ST JOHN AMBULANCE: Top tips on how to deal with bruises and blisters

Bruising can indicate deep injury
Bruising can indicate deep injury

St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity has teamed up with the Littlehampton Gazette to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips – this week: recognising and dealing with bruising and blisters.

Bruising is caused by bleeding into the skin or tissues beneath the skin, and can either develop rapidly or emerge a few days after injury.

Bruising can also indicate deep injury. Elderly people and those take anticoagulant (anti-clotting) drugs can bruise easily.

To reduce blood flow to the injury and reduce swelling, follow these simple steps:

• Raise and support the injured part in a comfortable position.

• Apply firm pressure to the bruise using a cold compress. Keep the compress in place for at least ten minutes.

• A cold compress can be made simply by soaking a clean flannel or towel in cold water. Wring it out lightly and fold into a pad.

Blisters occur when the skin is repeatedly rubbed against another surface or when it is exposed to heat.

The damaged area of skin leaks tissue fluid that collects under the top layer of the skin, forming a blister.

Do not burst a blister as this increases the risk of infection, follow these steps to help:

• Wash the area with clean water and rinse. Gently pat the area and surrounding skin dry with a sterile gauze pad. If it is not possible to wash the area, keep it as clean as possible

• Cover the blister with an adhesive dressing; make sure the pad of the plaster is larger than the blister. Ideally, use a blister plaster as this has a cushioned pad that provides extra protection and comfort.

• For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website {http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/default.aspx |(www.sja.org.uk)|www.sja.org.uk} offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice. For more information about first aid courses please call 0303 003 0101.

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