Occasionally you may be in charge of helping a child with a grazed knee or a bloody nose. Most of these minor injuries can easily be treated at home. A basic First Aid kit is usually all you need to treat basic abrasions and small cuts. Typically, blood will clot and stop the flow of blood after 5-10 minutes.
It’s important to have a home First Aid kit handy.
Before starting a job with a new family, be sure to ask where the first aid supplies are located, just in case!
When would a doctor be needed?
Seek medical attention if:
The abrasion is deep and doesn’t stop bleeding, even after you apply firm pressure
Deep tissue or bone is exposed
There is a lot of dirt, gravel or pieces of wood, metal or glass in the abrasion
The abrasion is large, with rough or jagged edges
The child may not be up to date on tetanus immunizations
Treating cuts and abrasions
It’s important to clean any abrasion immediately with running water to remove any dirt.
Clean the surrounding skin with clean gauze or a hand towel soaked in warm water (cotton wool can leave fibres in the wound, so it’s better not to use it).
Always wipe away from the wound, rather than wiping towards it – this way, you’ll avoid getting any more dirt in the wound.
Use an antiseptic ointment or solution to disinfect the wound. Some products sting, but it is important to avoid infection.
Cover the wound with a sterile, non-stick dressing or bandage.
If the wound is bleeding, apply firm pressure for 10 minutes. If the wound continues to bleed after you apply firm pressure, contact your local doctor or attend the emergency department at your nearest hospital.
Once cleaned and dressed, you may apply an ice pack to the area to reduce pain and swelling.
It is important to keep an eye on wounds for signs of infection each time you clean and dress it. Look for redness, pain, swelling or warmth. See a doctor if you notice these symptoms.
Watch this great video on shock and managing bleeding
If there is a very severe injury to an arm or leg, particularly if an artery has been cut, a person can quickly bleed to death. In this extreme situation, you may consider applying a tourniquet to a patient, but only in a life or limb situation. Remember, a tourniquet can only be applied to the extremities of the body (arms or legs) and will likely permanently damage the limb by preventing blood flow. A tourniquet in made by applying a band or twisted fabric to an arm or leg and tying it tight enough that all blood flow is prevented, keeping vital blood supply in the central part of the body.
Only consider the use of a tourniquet if you have already tried the following:
Elevating the wound above the heart
Applying pressure to the wound
Seeking professional medical attention
Blood noses are a very common occurrence in children. While they usually aren’t painful, they can be distressing for both child and adult due to the following:
Amount of blood
Length of time before bleeding stops
Nausea or vomiting from swallowed blood
Most blood noses are caused by a child picking their nose or bumping the nose. Occasionally, weather changes can cause bloody noses in some children.
Treating a nosebleed
The most effective treatment for a nosebleed is to tilt the head forward and apply firm pressure with your finger and thumb at the bridge of the nose. It can take as long as 15 minutes for the bleeding to stop.
Do not blow or pick the nose in order to avoid another nosebleed.
If you still can’t control the bleeding after 15 minutes, see your doctor or go to a hospital emergency department. A doctor will be able to diagnose any bleeding disorders or infections that may be causing the bleeding.
It is important to avoid contact with blood when possible, especially if you also have an open wound on your own body. Infections can be passed from one person to another through contact with blood.
If the blood is already dried, it is usually safe. Most viruses and germs carried in the blood will die shortly after contact with air.
If your skin is intact and you come in contact with blood, don’t panic. Blood-borne viruses won’t soak through your skin. However, do your best to avoid direct contact with another person’s blood.
Keeping yourself safe
Try to take the following precautions when handling blood or other body fluids:
Wear plastic gloves or use a plastic bag to create a barrier shield
Clean up spilt blood or other fluids and disinfect the area as soon as possible
If you are ever worried about contact with blood, talk to your doctor about appropriate testing that can be done to detect infection.
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