The fireworks are all blown off (well, most of them). The hot dogs are eaten. And Fluffy the Pomeranian is still hiding in the basement, seeking refuge in the bathroom closet until she can be sure no more untimely explosives will go off.
If you suffered some minor injuries over the Fourth of July, you aren’t alone. Around 1400 hand injuries, 900 leg injuries and 1000 head injuries occur. And around 200 people visit the emergency room per day due to fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.
Even though the holiday is over, we still find it important to review some basic first aid tips and procedures. (Or perhaps you’ll find them useful for tending to your injuries sustained on the Fourth.) And if nothing else, you’ll be better prepared for the remainder of the summer.
- Cool the burnt area under cold water for 20 minutes (do not use ice on burns as it may decrease blood flow and worsen burn)
- Remove clothing or other objects from area unless sticking
- Place sterile non-adherent dressing over the burn
- Elevate area to reduce swelling
Always seek medical attention if there is any question of the severity of the burn.
- Get person into a shady or air-conditioned location
- Lay the person down and elevate legs slightly
- Loosen clothing
- Have them drink cool water (avoid caffeine and alcohol)
- Cool them down with a damp sponge and fanning
- Monitor them carefully
Heat exhaustion can lead to heat strokes. Call 911 if the person’s condition worsens.
The Red Cross recommends the “five-and-five” approach:
- Give five back blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand
- Give five abdominal thrusts (the Heimlich maneuver):
- Stand behind the person and wrap arms around the waist, tipping person forward slightly
- Make a fist with one hand and put it just above their belly button
- Grasp fist with other hand and press hard into abdomen with a quick thrust upward (as if lifting them up)
- Alternate between five blows and five thrusts until blockage is dislodged
If you’re a tech savvy person, check out the myriad of first aid apps available—it can be comforting to have a guide handy to reference. Here are a few of our favorites:
First Aid by American Red Cross: Covering everything from safety tips for volcanoes to meningitis to standard first aid for cuts and burns, you don’t even need Wi-Fi to access this app’s plethora of information.
Army First Aid: Including all basic first aid info as well as instructions for transporting injured people, this app is great if you’re away from home.
Drops First Aid: Divided into three categories—summaries, videos and full instructions—this app will give you the proper amount of information needed to respond to any given situation.
Of course there are many other potential medical problems not covered in this brief rundown, but hopefully you feel a bit more prepared for whatever the day might bring. (Although we certainly hope your days will go on without interruption). Now, rest up, drink lots of water and continue recovering from this long, glorious weekend of splendid American pride.