3 ways to stay safe this summer
Last month we looked at having fun in the sun and we offered some first aid tips if you (or someone you know) has had too much sun and when to seek medical help. You can read that here: https://www.firstresponsefirstaid.co.uk/news/222-fun-in-the-sun/
This month, as the schools break up for the summer, at First Response First Aid we are focusing on staying safe at home and we’ll look at 3 areas: -
- Barbecue (BBQ) safety
- Insect bites and stings
- Paddling pools and water safety
Barbecue (BBQ) safety
According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), hundreds of accidents that occur in the garden each year are around barbecues; either burns or cuts. Check out our tips here for our 5 top first aid tips for dealing with burns.
RoSPA offers this advice for barbecuing at home
- When choosing a barbecue, stability is essential, ensure the one you choose is strong and sturdy.
- Check your barbecue is in good condition (particularly if you have not used it for some time) and look for loose or damaged parts that may need adjustment or repair.
- Consider the location - level ground, away from fences, sheds and overhanging trees, which have been known to catch fire.
- Never light a barbecue in an enclosed space.
- Prepare the barbecue early to ensure it is at the right temperature by the time you want to cook.
- Particular care should be taken in hot, dry weather to reduce the risk of starting a forest or grass fire.
- Never pour petrol, methylated spirit or other accelerants on to a barbecue. Some of the most serious barbecue-related accidents happen when people do this and the barbecue 'explodes' in their face.
- Use long-handled tools.
- Be careful of steam when opening foil parcels.
- Remember that the metal parts of a barbecue can become hot - don't try to move it until it has cooled down.
- Don't leave children unsupervised near a barbecue.
- Make sure the barbecue is fully extinguished before you leave it.
- Take care when getting rid of a disposable barbecue, or barbecue coals - ensure they have cooled down before placing them in a bin.
Insect Bites and Stings
Bugs that bite or sting include wasps, hornets, bees, horseflies, ticks, mosquitoes and midges.
Most insect bites and stings are not serious and will get better within a few hours or days. Sometimes the area can become infected and may cause an allergic reaction.
Insect bites and stings will usually cause a red, swollen lump to develop on the skin. This may be painful and sometimes itch.
Occasionally, a severe allergic reaction can occur, causing symptoms such as breathing difficulties, dizziness and a swollen face or mouth. This requires immediate medical treatment.
Prevention of insect bites and stings
There are some simple precautions you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten or stung by insects.
- Remain calm and move away slowly if you encounter wasps, hornets or bees (see picture above) don't wave your arms around or swat at them.
- Wear footwear when outside.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. According to the NHS, repellents that contain 50% DEET (diethyltoluamide) are most effective. Ask a pharmacist to recommend one.
- Be extra vigilant around flowering plants, rubbish, compost, stagnant water, and in outdoor areas where food is served, as all these things attract insects.
What to do if you've been bitten or stung
- Remove the sting if it's still in the skin. Do this by scraping across the surface of the skin using a credit card or similar. Try to avoid squeezing the sting out.
- Wash the affected area with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
- Raise or elevate the affected area if possible, as this can help reduce swelling.
- Avoid scratching the area, to reduce the risk of infection.
- Avoid traditional home remedies, such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, as they're unlikely to help.
The pain, swelling and itchiness can sometimes last a few days. Ask a pharmacist for their recommendations.
THE NHS recommends contacting your GP or calling NHS 111 for advice if:
- you're worried about a bite or sting
- your symptoms don't start to improve within a few days or are getting worse
- you've been stung or bitten in your mouth or throat, or near your eyes
- a large area (around 10cm or more) around the bite becomes red and swollen
- you have symptoms of a wound infection, such as pus or increasing pain, swelling or redness
- you have symptoms of a more widespread infection, such as a fever, swollen glands and other flu-like symptoms
When to get emergency medical help
Dial 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone else has symptoms of a severe reaction, such as:
RoSPA says that since 2012 more than 40 children aged under five have drowned in the home, most them either in the bath, a garden pond or a swimming pool.
Children can drown in as little as 5cm of water, so even a paddling pool can be dangerous, especially if a young child is left unattended. RoSPA has full information here https://www.rospa.com/resources/hubs/keeping-kids-safe/drowning/ but here are our top tips:
- Never leave a child in a paddling pool even for the shortest time. It takes a moment for them to slip under the water.
- Always tell children they should never go into the pool if you aren’t there.
- Never leave them unattended, take them out of the paddling pool if you have to leave the garden for any reason.
- Check the temperature of the water to make sure it is not too cold (if you've just filled it) or too warm, if it's the end of a hot day.
- Make sure children walk and don't run around the pool, so they don't trip or accidentally fall in.
- Make sure the children are aware that inside the pool may be slippery. Suggest they kneel in the water.
- The grass may get wet and slippery around a paddling pool, be extra careful when children climb out.
- Sun screen is essential in the summer and keep children covered up even when playing in the paddling pool. See our sun safety tips here
- Keep an eye on any bees or wasps in the water. See our first aid tips for insect bites and stings above.
- Always empty your paddling pool as soon as you’re finished with it. Don’t leave it filled for the next day.
Learning first aid with First Response First Aid provides the skills, knowledge and confidence to help you with an emergency. Why not make 2018 the year you learn how to save a life? At First Response First Aid Ltd we offer scheduled courses every week, or we can come to you if you have a group of up to 12 people who need first aid training. We can deliver our first aid training courses at your premises or at a location to suit you. Please call us on 01543 372888 for more information.