We all have, or should have, one at home. We are talking about the first aid kit, that first aid kit that we use when there is a domestic accident. Minor wounds, bruises, bleeding, or burns They can be disinfected and relieved with soap, gauze, antiseptic, plasters … If we have the first aid kit that well equipped, of course. Here, an orientation.
What is a medicine cabinet?
It can be useful any sturdy metal or plastic box that is hermetically closed, preferably with a toggle closure than with a key, so that it can be easily opened in an emergency.
Where to keep it?
“Ideally, in a place that is neither too humid nor too dry, and away from a direct source of heat. So, the kitchen or the bathroom are not the most recommended places», Warns Juan Jesús Hernández, spokesman for the Red Cross Health area. “It should also be out of the reach of very young children, to prevent them from being damaged by objects inside it, such as scissors. From the age of 7 or 8, both they and the rest of the occupants of the house should know where to find it and how to use it ».
The medicine cabinet, in addition, must be transportable, to take it wherever it is needed, and it is necessary to periodically replace worn and / or expired products.
What should it contain?
From the Red Cross they suggest: soap to wash the hands and to wash the lesion before proceeding to cure it; nail brush, single-use gloves; gauze, in single-dose envelopes of 4 or 5 units to clean wounds and contain bleeding (never with cotton, because fibers may remain inside the affected area and infect it); sticking plaster; antiseptic colorless (chlorhexidine type) or colored (povidone-iodine type); Band-Aids fabric triangles, for immobilizations and improvised bandages; peroxide, to stop bleeding from the skin and mouth, not as a disinfectant; bandages; thermometer; moisturizing cream for burns; gauze with petroleum jelly; synthetic ice bag, to reduce inflammation; pair of scissors with rounded tip; tweezers fine tip, to remove foreign bodies trapped in the wound; thermal insulation blanket gold or silver color; flashlight; Y pad of paper and pencil or pen, to write down the directions given to us by the medical staff over the phone or important details. It is also a good idea to have a useful phone list, such as emergencies (112), that of close relatives, that of the health center or that of the Toxicology Information Service, among others.
What should it not contain?
“Medicines. If any member of the family has prescribed medication, it should be kept in a separate medicine cabinet.», Warns Hernández. “The reason is that, although an analgesic (paracetamol, ibuprofen …) can relieve mild pain, if the first-aid kit is used to care for a person outside the home who has an unknown allergy to a drug, we can cause a bigger problem. For example, traditionally an antihistamine ointment for stings was included in the medicine cabinet, but some people had allergic reactions.
When to go to the ER?
It will depend on the severity and evolution of the injury. Hernández highlights: «the essential thing is use common sense. If the bleeding does not stop, the wound is very deep, the burn has a large affected area or after a first cure there are signs of infection (inflammation, suppuration …), it will be necessary to go. Y, whenever there is a loss of consciousness, even slight, it is essential that there is a medical evaluation, to rule out possible heart problems, a subdural hematoma or intracranial hemorrhage, among others ».
Prevent risks and educate minors in first aid
Within the home, the fundamental thing to avoid domestic accidents is prevention. How? For example, do not leave sharp utensils (knives, scissors …) within the reach of children, keep the floor free of obstacles or avoid slippery surfaces, among other basic issues.
It is also important that minors know how to act in an emergency. «We use PAS behavior to instruct in first aid. The acronym responds to the terms Protect, Alert and Help. Protecting consists of eliminating elements that may be dangerous. For example, if a glass breaks, the first thing to do is clean the glasses so as not to cut yourself. Alert is calling for help. A minor between 6 or 7 years old must be trained and instructed to call 112, so that help arrives as soon as possible and that emergency personnel can advise them on how to proceed with the injured person. Helping is practicing first aid, which will depend on the age of the minor to be able to do it or not, ”explains Juan Jesús Hernández.