It’s not unusual to suffer from injuries during a disaster situation, we’re talking both major and minor injuries. It’s always advisable to seek medical help when you’ve suffered from any injury, but that ain’t always possible during a disaster, so here are a few things which you need to do, with the help of your trusted, well organized, well prepared disaster preparedness first aid kit!
- Cuts and Scrapes are common during a disaster. First of all you must stop the bleeding, very often minor cuts and scrapes stop bleeding all by themselves, but if not apply a little pressure with a bandage or a clean cloth. Then you need to wash the wound with clean water, if you can see any bits of dirt or debris make sure that you get them out, use tweezers if necessary. Next you should apply a layer of antibiotic cream to help prevent infection before covering the wound with a clean bandage.
- Blisters are natures way of forming a natural barrier to bacteria, decreasing the chance of infection. Don’t puncture a blister unless it is causing extreme pain, simply cover with an adhesive bandage to protect it. If you do need to drain a blister to relieve pain, then here’s what to do. First of all make sure that your hands, and the blister are washed with warm water and soap. Next you should swab it with alcohol or iodine, whatever is handy in your disaster preparedness first aid kit, before puncturing the blister with a needle. Make several small pricks close to the edge of the blister to allow the fluid to drain, but don’t try to remove the skin. After you should apply some antibiotic ointment and cover to prevent infection.
- Burns can be very painful indeed, even minor burns cause lots of discomfort, so here’s the best way to deal with them in a disaster situation. First job is to cool the burn, don’t put ice on it, that’s a definite “no-no”, but hold it under cool running water if possible, or immerse it in cool water if not. If you don’t have any cool water then use a cold compress. After you’ve taken some of the heat away (which could take up to 10 or 15 minutes) cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage (from your first aid disaster supplies kit), keep it loose though so that you don’t put lots of pressure on the skin. You can also take a little over the counter pain relief if necessary, ibuprofen or aspirin, something like that!
- Puncture Wounds don’t usually bleed that much, they often stop all by themselves. This does not, however, mean that you don’t need to treat them. First of all you need to stop the bleeding if necessary, using a clean cloth or bandage and pressure. Next make sure that the wound is clean using water, tweezers can be used to remove any particles (clean the tweezers with alcohol first, from your first aid disaster supplies kit). Next apply a little antibiotic cream and cover the wound to prevent risk of infection.
- Severe Bleeding can cause real problems, especially during some type of disaster situation when you can’t get medical help. It’s important that you wash your hands and wear gloves before trying to stop the bleeding, to avoid infection. Never try to push any displaced organs back into place, simply cover the wound with a dressing. The injured person should be laid down and covered over the prevent loss of body heat, with the legs slightly elevated or the head lower than the trunk. Any small bits of dirt and debris can be removed, but don’t try to remove anything which is large or deeply embedded, just try to stop the bleeding. Apply pressure directly to the wound until bleeding stops with a sterile bandage for a minimum of twenty minutes, then bandage tightly to keep the pressure on (without being tempted to check whether the bleeding has stopped). Don’t remove this bandage, if blood seeps through then simply add another layer of bandage on top.
- Bruises are quite common during a disaster situation, but can usually be dealt with quite easily. If possible the injured area should be elevated, an ice pack or cold pack should be applied and the area rested as much as possible. Some form of pain relief (like ibuprofen) may be taken if required.