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First Aid Instruction

Insect Bites

Most reactions to insect bites are mild, causing little more than an annoying itching or stinging sensation and mild swelling that disappear within a day or so. A delayed reaction may cause fever, hives, painful joints and swollen glands. Only a small percentage of people develop severe reactions (anaphylaxis) to insect venom.

For mild reactions

Move to a safe area to avoid more stings.

Scrape or brush off the stinger with a straight-edged object, such as a credit card or the back of a knife. Wash the affected area with soap and water. Don't try to pull out the stinger. Doing so may release more venom.

Apply a cold pack or cloth filled with ice to reduce pain and swelling.

Apply hydrocortisone cream (0.5 percent or 1 percent), calamine lotion or a baking soda paste - with a ratio of 3 teaspoons baking soda to 1 teaspoon water - to the bite or sting several times a day until your symptoms subside.

Take an antihistamine containing diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine maleate. Be sure to read the product directions. Consult with your doctor before taking any medications.

For severe reactions

Severe reactions may progress rapidl. Dial 911 to call for emergency medical assistance.






First Aid Kits

A well-stocked first aid kit is a handy thing to have. Some kits are designed for specific activities, such as kiting, camping or boating. Whether you buy a first aid kit or put one together yourself, make sure it has all the items you may need. Include any personal items such as medications and emergency phone numbers or othe items your health-care provider may suggest.

A First Aid Kit Should Include:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings
    (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape
    (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin
  • 2 packets of antihistamine
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier
    (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers



Inhaled Poison . . . . . . . . . . Get person to fresh air. Avoid breathing fumes. Open doors and windows. If victim is not breathing, start artificial respiration.
Poison in the skin . . . . . . . Remove contaminated clothing and flood skin with water for 10 minutes. Wash gently with soap and water and rinse.
poison in the eye . . . . . . . . Flood eyes with lukewarm water poured from large glass held 2 to 3 inches from the eye. Repeat for 15 miinutes. Urge patient to blink while flooding the eye.
Swallowed Poison . . . . .

MEDICINE - do not give anything by mouth before calling Poison Control.

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS - give water immediately unless patient is unconscious, having convulsions or cannot swallow - then call Poison Control for more advice.

FOR EMERGENCY INFORMATION CALL 800 222-1222, TTY 800 972-3323, the Poison Control Center of UC Davis Medical Center.


In Need of First Aid?

First aid is the help and medical assistance that someone gives to an injured or sick person. Preparedness is a key element of first aid, like having basic medical emergency kits in your home, car, boat, or RV. It is also advised to be prepared for illness while traveling locally or to a foreign country. Burns, cuts, insect bites, puncture wounds, sprains, and sunburn are types of injuries that may require basic first aid; heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and heat stroke are examples of more critical first aid emergencies.

Regardless of your level of skill or degree of first aid training, if you find yourself in a true medical emergency, always call 911 for emergency medical assistance immediately.


For minor burns, including first-degree burns and second-degree burns limited to an area no larger than 3 inches in diameter, take the following action:

Cool the burn. Hold the burned area under cold running water for at least five minutes, or until the pain subsides. If this is impractical, immerse the burn in cold water or cool it with cold compresses. Cooling the burn reduces swelling by conducting heat away from the skin. Don't put ice on the burn.

Cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage. Don't use fluffy cotton, which may irritate the skin. Wrap the gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin. Bandaging keeps air off the burned skin, reduces pain and protects the blistered skin.

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen. Never give aspirin to children or teenagers. Be sure to read the product directions. Consult with your doctor before taking any medications.

For major burns, (burns more serious than minor burns described above), dial 911 to call for emergency medical assistance.

Child in Sling

Cuts and Punctures

Minor cuts and scrapes usually don't require a trip to the emergency room. Yet proper care is essential to avoid infection or other complications. These guidelines can help you care for simple wounds:

Stop the bleeding. Minor cuts and scrapes usally stop bleeding on their own. If they don't, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage. Hold the pressure continuously for 20 to 30 minutes. Don't keep checking to see if the bleeding has stopped because this may damage or dislodge the fresh clot that's forming and cause bleeding to resume. If the blood continues to flow after continuous pressure, seek medical assistance.

Clean the wound. Rinse out the wound with clear water. Soap can irritate the wound, so try to keep it out of the actual wound. Thorough wound cleaning reduces the risk of infection and tetanus.

Apply an antibiotic. After you clean the wound, apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment to help keep surface moist.

Cover the wound. Bandages can help keep the wound clean and keep harmful bacteria out. After the wound has healed enough to make infection unlikely, exposure to the air will speed wound healing.

Change the dressing. Change the dressing at least daily or whenever it becomes wet or dirty.

Get stitches for deep wounds. A wound that is more than 1/4 inch deep or is gaping or jagged edged and has fat or muscle protruding usually requires stitches. See your doctor as soon as possible. Proper closure within a few hours reduces the risk of infection.

Watch for signs of infection. See your doctor if the wound isn't healing or you notice any redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth or swelling.

Get a tetanus shot. Doctors recommend you get a tetanus shot every 10 years. If your wound is deep or dirty and your last shot was more than five years ago, your doctor may recommend a tetanus shot booster. Get the booster within 48-hours of the injury.

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