General First Aid Tips

As Summer approaches, the temperature will rise, and the outdoors will call, inviting us once again to enjoy her open spaces, rivers, lakes and trails.

Of course, you will answer the call but you need to be ready to handle the small and maybe not so small emergencies that come along.

Here are just a few tips when dealing with some emergency type situations.

Sprain or strain

The most common first aid to a sprain or a strain is embodied in the acronym RICE.

  1. Rest. Stop the current activity that has caused the issue.
  2. Ice. Apply ice to the affected area for 10 to 20 minutes. Repeat several times daily. After swelling has gone (about 48 to 72 hours after initial injury) heat can be applied to the area that hurts. Always use a thin towel or napkin on the skin under the ice or heat for protection.
  3. The are may also be wrapped for compression. This will also help reduce swelling. But, take care not to wrap to aggressively or more swelling may ensue.
  4. Another way to reduce swelling caused but a sprain or strain is to elevate the body part. In other words get the injured area above the heart.

Of course, seek medical attention right away to avoid further complications.


These injuries may be treated similarly to a sprain. But do NOT attempt to put the joint back in place. This could further damage the joint.

  1. Get medical attention immediately.
  2. If possible splint the joint.
  3. Apply ice to keep swelling down.


  1. If a victim is choking the Red Cross recommends giving 5 hard blows with the heel of your hand between the shoulder blades followed by 5 Heimlich Maneuver thrusts.
  2. If alone perform the 5 blow and 5 thrusts before calling 911. If the victim is still choking, stop and call for help. Then resume the alternating 5 blows and 5 thrusts until help arrives.
  3. If not alone, have someone call 911 while you continue to deliver 5 blows and 5 thrusts alternatively. Continue until help arrives or until the object is dislodged from the victim
  4. Heimlich Maneuver
    a. Tell the person you are going to grab them from behind.
    b. Make a fist with on hand and grasp it with the other.
    c. Place thumb knuckle just above the person’s belly button and with a swift abrupt movement thrust inward and up at the same time (like making the letter “J”). You may lift the person up when you do this movement.
    d. If the person becomes unconscious, perform standard CPR until help arrives



  1. Remove and jewelry or restrictive items from around the burned area.
  2. Run burned area under cool water until the pain eases. DO NOT use cold water.
  3. If blisters appear, do not break them. If they break on their own wash with clean soap and water. Watch for signs of infection (redness, pain swelling and oozing from wound)


  1. Call 911 immediately.
  2. Protect victim from further harm. Elevate the burned area if possible. Do not remove clothing stuck to burn. If the burn is exposed, cover with a clean, moist bandage.
  3. If possible remove belts, jewelry or other items from around the burned area that may restrict swelling.
  4. DO NOT run burn under cool water as severe burns may predispose victim to hypothermia or shock.
  5. Check for signs of breathing or other movements. If the victim is not breathing, start standard CPR. Continue until help arrives.

Heart attack:

Maybe you have had CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)training or maybe not, but even if you follow these few simple steps you could save a life.

  1. A person having a heart attack will likely collapse on the ground. If they are coherent, ask if they need help if they respond yes or are incoherent, have the nearest person to you to call 911. If alone, go call 911 then return.
  2. If the person is non-responsive and appears not to be breathing, then begin “hands only” CPR by applying firm, consistent pressure to the chest along the breast bone. To find proper placement, place two fingers at the end of the breastbone nearest the belly button. Then put the heel of one hand just above the fingers(the side closest to the face) and place other hand on top. Push in firmly till the chest indents about 2 inches to the tune of “Stay’in Alive” or “Another One Bits the Dust”. Approximately 100 compressions minute.
  3. If you know CPR do 30 compressions to 2 breaths. Tilt head back from chin making sure airway is clear and apply 2 breaths while watching the chest rise and fall. If an AED (automated external defibrillator) is present have someone bring it to you and follow the instructions. Continue til help arrives.