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First Aid: Treatments, Pictures, and Animated Instructions

The subject of first aid encompasses a large scope, anything from removing a splinter or draining a blister to acting in the rescuer role in the case of injury from fire, extreme cold, animal bites, or broken bones. Some first aid can take place safely at home without further treatment while other situations require prompt care by a medical professional. Moreover, many first aid situations that seem simple at first, such as treating a mild burn or a small foreign object in the skin, can develop into a more serious condition weeks later due to infection. This text will help you differentiate between mild, moderate, and serious first aid events as well as recognize future signs of complications. In the event of a serious medical emergency, this first aid information will help you know what to do as a rescuer to help an injured person while awaiting emergency services, such as how to immobilize a body part in the event of a fracture, when it is safe to rewarm a body part in the case of severe frostbite, what to ask a person who is losing consciousness, and even how to identify types of poisonous snakes. Such measures can dramatically help the injured person's recovery.

Ideally, the first aid events discussed in this section should be reviewed before any potential accident happens and as ongoing education, as this information also addresses injury and accident prevention as well as emergency preparedness, such as stocking first aid kits. Because it is difficult to anticipate an accident and it may be hard to recall information during a stressful medical emergency, the first aid events in this section are presented such that a rescuer can quickly look up first aid steps and other pertinent information.

Click an image or illustration of a first aid event below to begin to learn how to take safety measures for minor first aid situations on your own, when to seek professional medical care for more serious injuries, and how to help care for a person while awaiting emergency medical assistance.

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Animal Bites, First Aid First aid and self-care information for animal bites. Bites can be caused by wild animals and domestic animals (including humans), and they can range from mild to serious. It is important to assess both the severity…
Blisters, First Aid First aid and self-care information for blisters. A blister (bulla) is caused when the outer layer of the skin separates from a layer of skin below, creating a collection of fluid between the layers. Blisters can be…
Bruises, First Aid First aid and self-care information for bruises. Bruises (contusions) are dark, discolored areas on the skin that form when blood seeps into surrounding tissue beneath the skin, often due to a bump or hit to the…
Bug Bites or Stings, First Aid First aid and self-care information for bug bites or stings. Bites or stings from insects (arthropods) are very common. Most reactions are mild and result due to an allergic reaction to either the insect or the…
Burns, First Aid First aid and self-care information for burns. A burn is an injury to the skin resulting from direct contact or exposure from extreme heat or cold, friction, electricity, or chemicals. First-degree burns are…
Eye Scratch (Corneal Abrasion), First Aid First aid and self-care information for eye scratches. A corneal abrasion is a scratch or cut (abrasion) of the clear outer layer (cornea) of the eye. Injury (trauma) is the most common cause for corneal abrasions.
Fainting, First Aid First aid and self-care information for fainting. Fainting is a form of unconsciousness that is quick and brief, often due to low blood sugar or standing in one place for too long. Fainting can also be caused by a more…
Foodborne Illness (Food Poisoning), First Aid First aid and self-care information for food poisoning. Most foodborne illness, also known as food poisoning, comes from bacteria in food that has multiplied, either from poor handling, improper cooking, or poor…
Object in Eye or Skin, First Aid First aid and self-care information for an object in the eye or skin. A foreign object can become embedded in the skin or eye, and any movement of the object, including removing it, can cause increased bleeding…
Frostbite, First Aid First aid and self-care information for frostbite. Frostbite is freezing of the skin that occurs due to exposure to cold temperatures. Frostbite often starts out with mild symptoms and can progress and become…
Head Trauma, First Aid First aid and self-care information for head trauma. Injuries to the head can involve any or all parts of the head: the scalp, skull, brain, spinal fluid, and blood vessels. Head trauma can be internal or external, or…
Heat Cramps, First Aid First aid and self-care information for heat cramps. Heat cramps are a form of heat illness. Heat illness occurs when a person's core body temperature rises above a safe level of the body's internal temperature…
Heat Exhaustion, First Aid First aid and self-care information for heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is the moderate form of heat illness. Heat illness occurs when a person's core body temperature rises above a safe level of the body's…
Heatstroke, First Aid First aid and self-care information for heatstroke. Heatstroke, also known as sunstroke, is a form of heat illness. Heat illness occurs when a person's core body temperature rises above a safe level of the body's…
Hypothermia, First Aid First aid and self-care information for hypothermia. Hypothermia is when a person's internal body temperature drops below normal due to cold exposure. While hypothermia typically occurs outdoors, it can also…
Nosebleed, First Aid First aid and self-care information for a nosebleed. Nosebleeds either occur spontaneously or are the result of some sort of trauma, such as a hit to the face. Things that cause nosebleeds are certain medical…
Shock, First Aid First aid and self-care information for shock. Shock is a medical emergency where the flow of blood through the body is reduced, limiting the amount of oxygen the blood carries to the body's cells. While shock is a…
Snakebite, First Aid First aid and self-care information for a snakebite. There are 2 kinds of snakebites: poisonous (venomous) and nonpoisonous (nonvenomous). Most snakes are nonpoisonous, and bites from such snakes can be treated…
Splinter, First Aid First aid and self-care information for a splinter. A splinter, or sliver, is a particle of a foreign object, such as a small piece of wood that has embedded itself in ones skin. Splinters can sometimes come out on…
Sunburn, First Aid First aid and self-care information for sunburn. Sunburn is caused by the skin's reaction to ultraviolet light exposure. It appears as reddening and tenderness of the skin and usually occurs between 12 and 24 hours…
Tick Bites, First Aid First aid and self-care information for tick bites. Ticks are 8-legged creatures (arachnids) that live in wooded and grassy areas. Ticks attach themselves to a human host as the person brushes past leaves, grass…
Unconsciousness, First Aid First aid and self-care information for unconsciousness. Unconsciousness is an abnormal state in which a person is not alert and not fully responsive to his/her surroundings. Levels of unconsciousness range…
Wounds, First Aid First aid and self-care information for wounds. A wound is any type of injury that breaks the skin, and severity can range from a small cut to a deep puncture wound. To prevent infection and promote healing, all wounds…