We could live without medicine but not without water. Water is best for human use when it is safe enough for drinking and food preparation. Many illnesses can be nipped in the bud or managed with water before seeing a health care provider.
Some simple ways of using water in first aid are:
1. Drinking plenty of Water
• Diarrhea– this is the passage of loose watery stool. Water replenishes the excessive water loss from the body (dehydration).
• Illnesses with fever – adequate body fluid is required to maintain normal functioning.
• Constipation, hard stools – water helps to keep your stool soft and easy to pass out.
2. Tepid sponging (wiping the body with wet cloth , sponge) or a bath
• High temperature (fever) – exposure to cool water helps to reduce body temperature.
• Minor burns – holding the affected part in cool water for at least 10 minutes would reduce further tissue damage. Avoid use of ice for burns, it would cause more harm.
3. Gargle with warm salt water
• Sore throat or tonsillitis – add one tea spoon of salt in a glass of water (about 240ml). Gargle with the solution at least once each hour. It soothes the throat and reduces the swelling caused by microorganisms.
4. Flood eye with water
• Irritant (foreign body) in the eye– your first instinct may be to rub the eyes, please don’t. Instead allow your tears to flow in response or flood with clean water.
• Chemical in the eye– rinse immediately with water for at least 15 minutes. This would prevent further damage to the eye before expert medical attention.
5. Steam inhalation (breathing in/inhaling hot water vapor)
• Respiratory tract problems like cough productive of phlegm, bronchiolitis and asthma- inhalation of hot water vapor can help loosen the mucus and clear the airway. Although this practice is being discouraged due to danger of hot water accidents. It’s preferably done under supervision and over a stable sink of hot water.
6. Cold Compress
• Cold sores or fever blisters– hold ice on blister for 1 hour at first sign. This reduces duration of blister and enhances healing.
• Bruise– Put Ice on the area for about 15 minutes on and off for the first 24-48 hours. It reduces swelling and cools the tissue.
7. Hot Compress
• Sore joints, stiff sore muscles– you can use warm, damp towel to gently massage the affected area. It can help relax tight muscles, sooth aching joints and increase flexibility.
Water in various forms when used properly can do a lot of good. It is important to see your doctor after the first aid procedure or if symptoms persist.