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Keeping cool with St John this summer

 
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Family at the beachAs the weather heats up and people spend more time outdoors, St John is sending a timely reminder to keep first aid skills up-to-date.

There are a number of common ailments that affect people more frequently in the summer months such as sunburn, bluebottle stings, bee stings, burns and heat exhaustion.

ďPeople spend more time outdoors in summer and even a few extra moments in the sun can lead to severe sunburn or heat exhaustion,Ē said Robyn Galwey, General Manager-Training, St John (NSW).

Sunburn is caused by over-exposure to the sun and can happen even on an overcast day.

ďSt John recommends wearing protective clothing, using at least 15+ sunscreen and wearing sunglasses outdoors.  Itís also important to keep up your fluid intake and avoid extended periods in direct sunlight to avoid heat exhaustion,Ē she said.

ďWhile many people believe these conditions are to be expected throughout the summer months, they can be very dangerous and often need medical attention.  It is important to know how to recognise severe symptoms and how to treat the conditions until medical attention is available,Ē said Ms Galwey.

St John first aid courses are designed to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to deal with a first aid situation. To book a course or to get your first aid kit up-to-date call St John on 1300 360 455.

Summer Safety with St John First Aid

With summer now upon us, it is timely to be reminded of a few of the most common summer safety tips, and to encourage even more people to learn first aid.  First aid advice and training can make a difference to your safety, and that of your family, this summer.  St John also recommends having a first aid kit close by. 

St John DRABC Action Plan

Danger - Is anyone in danger?

Response - Is the person responding? If not, place in the recovery position.

Airway - Is the airway clear and open? Clear mouth and tilt head back.

Breathing - Can you hear or feel casualty breathing? If not, give 2 effective breaths. 
EAR - Adult: 15 breaths/min. Child/Infant: 20 breaths/min.

Circulation - Can you feel a pulse? If present, start EAR, if absent, start CPR.  CPR - Adult: 15 chest compressions and 2 breaths, 4 times/min.  Child/Infant: 5 compressions and 1 breath, 12 times/min.

Sunburn

  • Rest casualty in a cool place.
  • Place under a cold shower, in a cold bath, or sponge with cold water.
  • Apply cool gauze padding to the burnt area.
  • Give cool drinks.
  • Seek medical aid for young babies and casualties with blisters.

Bluebottle stings

  • DONíT try to wash the sting off with fresh water.
  • Pick off any tentacles with tweezers or your fingers.
  • Apply a cold pack to reduce pain.

St Johns AmbulanceBee stings

  • Remove stings by scraping sideways with your fingernail or with the edge of a knife.
  • Apply a cold pack.
  • Watch for allergic reactions - breathing difficulties, rashes, itching, or swelling around the mouth or eyelids.

If an allergic reaction takes place, follow DRABC and call 000 for an ambulance.

  • Observe and record pulse and breathing.
  • If casualty is carrying medication for the allergy, it should be taken at once.
  • If conscious: help casualty to sit in a position which most relieves breathing difficulty.
  • If unconscious: check ABC and prepare to resuscitate if necessary.

Heat Exhaustion

  • Lie the person down in a cool place with circulating air.
  • Loosen or remove almost all clothing.
  • Sponge with cold water.
  • Give fluids to drink.
  • Seek medical aid if casualty vomits or does not recover promptly.

Burns

  • Hold the burned area under cool running water for at least ten minutes.
  • DONíT break any blisters or apply any lotions or ointments.
  • Put a sterile non-adherent dressing over burned area (or alfoil, plastic wrap, or a wet clean dressing).
  • If burn is bigger than a twenty cent piece Ė seek medical aid.

Snake bites

  • Using a roller bandage (about 10-15cm wide), pantyhose or other similar material, firmly bandage the entire limb, but not so firmly as to stop the flow of blood.
  • Start bandaging from just above the fingers or toes and work upwards.
  • Splint the bandaged limb.
  • Ensure casualty does not move.
  • Call 000 for an ambulance.
  • DONíT cut the bitten area.
  • DONíT suck the venom out or wash venom off.
  • DONíT apply a tourniquet.
  • DONíT try to catch the snake

Preventing Snakebites:

  • Make lots of noise when walking in the bush.
  • Always wear shoes outside.
  • Donít put your hands and feet where you canít see whatís there.
  • Keep grass cut around your home.

Near Drowning

Never attempt a rescue beyond your capability.  Do not become a casualty yourself and remember all first aid starts with the St John DRABC Action Plan.

  • If the person isnít breathing, start EAR as soon as possible (in the water if necessary).
  • Check pulse Ė if absent begin CPR.
  • Call 000 for an ambulance.

The best solution is prevention:

  • Make sure your entire family can swim.
  • Always supervise children near water.
  • Never drink and swim.
  • Always swim between the flags.
  • Keep your first aid skills up-to-date by booking into a St John First Aid refresher course.

For more information on St John (NSW) first aid courses, kits and products, call 1300 360 455 or visit www.stjohnnsw.com.au.

Disclaimer: ©St John Ambulance Australia. This information is not a substitute for first aid training. St John recommends that everyone is trained in first aid.  For more information about St John visit www.stjohn.org.au.


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