First Aid Tips for Summer
As the summer heat increases, so does the risk of injury – especially to children. Kids are outside and participating in new activities more than usual in the summer, and parents must be ready for anything life throws at them.
Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere. That’s why Amber Schiebel, MSN, RN, CEN, the director of Cameron’s Emergency Department, Outpatient Clinic and Anticoagulation Clinic, recommends keeping a fully stocked first aid kit on hand to treat common injuries like cuts, scrapes and bruises.
What to Include in a First Aid Kit
Amber recommends purchasing a pre-packaged first aid kit from a local convenience store or assembling one yourself. Basic supplies include:
- Antiseptic towelettes
- Antibiotic ointment
- Adhesive bandages
- Medical tape
- Gauze (squares or rolls)
- Instant cold pack
- Nonlatex exam gloves
- Hand sanitizer
- Elastic wrap (ACE bandage)
- Tourniquet (if you are trained to use one safely)
Over–the–counter medications like Tylenol, Motrin, Tums and Benadryl
Once the kit is stocked, it should be kept in an easily accessible place in your home. Amber recommends choosing a cool, dry place like the kitchen. It can also be kept wherever there is potential for injury like vehicles, campers or boats. Be sure to keep it out of the reach of young children, especially if medications are inside.
First Aid 101
When minor injuries occur, it’s important to know how to respond quickly and treat wounds to prevent the injury from worsening or becoming infected. Below are the basic first aid tips Amber recommends all community members should know.
- You do not need special cleaning solutions, like hydrogen peroxide, to clean a wound. Instead, cleanse wounds with soap and water. Once clean, apply antibiotic ointment and an adhesive bandage or gauze. Keep wounds covered, clean and dry to prevent infection.
- Do not apply bandages too tightly. This can cut off circulation. If you see swelling or skin discoloration around the bandage, remove it.
- Ice packs should never be placed directly on the skin. This can lead to frostbite. Place a barrier, such as a towel, between the ice pack and the skin.
- Know when to seek professional care. While first aid kits are extremely useful, they may not be enough in the event of an emergency. Seek a doctor’s care for cuts that are long and deep, animal bites or if a bone may be broken. Call 911 immediately if you or someone else experiences a severe reaction to a bee sting, like difficulty breathing, hives and/or swelling.
- Stop the bleed. Apply immediate and direct pressure to wounds that are bleeding freely, and seek professional care if bleeding is excessive. If you’re interested in learning how to properly use a tourniquet and recognize life-threatening bleeding, Amber recommends checking out Cameron’s Stop the Bleed training, offered at no cost to community members. Contact Amber at to sign up.