find serif;”>You’ve moved away from home for the first time (or are finally returning to college after a dragged-out summer), sales away from the over-protective gaze of “the Mammy, no rx ” when disaster strikes. You accidentally spill hot oil on yourself (don’t drink and fry) or cut your finger with a new knife. It’s not feasible to immediately get the next bus home, so hopefully the Mammy will have packed you off to college with a well-stocked first aid kit and a basic knowledge of first aid procedures.

The basic essentials for a first aid kit include adhesive plasters in a variation of sizes; a non-stick gauze bandage; a crepe bandage; triangular bandages; wound dressings; paper tape; a large and small Burn shield dressing; sterile eye wash; and disinfectant wipes. Ideally, it will also contain a small scissors, a number of safety pins, a (non-glass) thermometer and a tweezers. While you can purchase these items separately, many pharmacies sell fully equipped first aid kits and can advise on additional items required.

Students will also find it useful to have some medication on hand. For the relief of nausea and vomiting, motilium or a similar alternative can ease the symptoms. Arret should aid the suffering of diarrhoea, while dioralyte can be taken to replace fluids which have been lost due to diarrhoea. Sufferers of headaches and minor aches and pains may consider taking paracetamol or ibuprofen (also useful for relief of fevers). Cough and cold medication (you may wish to seek medical advice first) can be an important item for winter; while sore throat lozenges may help you escape angry glares from final years in the library due to an incessant cough.

Consumers are free to ask their pharmacist to supply them with a generic product opposed to the brand name. It is often cheaper to purchase a generic brand which contains the same strength medicine and the same quantity.

What to do if…

…you receive a small cut

  • Clean the cut with an antiseptic wipe.

  • Cover with a clean plaster. receive a more serious cut

  • Apply pressure to the cut.

  • Stop the bleeding.

  • Seek medical attention.

…you get a burn

  • Decide if it is a first, second or third degree burn.

  • A first degree burn will usually produce pain, minor swelling and redness. It is limited to the first layer of skin, and should be dry without blisters.

  • A second degree burn is more severe and involves the skin layers beneath the top layer. It will produce blisters, severe pain, and redness.

  • The most serious type of burn is a third-degree burn, the skin appears dry and there may be little pain due to nerve damage.

  • For second and third degree burns or if the burn is large, seek emergency medical care immediately.

  • For minor burns, gently flood the area with cool water for fifteen minutes, apply a burn ease gel, followed by a paraffin gauze dressing and lightly bandage the area.

…you have a hangover

  • Gulp down a Berocca Boost.

  • Suffer in silence.

  • Dread the Facebook “… has tagged 5 photos of you” notifications.

Students are advised to seek medical attention if they are in any way concerned about an injury which they have received. The Student Health Service is located on the first floor of the Student Centre Building and it can be contacted on either (01) 7163133 or (01) 7163143. General opening hours on Monday to Friday are from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and from 2 pm to 4.30 pm. Emergencies receive priority and are dealt with immediately by the doctors and nurses during normal opening hours. Students who live in on-campus accommodation may find it useful to note that Accident and Emergency at St. Vincent’s Hospital can be accessed twenty four hours a day.

Conor Fox