First Aid - General & Other
First Aid (General)
Burns are one of the leading causes of accidental death in childhood, second only to motor vehicle accidents. Burns are often categorized as first, second, or third degree, based on the severity of damage to the skin.
All burns should be treated quickly to reduce the temperature of the burned area or to wash off chemicals, which helps reduce damage to the skin and underlying tissue.
First-degree burns, the mildest of the three, are generally caused by brief skin contact with hot water, steam, or hot objects or by overexposure to the sun. First-degree burns cause some blistering, swelling, redness, and pain.
Second-degree (or partial thickness) burns result from contact with chemicals, hot liquids, or solids or from clothing catching on fire. The skin can appear mottled white to cherry red, and the burn is quite painful. Blisters are common.
Third-degree (or full thickness) burns can result from prolonged contact with hot liquids or solids, chemicals, or electricity. Skin can be charred, leathery, or have a very pale appearance. There may be little or no pain because of nerve damage.
You can treat many minor eye irritations by flushing the eye, but more serious injuries require medical attention. Injuries to the eye are the most common preventable cause of blindness; so when in doubt, err on the side of caution and call your child's doctor for help.
Head injuries fall into two categories: external (usually scalp) injuries and internal head injuries, which may involve the skull, the blood vessels within the skull, or the brain.
Fortunately, most childhood falls or blows to the head result in injury to the scalp only, which is usually more frightening than threatening. An internal head injury has more serious possible implications, since the skull serves as the protective helmet for the delicate brain.
Our bodies create a tremendous amount of internal heat. We normally cool ourselves by sweating and radiating heat through the skin. Under certain circumstances, such as unusually high temperatures, high humidity, or vigorous exercise in hot weather, this natural cooling system may begin to fail, allowing internal heat to build up to dangerous levels. The result may be heat illness, which can be in the form of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke.
Heat cramps are brief, severe cramps in the muscles of the leg, arm, or abdomen that may occur during or after vigorous exercise in extreme heat. They are painful but not serious. Children are particularly susceptible to heat cramps when they have not been drinking enough fluids.
Most heat cramps do not require special treatment. A cool place, rest, and fluids should ease the child's discomfort. Massaging cramped muscles may also help.
Heat exhaustion is a more severe heat illness that can occur when a person in a hot climate or environment has not been drinking enough fluids. Symptoms can include dehydration (intense thirst), fatigue, weakness, and clammy skin. There also may be headache, nausea and/or vomiting, hyperventilation (rapid breathing), or irritability.
If a child shows signs of heat exhaustion, resting in a cool area and drinking fluids are the keys to recovery.
What to Do:
If left untreated, heat exhaustion may escalate into heat stroke, which can be fatal.
A nosebleed can be scary, but it is rarely cause for alarm. Most nosebleeds are caused by zealous blowing or picking, or a blow during rough play. In the wintertime, especially, if your child's bed is near a heater, the membranes inside the nose can become dried and itchy, causing your child to pick at his nose and further irritate the nasal tissue.
What to do:
Call your doctor, or head for the emergency room, if:
In Texas 1-800-POISON1
If you have a poison emergency or a question about poisons and you're in the United States, call 1-800-222-1222.This toll-free number will put you in touch with the poison control center in your state.
If your child has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911.
Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain. Symptoms may vary depending on the part of the brain that is stimulated, but seizures may be associated with unusual sensations, uncontrollable muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. Some seizures may be the result of a medical problem. Low blood sugar, infection, a head injury, accidental poisoning, or drug overdose may cause a seizure. A seizure may also be due to a brain tumor or other neurological abnormality. In addition, anything that results in a sudden lack of oxygen to the brain can cause a seizure. In some cases, the cause of the seizure may not be discovered. When seizures recur, it may indicate the chronic condition known as epilepsy. Febrile seizures are relatively common in children younger than 5 years old. Febrile seizures can occur when a child develops a high fever, usually with the temperature rising rapidly to 102 degrees Fahrenheit or more. While terrifying to parents, these seizures are usually brief and rarely cause any problems, unless the fever is associated with a serious infection, such as meningitis. A child who has a febrile seizure is not more likely to develop epilepsy.
What to do:
Call emergency medical services immediately if:
If the child is breathing normally and the seizure lasts just a few minutes, you can wait until it has subsided, then call your doctor. If the child has never had a seizure before, seek immediate care. For a child who is known to have seizures, call emergency services if the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, or if the seizure is different than usual.
Following the seizure, the child will probably fall into a deep sleep (this is called the postictal period). This is normal, and you should not try to wake your child. Do not attempt to give food or drink until your child is awake and alert.
For the child who has febrile seizures, the doctor may suggest that you give fever-reducing medicine (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen) to control the fever and prevent seizures from recurring. Your doctor may also recommend sponging your child with lukewarm water to help cool your child down.
Following a seizure - particularly if it is a first or unexplained seizure - call your doctor or emergency medical service for instructions. Your child will usually need to be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.
Most small cuts do not present any danger. Larger wounds, particularly those where an artery has been damaged, can cause severe bleeding and result in falling blood pressure and shock. Depending on the type of wound and its location, there can be damage to tendons and nerves. Bleeding from large cuts may require immediate medical treatment.
If the sting or bite wound is bleeding, apply pressure to the area with a clean bandage or towel until the bleeding stops. If available, use clean latex or rubber gloves to protect yourself from exposure to blood.
Reminder to pet owners: Make sure that your pets are properly immunized and licensed.
A dislodged baby tooth cannot be replaced. A permanent tooth, on the other hand, can often be saved if prompt action is taken and the tooth is handled carefully. The delicate tissue covering the root, called the periodontal ligament, must be protected to ensure successful reimplantation.
What to do when a baby or toddler injures gums or teeth: