Give First Aid

Edited by VisiHow, Eng

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Every now and then, a person near you may require medical attention; and, to alleviate pain, stop bleeding, prevent brain damage by giving positive pressure ventilation, or even help out a family member at the beach with a sunstroke. You can be indispensable if you help out a coworker who has suffered an injury in the workplace, and these skills can even help you to survive when you are alone. The goal of giving first aid is to provide comfort or lessen the injury or damage until the professional medical help is given.

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First Steps

First of all, it is vital to attend local first aid and CPR courses. We have an article on giving CPR on VisiHow. When you see a person in danger, assess the situation. If the person needs professional medical help, call the ambulance, and proceed to give first aid. The numbers for emergency vary from one country to another. 911 in the US, 999 in the UK, 03 in the CIS countries, etc.

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Refer to our other tutorial on how to Recognize a Seizure if the person has one. You may put a spoon in the mouth of the person to prevent choking, for example, during an epileptic seizure.

Shock

The person loses orientation, starts to feel dizzy, as there is not enough blood going to the brain. The person may have the following symptoms: paleness, sweat, cold, dizziness, restlessness, slow breathing, lose consciousness, and have a low pressure.

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  1. 1
    Put the person on his or her back.
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  2. 2
    Raise his or her feet up.
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  3. 3
    Make sure that the person is warm and comfortable.
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  4. 4
    If there is blood coming out of the mouth, place the person on the side.
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Sunstroke

Usually, but not necessarily, when a person has a heatstroke (sunstroke), the body temperature rises over 104°F (40°C). He or she may sweat and then stop, his or her heartbeat changes (weak or accelerated), rapid shallow breathing occurs, muscle start to cramp, the skin becomes hot and red, nausea or vomiting occurs. These are the first signs that are followed by the nervous system shock (vertigo, hallucinations, seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness, etc.).

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  1. 1
    Move the person to a shady or cooled place.
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  2. 2
    Try to give the person a glass of water.
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  3. 3
    Remove the clothes (at least at the torso).
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  4. 4
    If available, give the person a cold shower or bath.
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  5. 5
    Massage the skin to encourage circulation.
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  6. 6
    If loss of consciousness occurs, place the person on the side to avoid choking.
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Burns

  1. 1
    If there is a risk of being injured, move the person away from the area.
    Flames should be covered with cloth or doused with water. Watch out for electricity. The actions depend on the voltage and current employed, and might be even hitting the person with the wooden plank to free him or her from the danger or walking with small steps towards him, wearing rubber gloves and shoes.
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  2. 2
    Remove the clothing at the burnt area.
    Do not peel textile off.
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  3. 3
    Cool the area by tepid or lukewarm water.
    Keep the area under it for up to four hours.
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  4. 4
    Keep the person warm as the heat from the burn dissipates.
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  5. 5
    Assess the degree of the burns.
    First-degree burns may not require first aid. You can give the person a painkiller.
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  6. 6
    Second- and third-degree burns will require a plastic material around it as the person is transported to the hospital.
    Third-degree burns can only be treated by doctors.
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Allergy

Only mild allergies should be addressed. The symptoms may be reduced by any over-the-counter antihistamines. Severe allergies that cause anaphylactic shock should only be addressed by professionals with adrenaline.

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Bleeding

If you see a bleeding, then you need to see if it is arterial, venous, capillary, nasal, or internal.

  • Capillary bleeding needs little to no help unless the person suffers from hemophilia or Von Willebrand disease. In that case, wash the scratch, offer a homeopathic sponge, shut the wound with plaster, or glue the scratch with skin glue.
  • Venous bleeding (dark red in color) requires a plaster or bandaging after washing the wound. It is fine to apply some raw alcohol to the wound to clean it. Deeper cuts will leave the person bleeding; therefore, stop the blood by putting pressure on the wood with a clean cloth. Cover it with clean bandage.
  • Arterial bleeding (bright red in color). This is a deadly type of wound as high pressure ejects blood in spurts from the body quite fast. Apply hard pressure with a clean cloth or your hand on the wound and do not try to release it. Apply bandages on the wound if possible and push it with your hand to prevent bleeding. Add more bandages if possible. Do not bother with cleaning the wound at this point. Examine the body position and define how you can raise the wound above the body. If it is a hand, lay the person down and stretch his or her arm up to reduce blood pressure at the wound. In extreme cases when everything has been done, but the blood still spurts like a fountain, apply a tourniquet. This causes tissue damage and should be the last possible resort to stop the flow. The tourniquet should be put above the wound onto clothes. It should be put on really fast and removed slowly. The time of application is 1 hour in winter and 2 hours in summer. You can write the time of application right on the forehead of the person. As soon as the time runs out, release the tourniquet slowly for 5-10 minutes and reapply it higher a bit. However, it is recommended to complete first aid courses before attempting to apply the tourniquet, as the damage is often irreversible and the manner and the locations of application should be practiced.
  • Nasal bleeding. Bend the head forward and apply tissues to the nostrils. Put a cold object onto the nose. If the bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes, call the ambulance.
  • Internal bleeding. The person becomes frail, he feels dizzy, and his or her skin becomes pale. He might not feel pain, but he might have cold sweat and be freezing. There is weak breathing. There can be a bruise on the abdomen and it might be swollen. Transport the person in the sitting position and apply cold to the abdomen.

Breathing

  1. 1
    Choking.
    This usually when a person chokes on food. The person cannot communicate, and his or her only signals are gestures. If the person talks, encourage him to cough. Perform the Heimlich manoeuvre (you can perform it on yourself too):
    • get behind the person;
    • place your arms around his or her waist and lock them tight;
    • make a fist and put it against the area above the navel;
    • place the other hand above the fist;
    • push the stomach of the choking person towards yourself and upwards.
    • repeat until the object is expelled from the throat.
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  2. 2
    Breathing trouble.
    If you suspect someone not breathing, touch the person's shoulder and talk to the person to see if there is any response. If there is no audial or physical response, call for help. Turn the person onto his or her back and raise the chin by pressing the forehead lightly while holding the jaw. If you notice the tongue preventing breathing, you may use a spoon to remove the obstruction. Check the breathing by listening to the mouth sounds with your ear up close. Check the movement of the chest while you do that. Breath can be felt on the cheek as well. If the person breathes, then ensure that the pose is retained until professional help arrives. Otherwise, give basic life support. This is described in the next section.
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Basic Life Support

For adults, start with cardiac compression.

  1. 1
    Place your hands in the middle of the chest above the breasts, one hand pushing down the other.
    Put the pressure into the heels of your hands and direct them onto the lower part of the breastbone.
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  2. 2
    Straighten your arms.
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  3. 3
    At the rate of 100 times per minute, push down with your body weight to lower the chest by 2 inches (4-5 cm) and release the pressure.
    To help with the rhythm and tempo, count out loud to four by placing "and" in between, pushing down at each count.
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  4. 4
    Repeat the previous step 30 times.
    Then, switch to rescue breaths.
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  5. 5
    Raise the chin of the person by pressing the forehead lightly while holding the jaw.
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  6. 6
    If the mouth is not obstructed, pinch the nose of the person.
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  7. 7
    Take a deep breath and blow your air from the lungs into the mouth of the person slowly over two seconds.
    If there is no possibility to breathe into the mouth, then blow the air into the nostrils. You have to press your mouth in such a manner that air cannot escape between you and the person. The person's chest must go up as you do that. If it fails, repeat step 5.
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  8. 8
    Repeat the previous step twice.
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  9. 9
    Repeat all of the steps above until the person breathes or professional medical help arrives.
    It is important to keep the intensity and rhythm of the actions; therefore, you might require assistance of another who will either take over cardiac compression, breaths, or alternate actions with you.
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Water in Lungs

  1. 1
    Turn the head of the person to the side, allowing any water to drain from his or her mouth and nose.
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  2. 2
    Then, turn the head back to the center.
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  3. 3
    Begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation:
    strongly breathe into the mouth four times, pinching his or her nose.
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  4. 4
    Listen to the breathing and watch the chest for movement at the same time.
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  5. 5
    You can help compress the lungs by straightening the arms of the person to the sides and then bringing them to the chest.
    Alternatively follow the Basic Life Support section instructions.
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Links and References

1. "First Aid and Health Safety Training Courses", UK, http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/training-courses.aspx.

2. "First Aid Training, Australia", http://stjohn.org.au/first-aid-training.

3. "American Red Cross Programs", http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/Learn-About-Our-Programs.

4. "First Aid at Work", http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg214.pdf.

Conclusion

If you have rescued a person, have been rescued by another, or have questions about giving first aid, please leave your comment or questions in the appropriate section.

See other medical tutorials: Give CPR, Recognize a Seizure, Give PPV, and Treat a Seizure.

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Categories : Safety

Recent edits by: VisiHow

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