Nobody knows when an emergency may strike- and when you might have to step in and save the day by offering first aid to people in need. It is essential that you know some basic first aid – some basic knowledge of first aid may somehow come handy in miraculously save someone’s life. So here are 10 basic first aid tips we should all know:
- Control excessive bleeding : if a person is bleeding excessively, their body will not be able to form a clot and he/she might bleed all out if the bleeding is not stopped. You can control the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound and raising the affected limb above the heart so as to stem the bleeding. Pressure should ideally be applied using a sterile cloth, but you can also use your t-shirt or any other cloth available to you.
Sometimes, a person bleeding out may actually be suffering from arterial bleeding, in which case the person may bleed out and die within minutes. Arterial wounds pulsate when they bleed and the blood is generally bright red. In these cases, it is imperative to stem the wound by putting pressure on the wound immediately. Keep adding pieces of cloth to the wound if you see the cloth soaking through.
- Chemical spills on the body : call for professional medical aid as soon as possible. Meanwhile, wash the victim’s body with a deluge of water with the nearest spray unit available. Remove any overlying clothes that may retain the chemical and prevent the washing of the skin. Chemical spills in the eye : immediately flush the eyes with copious amounts of water for at least 15 minutes, while seeking medical attention immediately.
- Treating shock : shock occurs when the brain is not receiving enough blood from the heart. A victim of shock may feel dizzy, faint or disoriented and their skin may also turn pale. Shock usually happens after an infection, illness, allergic reaction or after a serious loss of fluid and blood or even after an accident.
- Hypothermia Treatment : when an individual’s body turns so cold that their cold temperature drops to dangerously low levels, their brain and muscular function will be severe. Symptoms of hypothermia include bad coordination, drowsiness, uncontrollable shivering or abnormally slow breathing.
- Hyperthermia Treatment : at very high temperatures, a heat exhaustion or hyperthermia may set in. the victim may experience nausea, vomiting and dizziness apart from a throbbing headache and difficulty in vision as well as black spots in the vision.
When this happens, get the victim out of heat and under a cool shade is possible. Using a damp cloth, try bringing the victim’s temperature down. Encourage the victim to drink fluids. You only have a few minutes before the heat exhaustion turns to heat stroke, which can be fatal.
- CPR: administering a CPR is one of the most useful and important first aid skills you can learn. Place both your hands on the top of the victim’s chest and push fast and hard.
Deliver rescuer breaths with the victim’s head tilted back, pinch the nose and place your mouth on the victim’s mouth and deliver long and hard breaths, until professional aid arrives.
- The Heimlechmaneuver : the Heimlechmaneuver is a life saving trick that you absolutely must learn as when someone is choking, you only have seconds to respond. The Heimlechmaneuver is required when a person choking on a foreign object. Patting the victim on the back will not help if they are choking on a foreign object lodged in their throat.
Stand behind the victim, wrap your hands around them, place your fist between the person’s rib cage and belly button and place your other hand above the first. Give the victim a quick upward thrust. Keep doing this until the foreign object is dislodged. Knowing the Heimlech technique can actually help you save someone’s life by preventing them from choking to death.
- Making a makeshift sling or splint : injuries causing broken bones are a very common sight observed, especially during road accidents. In order to administer first aid to victims having broken bones, the key to a fast recovery is protecting the broken limb or bone and avoiding further damage by immobilizing the part that is broken or injured. Simply take any piece of cloth that is adequately long, run it behind the victim’s back and secure the broken limb in position by tying the two ends of the cloth together, hereby immobilising the limb.
- Minor burns : for minor burns, immediately cool the burn in order to soothe the pain. Hold the burned area under cool water, still; not running, for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pain eases.
Do not break the small blisters that form on the skin as these help soothe and heal the burned area. If the blisters break on their own, carefully clean the area with an antibiotic soap and cool water and cover it up with non-stick gauze bandage. Apply a cooling agent such as aloe vera gel or moisturiser over the burned area in order to provide some relief from the pain
- Stroke : a stroke can strike any person at any time. It is generally caused when any kind of blockage such as a blood clot etc. blocks the supply of blood to the brain, leading to a stroke.
The symptoms of a stroke include the following :
◦ Sudden drooping on one side of the body
◦ Severe headache
◦ Difficulty in seeing out of one or both eyes.
The symptoms of a stroke may occur suddenly or gradually and at times, you may find it difficult to tell if a person is having a stroke. In order to confirm if a person is suffering from a stroke, ask him/her to smile and if while doing so, a part of their face droops or if their arms are uneven while they raise them over their head, you can be sure that the person is suffering from a stroke.
Call for medical help and give the victim an aspirin in order to ease the blood flow through their veins.