First Aid Safety The Natural Way (cont.)

One last thing in the first aid kit is an herbal salve. An herbal salve can be applied to wounds, even broken skin. The purpose is to promote wound healing and to prevent infection. This is a tiny first aid kit that you could put in a second wallet size pack. It's a good idea for people to learn to identify plants that may be growing around them. Very often, for instance, if someone sprains their ankle, there may be plants right around you that you can use for a poultice. Herbs like plantain, comfrey leaves, are both good for topical applications of wounds, sprains, bruises. I'm certainly respectful of the wonderful first aid medical care available in our modern medical system, but it seems that we often overly rely on that. A wise person not only knows when to go to the hospital, but also what to do in an emergency when time is of the essence.

reallyrosie_webmd: What should be done when someone goes into shock?

Mars: It's good to recognize the signs of shock, such as cold, clammy skin, a rapid or faint pulse, irregular breathing weakness and nausea. Disorientation might also occur. A lot of times we don't realize someone is in shock. Rough handling of someone who is in shock can worsen the outcome of how they recover from their injury. Get the person to lie down, and loosen any clothing that might be constricting such as ties, belts, watches. It's not essential that people lie on their backs; sometimes people lie in recovery position so that if they do vomit or have fluid out of their mouth, they won't choke. It's like lying on the side so fluids can drain out. If they are on the back, elevate feet eight to 12 inches. This helps conserve energy in the torso. Slightly elevate the head. But if you suspect any type of neck or spinal injury, don't elevate anything. Keep the person warm, but just enough to prevent the loss of body heat. Having a blanket in your car is a good thing to be able to offer, especially if the blanket is something that you can part with. Reassure the victim. Speak calmly to them. If you panic, it will make them more frightened. It could elevate blood pressure. If the person is going to need surgery, you should not give them anything to drink or eat. If you don't think it's going to be that sort of illness, the two drops of Rescue Remedy under the tongue, or arnica, or getting the person to take deep breaths using the lavender oil. You can make a simple rehydration  drink with a half teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of salt to a quart of water. You may just want to moisten the lips with this, if drinking is going make them vomit. Quarter-cup doses every 15 minutes would be a wise recommendation. Again, if they're unconscious, certainly offer nothing to drink, although you could apply Rescue Remedy topically to their wrist, forehead or neck.

saralg_webmd: What is the difference between heat stroke, and heat exhaustion, and dehydration, and how are these treated?

Mars: Heat stroke is the most serious, and can be fatal. With heat stroke, you should seek medical attention. The signs of heat stroke are the person loses consciousness would be the extreme, but also headache, dizzy, disorientated, people wander around acting as if intoxicated. You wonder if they're drunk, but they could have heat stroke. Heat exhaustion and dehydration can go along with this, but dehydration is simply being without fluids to the point the mouth is dry, the body is not urinating, the eyes look sunken, and dehydration can also be very serious and might occur from lack of fluids, too much sweating, or a long bout of diarrhea. The key is to prevent any of these conditions from happening; Drink plenty of cool water. When it's really hot, I suggest drinking lemon in water rather than ice water. You can also bathe the victim in cool water. However, it's best not to get into a cold bath tub because that can shock the system. It's better to sponge the body areas at a time with a cool cloth. A good place to apply the cloth is the neck, forehead, and under each armpit. The rehydration drink that we discussed would also be a good thing to drink. Get into the shade or indoors, and during the hot summer months, we need to eat a cooler diet. That means things like salads and fruits. Watermelon and cucumber are particularly cooling, and also high in natural fluids. Avoid excessive alcoholic beverages which can be dehydrating, and avoid a diet overly rich in red meats and fried foods, both of which are heating. It also makes sense to wear lighter clothes and colors like white, yellow, and cotton clothing. It's not the time for long black turtlenecks. If you want to wear something long, that's fine if it's light and cooling. Dark colors even make you feel mentally hot. Color is a form of energy.

poppylv_webmd: Do you have any suggestions for treating poison ivy and oak?

Mars: Yes. It's good to learn to identify this plant. I feel that poison oak or ivy are nature's way of saying, look where you are going. Not all three leaved plants are bad. Poison oak and ivy are difficult to identify because they can be a shrub, vine, or single plant. They turn beautiful red colors in the fall. I once saw it at a Thanksgiving dinner as a centerpiece. Shower right away and wash your clothes if you touch either ivy. You can get poison ivy or oak a month later by putting on the same clothes without washing them. My favorite remedy for poison ivy is called Swedish Bitter Liquid, which you can find at natural food stores, and is designed to be a natural digest aid, but works beautifully to dry up poison ivy. Plantain, jewel weed, gum weed, are all good as well, but the Swedish Bitter Liquid is my favorite. Oatmeal poultice or baths are good for general itching ailments. Poison oak and ivy are closely related members of the same family, which includes cashews and mangos. Some people are really sensitive to mangos. They eat them and get a rash.

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