Sooner or later, someone at work or in your household will experience one or more of the injuries listed below.  We want to share these suggestions on what to do, what not to do, and when to seek medical attention.  Please keep these instructions where you can find them – inside your first aid kit would be good.  Hopefully, you may never need them, but just in case………… 

  • Bloody Nose:  When delicate blood vessels in the nose break, a nosebleed will follow.
  • Do: Lean slightly forward and pinch your nose just below the bridge, where the cartilage and the bone come together; maintain the pressure for 5 to 15 minutes.  An ice pack pressed against the bridge may also help.
  • Don’t: Tilt your head back.  You may swallow blood,  and potentially some could go into your lungs.
  • When to Seek Medical Attention: If the bleeding hasn’t stopped after 20 minutes; if the nosebleed happened spontaneously; or if it accompanies a headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, or vision problems.


  • Sprain: Sprains happen when the ligaments surrounding a joint are pulled beyond their normal range.  Sprains may also appear swollen and bruised.
  • Do: Alternately apply and remove ice every 20 minutes throughout the first day.  Wrapping the joint with elastic compression bandage and elevating the injury may help.  Stay off the injured limb at least 24 hours.  After that, apply heat to promote blood flow to the area.
  • Don’t: Work through the pain; you may risk more damage, like tearing the ligament.
  • Medical Attention: If the injury fails to improve in a few days, call a doctor – you may have a fracture or a muscle or ligament tear.


  • Burn: Third-degree burns result in broken or blackened skin.  Second-degree burns cause blisters, and first-degree burns produce redness.
  • DO: Place the burn under cool running water, submerge it in a bath, or apply wet towels. Loosely bandage a first-or second-degree burn for protection.
  • Don’t: Put an ice pack on major burns.  This may damage the skin and worsen the injury.  Also, don’t pop blisters, and don’t apply an antibiotic or butter to burns, because this can lead to infection.
  • Medical Attention: Call 911 for third-degree, electrical and chemical burns, or if the victim is coughing, has watery eyes, or trouble breathing.  Go to the ER for a second-degree burn that’s larger than your palm; treatment may prevent scarring.


  • Choking: When a person is really choking, he can’t cough strongly, speak, or breathe, and his face may turn red or blue.  (I have seen this happen, and it took the Heimlich maneuver to save this person.) 
  • Do: Call 911.  If it is an older person, have him/her lean forward, and using the palm of your hand, strike his back between the shoulder blades five times.  When that doesn’t work, stand behind the victim, place one fist above the belly button, cup the fist with your other hand, and push in and up toward the ribs five times, as in the Heimlich.  If you are alone, press your abdomen against something firm, like a kitchen counter, or use your hands.
  • Don’t: Give water or anything else to someone who is coughing.
  • Medical Attention: Always call 911 when it is true choking.  The universal sign for choking is when the victim wraps his hands around his throat to gesture that he is choking and needs help.


  • Open Wound: Cuts, scrapes or punctures need to be treated promptly to avoid infection.
  • Do: Place sterile gauze on the injury and apply pressure to stop the bleeding.  Wash minor cuts and scrapes with soap and water, and follow with a thin layer of Vaseline or an antibiotic ointment and cover with a bandage.
  • Don’t: Wash or apply ointment to a wound that is large, deep, or profusely bleeding.  Don’t try to remove an object protruding from the wound.
  • Medical Attention: Call 911, especially if there’s an object in the cut.  Call your doctor if the wound is deep, accompanied by a fever, or has redness, swelling or red streaks around it.


  • Poisoning: Cleaning supplies, carbon monoxide and pesticides are potential household and work hazards.  Also, some persons may be allergic to bee stings and insect bites. 
  • Do: Call 911 if the person is unconscious or having trouble breathing.  Otherwise, call the Poison Control Centers’ national hotline (800-222-1222).  Be ready to tell what substance was involved, how much was taken and when, and the age and weight of the victim.
  • Don’t: Wait for symptoms to appear to call for help.  Don’t give ipecac syrup or try to induce vomiting.  The poison could cause additional damage when it comes back up.  Don’t let the victim eat or drink anything unless the hotline operator tells you to do so.
  • Medical Attention: Always.


  • Blow to the Head:  Because the skull is very protective, hitting it rarely results in injuries to the skull itself.  However, if the force is great, the neck, back, and soft tissues inside the head can be injured.  (This is also a good time to remind those who work where something may get dropped on them, or they may run into the sides of things, nothing beats wearing a hardhat!)
  • Do: Call 911 if the person is unconscious.  Treat a bleeding struck area the same as any other cut, but follow up with your doctor, as there could be internal injuries.  Putting an ice pack on a small bump can help reduce the swelling.
  • Don’t: Leave the victim alone, especially when he’s sleeping.  Wake him/her up every three to four hours and have him answer simple questions to make sure there’s no brain injury, such as a concussion.
  • Medical Attention: Call 911 if the victim exhibits seizures, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, or obvious changes in behavior.

Again, let’s hope there won’t be a need for you to render this type of aid; but accidents happen, and it pays to be prepared.