January 21, 2012

First Aid

These past few weeks my family has been battling multiple illnesses. First it started out with pink eye and has progressed into viral cold infections. As I was caring for our sick family I started thinking, What if we no longer had the urgent care facilities, the hospitals, the drug stores on the corner, or the pharmacies? What are we going to do in case of an emergency due to accidents or illnesses? We aren't going to be able to pick up cold remedies or other items to make sure everyone stays as healthy as possible.

Staying healthy is something we can sometimes take for granted. Luckily for our family, this is the first time in a long time everyone has become ill. We've never had any major medical issues until our son was born back in January of last year. From that point, we have learned quite a bit about feeding tubes, heart murmurs, cranial facial malformations, ectrodactyly, hip dysplasia, and what a pain in the side doctor offices truly are. I thank God everyday for the people who have the knowledge to save lives, mend broken bones, and heal the sick. However, in today's economy we may not always have the capability to be helped by these individuals.

The only source of knowledge is experience.  -Albert Einstein
Every person should have basic first aid knowledge. This would include how to perform CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), how to stop wounds from bleeding, splinting injured limbs, and clearing air ways.

In addition to having basic first aid knowledge you also need to make sure you have a well supplied first aid kit. A basic kit should consist :  alcohol, adhesive tape (1 inch), roller bandage ( 1 & 2 inch), assorted adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, moleskin, antiseptic, soap, scissors, tweezers, safety pins, a splint, latex gloves, safety glasses, mouth barrier devise, pencil , and paper.

You can never be too prepared in the event of a medical emergency. You not only need to have the know how but you also need to practice because if you don't use it you lose it. Grab a family member, friend, or crash dummy (you can take the basic principle of a scarecrow and fill it w/ pillows) and start practicing. As the saying also goes practice makes perfect. You can also sign up for CPR and first aid training in your local communities to get more precise training.

How to perform CPR:
       For a child 1-8 years old:
           If the child is not breathing, put one hand on the breastbone directly between the child's nipples. Push straight down about 2 inches or about a third of the thickness of the child's chest and then let the chest all the way back up. Do that 30 times, about twice per second.
     After pushing on the chest 30 times, cover the child's mouth with your mouth and pinch his nose closed with your fingers. Gently
blow until you see his chest rise. Let the air escape the chest will go back down and give one more breath.  If no air goes in when you try to blow, adjust the child's head and try again. If that doesn't work, then skip it and go back to chest compressions. You can try rescue breaths again after 30 more compressions. Don't stop until the child wakes up.
1.     When checking for breathing, if you're not sure then assume the child isn't breathing. It's much worse to assume a kid is breathing and not do anything than to assume he or she isn't and start rescue breaths.
2.     Put a book under the child's shoulders -- if you have time -- to help keep his or her head tilted back
      For an Adult:
      If the victim is not breathing, place the heel of your hand in the middle of his chest. Put your other hand on top of the first with your fingers interlaced. Compress the chest at least 2 inches (4-5 cm). Allow the chest to completely recoil before the next compression. Compress the chest at a rate of at least 100 pushes per minute. Perform 30 compressions at this rate (should take you about 18 seconds).

       After 30 compressions, open the victim's airway using the head-tilt, chin-lift method. Pinch the victim's nose and make a seal over the victim's mouth with yours. Use a CPR mask if available. Give the victim a breath big enough to make the chest rise. Let the chest fall, then repeat the rescue breath once more. If the chest doesn't rise on the first breath, reposition the head and try again.

      Repeat chest compressions-Do 30 more chest compressions just like you did the first time. Repeat rescue breaths-Give 2 more breaths just like you did before. Keep going for about two minutes (about 5 cycles of 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths).

      After 2 minutes of chest compressions and rescue breaths, stop compressions and recheck victim for breathing. If the victim is still not breathing, continue CPR starting with chest compressions. Repeat the process, checking for breathing every 2 minutes (5 cycles or so). If the victim wakes up, you can stop CPR.
1.     Chest compressions are extremely important. If you are not comfortable giving rescue breaths, still perform chest compressions!
2.     If the victim is breathing, briskly rub your knuckles against the victim's sternum.
3.     This is not a substitute for actual CPR training. Find a CPR class and get proper training.
Of course you may not always need to rely on your first aid training, you may just need a few home remedies to make to the aches and pains of a cold to go away. In those circumstances I suggest expanding your home library. It's always good to have a few useful books laying around to refer to.
Some you may want to check out are:
Alternative Cures: More than 1,000 of the Most Effective Natural Home Remedies-Bill Gottlieb
The People's Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies: Q&As for Your Common Ailments-Joe Graedon & Terry Greadon
The Country Almanac of Home Remedies: Time-Tested & Almost Forgotten Wisdom for Treating Hundreds of Common Ailments, Aches & Pains Quickly and Naturally -Brigitte Mars & Chrystle fielder
Traditional Home Remedies: Time-Tested Methods for Staying Well-The Natural Way (Old Farmer's Almanac Home Library)- Martha White

These are just a few but there are a ton out there that can contain similar information.

For more information or any suggestions feel free to e-mail me @ thehomesteadjones@yahoo.com

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