Student Health Center

Tiger Tips on First Aid


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Bumps and bruises (contusions) are caused by a direct blow to the soft tissue, which in most cases will produce swelling, discoloration and pain.

Signs and Symptoms
  • Pain and tenderness over the site
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration- “ black and blue”
  • Localized warmth of tissue and redness
  • Possible muscle spasm or limitation of movement
    at the site

Bumps and bruises may be signs of more serious injury.


  • Ice
    Apply ice to the area for 20 minutes then take it off for 20
    minutes. Continue to do this as often as possible during the
    first 72 hours after the injury.
  • Compression
    Wrap the affected area firmly but not too tightly with
    an ace bandage or elastic wrap.
  • Elevation
    Raise the injured area higher than heart level to decrease
    swelling that may occur as the result of the injury.

General Care

  • Check the pulse of the injured limb below the injury site.
    If no pulse is found, seek emergency help.
  • Check the healing process. Severe bruises may be a sign of
    more serious internal injury.


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Burns occur when skin is damaged by excessive heat, irritating
chemicals or electricity. How severe the burn is depends on the
temperature of the object or substance causing the burn, how long
it has contact with the skin, the location and extent of the burn and
the person’s age and medical condition.

First Aid Treatment

The aims of burn care are to relieve pain, prevent infection or control infection, and promote healing with adequate nutrition.

Degrees of Severity        Healing
1st Degree  
  • Skin red, dry, warm
  • Usually painful
  • Occasionally swollen
  • Will usually heal without problems
  • If skin becomes very dry, unscented moisturizers like Vaseline or Eucerin may be used
2nd Degree  
  • Skin red and has some blisters
  • Skin may appear wet if the blisters are open
  • Usually painful
  • Area often swells
  • Protect blisters from opening and becoming infected
  • Large blistered areas should be checked by SHC
  • Special burn creams which protect the skin from infection may be used
3rd Degree  
  • Burns through skin and structures below skin
  • Burns may look brown or charred
  • May be very painful or relatively painless
  • Can be life-threatening
  • Should be checked by SHC
  • Most likely to cause problems with scarring and infection

Burns that affect more than 15% of the body surface are medical emergencies; immediate emergency help should be sought.

General Care for All Burns

Cool the burned area immediately with lots of cool water. Do not
use ice or ice water except on small burns. Apply wet cloths to an
area that cannot be immersed.

Pain can usually be relieved by analgesics such as aspirin,
acetaminophen, or by ibuprofen.

A tetanus booster should be given if it has been more than 5 years
since the last booster.

A nutritious diet with adequate calories, protein and vitamins will
promote skin healing.

Special Cases

Shock—A person who is going into shock will look pale, clammy,
have a weak, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, and be restless. Have the person lie flat and raise their feet. Keep the person as comfortable as possible and seek emergency help.

Electrical injury—Electrical currents may interfere with normal
heartbeat or breathing. If you notice any abnormalities, seek
emergency help.

Chemical burns—Most chemicals should be flushed from the skin
immediately, using large amounts of water or by following
directions on containers for neutralizing or removing the chemical.


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A cold is an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract with
inflammation of any or all of the following: nose, sinuses, throat,
vocal cords and bronchi. There is usually no fever.

Colds spread easily in closed areas such as classrooms and dorms.
They are spread by droplets (little particles when you cough or
sneeze) and by hand to hand contact. Although going out in the
cold Rochester weather without a hat won’t bring on a cold, you
may be more at risk to get an infection if you are very tired or
under stress.

Signs and Symptoms
  • Throat discomfort
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose with watery drainage
  • Feeling tired
  • Cough and hoarseness
  • Usually resolve in 7-10 days

General Care

  • Rest
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil) for discomfort
  • Fluids (anything you enjoy except alcohol)
  • Nasal decongestants (sudafed) for stuffy nose

Antihistamines (allergy medicine) are of little use with colds.

Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infection (like strep) and not against colds.


  • Wash your hands frequently and after everytime
    you sneeze, blow your nose, etc.
  • Get enough rest for your body’s needs.
  • Don’t share cups, dishes and silverware
    with anyone.
  • If you smoke, quit, if you don’t, DON’T start!
    Smokers have less effective ways to fight
    colds due to smokes’ effects on the respiratory tract.
  • If you have a chronic illness, you should probably
    get a flu shot in the Fall. Come to SHC and ask
    about it.

Come to SHC for:

  • Temperature over 101 for 2 days that is not relieved
    by Acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Very sore throat and swollen glands.
  • Difficulty catching your breath.
  • Asthma or other respiratory disease.


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Contact dermatitis is a rash caused by substances in contact with
the skin. Commonly known irritants are poison ivy or poison oak.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Redness of skin
  • Itching
  • Blister formation
  • Usually limited to site of contact

General Care

  • Cool, moist compresses will help to decrease itching
    and swelling.
  • Antihistamines (like benadryl) over-the-counter may
    help to reduce itching and may help with sleep.
  • For more severe or extensive rashes prescription
    medications may be required.


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A cut or scrape is a break in the skin that can result in loss of blood
and could lead to infection. Cuts and scrapes are divided into
different categories based on the kind of injury that has occurred.
Kinds of Cuts and Scrapes

Abrasions—Skin is rubbed or scraped away.

  • Tend to be painful (burning pain)
  • Little bleeding, oozing or weeping
  • May contain debris or particles that might cause

Lacerations—A cut, usually from a sharp object

  • May have either smooth or jagged edges
  • Deep lacerations can damage nerves or
    blood vessels
  • Can bleed heavily

Puncture wound—Skin is pierced with a pointed object, such as a
nail, piece of glass or splinter.

  • External bleeding is usually not severe
  • Internal bleeding might be severe
  • There is likelihood of infection

Avulsion—A portion of the skin and sometimes other soft tissue is
partially or completely torn away.

  • Bleeding is usually significant
  • Often the severed tissue can be reattached
  • Wrap tissue in sterile gauze or clean cloth, put in
    bag and place on ice

General Care

  • Control bleeding by direct pressure on the wound. Use a
    protective barrier whenever possible. If blood soaks
    through pressure dressing, add more pads. Do not
    remove any blood-soaked pads.
  • Elevate the injured part above the level of the heart if
  • A tetanus booster may be necessary for large or dirty

As wound heals, watch for signs of infection:

  • Redness spreading from around the wound edges
  • Increasing pain or soreness in the area, especially
    throbbing pain
  • Heat or warmth to the skin when compared to
    surrounding skin
  • Swelling
  • Pus
  • Red streaks or blotches
  • Fever
  • General sick feeling

Wounds Requiring Medical Attention

  • Bleeding that cannot be controlled
  • Deep injuries
  • Injuries caused by dirty objects
  • Large or deeply embedded objects
  • Human or animal bites
  • Wounds that may cause a noticeable scar
  • Injury to the eye, eyelid, or lip
  • Any injury where healing is in doubt
  • Any wound where infection may be or is present


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Injuries to the eye can involve the bone and tissue surrounding the
eye and eyeball. Blunt objects, such as a fist, may injure the eye area; or a smaller object may penetrate the eyeball. Foreign bodies in the eye, such as dirt, sand, or slivers of wood or metal are irritating and can cause damage.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Eye produces tears in an attempt to flush out object
    or irritation
  • May be very painful
  • There may be difficulty opening the eye
  • Light may irritate eye
  • Object may be visible in eye

General Care

Foreign Body in the Eye

  • Blink several times
  • Gently flush eye with water

    (If object remains, call SHC or Campus Safety)

Chemical in the Eye

  • Wash with water, for at least 15 minutes, flushing from nose outward

    (Call SHC or Campus Safety)

Injury to Eyeball

  • Never put pressure on eyeball
  • Do not attempt to remove any objects that have entered the eyeball
  • Lie down on your back
  • Place a clean cloth or sterile dressing over the eye or around the object
  • Close and cover the unaffected eye to keep blood, fluid or dirt from entering and also to decrease eye movement

    (Call SHC or Campus Safety)

Blow to the Eye

  • Apply cold compresses immediately and
    continuously for 20 minutes

    (Call SHC or Campus Safety if eye discolors, pain persists, vision is impaired, or there is obvious bleeding in or around the eye area.)


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Frostbite is the most common injury caused by exposure to cold. Ice
crystals form in body tissues (usually the nose, ears, chin, cheeks
and fingers) limiting blood flow to the injured part. This can
cause severe damage to the affected area and can have serious

Signs and Symptoms

  • Lack of feeling in the affected area
  • Skin is cold to touch and appears waxy
  • Skin is discolored - flushed, white, yellow, blue

    (Frostbite can be a serious problem requiring a surgical referral.

First Aid Treatment

  • Cover affected area
  • Handle area gently
  • Never rub affected area
  • Gently warm area - do not apply strong heat (hot water, hot instruments)
  • Avoid breaking blisters

    (Come to SHC or call Campus Safety


  • Wear hats, ear muffs and mittens during cold weather.
  • Keep feet dry by wearing waterproof boots during harsh
    Rochester winters.
  • Use a scarf over your face on the windy quarter mile.


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On hot, still, humid Rochester days anyone may be affected by the
heat. People who are more sensitive to the heat include the very
young and old, those who are overweight, athletes and people who work in hot places. Heat emergencies are divided into categories based on the seriousness of the situation.

Degrees of Severity Signs and Symptoms
Heat Stroke
(Medical Emergency)
  • Hot dry, red skin
  • High body temperature
  • Fast, weak pulse and fast,
    shallow breathing
  • Progressive loss of
Heat Exhaustion
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Skin can either be
    red or pale
  • Heavy sweating
  • Large pupils
  • Headache, nausea,
    dizziness, weakness
  • Normal or above normal
    body temperature
Heat Cramps
  • Muscle twitching, cramps
    and spasms
  • Profuse sweating

General Care

  • Get the person out of the heat.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths or immerse in cool water.
  • If conscious, offer water - 1/2 glass every 15 minutes for at least an hour.Call SHC or Campus Safety.

Call SHC or Campus Safety.


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Insect stings are very common, but rarely fatal. Fewer than 100
reported deaths occur each year. Some people do have severe
allergic reactions to an insect sting that can result in a life -
threatening condition called anaphylaxis.

Signs and Symptoms
  • Local pain, itching, redness and swelling
  • Heat around the area of the bite

Allergic Reaction:

  • Hives, severe itching appears
  • Possible nausea, weakness, vomiting or dizziness
  • Breathing difficulty - coughing or wheezing

General Care

  • Scrape the stinger with an object like a credit card. Do
    not squeeze with tweezers, since putting pressure on the
    venom sack can cause further problems.
  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • Apply ice or cold pack.

If an allergic reaction occurs, call SHC or Campus safety.


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Injuries to the nose, changes in humidity and colds can often result
in nose bleeds. The dry air in the dorms and apartments often
causes this kind of problem.

Signs and Symptoms
  • Bleeding from the nose
  • Little pain, if any

General Care

  • Have the person sit down and lean forward with chin to chest.
  • Pinch nose.
  • If bleeding continues, apply ice pack to the bridge of the nose.
  • Once bleeding has been controlled, avoid rubbing, blowing or picking the nose since this may restart bleeding.
  • Later apply a little petroleum jelly inside the nostril
    to keep it moist.

If bleeding continues, call SHC or Campus Safety.


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A sprain is the partial or complete tearing of ligaments and other
tissues at a joint. Severity can range from a mild sprain to a major
injury which may tear the ligament and require surgery.
Degrees of Severity Signs and Symptoms
  • Mild tenderness
  • Minimal swelling
  • Mild pain with movement
  • Tenderness to touch, extreme pain
  • Swelling
  • Looseness in joint, possible deformity

A strain is stretching and tearing of muscles or tendon fibers.
Severity can range from a mild strain to a more serious injury.

Degrees of Severity Signs and Symptoms
  • Soreness
  • Tightness
  • Little loss of function
  • Extreme Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Deformity and inability to use the affected limb

General Care : “A-RICE”

A = Anti-inflammatory medicines: aspirin or ibuprofen (advil) may
help the pain and help the injury to heal faster by reducing

R= Rest: minimize or entirely avoid use of the injured area to allow
for healing.

I=Ice: apply ice or cold compresses 20 minutes every hour. This will
help to reduce/control swelling and pain.

C=Compression: use of an elastic bandage will help prevent
swelling and limit movement to help rest the area.

E=Elevation: when possible, keep affected part higher than the level of the heart to reduce and prevent swelling.

For more severe sprains or strains, keep the person still and call
SHC or Campus Safety.


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Inflammation of the skin caused by overexposure to the
sun—which believe it or not may actually occur in Rochester!

Signs and Symptoms
  • Redness of the skin in areas that have been sun exposed
  • Painful
  • May involve blisters, peeling and swelling

General Care

  • Cool, moist cloths.
  • Unscented moisturizing creams like Eucerin to reddened areas only.
  • Avoid breaking blisters.
  • Avoid ointments which are heavy and prevent skin healing.
  • Drink lots of water to replace any fluids lost through perspiration.


  • Use suntan lotions with SPF 15 or higher at least 1/2 hour BEFORE sun exposure. Reapply often.
  • Avoid sun exposure between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M.
  • Wear sunglasses with at least 90% blockage of ultraviolet rays.



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