Tips & tricks

First aid tips for summer

Thanks to St John Ambulance Australia (Tas) we've listed some tips on staying safe at the beach this summer.

Bites and stings

Although Tassie beaches are beautiful, they’re also home to some creepy crawlies. If you’re stung or bitten by one, it has the potential to be very painful and/or dangerous if not cared for properly. 

Snakes and blue-ringed octopus

  • If bitten on a limb, apply pressure with a bandage at the site of the bite/sting.
  • Starting just above the fingers or toes, tightly wrap the limb with a bandage in an upwards direction as far as possible.
  • Immobilise the limb.
  • Seek medical help.

Bluebottles and other non-tropical jellyfish

  • Place the stung area in hot water (as hot as the patient can comfortably bear) for 20 minutes.
  • Remove briefly before re-immersing. Continue cycle if pain persists.
  • Urgently seek medical aid at a hospital if symptoms are severe.

Bee, wasp, ant, tick and scorpions

  • Apply a cold pack to the bitten or stung area for 15 minutes.
  • Seek medical aid if pain worsens.

Heat-induced illnesses

It’s important to stay well hydrated and protected from the sun if you’re spending all day at the beach. If heat exhaustion isn’t managed properly it can turn into heat stroke, which can be potentially life-threatening. 

Heat exhaustion

Signs and symptoms
  • Feeling hot, exhausted, weak, fatigued
  • Persistent headache
  • Thirst
  • Nausea
  • Faintness, dizziness
  • Rapid breathing, shortness of breath
  • Pale, cool, moist skin
  • Rapid, weak pulse
What to do
  • Move the patient to a cool place with circulating air.
  • Help the patient to sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  • Remove unnecessary clothing from the patient, and loosen any tight clothing.
  • Sponge the patient with cold water.
  • Give the patient cool water to drink.
  • Seek medical aid if the patient vomits or does not recover quickly.

Heat stroke

Signs and symptoms
  • High body temperature of 40 degrees celsius or more
  • Flushed, dry skin
  • Pounding, rapid pulse that gradually weakens
  • Headache and irritability
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Visual disturbances
  • Faintness, dizziness, confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
What to do
  • Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
  • Move the patient to a cool place with circulating air.
  • Help the patient to sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  • Remove unnecessary clothing from the patient, and loosen any tight clothing.
  • Apply a cold pack to areas of large blood vessels such as the neck, groin and armpits, to accelerate cooling.
  • If possible, cover the patient with a wet sheet and fan to increase air circulation. Stop cooling when the patient feels cold to the touch.
  • If patient is fully conscious and is able to swallow, give them cool water to sip.

 

You can find more first aid facts on the St John website.