Even a small injury can become a serious one if left untreated. Brush up on simple first aid for the proper treatment of these common injuries:
Scrapes and abrasions: Rinse the area with water to remove debris and wash well with soap and warm water. Most abrasions will scab over naturally. However, large ones may require a sterile dressing. In that case, apply an antibiotic cream to the area to prevent the dressing from sticking to the abrasion; check and change the dressing each day. Call for help if: you have trouble cleaning a wound; notice pus or drainage, increasing tenderness or redness around the site; or a fever develops, which can be a sign of infection.
Insect bites: Scrape a stinger out with a blunt object, such as a credit card. Wash the area several times a day with soap and water to avoid infection. Mix a paste of baking soda and water and apply for 20 minutes along with an ice pack to reduce swelling. Call for help if: there is a large area of swelling, hives, fainting, nausea, abnormal breathing, tightness in the chest or throat, dizziness or constant pain or swelling for more than 72 hours. Also, any sting around the mouth area warrants immediate medical attention because this can cause severe swelling and block airways.
Sunburn: Sunburns are usually first-degree burns, identified by skin that is red, tender and sore. To treat this type of sunburn, hold the affected area under cool running water for 10 minutes. Remove any jewelry or tight-fitting clothing from around the burned area and keep the affected area elevated if possible. Call for help if: there is blistering, pain and swelling, indicating a second-degree burn that requires immediate medical attention.
RESOURCES: • kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe. Quick first-aid tips on treating injuries, from a knocked-out tooth to a nosebleed. • "The Kids' Guide to First Aid: All About Bruises, Burns, Stings, Sprains and Other Ouches” by Karen Buhler Gale (Williamson Publishing paperback, $12.95).