Stopping Nosebleeds

Posted by Trish | Posted in First Aid, Meeting Activities | Posted on 11-06-2010

Stopping Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds can occur randomly or as a result of an injury.  Young children are often affected following activity, colds, or exposure to high altitudes.  Nosebleeds are more of an annoyance than a serious injury, most of the time.  Nosebleeds happen more during the colder winter months when upper respiratory infections are more frequent, and the temperature and humidity fluctuate more dramatically.  Though, if there’s profuse or prolonged bleeding, they can be dangerous and a doctor needs to be consulted.  Leaders, camp counselors, and parents should always be aware if they’re supervising a child with a history of being prone to getting nosebleeds.  Don’t be afraid to ask parents about their child’s medical history before going camping or taking trips away from your usual meeting place.

The most common cause of nosebleeds is drying of the nasal membranes and this can be prevented with proper lubrication of the nasal passages and not picking nose.  nosebleeds

Stopping a Nosebleed

  • Have the affected person remain quiet and lean forward slightly with the head tilted forward. Leaning back or tilting the head back allows the blood to run back into your sinuses and throat and can cause gagging or inhaling the blood.
  • Pinch the nostrils together with slight pressure.  If there’s a good amount of blood, you may want to pack the nostrils lightly and then pinch.  Hold for at least 5 minutes.
  • Sometimes a cold wet towel, applied to the face, can help to stop the bleeding.

For more, consult the American Red Cross.

Basic Wound Care

Posted by Trish | Posted in First Aid, Meeting Activities | Posted on 04-06-2010

Basic Wound Care

It is important to be able to identify a wound and care for it.  Accidents are common, especially when participating in outdoor activities.  While all serious injuries should be checked out by a doctor or other health care professional, leaders and camp counselors should know basic wound care to attend to an injury between the accident site and a trip to a medic.  Wounds are subject to infection and bleeding, so attention is required.  A wound is defined as a break in the skin or mucous membrane.  It is caused by force and usually extends into the underlying tissue.  Wounds may be classified into four types:

  1. Abrasions, made by rubbing or scraping.  Floor burns or scuff burns, although called burns, are actually wounds.
  2. Incised wounds, sharp cuts that tend to bleed freely.
  3. Lacerated wounds, jagged or irregular wounds, often associated with much tissue damage.
  4. Puncture wounds.  A tack, run through the skin, makes a typical, small puncture wound.

Caring for wounds in which bleeding is not severe is easily done.  All adults working with children should know the basic steps.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with clean water and soap.
  • Cleanse the injury thoroughly, using plain soap and boiled water cooled to room temperature or clean running tap water and soap.
  • Apply the soap and water with a sterile dressing.
  • Apply a dry sterile or clean dressing, and bandage it snugly into place.
  • See a doctor promptly if evidence of infection appears.

For wounds in which bleeding is server, the objective is to stop the bleeding at once.  Always stop the bleeding with pressure directly over the wound with a cloth, if possible.  Loss of over a quart of blood may be serious, especially in young children, the aged, and debilitated.

  • Direct pressure. Use a clean cloth or a part of the clothing in real emergencies.  Apply direct pressure directly over the wound.  After the bleeding has been controlled, apply additional layers of cloth to form a sufficient covering, then bandage snugly or firmly.
  • Pressure to the supplying vessel. Use the heel of your hand to press the supplying vessel against the underlying bone.  Such pressure causes the bleeding to diminish, but doesn’t stop it entirely.

Here are some other tips when dealing with all kinds of wounds:

  • If an extremity is involved, elevate it, using pillows or substitutes.
  • If there is a delay getting professional medical care, make sure to give the injured person plenty of water if they’re thirsty.  You want to make sure they’re properly hydrated.  Do not give alcoholic drinks, or give water if there is a penetrating wound of the abdomen or lower chest.

For more, consult the American Red Cross.

Caring for Hypothermia

Posted by Trish | Posted in First Aid, Meeting Activities | Posted on 28-05-2010

Caring for Hypothermia

Sometimes, despite your best efforts to prevent hypothermia, symptoms can present themselves anyway, especially in small children.    Remember that hypothermia is a big deal – it’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention by a medical professional.  Once you’ve identified hypothermia symptoms, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number and follow these steps immediately.

  • Get out of the water and get to a warm place.
  • Remove wet clothing.
  • Gradually rewarm your body by wrapping yourself in blankets or putting on dry clothes.
  • Cover your head to prevent further heat loss.
    • Be careful not to rewarm yourself too quickly.  Rapid rewarming can cause dangerous heart rhythms.
  • Drink warm nonalcoholic and decaffeinated liquids.
  • If you’re caring for someone else and they are unconscious, monitor their breathing and pulse.  Be prepared to give rescue breathing or CPR.

For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.

Being Prepared for an Aquatic Emergency

Posted by Trish | Posted in First Aid, Meeting Activities | Posted on 30-04-2010

Being Prepared for an Aquatic Emergency

It;s important to be prepared for an aquatic emergency.  Being prepared means being ready before it happens.  To be prepared for an emergency, you must first understand the aquatic environment and review general water safety guidelines.  Always:

  • Be aware of the conditions and potential hazards of the water environment, whether it’s a pool, lake, river, ocean, or other body of water.  Know its unique conditions, as well as hazards common in your geographical area, such as storms, currents, and underwater obstructions.
  • Understand the various recreational activities that are common in your area and their hazards.  Consider the age and ability of participants in those activities.
  • Learn what kind of accidents and injuries have occurred in your water environment.  This knowledge will help you prevent further injuries and prepare for similar aquatic emergencies.

You also need to have the right equipment on hand in case of a water emergency.

  1. Appropriate rescue equipment for a water emergency, such as a ring buoy, throw bag, heaving line, or reaching pole.
  2. Appropriate life jackets for every person that is in, on, or around the water.
  3. A first aid kit.
  4. A means of communication (such as a phone, cellular phone, or two-way radio).
  5. An emergency signaling device, such as an air horn, whistle, strobe light, signal mirror, flare, or chemical light stick.
  6. Extra clothing, blankets, and rain gear.

For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.

Developing an Emergency Action Plan

Posted by Trish | Posted in Camping, First Aid, Meeting Activities | Posted on 23-04-2010

Developing an Emergency Action Plan

Whenever going into the great outdoors with a troop, it’s important to develop an Emergency Action Plan, or EAP.  An effective EAP must be simple, easy to remember, and in writing.  Y0u should make an EAP clear for all girls, volunteers, and event staff to understand.  A EAP should include these general features:

  • How the person who recognizes the emergency is to signal others.
  • The steps each person should take in an emergency.
  • The location of rescue and safety equipment.
  • Actions to minimize the emergency and safely rescue any victims.
  • How to call for medical assistance when needed.
  • Follow up procedures for after the emergency.

All adults should be briefed in detail what to do in case of an emergency with the troop.  Depending on the age of the girls, you can brief them at the same time if they’re older and can understand the details, or you may choose to brief younger girls separately using language they can more easily understand.

When you put your EAP into writing, consider including any of the applicable following sections:

  • Layout of facility/environment.
    • EMS personnel access and entry/exit routes.
    • Location of rescue and first aid equipment.
    • Location of telephones, with emergency telephone numbers posted.
    • Location of keys for buildings or rooms with telephones or emergency equipment.
    • Exits and evacuation routes.
  • Equipment available.
    • Rescue equipment.
    • First aid supplies.
    • Emergency equipment, such as flashlights or fire extinguishers.
  • Support personnel available.
    • Internal.
      • Staff members.
      • Troop leaders.
      • Volunteers.
      • Clerical personnel.
      • Maintenance personnel.
    • External.
      • EMS personnel.
      • Police officers.
      • Fire fighters.
      • Hazardous materials (HazMat) team.
      • Poison control center.
      • Hospitals.
      • Power and gas companies.
      • Health department.
      • Search and rescue team.
  • Staff responsibilities.
    • Assign each adult a duty:
      • Provide care.
      • Control bystanders and troop.
      • Meet EMS personnel.
      • Interview witnesses.
  • Communications.
    • How and when to call 9-1-1 (or other local emergency number), and who will make the call.
    • Chain of command.
    • Personal to contact family/parents.
    • Person to deal with media.
  • Follow up.
    • This includes items such as EAP documentation and evaluation.

Clearly, some of these sections do not need to be included for a day trip to a public, controlled area (such as a pool or water park).  They should all be included when taking an extended trip or a trip to a more remote area, like a day hike or weekend long camping trip.

For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.