First aid made easy

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May I just say right away that I am NOT Dr. Sher? When it comes to First Aid at Home, I, like most moms and grandmas, have all kinds of remedies that have been passed down from one generation to the next. The ones I am going to recommend are what I have used over the years with both my sons and granddaughters. And they work!

First off, I would like to encourage any of you who have not done so to put together or purchase a First Aid Kit. This is something we rarely think of until The Moment!  I am going to list the items recommended for a standard kit and one that can also be stored in the trunk of your car in case your emergency happens away from the home. Kits are available for purchase at any pharmacy or on-line. Just 'Google' First Aid Kit and you'll get all kinds of hits.

Absorbent compress 5x9 dressing - Cover/protect open wounds
Adhesive bandages - Cover/protect open wounds
Adhesive tape - Secure bandages/splints
Antibiotic ointment packets - Anti-infection
Antiseptic wipe packets - Wound cleaning
Aspirin (chewable) 81mg - For heart attack symptoms
Blanket (space blanket) - Maintain body temp
CPR Breathing Barrier - Protection during CPR
Instant cold compress - Control swelling
Gloves (large) non-latex - Prevent body fluid contact
Hydrocortisone ointment packets - External rash treatment
Scissors - Cut tape, cloth or bandages
Roller bandage 3" - Secure wound dressing
Roller bandage 4" - Secure wound dressing
Sterile gauze pad 3x3 - Control external bleeding
Sterile gauze pad 4x4 - Control external bleeding
Thermometer, oral - Take temperature orally
Triangular bandage - Sling or binder/splinting
Tweezers - Remove splinters or ticks
First Aid Instruction Booklet

Burns
Aloe vera plants have been used for centuries to treat burns holistically. While the science to verify the long-held beliefs about the success of using aloe vera as an herbal remedy is conflicting, evidence that is works in my house is strong! The sap you find in the leaf of an aloe vera has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that sooth and heal burn injuries. Many times I have burned myself in the kitchen. The first thing I do is cut off a leaf, put the sap over the burn area and continue with my cooking!

Well, it's not exactly THAT easy so I will list a few instructions for those of you who haven't heard or used this wonderful plant. When my granddaughter, Ava, was a toddler, she referred to our aloe vera plant as The Magic Plant. And it is!

1. Cool a burn by running it under cool water. It's important to take the heat out of the burn so that no further damage is done.

2. Assess the degree of the burn. First-degree burns are red and swollen but superficial, while second-degree burns are deeper and feature blisters. First and second-degree burns can be treated at home, but third-degree burns are very severe and require immediate medical attention.

3. Break off a leaf from an aloe vera plant and cut it lengthwise. Choose a plump leaf from the outer edge of the plant because aloe plants grow from the inside out.

4. Scoop out the inside of the aloe leaf, including the clear sap and the pulp, with a spoon.

5. Mash the aloe leaf contents into a paste.

6. Apply aloe vera gel paste to the burn when it has cooled down sufficiently. Aloe vera gel has analgesic properties that can help with the pain of the burn, and the anti-inflammatory properties can prevent swelling from causing additional pain and blood restriction.

7. Continue to apply aloe vera gel until the burn heals.

**Some of the provided information was found at www.ehow.com/aloe-vera

Mosquito Bites
This is a remedy I have used with my granddaughters many, many times. It is a combination of aspirin and baking soda. I put about a cup of baking soda and 1 aspirin in a bowl and using a pestle, I grind the aspirin into the baking soda until it's completely crushed. I then add enough water to make a thick paste. I put the paste on the mosquito bite and let it dry. This requires the child to sit on a towel while it dries and works its magic. I know! I know! An impossible feat to keep a child still, but do what you have to to make it happen! The purpose of the towel is to catch any flaking of the paste while it's drying. The baking soda soothes the affected area and the aspirin acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Bee Stings
You might think this is crazy but my remedy for bee stings is meat tenderizer. I learned this from my late-mother-in-law, Katie. While my guys were growing up, we had a pool that they practically lived in 6 months out of the year. And those of you who have one know that pools attract lots of critters including bees. Every once in awhile, usually after being irritated by rambunctious boys, a bee would win the contest by stinging someone. Here is a list of instructions if this happens to you:

1. Remove the stinger with all haste, in whatever manner is most convenient. If you see a little black dot in the wound, part of the stinger is still present. Try scraping across the skin with a credit card to try to remove the stinger.

2. Apply a solution of one part meat tenderizer to 4 parts water. Papain, the enzyme in meat tenderizer, breaks down the protein in bee venom responsible for the pain and itching. Don't leave this on for more than 30 minutes, or it can irritate the skin.

3. Apply ice or cool water for 10-30 minutes after the sting. This blunts the body's allergic response.

4. If the affected area is still irritated, try applying a paste made from baking soda and water. Calamine lotion has been known to work, also.

The meat tenderizer works within a few minutes of applying. It takes away that initial slap of pain one feels when the bee stings. If there are any other reactions that occur that concern you then by all means, contact your physician and address it.

**Some provided information was found at www.drgreene.com (search treating bee stings)

Cholla (Jumping Cactus) Needles
I am sure that if you have lived in the desert long enough, you know and recognize the cholla that is prevalent to the Sonoran Desert. Living out in the boonies like we do, there have been numerous times where someone (usually one of my granddaughters, sadly enough) has come in contact with this wicked plant.

I can't count how many times we've come into the house from getting the paper or the mail, look down and find a large piece of cholla attached to our shoe! The best way to take a cholla off is with a pair of pliers. DO NOT attempt this with your hands! The tip of the thorn is shaped like a fishing hook so when it goes into the shoe or skin (ouch!) it can be deeply embedded and very difficult to remove. A firm grip with the pliers and a quick jerk of the thorn usually works well.

But that's not where it usually ends. There are also teeny-tiny little needles that cover the thorn that can be left behind once the thorn is removed. It's as if there are minuscule splinters that are invisible to the naked eye but can be felt by brushing the area with your hand or some cloth. Very annoying and it hurts! What I use to get rid of these horrid, little things is duct tape. I know the men will LOVE hearing that! Place a piece of duct tape directly on the irritated area and pull off quickly. Repeat, using fresh tape each time, until the needles can't be felt any longer.