and make the bleeding stop.
The order of those two generally depends on how much blood is involved. As long as you aren’t swimming in blood, it’s generally okay to clean it first. That’s what I do – because then I can see how bad the problem is. And, clearing out the dirt, grime, or whatever else has gotten in there means that, once I do apply pressure, it should heal better.
So, let’s clean that wound first.
What do I use to clean wounds? Good old-fashioned soap and water. Fancy wound cleaners may kill germs, but they can also kill healthy tissue.
Growing up, I remember how we’d pour hydrogen peroxide on scraped knees to kill germs and clean the area. And it always took a few minutes to build up the courage to do it, because HOLY COW it burned. Hydrogen peroxide kills healthy cells, y’all. Translation: it is NOT for scrapes or cuts. It is, however, great at getting blood stains out of clothes.
Once the wound is clean, it’s time to make the bleeding stop. The best way to stop bleeding is by applying pressure. For most small cuts and scrapes, that means you should slap a band-aid on there and call it good.
For larger cuts, apply and hold pressure for 15 minutes. Then, recheck the wound. Fifteen minutes is usually enough time to stop the bleeding. If, after 15 minutes, it’s still bleeding, I’d consider some backup.
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Treat burns with water – not stuff from your fridge.
Burns are not fun. They’re hot, uncomfortable, and there’s never a great story about how you got it.
Once you get a mild burn, though, put it under cool, running water.
If you managed to develop a blister, do NOT pop it – it’s your body’s way of keeping a nasty wound cool, clean, and germ free. If it’s already popped, keep the burn clean and bandaged. Be nice, though, and use a non-stick dressing.
For larger burns, go ahead and seek professional help. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and healing – especially if it’s deep or involves palms, joints, or large areas of skin.
Speaking of burns, please don’t put mustard, eggs, butter, or margarine on them. They don’t cure or soothe the burn. In fact, it usually just makes the burn worse. And it makes you stinky.
First Aid 101: some awesome hacks for wounds and burns
Does every cut mean you’re gonna need stitches? Nope. Stitches are generally for cuts that need help closing so that it heals. Or for faces, because generally, people don’t like gaping scars across faces.
Even so, there are a few hacks I’ve learned in regards to cuts.
In high school, a friend of mine got a nasty cut on her head – in her hairline. In the hospital I worked at, that would have meant a few staples. Her mom, however, wanted to avoid a hospital visit. So, she taught us this hack: take hair from both sides of the cut (after it’s been cleaned) and braid it tightly enough to close the wound. Keep the braid in place until the wound heals – about two weeks.
I’ve recently used this technique on my youngest son for a small wound on his scalp. Thankfully though, he injured himself right before a haircut – and not after.
Gluing wounds shut is another option. In fact, I’ve helped glue several wounds shut while I worked at the hospital. It’s tricky – because you need to make sure you aren’t gluing yourself to the patient. But… is there a wound glue you can use at home?
I’ve used superglue to seal some wounds shut. I’ve used it on cuts on the back of my hands and on my legs. I would *NEVER* use it on my face, though. I’ve seen people come into the ER who’ve glued their eyes shut, and I’d rather not walk a mile in their shoes.
I’ve also found some places that sell hospital (or veterinarian) grade glue specifically for gluing wounds. They are more expensive and may require a prescription to buy, though.
What about a hack for burns? Here’s mine: aloe vera and lidocaine. They’re amazing at helping a mild burn or sunburn heal after initial treatment.
Once those wounds are healed, the final hack today is helping to minimize scar tissue. And the secret ingredient to this hack is the easiest-to-apply SUNSCREEN.
While a wound can generally heal in 6 weeks, that new skin is prone to color changes – especially if it gets exposed to the sun. So keep that scar slathered in sunscreen for a year – and it’ll fade right into the background.
Whew. That was a lot, huh? Now, to make sure you’re ready to use your first aid skills, let’s make sure you’ve got all of the supplies you’ll need.
A complete First Aid Kit list (okay, two of them)
If I had to choose between knowing what to do and having the right supplies for the job, I’d tell you that I’m not playing that game – because I want both. Making do isn’t easy, y’all.
So now that you know what to do, let’s make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job, shall we?
Actually, let’s make sure that you’ve got the right tools – with two lists. That way, you’ll be ready for any misadventure at home – or while you’re on the road. Download it now for free – and then share this link with someone else who could use a free First Aid Kit List.
More on First Aid:
- Learn First Aid – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Take a First Aid Class – American Red Cross
- First Aid and Emergencies – WebMD
- First Aid on Wikipedia
My Must-Have First Aid Resources:
Know what you need – get my Free First Aid Kit List Download
- See my complete list of favorite first aid products on Amazon!
- The “I don’t have time to shop, just point me in the right direction of a great starter first aid kit!”
You’ll Also Love:
- Health Resources, Tips, and Pointers from an ER Nurse
- A Mom’s Guide to Dealing with Flu (Influenza) by your favorite ginger-haired nurse
- Preparedness: How to Be Ready for Anything
- Surviving a Sleep Regression or Sleep Disturbances