First Aid tips to use before you reach an urgent care clinic
When people suffer a traumatic injury, getting them to the closest urgent care clinic is vital. But if you are on the scene with them, there are things you can do immediately to help before and during your trip to an urgent care clinic.
If there is a splinter or glass embedded in the skin or wound, first wash the area around the wound with soap and water. Sterilize a pair of tweezers with rubbing alcohol, then use them to slowly pull the object out. If there are several pieces of glass that you cannot remove, gently wrap the area with a clean cloth and go to an urgent care clinic or emergency department.
Press a clean cloth firmly on any bleeding wound and hold it in place until the blood flow stops. This can take from three minutes to 15 minutes. If you have time, clean the wound with lukewarm running water.
If the wound is the result of an animal scratch or bite, wash it gently with soap and rinse it with lukewarm water. Cover it with gauze or a bandage and head for the urgent care clinic.
Act quickly: Time is critical with burns. Immediately hold the burn under cool running water or, if it’s available, apply snow to the burn. Keep it under the water or snow until the pain subsides. Cover the burned area and any small blisters with gauze. Place tape or a bandage loosely over the wound. Go to the urgent care clinic if the burn is on the hands, face or genitals, or if it covers an area of the body larger than a quarter-inch.
For deep burns or a burn with a surface area of more than 10 percent of the body, call 911. Cover the victim with a blanket to prevent hypothermia until medical care arrives.
Insect bites and stings
Bees will leave part of their stinger under the skin. It must be removed immediately. Don’t use tweezers, which can squeeze more venom into the wound. Instead, hold a fingernail or, better yet, a credit card at an angle over the stinger. Gently scrape the stinger out without breaking it.
Go to an urgent care clinic if the victim begins to cough, has a hoarse voice or exhibits trouble breathing, develops hives or appears to have a swollen tongue or lips.
You should get to urgent care immediately if you have sustained a hit or a poke in the eye that causes severe pain, sensitivity to light, blurry vision or continuous tears.
If a chemical has been splashed onto the eye, hold the eyelids open and flush with lukewarm water. Call Poison Control.
Hold a cool, wet cloth over the eye as you go to urgent care.
Chest pain, pressure, breathing trouble, cold and sweaty skin, paleness and jaw pain are some signs of a heart attack. Yet there are also soft signs including mild, unfocused chest pain that comes and goes, or starts mild and gets stronger, as well as fatigue and flu-like symptoms.
If you have First Aid training, administer CPR. Perform chest compressions for 30 seconds, followed by two breaths of artificial respiration into the airway. Then continue the compressions. If you are not trained in CPR, compression-only CPR is acceptable as long as the victim has not used up all the oxygen in his or her bloodstream.
Any heart attack requires immediate medical treatment. Call 911 or, if it’s safe, take the victim to the nearest emergency room or urgent care.
You never know when a emergency might happen, so be ready to react quickly with a home First Aid kit. It should contain:
- emergency telephone numbers — not just 911, but also numbers for your local poison control center, emergency management office and family doctors. Also include home and work numbers for family, friends or neighbors who can help in an emergency. For example, if you have children, it's important to include numbers of people who can look after them in the event you have to take another family member to urgent care.
- sterile gauze pads or dressings of various sizes
- adhesive tape
- antiseptic wipes or fluid
- eye patches
- face shield or pocket mask
- cloth to make an arm sling
- safety pins
- instant ice packs
- disposable, non-latex surgical or examination gloves
- a First Aid manual
Be prepared to take those first steps when an emergency strikes. Then seek professional medical care at FirstMed Urgent Care Clinic, a top urgent care clinic in West Valley Utah.