Mothers are on the front line of first aid. From fractured skulls and dislocated elbows, scratched retina, a piece of swallowed glass, and loads of bumps, cuts, rashes, fevers, stings and splinters: you have to be prepared to handle them all! As parents, we all need to know what - and what not - to do for every kind of medical mishap our kids dump in our laps. That`s why it`s critical to keep your first-aid knowledge uptodate. Are you making any of the following mistakes?
FLUB 1: Cleaning a cut with hydrogen peroxide. Maybe your mother used it and her mother before her, but it`s time to update your wound cleaning methods. Hydrogen peroxide can damage skin and it actually interferes with healing. Instead, you should irrigate a cut with running water - which gets the dirt particles, germs and debris out. Soaking doesn`t work as well and scrubbing can damage the tissues. After cleaning the wound, apply an antibacterial cream and cover with a bandage.
See a doctor for:Any cut on the face (it`s more likely to leave a scar).Any cut that is deep, is bigger than one centimetre, or has jagged edges or is open (it will probably require stitches).
FLUB 2: Applying an ice cube to a bump. Ice can burn skin. A kid`s skin is not as thick as an adult`s and is even more susceptible to a burn from having an ice cube placed directly on it. Instead, wrap the ice in a towel and apply to the bump for ten to 15 minutes at a time over the course of a few hours. Don`t be surprised if the bump appears to be getting worse instead of better during that time. Bumps tend to pop up right away, a few hours later - due to the increased pressure and swelling - blood vessels rupture and re-bleed, causing the bump to get even larger. Bumps on the scalp and face are particularly scary looking because there are many blood vessels in the head.
See a doctor if:Your child is vomiting, is abnormally sleepy or has a fever after experiencing a bump on the head (any of these may signal a serious head injury).Your child loses consciousness after a head injury.You think something is not right. Trust your own instincts and be firm about having the child examined by a doctor.
FLUB 3: Cooling a burn with ice. A burn exposes the under-layers of skin; ice will only burn it more thus increasing tissue damage. The old wives` tale of salving a burn with butter just sets up the wound for infection.
The right way to treat a burn: Apply a cool compress (a clean, wet washcloth) or hold under cold running water immediately. Continue for at least a minute. Burning can continue for at least a minute. Burning can continue for seconds and even minutes after the initial contact. The water cools the burn down and prevents the heat from continuing to burn more layers of skin. Remove any clothing that may have been hit by hot grease, hot water, etc; it can continue to burn the skin.
After cooling, apply an anti-bacterial cream and cover with a clean bandage. Sulphur cream is effective for burn healing but should never be used on the face because it can cause scarring there. If the skin blisters from the burn, leave it alone. The blister is actually acting as a protective layer, shielding the burn from infection. Let blisters pop on their own.
See a doctor for:A large or blistering burn that covers more than one square inch anywhere on your child`s body.Any burn, no matter what size, on the hands, feet, face, or genitals.Any burn on an infant or child under the age of 2 years.
FLUB 4: Dosing with anti-diarrhoea medicine. The diarrhoea itself is probably not a problem. Anti-diarrhoea medicine for kids is not good because if the diarrhoea is being caused by bacteria, it indicates that it is the body`s way of getting rid of bacteria. If you stop the diarrhoea, the bacteria will remain in there and cause symptoms. Possible dehydration is the worry. So give your child plenty of fluids.
See a doctor for:Blood or mucus in the stools.Diarrhoea accompanied by a high fever or abdominal pain.Diarrhoea that lasts longer than 48 hours or seems to worsen.Any signs of dehydration (sunken eyes; dry mouth; listlessness; fatigue; lack of tears; pale, clammy skin; no urination in the previous eight hours).