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  • Writer's pictureCommunity Wellbeing San Diego

Quick Protest First Aid Tips

As the current wave of daily protests against police brutality and uncertainties continues to develop across Nigeria, our attention is drawn towards the importance of protest safety. You may find yourself worried about your safety if you attend one of these demonstrations. While most things may be out of your control during these protests, there are some simple tips you can utilize to prevent common injuries sustained while protesting. Some quick first aid tips during the daily protests include:

1) Minor scrapes and bruises: Wash or sanitize your hands, apply light pressure if there’s bleeding, rinse the area with water, consider applying petroleum jelly or an antibiotic ointment, and cover it with a bandage. For a bump or bruise along with a scrape, apply ice and some light compression, if possible. Also, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, which can help keep the swelling down. If you are still experiencing pain three days later; however,

seek medical attention.

2) Sunburn: Prevention is key here. Wear light materials, face covering hats, and use sunscreen, if available. Take breaks under the shade as needed.

3) Dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke: It is not uncommon for people who march for hours outside to experience dehydration. Bringing water with you can help; however, you may not

find it easy to refill or have easy access to water during a protest. The first signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion are thirst, fatigue, and dizziness. Once you notice these symptoms in you or another person, try to take a break and drink some water, ideally in the shade. Remove any tight clothing you may be wearing or splash your face with cold water.

For signs of a heatstroke, you might notice cramps, changes in your vision, nausea, vomiting, confusion, agitation, and/or a high fever. This is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

4) Tear gas: This can cause painful symptoms such as burning, stinging, and internal and external irritation that can last up to 15-30 minutes. It is helpful to wear a mask and airtight eye protection; however, when exposed, flush the irritant out with water rather than with mixtures of water, antacids, and milk, as it is recommended to stay away from milk (it can pose a risk for eye infections).

5) Broken bones and other serious injuries: Serious injuries, like broken or fractured bones, head trauma, severe bleeding, loss of consciousness, and even gunshot wounds require immediate medical attention. Look out for those around you and get help, if needed.

The most important tip is to protest peacefully and safely.


[1] Protest First Aid Tips Street Medics Want You to Know by Sarah Jacoby,


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