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First Aid: Procedures, Basics and Importance

Emergency care given to an ill or injured individual is called first aid. It could be the only care someone needs in certain circumstances, while in others, it could be enough to keep the person alive until paramedics arrive to transfer him/her to the hospital. Official training in first aid is the greatest way to prepare for these situations, but until then, you can learn some fundamental life-saving techniques.

ABCs of First Aid?

A basic premise of first aid, while someone is unconscious or unresponsive, is ABC:

  1. Airway – Clear someone’s airway if they aren’t breathing.
  2. Breathing – Provide rescue breathing if the airway is clean, but they are still not breathing.
  3. Circulation – Perform chest compression’s and rescue breathing to keep blood flowing. Check the individual’s pulse to know if he/she is breathing, but are not responding. Perform chest compression’s if his/her heart has stopped.

The following is an easy version of the ABCs:

  1. Awake: If the person is not awake, try to wake them up. If he/she does not wake up, ensure someone calls paramedics and goes to Plan B.
  2. Breathing – If this is not the case, begin rescue breathing and chest compression’s. If that’s the case, proceed on to C.
  3. Continue care – Follow the directions given by a paramedic or continue to provide treatment until an ambulance comes.

3 First Aid Steps for Emergency Situations

Follow these three simple actions if you find yourself in an emergency situation:

  1. Check the scene for danger

Look for anything that could be hazardous, such as fire signals, falling debris, or aggressive people. If your safety is in jeopardy, leave the location and seek assistance. Assess the sick or injured person’s condition if the scene is safe. Don’t move them unless it’s absolutely necessary to keep them safe.

  1. Call for medical help, if needed

Tell a nearby person to phone an ambulance or the local number for emergency medical services if you feel the sick or injured person requires immediate medical attention. Make the call yourself if you’re alone.

  1. Provide care

If it is safe to do so, stay with the sick or injured individual until professional assistance arrives. Cover them in a warm blanket, console them, and attempt to maintain their quiet. Try to address any potentially life-threatening injuries they have if you have basic first aid abilities. If you believe your safety is in danger at any point during the circumstance, move away from the place or situation.

What are the Types of First Aids?

The following are the types of first aid:

First aid for burns 

Stopping the burning process is the first step in treating a burn. There are 9 chemicals that need to be cleansed. It is necessary to cut off the electricity. With running water, heat must be dissipated. Those who have sunburns should cover up or go indoors. 

A burn’s severity is determined by its depth and size: 

  • First-degree burn – Burns of the first-degree impact only the outer layer of the skin, causing redness and swelling. It’s regarded as a small burn.
  • Second-degree burn – Blistering, redness, and swelling are all symptoms of a second-degree burn, which damages two layers of skin. If the burn is more than three inches wide or is on the face, hands, feet, genitals, buttocks, or over a significant joint, it is labelled a serious burn.
  • Third-degree burn – Third-degree burns affect the deeper layers of the skin, resulting in white or blackened skin that is sometimes numb. It is always regarded as a serious burn.

CPR and AEDs

Approach the unconscious person and begin CPR if the area surrounding them appears safe. You can use hands-only CPR to assist keep someone alive until expert help arrives, even if you don’t have formal training.

Here’s how to perform hands-only CPR on an adult:

  • Place one hand on the top of the other and both hands in the middle of their chest.
  • Compress their chest repeatedly by pressing straight down at a rate of around 100 to 120 compressions each minute.
  • Compressing your chest to the beat of the Bee Gees’ ‘Staying Alive’ or Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy in Love’ can help you count at the correct rate.
  • Continue chest compressions until medical assistance arrives.

First aid for bee stings

A bee sting maybe a medical emergency for some people. Call an ambulance if someone is having an allergic response to a bee sting. Help them locate and use an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen) if they have one. Encourage them to maintain their composure until aid arrives.

When a person is stung by a bee and shows no signs of an allergic reaction, they can typically be treated at home. If the stinger is still stuck under skin, carefully scrape it out with a credit card or other flat item. Then, to relieve pain and swelling, wash the region with soap and water, and apply a cool compress for close to 10 minutes at a time. Consider applying calamine lotion or a mixture of baking soda and water to the sting location many times a day to relieve itching and pain.

First aid for nosebleed

To help a person with a nosebleed, ask him/her to do the following:

  • Take a seat and lean forward
  • Close nostrils by pressing/pinching them shut with the thumb and index finger.
  • Continue applying constant pressure for five minutes
  • Repeat until bleeding stopped
  • You can push/pinch the nostril closed for them if you have nitrile or vinyl gloves

Seek emergency medical attention if the nosebleed lasts for more than 20 minutes. If nosebleed was caused by an injury, the person should consult a doctor.

First aid for heatstroke

Heat exhaustion occurs when your body overheats. If left untreated, heat exhaustion may develop into heatstroke. This is a medical emergency with the potential to be life-threatening. Encourage someone who is overheated to take a break in a cool place. Remove any unnecessary layers of clothing and try the following to cool down their body:

  • A damp, cool, sheet should be used to cover them.
  • Place a cloth on the back of their neck with a cool, moist towel.
  • Using cool water, sponge them.

If they experience any of the following signs or symptoms of heatstroke, they should contact Apollo hospitals:

If you suspect someone is having a heart attack, call Apollo Hospitals. Assist them in finding and taking nitro-glycerine if they’ve been prescribed it. Until professional aid arrives, cover them with a blanket and calm them. Loosen any items around their chest and neck if they are having trouble breathing. If they go unconscious, then begin CPR.

Bleeding

The colour of the blood and the way it leaves the body can indicate the severity of the injury:

  • Capillaries: These are the smallest blood vessels, and bleeding from them appears as a trickle that normally stops on its own.
  • Veins: Blood that has a constant flow and is a dark red color is most likely coming from the veins. It varies in severity from minor to severe.
  • Arteries: Arteries are the largest blood veins in the body, and they transport a lot of oxygen. When they are hurt, bright crimson blood usually gushes out. This type of bleed can cause a lot of blood loss very quickly.

While it’s critical to stop the bleeding, keep in mind the ABCs of first aid and rule out anything more serious first.

If possible, wash your hands or put on disposable gloves. This can aid in the prevention of diseases such as viral hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Using water, rinse the wound. Cover the wound with a cloth (towel, blanket or clothing) or, a gauze, if needed.

Apply direct pressure to the wound to limit blood flow and stimulate clotting, which occurs when blood thickens spontaneously to prevent bleeding. Elevate the bleeding bodily portion above the heart if feasible.

Also Read About: Blood Clot in the Brain

If the cloth becomes soaked through, don’t discard it; instead, add extra layers if necessary. Removing the first layer will cause a disruption in the clotting process, resulting in additional blood loss. Apply a clean bandage once the bleeding has stopped.

Choking

Choking is a dangerous condition that may result in unconsciousness if the throat is blocked. The Heimlich manoeuvre is a sequence of abdominal thrusts that can be used to help release whatever is choking someone. Heimlich manoeuvre should be done if someone is actually choking.

Ask the person if they are choking before doing anything else. Choking does not occur when someone coughs or speaks. Proceed with the Heimlich if they are unresponsive or show any of the following indicators.

To do the Heimlich manoeuvre, follow these steps:

  • Make the individual lean slightly forward and stand behind the individual.
  • Wrap your arms around the waist of the person you’re trying to help.
  • Clench your fist and place it fist between their navel and rib cage.
  • With your other hand, grab your fist.
  • In 5 fast thrusts, pull the clenched fist backward and upward under the rib cage. Repeat it until the individual has coughed up the object from the mouth.
  • Perform thrusts around chest instead of the abdomen if the person is obese or pregnant.

Blisters

Blisters are designed to shield the wounded skin beneath from further damage as they heal. The quality of the blister and your overall health will determine whether or not it should be treated and how.

It’s preferable to let a blister alone if it’s small, unbroken, and not too painful. It should be covered to avoid rubbing, which can cause it to expand and possibly rupture. Popping a blister may allow bacteria to enter, perhaps resulting in an infection. 

Follow these instructions if the blister is large or painful:

  • Hands should be washed and needles should be sterilized with alcohol.
  • Make small punctures along the blister’s margin.
  • Push the fluid out gently.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to the affected area.
  • Apply a bandage to the wound.
  • Take precautions to shield the region from further rubbing or pressure if at all possible.

Fractures and Broken Bones

If you are in any of the following situations, call Apollo hospitals right away: 

  • The person is suffocating, unresponsive, not breathing, or has several injuries.
  • You believe you have suffered a fracture or other significant injury to your spine, head, hip, pelvis, or thigh. Only skilled medical staff should relocate the victim in this situation.
  • An open or compound fracture is a broken bone that protrudes from the skin.
  • The area below an injured joint becomes blue or feels chilly and clammy.
  • You can’t keep the injuries immobilized long enough to transport the person.

If none of these apply, get immediate medical attention or contact your healthcare practitioner for advice.

Steps to follow: 

  • Make no attempt to straighten the bone.
  • To keep a limb motionless and elevated, use a splint and padding.
  • To avoid tissue damage, place a cold pack on the injury with a barrier between it and the skin. If ice is the only option, place it in a plastic bag and cover it with a shirt or towel.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen can be used to relieve pain.

Sprains

The first step is to ensure that the injured person refrains from engaging in any unneeded activity in order to avoid aggravating the injury. Sprains don’t always necessitate immediate medical attention. However, you should seek medical attention right away if the person who has been harmed has:

  • Lot of pain with movement or touch
  • Inability to bear the weight on damaged joint for an extended period of time
  • Bruising 
  • Numbness or pins-and-needles near the sprain
  • Infection symptoms
  • If they don’t, begin first aid:
  • Maintain the limb’s stillness.
  • Apply cold pack to the affected area
  • If it is safe to do so, elevate the damaged part
  • For discomfort, use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • For additional treatment, see your healthcare practitioner as soon as possible

Frostbite

Frostbite treatment is a delicate process that involves gradually warming the damaged area. This should be performed by a medical practitioner, if possible. If that isn’t possible, or if an ambulance isn’t available, you can start first aid: 

  • It’s time to get out of the cold.
  • Immerse the affected area for 20 to 30 minutes in warm water (98 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Avoid rubbing the affected region.
  • Dry heat sources, like a heating pad or a fireplace, should not be used.
  • After your fingers and toes have warmed up, place clean cotton balls between them.
  • Wrap the area in bandages loosely.
  • For pain, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Skin-to-skin contact can also be used to warm small regions of minor frostbite. If your skin becomes hard and white, get medical attention right once.

First Aid Kit

It is a good idea to keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your home and car in case of an emergency. You can purchase ready-to-use first-aid kits or assemble your own.

You never know when basic first aid may be needed. Therefore, keep a well-stocked first-aid kit in your house and car to prepare for the unexpected. It is also a good idea to keep a first-aid kit at the office. Many first aid groups, pharmacies, and outdoor recreation retailers sell preassembled first aid kits. Alternatively, you can assemble your own first aid pack from store-bought supplies.

A standard first-aid kit should comprise the following items: 

  • Bandages with adhesive in a variety of sizes
  • Various-sized roller bandages
  • Compress treatments that absorb moisture
  • Gauze pads (sterile)
  • Cloth tape with adhesive
  • Bandages in a triangle
  • Wipes with antiseptic
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Ointment with antibiotics
  • Cream with hydrocortisone
  • Lotion with calamine
  • Gloves made of nitrile or vinyl
  • A set of safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Cold pack in a flash
  • Blanket
  • First-aid guide

First Aid Kit for Babies

If you have a baby, you may need to supplement or replace some of the items in a normal first-aid kit with infant-safe equivalents. For example, an infant acetaminophen and infant thermometer or ibuprofen, should be included in your bag. It’s also crucial to store the equipment somewhere out of reach of your child. For further information on infant-friendly first aid, consult your pediatrician or family doctor.

Conclusion

When delivering first aid, it’s critical to keep yourself safe from communicable infections and other dangers. To help you defend yourself, follow these steps:

  • Before approaching an ill or injured person, always check for dangers that could jeopardize your safety.
  • Direct contact with vomit, blood, and other bodily fluids should be avoided.
  • When treating a person with open wound or performing rescue breathing, use protective equipment such as nitrile or vinyl gloves or a breathing barrier.
  • After administering first aid, quickly wash your hands with soap and water.

Frequently asked questions

What are the five main objectives and principles of first aid? 

The five primary goals of first aid are as follows:

  • Life should be preserved.
  • Stop a sickness or injury from getting worse.
  • Promote recovery.
  • Deliver pain alleviation.
  • Keep the unconscious safe.

What are the three Ps of first aid?

There are three Ps to remember when it comes to first aid: preserve life, prevent deterioration, and promote recovery.  

  • Preserve life – Your first priority as a first responder in any crisis should be to save lives. To save the victim’s life, you may need to do CPR, control bleeding, or take other measures.
  • Prevent deterioration – Do everything you can to keep the person safe until medical help arrives. The aim is to keep the condition from getting worse and avoid any further harm.
  • Promote recovery – Your role now is to promote healing after you’ve done everything you can with first aid treatment. This can be accomplished through instilling confidence, providing comfort, and seeking to alleviate discomfort, among other things.

Should to use a tourniquet to stop bleeding?

The use of tourniquets to halt bleeding from an extremity is quite successful. They do, however, cut off circulation to the affected extremity and should only be used when all other options have failed, such as pressure dressings.

What is the first aid symbol?

The internationally recognized emblem for first aid is a white cross on a green backdrop. The aim of First Aid is to preserve life, prevent medical conditions from worsening and promote recovery by providing directions to appropriate first aid care, tools, or facilities.

What is the first aid for high blood pressure at home?

Even without medicine, there are a number of things you may do to naturally lower your blood pressure. A few ways to reduce blood pressure are:

  • Exercise
  • Reduce sodium intake
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Consume more potassium-rich foods
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Managing stress
  • Quit smoking

What is the first aid for ear pain?

  • Soak a washcloth in either cool or warm water, wring it out, and then place it over the irritated ear.
  • Place a warm, not hot, heating pad over your aching ear.
  • Over the counter ear drops with pain killers.
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Verified By Dr Paresh Kumar Jena
Senior Consultant - General Medicine & Rheumatologist, Apollo Hospitals Bhubanswar
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