First aid is emergency assistance given to a person suffering from a minor or severe illness or injury before the arrival of emergency services. The care is provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, and recover the patient.
Fast Facts on First Aid
First aid is not classified as medical treatment and does not replace interventions from a trained professional.
In first aid, ABC stands for airway, breathing, and circulation.
The recovery position is critical as it helps minimize further injury.
How to practice first aid?
ABC (airway, breathing, and circulation) is the most common term referred to in first aid. These steps help in carrying out first aid effectively.
Airway: Make sure the airway is clear as choking that results from the obstruction of airways, can be fatal.
Breathing: Once the airway is clear, check whether the person can breathe, and, if necessary, provide rescue breathing.
Circulation: If the person is found to have breathing difficulty, you should go straight for chest compressions and rescue breathing as it promotes circulation. In emergencies that are not life-threatening, you should check the pulse.
Basic First Aid Procedures
1. CARDIAC ARREST
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the most important medical procedure performed during cardiac arrest. If a person is in cardiac arrest and CPR is not performed, chances are that the person would die.
You can start by learning the basics of CPR. It is easy to learn and remember. The basic CPR steps include:
Before giving CPR
Make sure the person is safe, then tap the person on the shoulder and ask “Are you OK?” to ensure if the person needs help.
Call for assistance
Open the airway. With the person lying on his or her back, tilt the head back slightly to lift the chin.
Check for breathing. Listen carefully, for no more than 10 seconds, for sounds of breathing. If there is no breathing, begin CPR.
Step 1 – Place your hands, one on top of the other, in the middle of the chest and push hard. Use your body weight to administer compressions (2 inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute).
Step 2 – Deliver rescue breaths by tilting the person’s head back slightly and the chin lifted, pinch the nose shut, and place your mouth over the person’s mouth to make a complete seal. Blow into the person’s mouth to make the chest rise.
Deliver two rescue breaths, then continue compressions.
Step 3 – Continue CPR steps. Keep performing cycles of chest compressions and breathing until the person starts breathing or a medical professional arrives on the scene.
Regardless of how severe the bleeding is, almost all bleeding can be controlled. Mild bleeding will usually stop on its own. If severe bleeding is not controlled, it may lead to shock and eventually, death.
Follow these steps to stop bleeding-
Cover the wound with a gauze or a cloth and apply direct pressure to stop the blood flow.
Don’t remove the cloth as it helps the formation of clots to stop the flow; add more layers if required.
Mostly avoid applying a tourniquet as it does more damage to the limb than good.
Few guidelines also discount the value of elevation and using pressure points.
No matter what caused the burns or how bad they are, stopping the burn comes before treating the burn.
Clean off the chemicals, turn off the electricity, and cool down the heat with running water.
The severity of a burn is based on depth and size.
Follow these first aid steps for burns:
Flush the burned area with cool running water for several minutes. Do not use ice.
Apply a light gauze bandage.
Do not apply ointments, butter, or oily remedies to the burn.
Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief if necessary.
Do not break/try touching any blisters that may have formed.
All extremity injuries should be treated as broken bones or fractures until an X-ray can be obtained.
Follow these steps for a suspected fracture:
Don’t try to straighten it.
Stabilize the limb using a splint and padding to keep it immobile.
Put a cold pack on the injury, avoiding placing ice directly on the skin.
Elevate the extremity.
Give anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen.
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