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8 First Aid Tips You'll Actually Use

The First Aid Skills that Really Count


Updated June 13, 2014

First aid tips -- especially when shared by paramedics -- focus on emergency situations and procedures. It's all about how to react when blood is spurting, parts are missing or breathing has stopped.

That's all good information, but the best first aid tips are the skills we do for mundane injuries. You know, the stuff most likely to happen at the company picnic or Junior's birthday party.

I'm in no way suggesting you should ignore all that advice on calling 911 or learning CPR. I'm just going to skip all that right now. Let's talk about the little things.

1. Stop a Bloody Nose

Bloody noses can happen without warning (and probably should be reported to your doctor), but the majority of bloody noses have help, usually in the form of digital trauma. I love saying digital trauma, but it simply means picking your nose. So if your nose starts bleeding and you didn't help it, tell the doctor. Otherwise, keep your fingers out of your nostrils. If you can't, here's how to stop a bloody nose.

2. Treat a Cut Finger

Let me just say there's nothing special about a cut finger. You could use this first aid tip on a sliced nose, a split earlobe or a torn toe just as easily as a pinky finger. I just want to point out (pun intended) that when you do have blood dripping on the floor of your house it's most likely coming from your digits. Thumbs, of course, are also included.

3. Treat a Sprain

Even if you're not sliding into second base or crawling on rocks, everybody at sometime, somewhere gets a twisted ankle. Come to think of it, you can sprain a wrist playing the Wii or taking out the garbage. Just to survive at your own apartment after moving out of Mom's house, you gotta know how to treat a sprain.

4. Remove a Splinter

Just to make it through kindergarten you had to know this first aid tip. It didn't matter if the playground equipment was made of that funky, wood-like composite stuff that comes from toxic waste dumps, you still got a splinter from the redwood tree growing next to the sandbox. Splinters are ubiquitous with growing up, so I figure you got this one covered. Just in case you grew up in a bubble, however, here's how to remove a splinter.

5. Stop Diarrhea

I'll bet even the most astute first aid instructor forgot to put this first aid tip in the class. If you plan to travel outside your zip code, you might want to know how to battle the inevitable gastric somersaults you're gonna feel. Not all rumbly tummies come from bad bugs, so you could benefit from knowing how to stop diarrhea.

6. Treat Nausea

It stands to reason that if it's coming out one end, it's coming out the other. There's not too much you can do for throwing up that isn't fixed by finding the cause of the nausea. However, every little bit helps. Besides, if first aid tip #5 above hasn't stopped you from going #2, there's really no place left to toss those cookies into. You really should know how to treat nausea.

7. Kill Head Lice

You bathe and you shampoo your hair. There's absolutely no chance you could get head lice, right? Wrong. Head lice love a clean head of hair -- it's where they live! Don't you like it when your house is all cleaned up? The good news is: it's not the end of the world. Head lice aren't particularly dangerous; they're just really nasty. You really need to know how to kill head lice.

8. Treat Bug Bites

Head lice aren't the only critters that bite. There are millions of little biting bugs out there. Lots of them are in your house right now. Besides cut fingers, the most used first aid tip of all will be how to treat bug bites.
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