The aims of first aid are to save life, limit injury, ease pain and anxiety, and summon the most appropriate help available. All first-aid methods, whether they are associated with conventional medicine or complementary therapies, are based on a common-

sense approach to dealing with a serious accident or a minor scrape. Homeopathic remedies can help to relieve pain, to allay anxiety and fear, and to facilitate healing. They can be used in conjunction with any other medication.

Identifying priorities in an emergency


The most important things to do in an emergency are to keep a clear head and not to panic, to determine what the priorities are, and to act decisively and promptly. Ideally, at least one person in every household should be trained in first-aid procedures. Only once the priorities listed below have been identified should homeopathic remedies be given.

Assessing serious conditions

Make sure that you, the victim, and your surroundings are safe. Very gently shake the victim by both shoulders—without moving the neck in case of head or neck injuries— and ask a question or give a command. If there is no response, proceed with the ABC of resuscitation.

A-airway Make sure that the victim's airway is open by gently tilting the head back (see right).

B-breathing See if the chest is rising and falling, and listen and feel for breathing against your ear. If the person is not breathing, call 911 immediately. Begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if you have been trained to do so. C-circulation Look for signs of circulation such as breathing, coughing, or movement. Do this quickly and for no longer than 10 seconds. If there is neither circulation nor breathing, administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but only if you have been trained in the correct first-aid methods.

OPENING THE AIRWAY Gently tilt back the forehead and lift the jaw. Pick out any obvious obstructions in the mouth.

If a victim is unconscious, and you have already checked their airway, breathing, and circulation (see Assessing serious conditions, left) and you do not suspect serious head or spinal injuries, carefully maneuver them into a safe position (see right) and call the emergency services. Do not leave an unconscious person unattended. Check their airway, breathing, and pulse every five minutes. Make sure that they are kept warm, but that they do not become overheated. Bach Rescue Remedy. Drip 2 drops into the victim's mouth every 10 minutes until help arrives.


Check any open wounds to see if there is bleeding. If there is, apply a sterile pad and, if possible, a bandage. If there is a profuse flow of blood from the wound, call the emergency services. Place a sterile pad over the wound

OPENING THE AIRWAY Gently tilt back the forehead and lift the jaw. Pick out any obvious obstructions in the mouth.


Carefully place an unconscious casualty in the position below. This will ensure that the body will be propped in a stable position. The head is slightly lower than the body, reducing the risks of vomit being inhaled (since liquids can drain from the mouth) or the tongue being swallowed.

Leg prevents casualty from rolling onto front, Inhibiting breathing

and apply firm pressure to the area until the bleeding stops or medical help arrives. Arnica 30c every 10 minutes until the shock of injury wears off or until medical help arrives, then every 8 hours for up to 4 days.


Cool all small burns in cold water for up to 10 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap or a burn dressing. If neither is available, use a non-fluffy, clean dressing. If burns extend over an area larger than the palm of a hand, call the emergency services and carefully cover the affected parts with plastic wrap. Do not attempt to remove any pieces of clothing that may have adhered to burned skin. Do not burst blisters or apply lotion, cream, or gel to the wounds. If the victim is conscious, administer sips of water to minimize fluid loss.

Arnica 30c 3 doses only, then Cantharis 30c up to 6 doses or, if the burn continues to sting, Urtica urens 6c up to 6 doses.


Evidence of a fracture includes pain, an inability to move the affected part, visible deformity, swelling, bruising, and shock. Try


to immobilize the affected part to prevent further damage and blood loss. Bandage an arm against the chest or one leg to the other, for example. Pad out the bandages above and below the fracture so that clothes and blankets do not exert pressure on it. If the fracture is open, apply padding to each side of the bone, then cover the whole area with a sterile dressing. Apply pressure to the padding to help slow the bleeding. Call the emergency services or take the victim to hospital if the injury affects the upper limb. Arnica 30c every 10 minutes until the shock of injury wears off, then every 8 hours up to 4 days. Symphytum 6c taken subsequently every 8 hours up to 3 weeks will promote healing of the bone.


The airway may be obstructed by food, the tongue, vomit, or a foreign object, causing coughing, crying, and breathing difficulties. Check the mouth and remove any obvious obstruction. Encourage the victim to cough. If the victim cannot cough, breathe, or speak, stand behind him and wrap your arms around his waist, under his breastbone. Make a fist with one hand and hold it in your other hand, Pull sharply upward and inward five times. Repeat the slaps and pulls three times and then call 911. If the victim stops breathing, be prepared to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Aconite 30c every 10 minutes until the shock of this traumatic event wears off.


The priorities for a victim of drowning are to call 911 and then start basic life support (see Assessing serious conditions, opposite).

Electric shock

If someone has suffered an electric shock, turn off the circuit breaker or use a broom handle or dry clothing to separate the victim from the power source. Keep them away from water, which conducts electricity. Call 911 and start basic life support (see Assessing serious conditions, opposite). Look for any wounds. Lay a conscious person on their back, raise the legs slightly, and tilt the head to one side with the chin up. Place an unconscious victim in a safe position (see opposite), and cover them. Aconite 30c every minute up to 10 doses if the victim is fearful or restless. If they are yawning, desperate for air, or turning blue, Carbo veg. 30c every minute up to 10 doses.

Many homeopathic pharmacies sell basic homeopathic first-aid kits containing between 12 and 18 remedies. These represent a good start, but check the contents before buying one to ensure that it includes the remedies that you need (see below). You may be able to exchange some remedies for others. For acute first-aid complaints, you will need remedies with a 30c potency; for less acute ailments, 6c potency. (Pregnant women should not take Apis of lower potency than 30c.)


All first-aid items should be kept together, preferably in a sturdy box, and stored in a cool, dry place. Kept like this, homeopathic remedies will retain their strength for years. Every adult member of a household should know where the first-aid kit is kept, and have easy access to it, and it should always be placed well beyond the reach of young children.


These remedies for common minor injuries and illnesses make a good start-up selection, which can be added to gradually. Dosages are suitable for adults, children, and babies.

• Hypericum 30c

• Phosphorus 6c


Tinctures are used in solution for cleaning around wounds—usually 10 drops of tincture to quarts (liters) cooled, boiled water. Euphrasia in a saline solution—1 tsp salt to % cup cooled, boiled water—is used for bathing eyes.


Homeopathic remedies can be given in the same way to babies, children, and adults. Placed under the tongue, tablets or pilules dissolve quickly. For babies and small children, however, remedies made up on granules or powder may be preferable. They dissolve almost instantly and cannot be spat out. Alternatively, pilules can be crushed between two spoons.

The basic homeopathic remedies are easy and safe to take if a person is incapacitated by anxiety, fear, or restlessness, and creams, ointments, and solutions are both soothing and non-abrasive when applied to open wounds.

Homeopathic products can be used in conjunction with those of other medicinal therapies, such as herbal tinctures and creams. Aloe vera, for example, is very good for sunburn, while Bach Flower Remedies can be used to treat anxiety, fear, or restlessness.


Homeopathic creams and ointments protect against infection, soothe pain, and promote healing. Creams are absorbed more quickly and are less greasy than ointments. Arnica should not be applied to broken skin; only sterile creams and ointments should be applied to skin that is broken.

• Calendula cream

• Calendula ointment

• Hypericum ointment

• Urtica ointment


A first-aid kit should include a variety of sizes and shapes of bandages and adhesive dressings, dressings such as sterile pads and gauze, sterile eye pads, scissors, tweezers, and safety pins.

• Sterile gauze and pads

• Crepe roller bandage

• Butterfly strips

• Triangular bandage

• Adhesive dressings

• Scissors and tweezers


Cuts and grazes break the skin, allowing blood to get out and infection to get in. Surrounding and underlying tissue may also be torn and bruised.

ESSENTIAL TREATMENT Clean the wound by rinsing it under running water. Pat dry and cover with sterile gauze. Clean around the wound with a solution of calendula and hypericum (see page 271). Apply an adhesive dressing.

CAUTION If the wound becomes more painful or develops pus, seek medical help.

Cuts and grazes surrounded by moderate to severe bruising

1 Cuts and grazes that feel numb and cold but are better for applying cold compresses

1 Damage to the nerve, with shooting pains


30c every 2 hours for 6 doses, then 3 times daily up to 3 days


(see page 152)

6c every 2 hours for 6 doses, then 3 times daily up to 3 days


(see page 148) 30c every 2 hours up to 3 days


A bite can result in a puncture wound that produces little blood to wash away foreign objects or bacteria. If the wound is deep, the tissue beneath may be damaged. Snake bites may have two puncture holes, with inflammation and localized pain. If the snake is poisonous, other parts of the body may be affected. Damage to the nervous system may cause headache, vomiting, faintness, and breathing difficulties. ESSENTIAL TREATMENT With all bites except venomous snake bites, hold the wound under running water for at least five minutes. Bathe with a solution of calendula and hypericum (see page 271). Pat dry with a sterile pad, cover with a dressing, and go to the hospital. With a venomous snake bite, immobilize the victim immediately and completely, and call 911. Apply a bandage firmly above the bite, then bandage the entire limb upward to deter the spread of venom in the body. If the head of a tick is buried in the skin, make sure that the whole body is removed using sterilized tweezers. CAUTION Seek medical help for all animal and snake bites.

Bite associated with swelling, bruising, or pain

1 Area surrounding the site of a bite has bluish purple appearance

1 Site of a bite is hot, red, and swollen


(see page 37) 30c every 5 minutes up to 10 doses


(see page 152) 6c every 8 hours up to 3 days


(see page 104) 30c every 15 minutes up to 6 doses


Many insect stings cause little more than local problems unless the victim has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock: see page 206). There may be swelling, pain, and—because the skin is broken—infection. In some regions of the world, however, the stings of certain insects, fish, and jellyfish may induce breathing difficulties or a loss of consciousness (see page 270), or may even be fatal.

ESSENTIAL TREATMENT Remove a stinger by brushing it off with a fingernail or credit card and bathe the area with a calendula solution (see page 271). Do not suck out the poison. If a stinger cannot be removed, seek medical help. If a spine from a marine creature has entered the foot, immerse in as hot water as is bearable for at least 30 minutes. Take the victim to the hospital to have the spines removed.

CAUTION If a sting is in the mouth or throat, rinse with ice-cold water to prevent swelling and possible breathing difficulties, and go to the hospital immediately. If a sting produces a severe reaction, call 911 immediately.

1 Sting associated with swelling, bruising, or pain

1 Site of a sting feels cold and numb and is better for cold compresses

1 Site of a sting is hot, red, and swollen


(see page 37) 30c every 5 minutes up to 10 doses


(see page 152) 6c every 8 hours up to 3 days


(see page 104) 30c every 15 minutes up to 6 doses


Burns are caused by heat, friction, or chemicals. Scalds are caused by hot liquids.

ESSENTIAL TREATMENT Avoid touching the wound. Hold the affected area under cold, running water for up to ten minutes to reduce pain and swelling, and then cover with plastic wrap or a sterile burn dressing if available (see page 270).

CAUTION If the burned area is larger than the palm of a hand, seek medical help immediately.

Immediate shock of injury


(see page 37) 30c every 15 minutes up to 3 doses

• Blistering and searing or smarting


pain that is better for the

(see page 105)

application of cold compresses to

30c every 15 minutes

the wound

up to 6 doses

• Burn or scald that continues

Urtica urens

to sting

(see page 170)

6c every 15 minutes

up to 10 doses

• Blister burns and itches, and


is better for applying cold

(see page 105)


6c 4 times daily

until pain wears off

• Blister is red, swollen, and

Rhus tox.

extremely itchy

(see page 162)

6c 4 times daily

until pain wears off

• Pain, swelling, and stiffness


immediately after injury

(see page 37)

30c half-hourly

up to 10 doses

Pain and stiffness continues


These are bubbles containing the serum from blood. They form beneath the surface of the skin in response to friction, burns, or scalds. ESSENTIAL TREATMENT Bathe with a solution of calendula and hypericum (see page 271), and then leave exposed to the air. CAUTION Never burst a blister. If a blister is larger than 1 in (2.5 cm), seek medical help.


Sprains affect ligaments at a joint and strains affect muscles. Both are caused by overstretching, which leads to swelling, stiffness, and pain when the joint is used.

ESSENTIAL TREATMENT Support the injury in the most comfortable, raised position. Apply arnica cream and, if the affected part of the body permits, bandage firmly. Keep the injury raised and at rest. If there is swelling, apply cold compresses soaked in arnica solution (see page 271) or apply a covered ice pack. CAUTION If pain and swelling persist for more than a few hours, seek medical help.

Pain and stiffness continues


(see page 163)

6c 4 times daily until pain and stiffness wear off


A bruise is created when the smallest blood vessels—the capillaries—are broken. Blood seeps into the surrounding tissue but soon clots and seals the damaged area, thus preventing further leakage.

ESSENTIAL TREATMENT If the skin is unbroken, apply arnica cream. If the bruise is very painful and swollen, apply a covered ice pack or a cloth soaked in ice-cold water on it for ten minutes. Never apply an ice pack directly on to the skin.

CAUTION If a bruise has not faded after one week, or the amount of bruising is disproportionately large for the injury, or bruising appears for no reason, seek medical help.

• Bruising after damage to Arnica surface tissue (see page 37)

30c every 10-15 minutes up to 10 doses

• Bruising deep in a muscle, such Bellis as the quadriceps or hamstring, (see page 129) as a result of a sports injury 30c every 10-15 minutes up to 10 doses


Splinters are small pieces of wood or metal that puncture the skin. The main risk is from infection, including tetanus. ESSENTIAL TREATMENT If the splinter is protruding, remove it carefully with tweezers. If a splinter is embedded or difficult to dislodge, do not attempt to remove it. Instead, pad around it and seek medical help.

CAUTION If the wound develops pus, seek medical help.

1 Pain and tenderness remaining after a splinter has been removed, or because tiny fragments of splinter remain under the skin


(see page 97) 6c 4 times daily up to 14 days


A nosebleed is the loss of blood from the membrane lining the inside of the nose, usually occurring only on one side. Nosebleeds are common in childhood, and are usually minor and easily stopped. They may be caused by trauma to the nose or by the weakening of blood vessels as a result of blowing the nose too hard.

ESSENTIAL TREATMENT Lean over a bowl and pinch the lower part of the nose for at least ten minutes, then gradually release. If the bleeding has not stopped, repeat.

CAUTION If bleeding has not responded to self-help measures within 20 minutes, or nosebleeds keep recurring, seek medical help. If the nose bleeds following a head injury, call 911 immediately.

Nosebleed following injury

Nosebleed following violent nose blowing

Blood is very bright red and nosebleed is accompanied by nausea


(see page 37) 6c every 2 minutes up to 10 doses


6c every 2 minutes up to 10 doses


(see page 45) 6c every 2 minutes up to 10 doses


Both the surface of the eye and the outer ear canal are very delicate, and can easily be damaged by injury or the entry of a foreign object.

ESSENTIAL TREATMENT Gently wash away any dust or grit from an injured eye with cold water. Bathe the eye with a solution of calendula and hypericum (see page 271). If there is pain after the removal of a foreign object, bathe the eye with euphrasia solution (see page 271) every four hours. If there is a foreign object in the ear, such as a bee or other insect, wash out the ear with a tepid solution of calendula and hypericum.

CAUTION For serious eye injuries, always seek medical help. If a chemical has entered an eye, or there has been a penetrating wound, call 911. If an object is stuck in the ear and does not float out easily when the ear is washed out, see a doctor as soon as possible. Do not insert anything into the ear.

1 Black eye or bruising around an eye immediately after an injury

1 Black eye with persistent pain that is better for applying a cold compress or an ice pack


(see page 37) 6c every 2 hours up to 4 doses


(see page 152) 6c every 2 hours up to 10 doses

• Persistent pain after removing


a foreign object from an eye

(see page 142)

6c every 2 hours

up to 3 doses

• Persistent pain after removing


a foreign object from an ear

(see page 148)

30c half-hourly

up to 10 doses

■ Postoperative pain when a foreign object has been surgically removed from an ear


(see page 37) 30c every 4 hours up to 6 doses


Fainting is due to the temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain. It may be brought on by pain, hunger, or emotional stress. It should be differentiated from shock, which, particularly if it is caused by internal bleeding, may resemble a faint, especially if there is no obvious loss of blood.

ESSENTIAL TREATMENT A person who has fainted but is breathing normally should be placed in a safe position (see page 270) to keep the airway open. To prevent fainting—if there is nausea and unsteadiness, and the complexion is unusually pale—lie down and take deep breaths. Raise the feet to increase blood flow to the brain. Loosen tight clothing and increase ventilation in the room. CAUTION If a faint lasts for more than a few minutes, consider the possibility that the victim might be in shock and, if necessary, call 911.



• Fainting due to intense emotion


(see page 57) 6c every 5 minutes up to 10 doses

• Fainting due to a fright or shock, particularly after witnessing an accident


(see page 32) 30c every 5 minutes up to 10 doses

• Fainting due to overexcitement


(see page 50) 6c every 5 minutes up to 10 doses

• Fainting in hot, stuffy surroundings


(see page 61) 6c every 5 minutes up to 10 doses

• Fainting at the sight of blood

Nux vomica

(see page 63) 6c every 5 minutes up to 10 doses

• Nausea and chilliness

• Giddiness and fainting

• Sensation as though there is a tight band around the head

• Worse for tobacco smoke


(see page 158) 6c every 15 minutes up to 10 doses

• Giddiness and exhaustion with desire to lie down

• Sight of food induces nausea and increased salivation


(see page 124) 6c every 15 minutes up to 10 doses

• Headache at the back of the eyes or over one eye

• Chilliness and constipation

• Worse for tobacco smoke, eating, and coffee

Nux vomica

(see page 63) 6c every 15 minutes up to 10 doses

• Heat exhaustion accompanied by nausea and a severe headache that is worse for the slightest movement


(see page 42) 30c every 5 minutes up to 10 doses

• Heat exhaustion accompanied by a throbbing, bursting headache, sweaty skin, and a hot face


(see page 170) 30c every 5 minutes up to 10 doses


This ailment occurs when the balance mechanism in the inner ear is upset by motion, especially while reading or focusing on stationary objects. Travel sickness is most common among children.

ESSENTIAL TREATMENT Avoid eating greasy foods and overeating before traveling. To prevent travel sickness, begin taking the appropriate remedy one hour before starting a journey. If there is vomiting, sip water frequently to avoid dehydration. If possible, increase ventilation in the vehicle in which you are traveling. CAUTION People with insulin-dependent diabetes should be observed for hypoglycemia (see page 191) and given glucose or a sugary drink if necessar y.


This occurs in hot and humid climatic conditions and is caused by excessive fluid loss from the body

ESSENTIAL TREATMENT Lie down in a cool place. If possible, direct the flow of air from an electric fan on to your body or lie beneath a wet sheet to cool down. Sip water or other clear liquids frequently to prevent dehydration.

CAUTION If the body temperature continues to rise, call 911.

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