Understanding basic first-aid skills can go a long way, especially in an emergency or crisis situation. But you don’t have to be a medic or a professional in order to obtain skills that will help you with other health problems — even ones that may not seem so obvious on the surface.
Staying healthy in every sense of the word takes preparation and knowledge. When you’re prepared for the worst, you’ll have the necessary supplies on hand to help someone who needs it at a moment’s notice.
During a disaster, being able to take care of the people you love will make a huge difference on your peace of mind. That means learning things like CPR and how to take care of burns, but it also means going deeper to understand the symptoms of certain mental health issues, how to familiarize yourself with STDs, and understanding the importance of keeping things sanitary for everyone’s general well-being.
With that in mind, let’s look at some first-aid essentials that go beyond basic cuts, burns, and scrapes. These are skills you can take with you if disaster strikes so you can keep yourself, your family, and your friends as healthy as possible.
The Importance of Proper Hygiene
It might seem simple, but practicing proper hygiene is a great way to stay healthy and prevent a lot of health issues, especially in a disaster area or during an emergency situation. Things can become unsterile very quickly in such scenarios. Cleaning materials may also be scarce. Knowing which products can help you to disinfect when it comes to cleaning, cooking, or performing any kind of medical procedure can help everyone to remain safe.
Bleach is a great disinfectant and can kill spores and other forms of microbial life. Hydrogen peroxide is a great option for cleaning out cuts and scrapes. The extra oxygen in hydrogen peroxide helps to destroy harmful organisms and bacteria within the body.
If things like bleach or hydrogen peroxide aren’t accessible to you in an emergency situation, alcohol can be used to disinfect and clean your living areas. Alcohol is a disinfectant. Its sanitizing properties aren’t as strong as bleach, but when it’s readily available, it can be used to clean medical instruments, knives, surfaces, and cuts on the skin.
Personal hygiene is also important when it comes to staying healthy. Frequent hand-washing and bathing can help to protect you from harmful bacteria and the spread of illnesses.
Recognizing Early Symptoms
One of the best medical skills you can have is to recognize early symptoms of potential health problems. Seemingly simple and harmless symptoms can sometimes be warning signs for more serious health conditions or diseases. In many cases, though, early detection can be the key in treating these problems. Let’s look at a few examples.
Symptoms of lung diseases include:
- Coughing up blood
- Chronic cough
Symptoms of digestive issues include:
- Blood in the stool
Symptoms of bladder issues include:
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Loss of bladder control
Some signs and symptoms are harder to recognize than others. For example, different types of sexually transmitted diseases have different symptoms. Because contraceptives may be harder to access in a disaster situation, STDs and reproductive health issues could become more common. Familiarizing yourself with all different types of STDs can make it easier to help someone quickly and introduce safe, natural remedies that can keep their symptoms under control.
Of course, it’s important to carefully assess symptoms. It can be tempting to overanalyze common aches and pains, and the bounty of medical information online can make it easy to self-diagnose — usually with a high margin of error.
Many common sources of pain can actually be attributed to mundane issues. For instance, if you ache in the morning and are unable to get a good night’s rest, a trip to the mattress store might be more appropriate than a visit to the ER. An inadequate bed can lead to joint misalignment, and older mattresses may contain allergens that can keep you awake well into the night. Addressing such issues can keep you healthy and alert in case disaster strikes.
Focusing on Mental Health
When difficult situations arise, it’s far too easy for them to take a toll on someone’s mental health. Depression impacts over 17 million Americans, and anxiety isn’t far behind. In stressful situations, mental health conditions can become even worse. Unfortunately, mental health problems can also be some of the most difficult to treat. It’s not as simple as bandaging up a scrape or giving someone medication for pain.
If someone you know is suffering from excessive worrying or restlessness, or they are easily agitated and have difficulty concentrating, they could be dealing with an anxiety disorder. If they have physical pains, are constantly fatigued, or show signs of aggression or hopelessness, they could be struggling with depression.
The earlier a mental health condition is identified, the better. If medication is available, it can often help to ease the symptoms associated with such problems and allow someone to live comfortably. Most of the time, though, some type of therapy or counseling is necessary in order to work through the underlying causes of depression and anxiety and learn how to manage symptoms effectively.
Having well-rounded medical skills that can help someone who is injured or someone who might need to seek out professional treatment. You don’t need to be a doctor in order to make a big difference in someone’s overall health and well-being. By learning some of these skills now, you can be prepared for almost any situation where someone might need medical attention.
About the Author:
Magnolia Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time and covers a variety of topics. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a good book.