You may never know when an accident or emergency may occur. And you are likely to be called to offer emergency assistance, especially if you are a parent or trained personnel in charge of health and safety.
But even if you are not either of the above, it is important to be ready for any eventualities should you be called to rescue someone. Or better still, preserve life until a trained professional comes on the site.
Throughout this post, we will outline the basic first aid skills everyone should know and apply during an emergency. But first, let’s understand first aid in detail.
What is first aid?
First aid is an emergency procedure consisting of simple life-saving techniques that is administered during injury or accident. It can be performed with minimal equipment or prior medical knowledge or experience.
First aid is aimed at three major objectives:
- To preserve life: the primary aim of first aid is to save a life.
- To prevent the injury from causing further harm. Victims who have experienced an injury should be kept in a stable position so that their condition does not worsen before trained officials are on the scene. Doing this involves moving the victim away from the danger, performing first aid, and keeping them relaxed.
- Promote recovery. This may include steps like using bandages to arrest bleeding or performing CPR to revive breathing.
How to perform first aid.
The primary and common term used in understanding the first-aid procedure is ABC. This abbreviation stands for airway, breathing, and circulation. The fourth procedure will depend on the severity of the injury. Below is the breakdown of the procedures in detail.
- Airway: check and ensure the victim’s airway is clear as obstruction due to choking can be fatal.
- Breathing: after confirming if the airway is clear, check whether the victim can breathe, and if necessary, you can apply rescue breathing.
- Circulation: in case the injured person does not show any signs of breathing, the rescuer should start chest compressions and rescue breathing immediately. Doing this will promote circulation hence saves time. In less critical emergencies, the first aider needs to check for the pulse rate first.
Use of the defibrillation to the heart and dressing of severe wounds are considered the fourth step by some organizations, while others combine it with the circulation step.
As soon as the ABC process is performed, the rescuer can focus on other additional treatment options.
First aid skills everyone should know
Although everyone should learn all the skills, here are common ones that you need to know.
- Arresting bleeding
A person bleeding heavily cannot form clots easily and could bleed out. This can be stopped by applying pressure on the wound- preferably with a sterile cloth. Also, you can use pieces of T-shirt or anything on hand depending on the situation.
Check for the signs of arterial bleeding since a person with this type of bleeding could bleed out quickly and die within minutes. Arterial bleeding pulsates, and the color is usually bright red.
Nosebleeds are a common occurrence in both children and adults. It is usually caused by irritations to the mucous membranes and trauma to the nose.
Nose bleeding victims should not be made to raise their heads or lie down because this can worsen the bleeding. Instead, the rescuer should pinch the victim’s nose for as long as ten minutes to allow the broken vein to close.
- The Heimlich maneuver.
Usually confused with CPR, the Heimlich maneuver is a procedure performed to help a person who is choking from foreign materials.
If you ask the victim if they are choking due to foreign objects and they do not respond, then the situation needs to be handled as an emergency.
Stand behind the person and wrap your hands around them. Make a fist and place it on the rib cage and belly button. With your other hand over the fist, give a quick thrust upward and keep doing so until the foreign object is removed.
This technique can also help save a person’s life from choking due to foreign objects on the throat.
- Treating a shock.
Shock usually happens when there is less blood supply to the brain. A person who experienced shock may feel dizzy, disoriented, or faint. Generally, shock occurs after a severe loss of blood or body fluids. Also, it can be a result of allergic reactions, infections, accidents, or illness.
To help a victim of shock, have them lie on their backs with their legs elevated and cover them with a blanket to give them warmth. Do not give any drinks as it can lead to choking. Have the person lie on the sides if there is bleeding or vomit from the mouth and call for specialized assistance immediately.
First aid is the care provided to a sick or injured person before the presence of a skilled professional. In some instances, it can be the only help needed for the person to feel good, while in some cases, it is offered to preserve life until they get to the hospital.
First aid may range from dressing a minor wound, arresting bleeding, Heimlich maneuver to performing CPR to initiate breathing.
Ideally, it should be performed by a certified first aider, but if that is not available, anyone with basic skills can jump in and offer the ABCs of first aid and preserve life until a trained person is available.