First Aid: Burns, CO Poisoning, Chest Wounds, and Shock
First- and second-degree burns with closed blisters are best treated with cold water.
- Immerse the burned area, or cover it with cloths that have been soaked in cold water—don’t use ice water.
- Avoid using butter or any type of greasy ointment because they can interfere with healing and cause an allergic reaction.
Second- and third-degree burns with open blisters should be wrapped with a loose, dry dressing.
Treating Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Improperly working camp stoves and lanterns, as well as wood and charcoal fires, can produce lethal carbon monoxide.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, and difficulty in breathing. The victim’s skin can turn red, and he or she can lose consciousness.
Get victims into fresh air immediately, and keep them lying quietly. Prompt medical care is essential.
Treating a Chest Wound
A bullet striking the chest can cause a sucking chest wound—a deep, open wound of the chest wall that allows air into the chest cavity.
All chest injuries are very serious and need immediate medical attention.
To respond immediately to a chest wound:
- Use the palm of your hand to cover the wound until a bandage is located.
- Cover the wound with sterile gauze, a clean cloth, plastic, or foil.
- Make sure the wound cover forms an air-tight seal.
- Hold the gauze in place with a bandage or tape.
- If the victim has trouble breathing, remove the bandage and replace it quickly.
- Transport the victim to the hospital with the injured side down.
Shock can result from any serious injury. Symptoms include pale, cold, clammy skin; rapid pulse; shallow breathing; and fear in the victim.
To treat shock:
- Keep the victim lying on his or her back. In some cases, shock victims improve by raising their feet 8–10 inches.
- If the victim is having trouble breathing, raise the victim’s head and shoulders about 10 inches rather than raising the feet.
- Maintain normal body temperature, and loosen any restrictive clothing.
- Try to keep the victim calm and comfortable, and get medical help as quickly as possible.