Can You Treat These Common First Aid Emergencies?

By: Elisabeth Henderson
Estimated Completion Time
8 min
Can You Treat These Common First Aid Emergencies?
Image: Creativeye99 / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

A hike in the woods, a picnic in the park, a dinner party with friends — all of these peaceful activities can turn into an emergency in the blink of an eye. Someone can sprain an ankle, get stung by a yellowjacket, or slice their hand open while cutting an avocado. If any of these minor emergencies come to your picnic, will you know what to do? 

First aid training is all about being prepared for the unexpected. While there is no replacement for proper, in-person first aid training through a professional medical organization, people can educate themselves through valid first aid preparation sites. Be sure to check where a site draws its information from, and look for reputable sources, like the Red Cross. As you’ll find, it’s always better to find out what the current medical practices are for treating emergencies, because many common beliefs passed down over the generations have been proven to be more harmful than helpful. 

Should you pee on a jellyfish sting, place a tourniquet over a bleeding wound, or hold a steak to a black eye? If you’re not sure, you may need a refresher on which first aid practices are myths and which will effectively save a life ... or at least save the picnic. Take this quiz to see if you’re ready for the next emergency life may throw your way! 

Child nose blood If a child’s nose is dripping blood, what's the best way to stop the flow?
Lean the head back and hold the nose just above the bridge
Stuff tissue in the nose
Lean the head forward and hold the nose just below the bridge
In the event of a bloody nose (which are most often caused by nose-picking), lean the head forward and hold the nose with pressure just below the bridge and wait. Tilting the head back can cause the person to swallow blood. Stuffing the nostrils and pinching the nostrils are both ineffective and can be harmful.
Pinch the nostrils closed

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Frozen feet If you suspect that a person’s skin has been frozen by frostbite, how can you warm it up without further damage?
Place the affected body part in hot water
Warm it through skin-to-skin contact or warm water
Frostbite is a serious condition best treated by medical professionals. If you cannot get medical help in time, though, the best way to warm frostbite is to do it gradually through skin-to-skin contact or warm water no hotter than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Applying hot pads or other heat sources can burn the skin.
Place the affected body part under a blanket
Blow on it with warm air

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Bee on hand What is the best way to remove a bee stinger from the skin?
With your teeth
By scraping it with a card
With sterilized tweezers
Any way you can, just do it quickly
Many myths state that a bee stinger must be removed only in a particular way. The most important thing to focus on, though, is removing the stinger as rapidly as possible so that less venom enters the bloodstream. Get it out however you can — just do it quickly! Don’t use your teeth, though. That’s a good way to cause infection.

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Fainted man How should you immediately treat someone who has fainted?
Pass smelling salts beneath the nose
Lay them flat on their back and raise legs above heart level
When a person faints, the cause may either be of no serious concern or a sign of a serious condition. Until the cause is certain, treat it as an emergency. Lay the person on their back and raise the legs above the heart. Be sure to check breathing and pulse, and begin chest compressions and call 911 if the heart stops.
Lay them on their stomach and monitor breathing
Try to wake them with light slaps to the face

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Woman freezing If you suspect someone is suffering from hypothermia, which of these should you not do?
Call 911
Give them an alcoholic drink
Hypothermia, if left untreated, can be fatal and should be treated by medical professionals, if possible. Call 911 if someone is hypothermic. Remove wet clothes and replace them with dry clothes or blankets. Do not give a hypothermic person alcohol, as it can interfere with the body’s ability to warm itself.
Remove wet clothes
Cover them with a blanket

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Boy drinking cleaning product What can you immediately do if you suspect a child has swallowed something poisonous, like dishwasher pods?
Induce vomiting with a syrup of ipecac
Induce vomiting by placing something at the back of the throat
Remove anything you find in their mouth
If a child, or anyone else, is suspected of ingesting a poisonous item and has no symptoms, call the poison helpline immediately. Call 911 if the person is having symptoms of poisoning, like drowsiness, unconsciousness or seizures. While you wait, you can remove anything you find in the mouth and search for any sign of what the person ingested.
Make the child drink lots of water

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Diarrhea Which of the following can be helpful in treating persistent diarrhea?
Sipping small amounts of caffeine
Sipping small amounts of a rehydrating solution
If you experience persistent diarrhea as a result of gastroenteritis, take small amounts of a rehydrating beverage, like a sports drink, to prevent dehydration. Ease back into eating with simple foods, like soda crackers, and avoid dairy products, caffeine and alcohol. If diarrhea continues more than four days, stomach pain intensifies or you experience a high fever, seek medical help.
Eating cheese
Avoiding all food and beverages

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Blister If you have a blister that is not very painful and you will not be continuing the activity that caused it, what is the best thing to do for it?
Drain the liquid and cover it with gauze
Leave the blister alone
If a blister is not causing excessive pain, it is best to keep it intact so that the skin can provide a natural bandage and openings in the skin do not create the possibility for infection to enter in. If you are not continuing the activity that caused the blister, it will likely heal on its own.
Pierce the blister and place a bandaid over it
Squeeze the blister till it bursts

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Heat stroke Which of the following may be a sign of heat stroke?
Shivering
A body temperature lower than 98
Hot, dry skin or excessive sweating
Hot, dry skin or excessive sweating can both be signs of heat stroke, a potentially life-threatening condition. If someone may have heat stroke, call 911, remove them from the heat and do whatever you can to cool them down. Spraying them with water, applying cool compresses and drinking cool — but not cold — water can help.
Oddly clear thinking

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Cat biting If an animal bites you, under what conditions can you just clean it with soap and water and apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage?
As long as it is a minor bite that only breaks the skin and is not deep
Minor animal bites can be treated with simple soap, water and antibiotic ointment. Other factors, like the risk of rabies, contact with wild animals or deep punctures, require medical attention. Bites from bats can cause rabies without even leaving a mark on the skin.
Under no conditions
Only if it is a deep puncture
Only if the animal was a bat

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Black eye injury What can the appearance of dark circles around both eyes be a sign of in a black eye injury?
Too little sleep
Brain damage
Bumping heads together with someone
A skull fracture
While black eyes are typically caused by injuries that are not serious, they can sometimes point to a more severe wound. Dark circles around both eyes, sometimes called "racoon eyes," can be an indicator that the skull may be fractured.

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Jellyfish What is the most sure method to stop the pain of a jellyfish sting?
Applying vinegar to the sting
While many people swear by the pain relief offered by peeing on a jellyfish sting, the experts say that it’s not as effective as vinegar. Vinegar has a high acid content which neutralizes the venom, and urine does not always have a high acid content. You don’t want your friend to pee on you for no reason!
Applying a cold compress to the sting
Peeing on the sting
Applying alcohol to the sting

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Injured eye If you accidentally spray gasoline into your eye, what can you immediately do?
Cry it out
Flush the eye with cool water for at least 15 minutes
If you get any chemicals in your eyes, the first immediate step is to flush them out with a gentle stream of cool water. You can stand in the shower and hold your eyelids open in the stream or splash water into them from a faucet. Always remove contact lenses. Call an eye specialist to check for damage, or call 911 if any symptoms develop.
Flush the eye with a forceful stream of water
Rub the eyes until they feel better

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Black eye What is the most tried and true method of bringing down the swelling on a black eye?
Applying a cold compress
While it has been tried and true as a myth, the advice to place a frozen steak is not the best method for reducing swelling on a black eye. The steak, while nice and cold, also may be host to E. coli and other bacteria that you don’t want to introduce to the eye. A cold compress will be just fine, just don’t put ice directly on skin or press on the eye itself.
Applying a frozen steak
Applying ice directly to the skin
Pressing a cold compress directly on the eye

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Child nostril If a child has lodged a red bead up their nostril, which of the following should you not do?
Try to retrieve the object if you can’t see it clearly
If you can’t easily see it, trying to retrieve an object in the nose can cause it to become more lodged and more difficult to recover. Try gently blowing the nose to extract the object, and call for medical help if this doesn’t do the trick.
Blow the nose gently
Use tweezers to grab it if you can clearly see it
Call for medical help if you can’t retrieve the object easily

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Head injury Which of the following symptoms do not indicate that a head injury requires medical attention?
A large bump
Many head injuries can heal without a trip to the emergency room, but some symptoms show signs that you’ll want to get checked out. A large bump is a normal reaction to head trauma and does not require medical attention. For any of the other symptoms, though, a doctor should check to make sure other internal damage has not occurred.
Leaking fluid from the nose or ears
Different sized pupils
Heavy bleeding from the head or face

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Puncture wound If you suffer a puncture wound, when should you seek medical care?
No matter how deep the wound is
If the wound is from a nail
If the wound is very deep or cannot be cleaned
Puncture wounds often do not bleed very much, but they can easily lead to infections. It’s crucial to seek medical care if a wound is too deep to clean. Wounds from nails that are not too deep may heal if adequately washed and antibiotic ointment applied — as long as the person has had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years.
If the wound does not bleed very much

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Heart attack If you have not been trained in CPR, what should you do if someone’s heart has stopped beating?
Don’t do anything; just call 911
Give chest compressions
Even if you are not trained in CPR, you can still do your best to do chest compressions, and it may save someone’s life. If someone else is there, have them call 911 while you do. If not, call first, then begin CPR. The American Heart Association recommends that you do not try to give rescue breaths if you are not trained.
Give chest compressions and rescue breaths
Just give rescue breaths

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Spilled coffee If your child knocks a cup of extremely hot coffee on themself, at what point should you seek medical care for the burn?
If it starts blistering
If it is quite painful
If it is numb
If it is larger than three inches in diameter
If a person, especially a child, suffers a burn larger than three inches in diameter, they may need medical care. Numbness, pain, and even blistering are normal effects of minor burns. While painful, they can be treated carefully at home.

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Cut hand Your friend sliced her hand open while cutting a butternut squash. How should you help her clean it?
Pour alcohol over it
Pour iodine over it
Run cool water over it and wash around, but not in, the wound with soap
To clean a cut, run cool water over it for several minutes and wash around the wound with soap. Be careful not to get soap in the wound and avoid using alcohol, iodine or hydrogen peroxide in the wound as these can all be irritants. Put on an antibiotic ointment and keep an eye on the area for infection.
Wash the wound with soap and water

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Hot stove If your friend accidentally touched the stove and is howling from the pain, how can you stop the burning?
Put it under cool water
The first thing to do in the case of a burn is to take away the source of the burn. The second thing is to stop the burning by cooling down the skin. However, contrary to common myths, applying ice to a burn can be damaging, not helpful. Ice can further damage burned skin, so you should place the burn in cool water.
Put ice on it
Blow on it
Pour alcohol on it

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Hiking injury While you were out hiking deep in the woods, your friend fell down and is experiencing extreme pain in their leg, even with small movements. What can you do?
Try to straighten out the leg.
Try to get them to move their leg in small circles to restore range of motion.
Place a splint above and below the hurt area and immobilize it.
If someone experiences excruciating pain with even small movements, they likely have a broken bone. If so, they will need to see a doctor. If you can’t get immediately to a doctor, do your best to immobilize the wound with a splint. Do not move the wounded area, and definitely do not try to use it.
See if they can walk on it.

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Child with spider Your child was bitten by a spider, but you don’t know what kind it was. When should you seek medical help?
The bite begins to grow an ulcer around it.
Most spider bites can be treated at home, but a few spiders, like black widows and brown recluses, can be quite dangerous. One sign that a bite can be serious is an ulcer growing around the bite. Severe pain, nausea and vomiting are other signs to call for help.
The bite is very itchy.
The bite is red.
The child is afraid of spiders.

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Peanuts allergy Your friend, who is severely allergic to peanuts, accidentally ate peanut butter at the picnic and is starting to break out in hives. What should you do?
Give them something to drink.
Inject them with the EpiPen that you carry.
Ask if they have an EpiPen and if they want you to inject them.
If your friend is showing signs of anaphylactic shock, like hives, ask them if they have an EpiPen and if they want you to inject it. They likely know what will be best to treat their allergy. If they do not have one, call 911 immediately. Antihistamine pills are not sufficiently potent to treat anaphylactic shock.
Wait to see if their condition worsens before doing anything.

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Scratched eyes If you were out in a sandstorm and feel like your eye has been scratched from sand, what can you do to help heal?
Rub your eye to try to remove sand.
Wash out your eye with water or saline wash.
If you sense that you may have scratched your eye, you will likely need medical attention. In the meantime, you can rinse out your eye with water or saline to remove any particles that may still be irritating the eye. Do not rub the eye or try to remove anything with tweezers.
Try to remove sand with tweezers.
Drive to the hospital with your eyes closed.

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Snake in river While playing in a river, you were bitten by a snake that swam away and you didn’t see. What should you do?
Tie off the bite site with a tourniquet.
Suck out the venom.
Wait to see if the bite gets worse.
Seek medical attention, just in case.
If a snake bites you, and you’re not sure whether it's venomous, go ahead and seek medical attention. By the time you get to the hospital, you may know the bite is not deteriorating, and you won’t need to be admitted. If the bite is venomous, though, you’ll need to have help as quickly as possible. Do not use a tourniquet or try to suck out the venom, as both of these can worsen snake bites.

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Football injury Someone on your football team was hit hard on the back and is laying on the field in immense pain. What should you do to help them before the medics arrive?
Try to help them sit up to drink water.
Place towels on either side of the head to prevent motion.
If someone receives an injury to the back, it’s crucial not to move them, as this can worsen a spinal injury. Do what you can to help them stay still until professional help arrives. Do not let them try to get up.
Roll them to their side.
See if they can stand up.

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Tick in human skin If you have a tick attached to you, what is the best way to remove it?
Light a match, blow it out and use the heat to get the tick to back out.
Squeeze the skin until the tick comes out.
Pull it out with a gradual, twisting motion.
Grab the tick with tweezers and steadily pull it straight out.
Contrary to folklore, it’s not recommended to use a hot match to get a tick to back out. It works best to use tweezers to pull a tick straight out. Squeezing or twisting the tick may cause parts of the insect to get left in the skin. Check on tick bites for redness and swelling.

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Child sunburn If your child begins to show signs of sunburn while out at the beach, what should you do?
Get them out of the sun and apply a cooling lotion to the skin.
If your child shows signs of sunburn, it’s best to get them out of the sun and apply a cooling lotion, like aloe vera. Remaining in the sun can worsen sunburns. If the burn develops blisters, leave them to heal on their own, as they can prevent infection. Large blisters may require medical attention.
Apply more sunscreen and stay on the beach.
Pop any blisters that appear.
Call 911.

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Sprained ankle How quickly should you expect a sprained ankle to begin improving?
One week
Two to three days
A sprain, tears in the ligaments that hold joints and bones together, should begin to improve in two to three days. If it does not, the injury may be a fracture and not just a sprain, so you may need to seek medical attention.
Five hours
One month

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Toothless man When your child was swinging a bat, they accidentally hit you in the face and cleanly knocked out one of your teeth. What can you do?
Pick it up by the root and put it in a glass of milk.
Handle it only by the crown, clean in water for 10 seconds, and put it back in the socket.
Sometimes permanent teeth can be saved and put back in if you follow careful steps. Teeth can be cleaned for 10 seconds in water and placed back in the socket until you see your dentist. Do not touch the roots of teeth, as this can keep them from recovering.
Don’t clean it with anything and put it back in the socket.
Consider it a loss.

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Sprain What steps can you follow to encourage a sprain to heal?
Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
The acronym R.I.C.E. is advised to help a sprain heal. It stands for rest, ice, compression, elevation. Staying off of a sprain for about three days, applying ice four to eight times a day, compressing the affected area and holding it above the heart can all help speed recovery.
Recreation, Ibuprofen, Call your Friends, Exercise
Drink plenty of liquids and only allow a little weight on the sprain
Walk it out

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Electrical burn How can you tell when someone with an electrical burn should see a doctor?
When the burn blisters have puss in them
When the pain doesn’t subside after two hours
When they experience nausea
They should always see a doctor.
People who suffer electrical burns should always see a doctor. This is because electrical burns, whether from a house current, lightning or any other reason, can cause internal damage that you may not be able to see on the surface.

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Chest pain If you experience a tight pain in your chest that expands through your shoulders, what might you suspect?
You may be having appendicitis.
You may be having a heart attack.
Squeezing pain or discomfort in your chest that spreads across your back may be symptoms of a heart attack. Don’t try to work through it. Chew and swallow an aspirin and call 911.
You may need to lie down.
You may be need to do more yoga.

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Checking child mouth Your child swallowed a circular watch battery. What should you do?
Nothing, it will come out in a bowel movement.
Conduct the Heimlich maneuver on them.
Go to the hospital to have it removed immediately.
If a child (or an adult) swallows a round battery, do not wait for it to pass. These batteries can burn through internal tissues within just two hours and cause severe damage and even death. It’s imperative to get emergency medical care if one is swallowed.
Slap them on the back.

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