A scrape should be given special care in the cleaning department. First lots of soap and water, to make sure no nasty piece of gravel has become embedded. Then flush it liberally with hydrogen peroxide it will bubble and foam, but won't sting.
Let the scrape go unbandaged and keep watch for the next day or so to make certain nothing looks infected. If it looks oozy, red or puffy after 24 hours, get it to a doctor. STRAINS and SPRAINS
Runners are always spraining things, and sometimes they even break things. Stumbling over curbs or even stubbing a toe can twist a jolly jog into a nightmare of inflamed, swollen ankle or painful calf.
Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between a sprain and a break -- neither is pleasant; both cause pain and swelling in their early stages.
As Drs. Donald M. Vickery and James F. Fries recommend in their book "Take Care of Yourself," apply "RIP": rest, ice and protection.
Rest the injured part by elevating it, keeping weight off it and not using it. Apply ice immediately. For protection, an ace bandage may be wrapped around a sprained ankle, tightly, but not so tightly that it cuts off circulation. A bandage is not a cast, however, so don't try to jog (or even walk very much) on it. Sprains can cause trouble for weeks. Don't be impatient or you can cause further injury.
If after 24 hours the ankle or calf (or knee) still is too painful to bear weight, see a doctor. BURNS
Minor burns -- from touching a hot surface, for example -- can be easily soothed with cold water and the juice of an aloe vera leaf. Cover it with Neosporin ointment and a loose, no-stick bandage. More serious burns should be treated by a doctor on an emergency basis.
If the victim's clothes are on fire, wrap him in a blanket or a rug to smother the flames. Remove smoldering clothing and, until help comes, treat the burn with cool, wet towels. Do not try to pick off pieces of clothing stuck to the skin.
Children should be taught the "rule of three" if they find their clothes on fire: stop, drop and roll. Practice it with young children until they can do it routinely, even in the face of the blind panic this kind of terrifying experience inevitably produces. CHOKING There is little question that Dr. Henry J. Heim- lich has been responsible forsaving a lot of lives with the famous maneuver he developed to remove an obstruction of the windpipe. It has stirred some controversy, however, because a well-meaning klutz can break a rib or do worse damage with an ill-placed Heimlich hug. Nevertheless, it became a clear lifesaver from the moment it was introduced.
The best description of the technique comes from Heimlich's book, "Home Guide to Emergency Medical Situations." Remember that the universal sign of choking is a hand held at neck -- a choking person cannot speak. About 90 percent of reported cases have been performed from behind victims who are sitting or standing, says Heimlich, but in certain cases -- with small children or unconscious or extremely obese adults -- it can be applied when the victim is lying down. Heimlich writes:
"Standing position: Stand behind the victim.
"1. Wrap your arms around his waist.
"2. Make a fist and place the thumb side against the victim's abdomen -- slightly above the navel and below the rib cage.
"3. Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into the victim's abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Repeat several times if necessary.
"When the victim is sitting, stand or kneel behind his chair and perform the maneuver."ve ."
Heimlich and his critics emphasize that the maneuver should be performed with the hands only -- not using the strength of the arms, which might crack ribs and crush the chest. He also emphasizes the importance of keeping hands above the navel to avoid serious abdominal damage.
For infants, Heimlich recommends a modified approach, which can be performed in two ways:
"You can hold him seated in your lap. Reach around and place the index and middle fingers of both hands against the baby's abdomen, above the navel and below the rib cage. Then press into the abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Or you can place the infant face upward on a firm surface and perform the maneuver while facing him, again using index and middle fingers of both hands."
Some experts suggest you first turn the infant face down across your arm and gently slap the child's back with the other hand to dislodge the object. Heimlich notes: "Common sense tells you to be gentle when performing the maneuver on an infant."
Consult your child's pediatrician about the technique he or she recommends. Ask the doctor to teach it to you in case such an emergency ever arises.
Finally, the maneuver can be performed on yourself. Writes Heimlich: "Place the thumb side of your fist into your abdomen, below the ribs and slightly above the navel. Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into the abdomen with a quick upward thrust exactly as you would do if you were attempting to save someone else. Or you can lean your abdomen against the back or edge of a chair, sink, table, even porch rail and press against it applying pressure in the same place . . ." BITES AND STINGS, BUGS AND PLANTS
Stings from the insect family that includes bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are always painful and sometimes become medical emergencies. Yellow jackets feed on rotting vegetation and other indelicate droppings, so their stings, even when no allergy exists, require special attention and usually a tetanus shot.
A paramedic writing in a recent issue of Medical Self Care advises that tweezers not be used to remove stingers, that they be scraped off instead. Tweezers, he warns, can inject even more venom into the wound.
Ice and application of a cream or ointment containing an antihistamine usually do for minor or single bites, be it mosquito, spider or bee. More than one bite -- as in a nest of yellow jackets -- should provoke a call to the doctor and the administration of an oral antihistamime.
If there is immediate swelling, especially of eyes and mouth or any hint of difficulty in breathing, the victim should be rushed to the nearest emergency room. Allergic reactions to stings are rare, but they can produce fatal anaphylactic shock. Anyone who has ever had even a mild allergic reaction to a sting should see an allergist and probably keep a bee-sting kit available at all times. The next bite could cause serious trouble.
A word about the gypsy moth. This pest, clear and present among us this summer, is a threat not only to our oaks. It can cause allergic reactions equal to or worse than poison ivy -- rashes, welts, swelling and itching. It is also quite pretty, with brightly colored dots on its wretched back. In fact, the prettier a caterpillar is, by and large, the more toxic it may be.
Poison ivy, which is this year's biggest nuisance from our dry April, is another unpleasant rash-maker. Even if you think you're immune, you should watch out for its characteristic three-leaved vine or shrub. Immunities may disappear overnight. A simple rash can be eased by over-the-counter antihistamine or cortisone creams or ointments, but if it is oozing, better get back to a drying agent like calomine lotion. If the rash is widespread on your body, check with a doctor. And don't forget, you can get it from your pets. It won't bother them, but they can carry the invisible poison back to you. TOO HOT AND TOO COLD
By and large, exercising in hot weather is not smart, especially when it is as humid as it can get in July and Au- gust. If you feel you must keep running, be sure and drink water in enormous quantities -- and then drink some more. Dehydration is the biggest foe. For the elderly, relentless periods of heat can take their toll even without vigorous exercise. Older people without air conditioning should try to spend at least an hour or two a day during a heat wave in an air conditioned building -- a store or a public library, for example. Fans are no substitute.
It is crucial to distinguish between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Victims of heat exhaustion are often cold, clammy and either dizzy or fainting, with nausea and profuse sweating. Administering liquids -- water with a little salt -- usually helps, although a doctor should be called. Heatstroke, on the other hand, is a breakdown of the body's temperature-regulating system and may be fatal or cause permanent brain damage. The victim is very hot and red, not sweating at all, and may be unconscious or delerious. This is a major medical emergency requiring immediate professional help. Cooling the victim with ice packs to lower the temperature while waiting for an ambulance may help.
As hot as the summer may be, there are still occasions when even young, healthy people can become hypothermic, suffering from temperatures too low to survivie unless care is taken. For example, sudden rainstorms in the mountains accompanied by sudden drops in outdoor temperature can turn tanned, energetic hikers into wet, cold, shivering victims. An overturned sailboat in very cold water can produce the same result.
Experts recommend that hikers take along a thermos filled with a hot liquid -- tea or chicken soup -- and, if possible, a watertight package of dry clothes. Sharing body heat by huddling together in a sleeping bag, or in cold water in the event of a boating accident, can be life-saving as well as comforting. (Contrary to what seems logical, increased exercise in the water will dissipate even more heat. Keep together, but keep still.) POISONINGS
Never underestimate the penchant children have for putting things in their mouths, drinking things not meant for drinking, popping pills like the candies they think they are, chewing on plants and sides of cribs and wallpaper -- you name it, they'll try to eat it. Two important protections to keep at hand:
*A small bottle of syrup of ipecac, a substance that induces vomiting.
*The number of your nearest poison control center or children's hospital. In fact, never administer the ipecac until you've checked with the experts, because some poisons -- those that are caustic, as is true of many cleaning solutions -- do their worst damage coming back up.
The National Capital Poison Control Center at Georgetown University: 625-3333. CPR
Certain emergencies, especially sudden heart attacks,require the knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. This technique is taught in brief but explicit training sessions. Check with local heart associations, Red Cross chapters and fire departments for courses near you. Some paramedics are trained to give CPR instructions by telephone. A recent study has demonstrated that this technique is effective.
Get the training yourself, and better still, get your spouse, child, neighbor or best friend to get it, too.
In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of modern resuscitation techniques, the American Heart Association's D.C. chapter, in cooperation with the D.C. Fire Department, is planning a series of free CPR courses one Saturday a month, at various firehouses in the District.