The Pulse

Sprains, Bruises, and Stings: Summertime First Aid

Posted by SFSH on August 06, 2020

Each season seems to have its own set of pros & cons… and summer is no different. While nice weather is fun to enjoy outside, excessive time spent outdoors can lead to injuries both mild and serious. Whether you’re swimming in the mighty Missouri River or backpacking in the Badlands, danger can strike at unexpected moments. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for any kind of threat. Sprains, bruises, bites and stings, in particular, are very common summertime injuries.

 

Here’s your first-aid guide to these common injuries.

 

Sprains

Most of us are all too familiar with sprains. They happen when a muscle or tendon is stretched too far. Some sprains are worse than others ­– the severity is dependent on how many ligaments are affected and whether they are stretched or torn. Common strains take one to three weeks to heal, while severe strains may take between three and six months. Symptoms can vary, so if you’re unsure if you’ve sprained something, look for these factors:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Limited movement

While sprains can occur in both the upper and lower parts of the body, ankle sprains are the most common injury in the United States. There are approximately 1 million ankle injuries every year and 85% of them are sprains.

 

Sprain Treatment

For most cases, sprains are able to heal without evaluation by a doctor. Be sure to follow the RICE rules:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compress
  • Elevate

If you’re experiencing extreme pain, numbness or significant swelling, seek help from a medical professional. You may have a broken bone and might have to immobilize the limb with a splint or cast. 

 

Bruises

Another common summertime injury are bruises. We’ve all had bruises at one point in our lives. A bruise is a skin injury that causes discoloration and possible pain. Initially, they appear red but change to black or blue. They eventually lose their color as they heal.

 

Bruise Treatment

Applying ice, heat and compression will help relieve and get rid of bruising. 

  • Ice: By applying ice immediately after your injury, you’ll help reduce blood flow around the area. This will also help prevent swelling.
  • Heat: Once you’ve applied ice, applying heat will help clear trapped blood after the bruise has already formed. It can also help loosen tension and relieve pain.
  • Compression: If swelling begins quickly after the injury, be sure to apply compression. Elastic bandages are good to use against bruises.

 

Bug Bites & Stings

Bug bites and stings always seem to come out of nowhere. It’s pretty difficult to tell when insects are crawling on your skin. Most bug bites result in small red bumps that itch or swell. Others can cause allergic reactions and potentially be deadly. These few insects can cause plenty of problems if ignored.

  • Mosquitoes: They can carry West Nile Virus, which can be deadly, as well as other diseases.
  • Ticks: They can spread Lyme Disease which can cause fatal complications.
  • Spiders: Spider bites can cause severe pain and even death in extreme cases.
  • Bees: Most stings are treatable at home. But if you’re allergic to bee stings, you may require emergency treatment.

 

Bite & Sting Treatment

The number one way to fight bites and stings is to prevent them. Use plenty of bug spray when you enter heavily infested areas, like forests and lakes. If bites and stings have severe pain and swelling, seek help from a medical professional.  

 

Before you head outside to start your summer activities, be sure to take necessary precaution. If you succumb to a summertime injury, visit Sioux Falls Urgent Care.

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