Dr. Oz recommends that everyone has a summer first aid kit on hand at all times. His top 5 must haves are listed below along with his advice on various summer ailments.
- Steri Strips (skin cuts)
- EpiPen (recommended for everyone, even if you are not aware of any allergies)
- Compression bandage (sprains)
- Ticks When ticks bite, they suck your blood up and it mixes with the blood of whatever animal it may have previously bitten. If they have lyme disease, or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, it will mix it with their blood and inject it back into you. DO NOT squeeze the tick, use tweezers. Grab it by the mouth and pull it out. By squeezing, your are infusing the contaminated blood back into you. Dr. Oz recommends that you do not destroy the tick but save it. That will allow you to take it to the doctor to have tests run to determine if infection is present in the tick. Having it on hand is also a good indicator to be checked in case the classic bullseye rash is not present.
- Jelly Fish They have tentacles with poisonous sacks with harpoons on the end. When jelly fish sting, they inject their venom or poison into you. (This is where the EpiPen may come in handy for those who are really allergic). DO NOT put fresh water on the wound site as that will cause the sacks to then squeeze allowing the stingers to inject the venom. The acid from alcohol, vinegar, or even salt water will paralyze the sacks and slow them down. You can make a paste of baking soda or shaving cream, apply and then scrape with credit card. Urine is not hygienic, and therefore not recommended. However if acidic, it will work. Alcohol or vinegar should be first defense.
- Wounds Dr. Oz says a good rule of thumb is to not put anything on a wound you would not put in your eye. (Do not use alcohol). It is important to not kill good bateria when trying to kill the bad. If you can see through the wound deeper than the dermis, into the fatty tissue, pull it back together and use a Steri Strip.
- Sprains It is important to not let it swell. Use the RICE method. Rest, Ice, Compression (Ace bandage will keep the swelling down), Elevation (elevate ankle above your heart to allow gravity to drain fluid).
- Sunburns Aloe works well to cool and soothe. You may also use aspirin in a cold both or taken orally to reduce inflammation. DO NOT use oil or butter, that will cause the burn to heat up.
Most of the products needed to help make up your summer first aid kit can be found at your local Norfolk Walmart.
Special thanks to Ivory Riley for leading me to write this article.