Dr Sylvestor Mooney answers all your health questions!

Dr. Sylvester Mooney is the Medical Director at webdoctor.ie. He studied in UCD and he qualified in medicine from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. The areas of women’s health, travel medicine, reactive depression and men’s health are of special interest.

www.webdoctor.ie

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Question

Dear doctor, what are the essential items to keep for home first aid, if you don’t have a full kit? I’ve recently taken a first aid course and would love to keep some things at home just in case.

Thanks, Sorcha, by email

Answer

Hi Sorcha, you are very wise to have done a first aid course as you never know just when you will need it!

Many pharmacies will have pre-packaged first aid kits that include all the essential items. Regarding what the essential items are at home, think of what accidents can occur at home. Cuts and abrasions are very common! The essential items range from the standard adhesive bandages (or plasters) to larger dressings. Burns are another common injury. The first aid treatment of this is to put the affected area under the cold tap, as this helps to soothe and take the heat energy out of the burn. In addition, there are several special burn gels available from your pharmacist.

Eye irritations are another common injury. So a simple eye bath with a suitable solution to wash the eye in these circumstances is very useful. The eye bath can also be used if any harmful substance is splashed into an eye (think bleaches, washing up liquids). Another type of injury that can happen at home is the fracture of a limb. A triangular bandage tied above and below the fracture site in a broken leg will minimise movement until the paramedics arrive. Similarly the triangular bandage will support the upper limb in the event of a broken arm.

Finally, use common sense and don’t hesitate to call for expert help whether it is your local GP, pharmacist or even the paramedics if needed or you feel overwhelmed