Good first aid courses [ 1 ] are usually two full days of practical and theoretical studies with a concluding block of simulated situations in which you need to act quickly and clearly. As useful as the courses are, it is difficult to carve out two days in the work schedule, so this text contains the basic principles of first aid, but they in no way cancel or replace the courses.
The most common mistake of those who want to help is the wrong procedure and unnecessary initiative. The task of the person providing assistance is not to save the person, but to do everything possible so that he can wait for the doctors in relative safety. So, without a doctor, it is highly discouraged to give a person any drugs, even if they seem harmless to you or you use them yourself.
Basic algorithm for first aid
Half of the success with first aid is the correct sequence of actions [ 2 ].
First, assess the situation : the number of victims and their condition, circumstances of the incident, environment, distance from the nearest clinic or hospital. This will help you assess the risks and correctly describe the situation to the doctors.
Second and foremost, before giving first aid to injured people, make sure that there is no danger for you personally . No matter how cynical it may sound, but you will greatly help the doctors if they have to provide assistance to one person, not two.
Third – first, help those whose lives are in danger (the person does not breathe, he is unconscious, you cannot feel the pulse, you see blood gushing out in a fountain, and so on). If you don’t help these people right now, they can die within minutes. It’s good if at this moment someone else can call the rescue services while you are providing assistance.
Then help those who are in critical and serious condition, and further in descending order of severity.
If the person is breathing on their own and you do not see the threat of immediate death and do not notice injuries that can be aggravated by rolling over, then the best thing to do is to turn the victim into a safe position [ 3 ] and wait for the arrival of doctors next to him.
If the person is not breathing and there is no pulse, immediately start cardiopulmonary resuscitation and, if possible, send someone in search of a defibrillator (using it is not difficult [ 4 ] and is not dangerous).
Fourth – call the rescue services [ 5 ], [ 6 ] the unified telephone in Russia is 112. When you call, clearly and calmly inform the dispatcher:
- the number of victims;
- the severity of their condition;
- approximate age;
- exact location;
- circumstances of the incident;
- who provides assistance on the spot and how;
- How to contact you. Do not hang up until the dispatcher hangs up.
Fifth – proceed directly to help the seriously injured. In order not to get confused, remember the mnemonic rule BRATAN: safety, reaction, breath analysis, telephone 112, automatic defibrillator, chest compressions.
It’s great if you take a little time and, after reading this text, review your first aid kits: basic [ 7 ], automobile, home [ 8 ], children [ 9 ], outdoor and others [ 10 ]. They will help you in an emergency.
First aid for shortness of breath
- Make sure the person’s airway and tongue are not swelling rapidly.
- If these symptoms are present, it is anaphylactic shock.
- Call an ambulance immediately.
- Check with the victim if he has any medicine with him. Antihistamines or a prescription epinephrine pen may be found in people who are aware of their allergies.
If the person just choked and coughed, do not knock him on the back (especially important – never knock small children on the back, turning them upside down: this is fraught with a fracture of the spine), just let him clear his throat and bring water. Much more serious is the situation when a person frantically tries to breathe, but is silent. This means that the foreign body has blocked the airways and it is necessary to perform the Heimlich maneuver (except for pregnant women). If you’re choking on your own, you can do the Heimlich maneuver to yourself.
First aid for burns
- For non-chemical burns [ 11 ] cool the burned surface as soon as possible under ice water until it feels lighter, for at least ten minutes (be careful: if the burn area is very high, hypothermia is possible).
- If the burns are very severe (or are on the face, arms, and legs), call an ambulance.
- While cooling the damaged part of the body, carefully remove clothing and jewelry if possible and the fabric does not stick to the burn.
- Cover the burn with cling film or any other clean, non-fluffy, smooth material.
- Never smear oil, greasy creams or lotions on a burned part of the body: they create a film on the surface of the burn, which does not allow it to cool down.
In case of sunburn [ 12 ], cool the surface, take pain reliever, apply softening lotion or aloe vera gel over the affected area and drink plenty of water.
Never open blisters from burns – injured tissue is especially susceptible to infection.
First aid for stroke
The sooner assistance is provided for a stroke, the lower the likelihood of complications. It is very important to notice the first signs [ 14 ]: ask the person to smile and stick out his tongue (if the smile is asymmetrical or not at all, and the tongue is crooked is an alarming symptom), ask to raise both hands (if they or one of them does not obey, this is a reason for excitement), state your name, today’s date and year (a person with a stroke will answer incorrectly or speech will be confused). If symptoms are present, call an ambulance immediately. Before the arrival of doctors, the patient should be laid on a horizontal surface, unbuttoned clothes, remove dentures (if any) and ensure the flow of fresh air into the room.
First aid for bleeding
- Estimate the amount of blood loss.
- If bleeding is severe, call an ambulance immediately.
- Make sure the airway is clear.
- Wear gloves and a face shield, if you have one.
- Check if there are any foreign objects or stuck clothes in the wound, if there is something, do not push on this object or pull it out.
- If the wound is empty, press down on the wound with a gloved hand or sterile tissue until the bleeding stops.
- Bandage the wound tightly.
- If bleeding continues, apply another bandage without removing the first one and apply pressure.
- If a body part (such as a finger) has come off your body, carefully place it in a plastic bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. Then wrap in clothes and place in a container with ice (it is important that the part of the body itself does not come into contact with the ice).
- See a doctor immediately.
First aid for a heart attack
- Check if the victim has symptoms of a heart attack: pain in the central part of the chest, a feeling of pressure and compression behind the sternum, pain radiating from the heart to other parts of the body.
- Call an ambulance and inform that the patient has a suspected heart attack.
- Check with the patient if he is taking heart medications and if he has them with him.
- Place the person in a comfortable position. Check constantly to see if his condition worsens.
- If the person loses consciousness, open their airways and begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Use an external defibrillator if available.
- Remember that a heart attack can also occur without prior symptoms [ 15 ]. If this is the case, call an ambulance immediately and begin CPR.
First aid for poisoning
- Establish what and in what quantity the person was poisoned, and immediately call an ambulance, giving her all the information [ 16 ].
- Do not give the person food or drink until the medics arrive, unless the ambulance dispatcher tells you to do so.
- Do not try to induce vomiting. Do not attempt mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to avoid the toxin entering your body. If the person has vomited, collect vomit for doctors – this will help determine the cause of the poisoning.
- Do not leave the person alone: vomiting may begin, due to which the person will choke.
- Pay attention to the person’s condition and watch for red flags: loss of consciousness, extraordinary agitation, difficulty breathing, seizures, lethargy and lethargy.
- While you wait for the medics, remove whatever is left in the person’s mouth. If the poisoning happened with something that has a label on it, read the instructions on what to do in case of poisoning.
- Rinse the affected skin, eyes and hands thoroughly if toxin gets into them. Wear gloves.
- If the person is not breathing and is unconscious, start CPR.
- If your child has swallowed a battery, your task is to take an X-ray as quickly as possible, within an hour and a half, to determine the location of the battery. If it gets stuck in the esophagus, it will quickly provoke a chemical burn. In this case, doctors must pull it out [ 16 ].
In case of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is necessary to remove the victim to fresh air [ 17 ].
First aid for epilepsy
Seizures most often occur with epilepsy, but there can be many reasons: alcohol poisoning, trauma, hypoglycemia, and others. If the person has an epileptic seizure, remember the three Ss: Stay, Safe, Side.
- Stay with the person until the seizure ends.
- Provide him with a safe environment.
- Lay it on its side to prevent injury.
- Remove and put away anything that could injure him: jewelry, glasses, heavy or sharp objects.
- Loosen clothing collar, tie, belt.
- Place folded clothing under your head.
Call an ambulance if:
- these are the first convulsions in a person’s life;
- seizures last longer than five minutes;
- the person is breathing heavily or has difficulty walking after seizures;
- convulsions go one by one;
- this is a pregnant woman;
- the victim has diabetes or other underlying medical conditions;
- convulsions happened in water;
- the person was injured during seizures.