Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Teacher Help! First Aid to Help You Deal with Some Minor Injuries in School

Do you remember when a student of yours burned himself during Science laboratory class? Or how about the time when a preschool pupil of yours ran to you crying during play time because he scraped his knee? How about when two of your students figured in fisticuffs that left both of them bruised and bleeding? Weren’t those moments when you wished you were a nurse instead of a panicking teacher? Those times need not call for desperate measures.

First aid is your best friend during these emergencies. Your preschool, elementary, or high school students are at their most physically active and emotionally volatile stages in their lives—a lethal combination which may result to not-so-serious physical injuries to life-threatening ones. And since they spend most of their waking hours at school, it does help that their second parents, you, know what to do when they call for help.

But before giving you some specific basic knowledge of first aid for some minor injuries, it would be wise to keep in mind the following general tips first:

1. All injuries should be treated regardless of how small they appear. Even the smallest of wounds attract the growth of bacterial infection which may eventually become worse.
2. First aid is not the treatment itself. Make sure that you get medical assistance as soon as possible.
3. Make sure that your school has a complete first aid kit set. If it already does, know where to find it in case of emergency.
4. Know by heart the numbers to call during emergencies.
5. Keep calm. Your knowledge of first aid and the emergency numbers in your head will only be useful if you are thinking straight.

Bruises and Black Eyes
Have you ever used the phrase “black and blue” to describe students who’ve figured in nasty brawls? It is in fact a very graphic and literal description. Bruises are usually swollen, discolored (starts pink, turns bluish, then greenish-yellow, to normal), and painful to the touch. Black eyes are dark bruises around the eyes.

To treat a bruise, apply cloth-covered ice or a cold compact on it to ease the pain and reduce the swelling. Do this for 15 minutes every hour for two to three days. Exerting a gentle pressure, do the same for black eyes. Do not press the cold pack on the eyes themselves. Check the eyes for blood. Seek medical treatment immediately.

Nose Bleeds
Nose bleeds may be caused by a blow to the nose during fights or minor irritations that cause incessant nose-picking.

To abate nose bleed, let the student sit still. Using your thumb and finger, press the soft portion of the nose just above the nostrils for 5 to 10 minutes. Lean the student forward and instruct him to breathe through his mouth. The bleeding may be stopped or controlled this way until you get medical assistance. In the case of a broken nose, the least you can do is control the bleeding until the doctor attends to it.

Cuts, Scrapes, and Puncture Wounds

These injuries may happen during monitored class activities like laboratory experiments or during play time when the students are most often left to themselves. For minor cuts and scrapes, wash the wound with mild soap and water. To stop the bleeding, apply pressure using a sterile bandage or a clean cloth. When the bleeding stops, apply antibacterial ointment and cover the wound with bandage if it is likely to get dirty. If the bleeding does not stop in 20 minutes, elevate the injured body part and wait for medical assistance.

For a minor puncture wound, flush it with running water and then wash with soap. Check for objects that are lodged in the wound but do not attempt to remove them. If you don’t see any, check the object that caused the wound for any missing part. Removing foreign objects from the wound should be left to the medical personnel.

Burns may be caused by accidents in the handling of equipment or chemicals in the laboratory or hot food and surfaces in the cafeteria. First aid for burns differs depending on the gravity of the injury. For first degree burns, you can flush it with cold running water for 15 minutes and cover it loosely with moist dressing and bandage. For second and third degree burns, cover the wound with dry dressing and loose bandage and call for immediate medical assistance. Do not wash second and third degree burns with water because this adds to the risk of shock.

Choking is likely to happen to preschool students who tend to put objects in their mouths or to older kids during meals. A person may choke when a foreign object becomes lodged in his throat, preventing him to swallow and breathe. He grabs his throat, panics, gasps for breath, turns blue, or becomes unconscious. He cannot cough or speak. The first aid for choking is called the Heimlich maneuver. This technique creates an artificial cough that removes the object that blocks the victim’s throat.

The Heimlich maneuver varies depending on the age of the victim. If the victim is a young child, you should stand behind him, your arms around his waist. Place one of your hands, forming a fist with your thumb in, between the ribs and the waistline. Grab your fist with your other hand. Make sure your arms are placed just below the child’s rib cage, not on it. Do four quick inward and upward thrusts, repeating until the victim coughs the object out. For an older student, you can do the same technique if he is seated or standing. If the victim is lying down or unconscious, straddle him, place the heel of your hand just above his waistline, and then your other hand on top. Do four quick upward thrusts, repeating until the victim coughs the object out. Make sure to keep your elbows straight while doing this.

This is an injury to a joint which occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn because of twisting. A sprain is painful and swollen. Immediately apply ice on the sprain to relieve the pain, doing this regularly for the next 48 hours. Elevate the swelling as well. The injury should be examined by a medical practitioner.

Bug Bites/Stings
Bites from mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and most spiders are likely to just cause itching. The more serious bites from fire ants and stings of bees, wasps, and hornets cause allergic reactions that may be fatal. If the stinger is visible, remove it by scraping across the stinger using a straight-edged object. Do not use tweezers which may squeeze the stinger and release more venom. Wash the injury with soap and water and apply ice wrapped in cloth on it. Applying antihistamine cream may help reduce itching. Make sure to seek medical attention.

Basic First Aid Tips. (accessed 28 February 2006)
MayoClinic.Com. (accessed 28 February 2006)
Medline Plus. (accessed 28 February 2006)
Medline Plus. (accessed 28 February 2006)
Survival Center. (accessed 28 February 2006)
The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. (accessed 28 February 2006)

No comments: