First Aid at Your Fingertips

When faced with a medical problem, we often find ourselves unsure about the proper steps to take or wishing we had been more prepared by keeping a first aid kit nearby.  Trying to tackle a medical problem while waiting for professional help to arrive or to seek out professional help can be chaotic and demanding.  American Red Cross, with the recent launch of a first aid app for Android and iPhone, has taken strides to ensure that we are well informed and equipped in these situations.  The app includes disaster preparedness information, and provides sequential instructions on how to handle common first aid situations, such as allergies, asthma attacks, broken bones and choking.  It also includes videos and interactive quizzes.

I can easily recall a particular instance involving one of my relatives when the first aid app would have come in handy.  My cousin, Marla, who is a newlywed, was trying to impress her husband by cooking him a nice, home cooked meal, chicken cordon bleu.  She was very anxious for the meal to turn out perfectly, but she had minimal cooking experience living on her own before marriage.  She jokes to this day that the only meals she knew how to prepare were cereal and microwavable pizza.  As she was preparing the chicken cordon bleu, she absentmindedly grabbed the baking pan without wearing an oven mitt and burned all of her fingertips on her right hand.

She immediately went into panic mode.  She was in severe pain and her fingers were beginning to blister.  She had just moved into her new home and did not have a first aid kit.  She frantically called my mother and inquired what she should do because she had never been in a situation similar to this.  She also called her mother and sisters for advice.  Each family member had their own version of a proper remedy for the burns, but did not want to steer her in the wrong direction.

My cousin ended up not treating her burns until she arrived at the hospital, out of fear that she would do something to worsen her condition.  Once at the hospital, a nurse immediately applied ice to her fingertips followed by an ointment, and then wrapped her fingers in bandages.  In this particular instance, the first aid app could have saved my cousin a lot of stress.  Although the app is not a substitute for proper medical training, it could have provided my cousin with proper instructions given by doctors and nurses to ease her pain before going to the hospital.

My cousin is addicted to her iPhone.  Consequently, this no cost app would have been ideal for her to access and utilize.  She would not have had to seek out a variety of theories from family members and weigh the pros and cons of each because she would have already known, thanks to the first aid app, what the best actions were to take in her situation.  Therefore, whether it is a minor medical emergency such as my newlywed cousin’s disastrous cooking experience or a more severe medical emergency, the app is a reliable source to turn to when faced with such unforeseen events.

Submitted by: Lana Pizzo

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