Knowing what to do in the face of the most common domestic accidents can not only reduce the severity of the accident, but also save a life.
The most frequent accidents at home are burns, nosebleeds, poisoning, cuts, electric shock, falls, choking and bites. So, here's how to act in the face of each type of accident and what to do to avoid them:
Burning can result from prolonged exposure to the sun or heat sources such as fire or boiling water, for example, and what to do includes:
- Place the affected area under cold water for 15 minutes, in case of hot objects, or apply aloe cream, in case of sunburn;
- Avoid rubbing any type of product, such as butter or oil;
- Do not puncture the blisters that may appear on burnt skin.
Read more at: First Aid for Burns.
When it can be serious: if it is larger than the palm of your hand or when it does not cause any type of pain. In these cases, it is recommended to call medical help, calling 192, or go to the emergency room.
How to avoid: avoid sun exposure between 11 am and 4 pm and use sunscreen, as well as keep objects that can cause burns away from children.
2. Nose bleed
Nose bleeding is usually not a serious condition, it can be caused by blowing your nose too hard, picking your nose or getting hit, for example.
To stop the bleeding:
- Sit down and lean your head forward;
- Pinch your nostrils with your thumb and forefinger for at least 10 minutes;
- After the bleeding has stopped, clean the nose and mouth, without applying pressure, using a compress or cloth soaked in warm water;
- Do not blow your nose for at least 4 hours after your nose bleeds.
Learn more at: First Aid for Bloody Nose.
When it may be serious: if other symptoms such as dizziness, fainting or bleeding in the eyes and ears appear. In these cases, you should call an ambulance, calling 192, or go immediately to the emergency room.
How to avoid: do not be exposed to the sun for a long time or to very high temperatures, as the heat dilates the veins of the nose, facilitating bleeding.
3. Intoxication or poisoning
Poisoning is more frequent in children due to accidental ingestion of medicines or cleaning products that are within their reach. In these cases, what you should do immediately is:
- Call medical help by calling 911;
- Identify the source of the poisoning;
- Keep the victim calm until medical help arrives.
See more at: First Aid for Poisoning.
When it can be serious: any type of poisoning is a serious situation and therefore medical help should be called immediately.
How to avoid: products that can cause poisoning should be kept locked up and out of the reach of children.
Cuts can be caused by sharp objects, such as a knife or scissors, as well as piercing objects, such as nails or needles, for example. First aid includes:
- Push the spot with a clean cloth;
- Wash the region with saline solution or soap and water, after stopping the bleeding;
- Cover the wound with a sterile dressing;
- Avoid removing objects that are piercing the skin;
- Call 911 or go to the ER if there are objects piercing the skin.
When it can be serious: if the cut is caused by objects with rust or when the bleeding is very large and difficult to stop.
How to avoid: objects that can cause cuts must be kept out of the reach of children and must be used with care and attention by an adult.
5. Electric shock
Electric shocks are more frequent in children due to the lack of protection in the wall sockets at home, however, they can also happen when using a household appliance in poor condition, for example. What to do in these cases is:
- Turn off the main power board;
- Move the victim away from the electrical source using wooden, plastic or rubber objects;
- Lie the victim down to prevent falls and fractures after the electric shock;
- Call an ambulance by calling 911.
See more about what to do in: First Aid for Electric Shock.
When it can be serious: when skin burns, constant tremors or fainting, for example.
How to avoid: electronic devices should be maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions, as well as avoiding using or connecting electrical sources with wet hands. In addition, if there are children in the house, it is recommended to protect the wall sockets to prevent children from inserting their fingers into the electrical current.
Falls usually happen when tripping or slipping on rugs or wet floors. However, they can also happen when riding a bicycle or standing on a tall object, such as a chair or stepladder.
First aid for falls includes:
- Calm the victim and observe the presence of fractures or bleeding;
- Stop bleeding, if necessary, by applying pressure to the site with a clean cloth or gauze;
- Wash and apply ice to the affected area.
Read more about what to do in case of a fall at: What to do after a fall.
When it can be serious: if the person falls on their head, has excessive bleeding, breaks a bone, or has symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, or fainting. In these cases, you should call an ambulance, calling 192, or go immediately to the emergency room.
How to avoid: standing on high or unstable objects, as well as wearing well-fitting shoes, for example.
Suffocation is usually caused by choking that can happen, more often, when eating or swallowing small objects, such as a pen cap, toys or coins, for example. First aid in this case is:
- Slap 5 times in the middle of the victim's back, keeping the hand open and in a quick movement from bottom to top;
- Perform the Heimlich maneuver if the person is still choking. To do this, hold the victim from behind, wrap your arms around the torso and apply pressure with a clenched fist over the pit of the stomach. See how to do the maneuver correctly;
- Call medical help, calling 911 if the person continues to choke after the maneuver.
See what to do in case of choking: What to do if someone chokes.
When it can be serious: when the victim is more than 30 seconds unable to breathe or has a bluish face or hands. In these cases, you should call an ambulance or go immediately to the emergency room to receive oxygen.
How to avoid: It is advised to chew food properly and avoid eating very large pieces of bread or meat, for example. In addition, you should also avoid putting small objects in the mouth or offering toys with small parts to children.
Bits or stings can be caused by various types of animal, such as a dog, bee, snake, spider or ant, and therefore the treatment may vary. However, first aid for bites is:
- Call medical help by calling 192;
- Lie down the victim and keep the affected region below the heart level;
- Wash the bite area with soap and water;
- Avoid using a tourniquet, sucking out the poison or squeezing the bite site.
Learn more at: First aid in case of a bite.
When it can be serious: any type of bite can be serious, especially when provoked by venomous animals. Thus, it is always advisable to go to the emergency room to evaluate the bite and start the appropriate treatment.
How to avoid: It is recommended to place nets on windows and doors to prevent poisonous animals from entering the house.