There’s no place like home, but accidents can happen no matter where you are. Here are some of the most common home injuries, and advice on how to treat them.
Written by Mark Ryan, NP
Burns. Burns in the home occur most frequently in the kitchen. If you experience a minor burn, first cool the area with cool — not icy — water, and remove rings or other tight items from the area. Once the burn is completely cooled, apply a lotion, preferably one that contains aloe vera or a moisturizer. Cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage; wrap it loosely to avoid pressure on the burned skin. If needed, take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, and if blisters form, don’t break them!
Cuts. Whether you’re cooking dinner or opening mail, cuts can happen with the smallest of household chores. If you do experience a cut, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to prevent infection, stop the bleeding, apply a topical antibiotic and cover the cut with a sterile bandage.
Trips and falls. There are some pretty simple precautions that can be taken to avoid taking a spill: arrange furniture with plenty of room for walking, always clean up food and drink spills, clear clutter from the floor and stairways and keep electrical cords away from high-traffic areas. It’s also a good idea to add non-slip strips to wooden steps and appliques inside bathtubs to prevent falls. If you do take a spill at home, stay calm and take a few minutes to assess if you’re hurt. If you are, call for help. If you have an increased risk of falls, consider TidalHealth LifeLine. This 24-hour personal emergency monitoring service can notify emergency services and family members if you fall, ensuring help will be on the way in a timely manner. For more information, call 410-543-4740.
Bug bites. Spring has sprung and we’ll all be spending more time outdoors in the months to come. With that, comes an increased risk for bug bites. If you get bit and don’t have an allergic reaction, simply remove the stinger, clean the sting site, apply ice and take an oral antihistamine for itching or ibuprofen for pain relief. If you lose your breath or experience swelling, call for emergency care. Ticks can also pose a problem, so be sure to perform self-checks after you come inside. If you spot a tick, remove it with tweezers and wash your hands and the bite site. If you experience swelling or a red ring around the tick bite, call a doctor to ensure you don’t have Lyme disease.
Poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most unintentional poisoning deaths occur from mixing medications. If you’re taking multiple medications, be sure to consult your physician or pharmacist. At TidalHealth Home Scripts, located at 11101 Cathage Road (near the entrance to the North Gate in Ocean Pines), a team of knowledgeable pharmacists is happy to review your medications so negative interactions can be avoided. If ever you’re concerned about a potential poisoning, call the Poison Help hotline at 800-222-1222. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, always call 911.
Mark Ryan, NP, cares for patients at TidalHealth Immediate Care in Laurel, Del.
For medical advice, always call your family physician. If you don’t have one, visit tidalhealth.org and schedule an appointment today.