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Safety in the Home and First Aid
The following will be covered in this chapter:
1) Common Accidents in the Home, Causes, Prevention and Management
2) Assembling a First Aid Kit
The home is a safe haven for security and comfort. In order to maintain safety, it is important to take necessary precautions in the home.
By the end of the lesson, you should be able to:
Identify common accidents in the home and their causes.
Explain how to prevent common accidents in the home.
The common accidents in the home are:
Cuts and Bruises
A cut is a slit or break on the skin caused by sharp objects such as razor blades, broken glass and knives while bruises are caused by blunt blows.
Store sharp objects safely.
Use and care for knives appropriately.
Dispose off empty tins, broken bottles and other sharp objects
e.g. by burying.
Keep doors of cupboards, wardrobes and drawers closed.
Household items should be kept in their appropriate places.
- Clean the wound with clean water or a weak antiseptic solution.
- Cover with sterile gauze or a pad of cotton wool and bandage.
- For a deep cut, press onto the wound with a pad of cotton wool and bandage.
- Raise the wounded part if it is a limb to reduce pain.
- Seek medical attention.
- Cool the bruised part with very cold water or dab with a cloth soaked in cold water.
- Raise the injured part if a limb to cut down amount of blood flowing into it so as to reduce the swelling.
Burns and scalds
Burns are caused by dry heat such as hot charcoal, metal and open flames while scalds are caused by moist heat such as stream and hot liquids.
Prevention of burns and scalds
Matches, boiling stoves, hot liquids, burning candles should be
kept away from children.
Store flammable liquids away from children.
Lids covering hot foods should be opened away from the handle while cooking.
Saucepan handles should be placed away from human traffic.
- Dip injured part in cold water or place it under a tap of running cold water to ease the pain.
- Do not break the blisters as they protect the injured part.
- Remove all tight and constricting items on injured area before it begins to swell.
Cover the area loosely with a sterile dressing or bandage.
Fractures and sprains
A fracture is a break or a crack in a bone. It is caused by:
- direct or indirect force on bones
A sprain is a tearing or stretching of ligaments. It is caused by a stretching of a joint beyond the normal level of motion.
Rooms should be tidy and well lit.
Floors should be free from spills and peels.
- Arrest any bleeding that may occur.
- Use a splint to hold the fracture in place.
- Apply a sling.
- Seek medical attention.
Choking is when one is not able to breathe. Choking is caused by food or foreign objects such as seeds, bones and coins stuck in the throat or air passage making breathing difficult.
Do not talk with food in the mouth.
Avoid putting foreign objects in the mouth.
Children should not play while eating.
- If casualty is breathing, encourage him/her to cough as this will help to dislodge the obstruction.
- For babies, hold upside down by the legs and pat gently on the upper part of the back until the object pops out.
- For older children and adults, hit the person sharply with the palm of the hand between the shoulder blades until the object pops out.
- You can also stand behind the casualty, link your hand below their naval, press the belly with strong jerks until the object pops out.
Suffocation occurs when there is inadequate supply of fresh air or when the wind pipe is blocked, hence preventing air from getting into the lungs.
Dispose off polythene bags appropriately.
Cooking stoves should be used in well ventilated rooms.
Replace worn out gas tubes.
- Identity the cause and act appropriately. If its the lack of fresh air, take the person outside to an airy place. If it is due to a polythene bag getting stuck in the head, remove it.
- Check the airways are open and the casualty is breathing.
- If breathing has stopped, start artificial respiration.
Take casualty to hospital for further assessment and management.
Shock is a temporary lack of supply of blood to the brain and other vital organs. It is caused by upsetting or good news and events such as electric shock, excessive injury, and illness.
- Severe bleeding, either internal or external.
- Loss of plasma in burns or crash injuries.
- Heart failure as in acute heart attacks.
- Loss of body fluid from recurrent vomiting or severe diarrhoea.
Acute abdominal emergencies, example perforation of stomach or ruptured appendix.
All electric wires should be well insulated and defective equipment
repaired and replaced.
Do not touch electric switches and appliances with wet hands.
Prepare one for bad news.
- Lay the casualty down and deal with the injury or underlying cause of the shock.
- Raise and support legs to improve the blood supply to the vital organs.
- Loosen tight clothing at chest, neck, waist to reduce constriction in these areas.
- Protect when necessary with a blanket or sheet.
- Do not give casualty anything to drink.
Take him to hospital as soon as possible.
Foreign bodies in the ears, eyes and nose
A foreign body is anything undesirable that enters into the body such as dust, insects and seeds (common with children).
Scroll to view other foreign bodies
People should protect their eyes when walking or working in an area
where there are dust particles in the air e.g. by wearing protective gear.
Keep small items such as seeds and beads away from children.
Foreign body in the eye
- Advise the casualty not to rub the eye.
- Let the casualty sit facing the light, separate the eyelids gently with clean fingers and thumb.
- If foreign object can be seen, wash it out with clean water. If it is stuck on, remove with a moist swab or damp corner of clean cloth.
- If the object remains stuck on, bandage the eye and seek medical assistance at the nearest health facility.
Foreign body in the nose
- Calm the casualty and request him/her to breath through the mouth.
- Press the unaffected nostril with a finger and blow the nose to remove the object. If it does not come out, do not attempt to remove it, but seed medical assistance.
- For small children, seek medical assistance immediately.
Foreign body in the ear
- Reassure the casualty and let him/her lie down.
- Flood the ear with clean water if an insect is lodged inside.
If unsuccessful, refer casualty to nearest health facility.
It occurs due to temporary loss of blood flow in the brain causing a brief loss of consciousness.
- Illness such as anemia
- After receiving bad or good news
- Standing for a long time
Avoid standing for too long.
Avoid overcrowding and poorly ventilated rooms.
Break bad news calmly.
- Lay the casualty down and raise the legs slightly above the level of his head.
- Loosen all tight clothing.
- Ensure there is plenty of fresh air.
- Reassure the casualty.
- Gradually, raise him into the sitting position and give sips of water, if required.
If he/she does not regain consciousness, seek medical assistance.
This happens when blood comes out of the nose. It may be caused by an injury, blowing the nose forcefully and picking the nose.
Avoid picking the nose.
Avoid blowing the nose too hard and often where possible.
- Sit the casualty down with the head forward.
- Pinch the nose firmly below the bridge for 10 minutes, making the person breath through the mouth.
- After 10 minutes, request the casualty to release the pressure on the nose.
- Encourage the casualty to spit out any blood that flows into the mouth.
If nose bleeding persists beyond 30 minutes, seek medical attention.
Drowning is the blockage of air passages by liquids when swimming or if one falls into water bodies such as lakes, rivers and basins.
Water storage containers must have tight fitting lids.
Do not store water in open containers.
All water pools around the house should be drained.
Bathtubs should be unplugged after use.
Do not swim unaccompanied by a life saver.
- Remove the casualty from the water as quickly as possible.
- Shout for help if you cannot swim.
Once the casualty is out:
- Open airways by placing casualty briefly on the side to drain out the water.
- Check for breathing and blood circulation.
- Start artificial respiration immediately if the casualty is not breathing.
- If there is no pulse, start Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation.
- If casualty starts breathing, put him/her in a recovery position.
If no response, continue with Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation until help arrives.
Insect stings and bites
Some insects such as bees, wasps and scorpions sting while others such as mosquitoes, ticks, lice and cockroaches bite.
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