What is first aid?
First aid is the immediate care given to a person who meets with an injury or health emergency. It is very crucial that often comes before any medical intervention. Most of the time, first aid treatments are life-saving ones.
Unlike medical treatments, which are performed by medical practitioners, first aid treatments can be performed by anybody. This will ensure the safety of the affected person until he/she is taken to the hospital.
But you need to have a general idea of what to do. There are various types of first aid treatments available for specific health emergencies.
You need to be aware of some of the first aid treatment techniques that come as a great help in times of need.
What are the essential first aid treatments that you should know?
Unresponsive or unconscious
If you encounter a non-responsive or unconscious person, there are certain things you can do to ensure their safety. This technique is generally called the ABC method.
- Airway: First, clear the airway for the person if he is not breathing, which is the nose and esophagus.
- Breathing: If the person is not breathing even after the airway is cleared, then you need to provide rescue breathing. It is a type of breathing in which you pump air through the person’s mouth.
- Circulation: Perform rescue breathing until the person starts breathing. If the person is breathing but unresponsive, do chest compression. This will help with blood circulation
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a crucial first-aid procedure for cardiac arrests. Cardiac arrest is a health issue in which the heart stops beating. This could lead to death. Timely intervention is very crucial here.
Here is the way to perform the CPR first aid:
If you encounter a person who is troubled with cardiac arrest,
- Call an ambulance first, which is absolutely essential.
- Lay the person on his back, check if anything is stuck in the airway and remove it.
- Check if the person is breathing by putting your ear close to the person’s mouth.
- Do not proceed with CPR if the person is unconscious but breathing.
- If the person is not breathing, then start the CPR first aid.
- Place both hands, one on the other, on the person’s chest and compress it.
- Make the compression 2 inches deep at a rate of 100 times a minute. But do around 30 compressions at the same rate.
- You can combine it with rescue breathing.
- While compressing the chest, give time for it to raise fully from the compression.
To perform this better, taking a first aid course on CPR will be highly beneficial.
Many factors can cause choking, but food is the major contributor. It is a dangerous situation and can even lead to the risk of death. It is a dangerous situation and can even lead to the risk of death.
In such situations, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver. It is a string of abdominal plunges that helps in releasing the choke. Do this only if the person is troubled with choking.
Here are the steps on how to perform choking:
- Stand behind the person who suffers from choking and put your arms around their waist.
- Clench your fist near the person’s ribcage and grab your other fist.
- Now swiftly pull the clenched fist in an upward and backward motion.
- Repeat it until the choking clears up.
- Do not perform this same procedure for pregnant women and obese persons.
- For them, do the plunges around the chest instead of the abdomen.
Seeing the bleeding itself may make you anxious. Based on the colour and intensity of bleeding, you can say the level of injury.
If you spot a small trickle of blood, it will most probably come from capillaries. This small bleed will stop in a while.
If you experience the dark-coloured blood flow, then you may have had an injury in your veins. Veins carry a considerable volume of blood, and the loss of blood can be mild to severe.
But, in the event of any injury in the arteries, you’ll experience the outflow of thick red coloured blood. The blood flow is maximum in the arteries, and the blood carries oxygen along with it. This situation is a cause for concern.
Here is what to do if you experience bleeding:
- Wash your wound with water.
- Cover your wound firmly with a cotton cloth or anything that could perform this task.
- Apply maximum pressure onto it to stop the bleeding or encourage the clotting.
- Elevate the wounded area above the heart if possible.
- Once the covered cloth is soaked with blood, do not replace it. Instead, cover the area with new materials.
- Wrap the wound with a bandage once the bleeding stops.
- If you experience uncontrolled bleeding, visit the nearby hospital right away.
The first aid for burns is something that you should know. Burns can be of different types, for instance, burns due to fire, electricity and chemical burns.
Based on the severity of the burn, it is categorised under three degrees as first, second and third-degree burns. As the degree goes higher, its severity increases.
For major burns, you need immediate medical intervention. However, for less severe burns, you can perform some basic first aid treatments as follows,
- Wash the burnt area with cool water. Do not apply ice over it.
- Apply a light bandage. Preferably, apply an ointment or aloe vera over the burn.
- You can also take certain pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- If you develop any blisters, just leave them, and do not break them.
In most workplaces, they keep a first aid kit that comprises several bandages and pain relievers. In case of any light burns at your workplace, make sure to reach out to the first aid kit as soon as possible.
Blisters are often caused due to oil spillage. It is a mechanism that helps your skin to heal underneath the blisters. If it is small and not so painful, just leave it undisturbed.
However, if it is bigger, follow these steps:
- Take a sterilised needle.
- Puncture the blister lightly. Its size will reduce.
- Gently let all the fluid out of it.
- Now gently apply an antibiotic ointment around it.
- If required, cover it gently to keep you from rubbing it.
Bone fracture is a serious condition but does not require immediate medical intervention unless the injury is not severe. You can perform basic first aid for less severe fractures.
But do call an ambulance, if you come across any of the following situations:
- If a person experiences profuse bleeding and becomes unconscious.
- Fracture in the spinal cord, pelvic bones, head, thighs or hips. For these conditions, do not try to move the person to these conditions as they need to be taken care of by trained personnel.
- If a broken bone sticks out of the skin.
- If the person cannot be moved due to unbearable pain.
In such situations, wait for the ambulance and reassure the injured person that everything will be okay. This is a kind of psychological first aid. It relieves the person from mental trauma.
You can perform the following first aid techniques for less severe fractures as follows:
- Do not try to straighten the bone.
- Use some padding to keep the limb (if injured) stable and elevated.
- Apply some cold pack on the injury. Do not apply it directly over the skin. Use some cloth or sheet as a barrier in-between.
- The injured person can even take anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen.
Oftentimes, a nosebleed is caused by digital trauma, otherwise known as nose-picking. It causes nose bleeding because of low moisture content in the surrounding air. This makes your mucosa dry and paves the way for bleeding.
The other causes include:
- High altitudes
- Chemical fumes
- Allergies and cold
- Deviated septum
- Nasal polyps/tumours
- High blood pressure
- Frequently using nasal sprays
- Disorders such as Hemophilia and Leukemia
Here are some tips that you can follow as first aid for a nosebleed:
- Lean yourself a little forward.
- Gently pinch the bridge of your nose (do not pinch your nostrils).
- See if the bleeding stops after 5 minutes.
- If not, continue pinching for a little more.
- Apply something cold like a cold pack while pinching.
If the bleeding doesn’t stop, visit a doctor immediately. A nosebleed becomes a medical emergency under the following circumstances. You need immediate medical intervention if you experience any of the scenarios below
- The bleeding doesn’t stop even after 15 minutes.
- Blood loss is more.
- Having a hard time breathing.
- Swallowing and vomiting a lot of blood.
- Have a serious blow to the head
Snake bites are frightening. For those who live in urban areas. It may not be a serious worry for those who live in urban areas. The same is the case for people who live in hilly terrains and forested areas.
For such scenarios, you need to know the snake bite first aid techniques. Snakes can either be poisonous or non-poisonous. Only the poisonous snake is the cause for concern.
If possible, try to remember the appearance of the snake that bites you. So that, you can convey this to your medical staff for specialised treatments. They provide treatment based on that information.
You can perform the following snake bite first aid techniques:
- As soon as the snake bites, call the emergency staff.
- Make the bitten person lie down flat on the floor.
- Keep the wounded area below the heart level to prevent the fast flow of poisonous blood to the heart.
- Keep the person still because physical movements can spread poison to other body parts.
- Cover the wound with a bandage.
- If the bite is in the foot or leg, remove the shoes and socks.
From movies and TV shows, we may have come across some first aid treatments for snake bites. Against the common misconception, most of such techniques are baseless.
Do not perform the following things in case of snakebite:
- Cut and open the wound
- Suck out the poisonous blood
- Apply water or ice over the wound
- Make the person consume alcohol, caffeine or any medications
Seizures are nowadays more common. By knowing first aid techniques, you can help out the person who may need it.
If you happen to come across any person who is having a seizure, comfort the person and tell what happened in a non-frightening way. This is the best psychological first aid that you can do for the affected person.
Here are the ways you can help out during seizures:
- Make the person lie on the floor and turn them sideward to ease out breathing.
- Make sure no sharp objects are around the person.
- Put a pillow or soft object under the person’s head.
- Remove neckties and eyeglasses that may cause trouble.
- If the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes, call the ambulance.
To sum up
It is highly uncertain what happens to one’s health at any given time. Some health conditions need immediate first aid intervention that can be life-saving.
It becomes crucial for you to be aware of certain first aid mechanisms. Based on your family or close circle’s health conditions, you can learn respective first aid techniques.