First aid tips for summer – treating bites and stings

They may not seem like one of the biggest hazards to your health during the summer, but insect bites and stings can be incredibly annoying and quite painful. In some extreme cases, they can be very dangerous.

The best way to learn how to treat stings and bites, as well as to deal with any incidents of anaphylactic shock in people who have allergies, is to undergo first aid training. However, you can also learn a few of the basics before you start your training course.

Follow these tips for treating insect bites and stings:

• If you or someone you know is stung by a bee, you should carefully scrape out the stinger and the venomous sac the bee leaves just under the skin using an implement with a hard edge. Try not to puncture the sac by squeezing it with tweezers, as this will only spread the venom around.
• Most insect bites can be treated by washing the affected area and placing a cold compress on it
• Mild painkillers can be taken to soothe the pain of an insect bite
• To prevent itching and swelling, taking an antihistamine tablet or using an antihistamine cream can be really helpful.

Everyday first aid – dealing with nosebleeds

The correct way to treat everyday injuries like cuts, scrapes and burns is one of the first things you will learn when you take a first aid training course. Such minor injuries may not seem like a big deal, but they can worsen and turn into something more serious (especially if the affected person is a child) if not properly treated.

Amongst the most common everyday medical problems you are likely to come across are nosebleeds, which nearly everyone will experience at least once in their lives. Caused by a blow to the nose, high blood pressure or even just sneezing, nosebleeds can be dangerous if the casualty loses too much blood.

Proper first aid training is recommended to find out more about treating nosebleeds, but here are a few basic tips to remember:

• Your main aims when treating a person with a nosebleed are to control and limit blood loss, and to keep an airway open
• Never tilt the person’s head back – this is how many people think a nosebleed should be treated, but it can cause blood to run down the throat
• Ask the person to tilt their head forward instead, as they breathe through their mouth and keep pinching the soft part of the nose
• Try to prevent the person from coughing, spitting, sniffing, swallowing or even speaking – this can dislodge blood clots
• If the bleeding has not stopped within 30 minutes, during which pressure is applied through pinching to the nose, it’s time to take the person to hospital.

Research finds UK is lagging behind Europe in first aid training for young people

A new poll has found that the UK is falling behind many other European countries when it comes to training youngsters in life-saving first aid skills.

The poll, undertaken by ICM last January, found that just one fifth (20 per cent) of secondary school students in England and Wales had undergone some form of first aid training in the classroom. This is despite the fact that many youngsters want to learn first aid, according to first aid charity the Red Cross. The charity’s Head of Policy, Research and Advocacy, Jonathan Ellis, said:

“Young people themselves are keen to learn first aid. Findings show that 91 per cent of students would like to learn first aid in schools.”

Mr Ellis also commented on the fact that in its recently published details of the revamped curriculum for English schools, the government did not make any mention of first aid training. Many organisations, including the Red Cross, have been campaigning for first aid courses to be included as a compulsory part of school curriculums, but the government does not seem to have heeded their message. Mr Ellis added:

“We fear that the decision by government to ignore our calls today, will rob the nation of a generation of responsible life-savers in the future.”

How first aid training could save lives at your office Christmas party

You might not think that anything worse could happen at your Christmas party than embarrassing yourself with bad dancing in front of your boss, but this isn’t strictly true.

A medical emergency can happen at any time, so it could potentially happen while you and your colleagues are celebrating the festive occasion. Someone could fall ill or fall over and injure themselves at your office Christmas party, or have an allergic reaction to some of the food and go into anaphylactic shock. Someone could faint or fall unconscious, have an epileptic seizure or even have a heart attack.

These aren’t cheering things to think about ahead of your office party this year, but these kinds of situations can and do happen. If those present at the party have taken some form of first aid training, they will be better equipped to help anyone who suffers such a medical emergency, and they could even save lives. Without trained first aiders, this Christmas could be a very tragic one indeed.

With this in mind, employers should make first aid training a top priority when planning this year’s Christmas party.