A majority of animal bites in cities are caused by pets such as cats or dogs. Though cat bites are more likely to cause infection, dog bites are more likely to happen than cat bites. In rural areas, people are more likely to get bitten by a mongoose, snakes and other wild animals prevalent in the vicinity. In case of animal bites, the following first aid tips should be followed:
- For minor wounds: Wash the injury thoroughly with water and soap. Apply an antibiotic cream to avert any infection and cover the wound with a clean bandage.
- For deep wounds: If the animal causes a deep perforation of the skin that causes blood loss, apply pressure with a clean dry cloth to stop the bleeding. Visit a doctor immediately.
- If symptoms of infection such as redness, swelling, increased pain or irritation is noticed, visit a doctor without delay.
- If you suspect that you may have contracted rabies, see your doctor right away.
The first aid for burns depends on the degree or extent of the burn. The treatment for minor burns is quite different from that of major burns. For minor burns, as well as second-degree burns that is limited to an area of between 2 to 3 inches in diameter, follow these steps:
- Cool the burn. This is done by holding the burn under cold running water for around 5 minutes or until the pain dips. You may also immerse the burned area in cold water or cool it with cold compresses. The process of cooling the burn lessens swelling by conducting heat away from the skin. Never put ice on the burn.
- Cover the burned area with a sterile gauze bandage: Don’t use fluffy cotton, as it may irritate the skin. Wrap the gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on the wound. Bandaging the burned skin keeps air away from the injury. This protects blistered skin and helps reduce pain.
- Take a painkiller. These are available over the counter at all chemists shop. Never give Aspirin to children or teenagers.
- Don’t break or prick blisters. Broken blisters are exposed to infection.
For major burns, ring for emergency medical assistance. Until an emergency unit arrives, follow these steps:
- Don’t remove burnt clothing. However, do ensure that the victim is no longer in contact with burning materials or exposed to smoke or heat.
- Don’t immerse victims with critical large burns in cold water. Doing so may cause shock.
- Check for signs that the person is alive such as a heartbeat, breathing, coughing or movement. If such signs do not exist, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR.
- Cover the area of the burn with a moist, cool, moist, sterilized bandage. You may also use a clean, moist cloth or moist towels.
In case of poisoning, call for a doctor without delay. While waiting for medical aid to arrive, one should follow the steps mentioned below:
- If the victim has been exposed to poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide, get them into an area with fresh air immediately.
- If a person has spilled poison on their clothing, skin or eyes, remove the clothing. Splash the skin or eyes or skin with cool or lukewarm water to remove traces of the poisonous substances.
- If a person has ingested a poisonous substance, induce vomiting to clear the stomach of the poison. Visit a doctor immediately.