Friday, January 18, 2013

Cadette First Aid Badge

1. Understand how to care for younger children:

Talk to child care professionals.
The nurse at Girl Scout camp told me that the most common injuries for little girls at camp are bug spray or sunscreen in the eyes, and cuts and scrapes. She said that she helps the little girls by wiping their eyes, having them wash their hands, and reminding them to wash their hands after applying bug spray and sunscreen. The nurse treats cuts and scrapes by washing the area, putting on a little Neosporin if necessary, and applying a band-aid.

A counselor a Girl Scout camp said that some girls had tummy aches and also bumps and scrapes. She said that sometimes the stomach ache was because the girls needed something to drink and/or eat. The bumps and scrapes were easily treated by cleaning off the area and putting on a band-aid.

My cousin works in a day care center and she said that the most common injuries are bumps and scrapes. This usually happens when the kids aren't paying attention and they bump into something or someone. The day care workers treat these injuries with band-aids and a lot of hugs!

2. Know how to use everything in a first aid kit.

Talk to a medical professional.
I had training with a health educator who went through my first aid kit with me, helped me identify each part, and what it is used for. We also made a list of items that were missing from the first aid kit which I need to replace.

3. Find out how to prevent serious outdoor injuries:

Ask a wilderness expert.
We talked with the rangers at the wildlife refuge and they told us that some of the serious injuries encountered on the trail and in wilderness settings include multiple bee stings, sprained or broken bones, and choking.

Sometimes hikers step on an underground bee nest and disturb the bees, resulting in multiple bee stings. This can be very serious, especially for people who are allergic to bee stings. They should carry a snake bite kit that you can also use for bee stings. It takes out the stinger and you feel better very quickly. The kit can be purchased at places like Wal-Mart for about $10. People with severe allergies should call 911 for medical emergency help and be as specific as possible in describing their location. If no cell service is available, a hiking partner can go for help.

Hikers also experience sprains or broken bones in the wilderness. Splints can be made to temporarily help the person, although it is very difficult to hike off of the trail for help. They should be very careful when moving, and if they are not able to move, 911 should be called if possible, or a hiking partner can go for help
Choking is a serious situation in wilderness arenas, just as it is when not on the trail. Be careful when eating, and if someone is choking and needs help, hiking partners trained in the Heimlich Maneuver should assist.

4. Know the signs of shock and how to treat it
Shock is when the circulatory system fails to bring enough blood to vital organs and body tissues. The brain, heart, and other organs cannot function without this blood supply. This activates responses that are signs of shock, which is the body's attempt to maintain good blood flow.

The signs of shock are pale or bluish skin which may be cool or moist, blue fingernails, weak or rapid pulse and breathing, dilated pupils, confusion, restlessness or irritability, nausea or vomiting, excessive thirst, or unresponsiveness. To treat shock you must call 911 or the local emergency number because shock cannot be treated by first aid alone. Cover him/her with a survival blanket to prevent loss of body heat. Keep the victim laying down. Do not give them anything to eat or drink. Monitor breathing.

5. Learn to prevent and treat injuries due to weather:

Ask a park ranger, lifeguard, or ski patrol member.
We asked the park rangers about the warning signs and symptoms of weather-related injuries, how to care for minor cases, and how to know when to get help. They told us about heatstroke, which is when the body cannot regulate temperature and gets dangerously overheated. People get too hot (core body temperature 105F and above) and dehydrated, and the skin is cold and clammy to the touch (heat exhaustion), which progresses to heat stroke. People sometimes mistakenly think that because the skin feels cool and clammy that it is not a bad symptom. Also, people with severe heat-related illness look red-skinned, may be dizzy, weak, and may have nausea and vomiting. This leads to hyperthermia, which is also life-threatening. People may become confused or disoriented, and this condition may lead to brain damage or death.

You can help the person with heat-related illnesses like these by helping them to get cool. Move the person to a shady spot, take off clothing layers, wet the skin, fan the person, apply cold packs to armpits, neck, groin, and back, immerse the person in cool water if available. Do not give them lots to drink as they may vomit. For severe cases, dial 911 and send for emergency medical services.

Hypothermia is the opposite of hyperthermia. Hypothermia is when the person's core body temperature drops to dangerous levels and the person cannot get warm. The blood moves to the brain and the body's core in an attempt to preserve functioning of vital organs, and this leaves extremities like hands, fingers, feet, and ears feeling very cold. Frostbite can occur during this time also. Wet clothing combined with cool outside temperatures and wind help to lower a person's core body temperature very quickly. The rangers said that this is also experienced a lot on the trail. Wet clothing must be taken off and replaced with dry. Wrapping the person with blankets or sleeping bags can help to warm them. Body heat from another person helps to warm the person with hypothermia, as does warm liquids such as hot cocoa and soup, and high energy foods. Frostbite may be treated the same way, and with warm packs and by putting the affected areas in warm water if possible.

The rangers said that emergencies occur when people go outdoors without being fully prepared. They suggested always hiking with at least one other person, carrying a first aid kit, dressing for the weather, carrying gear appropriate for weather changes, and of course plenty of water and food.

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