Thursday, 15 November 2012

[] Basics of First Aid

First aid is the initial medical care administered to a person who is injured or sick until definitive medical care arrives. Preliminary medical care can save the injured or sick person from severe medical trauma and even possible life-threatening situations, working on the concept that "a stitch in time saves nine  
Why first aid 
First aid mainly seeks to save life, to prevent further risk and to aid quick recovery. A person trained in first aid can turn into a life saver in various situations. First aid can be administered to a person who has been rescued from drowning to open his respiratory tract and facilitate breathing; it can be administered to victims of accidents in order to stop profuse bleeding until proper medical help arrives. First aid also helps in quick recovery in case of burns as it mainly reduce the tissue damage and helps in facilitate the process of new tissue production.
Common first aid procedures
In many life-threatening situations, it is preferable for the person attempting to give first aid to have professional training. Unfortunately, emergencies do not come with a notice and we are often caught off-guard. Thankfully, there are a few procedures we can sensibly execute without having to undergo professional training.
Heavy loss of blood can cause severe complications and can prove to be fatal if proper first aid is not given.
  • Simple bleeding due to small cuts can be stopped by cleaning the wound and applying a bandage.
  • Deeper cuts, like cuts to veins (which are indicated by dark-coloured blood) can be attended to by applying pressure on the wound and then wrapping the wound tightly with a bandage and cotton. To prevent further bleeding, the pressure on the wound needs to be upheld until proper medical help arrives.
There are three levels of burns: normal burns (first degree), moderate burns (second degree) and extreme burns (third degree). In each case, first aid plays an important role in relief and speedy recovery.
  • For minor burns (i.e. if the affected area is 3 inches or less), the burned area must be placed under the stream of cool water or in bucket full of cool water. (Never place ice on the wound).
  • Place sterile gauze on the burned area (never use cotton!) to protect the blistered skin and prevent further tissue damage.
  • Give pain killers if the burned person is an adult and is experiencing extreme pain.
  • For third degree burns, do not remove the person's clothing. Cover the burns with a sterile bandage which is cool and moist. Call the nearest hospital for immediate medical help. Every second of delay causes irreversible damage.
A shock is a condition in which the person becomes immobile and unresponsive due to profuse bleeding or electric shock. As such, the heart stops beating and subsequently, stops sending blood to brain.
  • To revive the person, he/she should be made to lie on the floor on his/her back, preferably with feet raised in order to facilitate blood circulation to the brain.
  • CPR must be done if the person stops breathing (however, this requires a know-how of mouth-to-mouth breathing)
  • Wrap the person in a blanket and keep him/her warm by rubbing the feet and hands.
  • If the person is vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, tilt the person to one side to prevent choking.
Breathing problems
If a person stops breathing due to water entering the lungs or foreign objects obstructing the respiratory tract (choking), first aid plays an important role in recuperating the person. However, the procedure requires a thorough knowledge of first aid and anybody attempting to administer first aid to such a person should preferably be trained. One faulty step by an amateur can make things worse and prove to be fatal.
  • If there is solid food, foreign object or exces water obstructing the respiratory tract, the "five and five" approach is taken. This involves giving 5 blows to the back (between the person's shoulders blades with the bottom of the palm) and 5 abdominal thrusts (Heimlich manoeuvre). Abdominal thrusts remove respiratory blockage as well as water from the chest cavity in a drowned person. This manoeuvre is done by standing behind the person and wrapping the arms around the person's waist (avoiding the ribs) and tipping the person slightly forward. Make a fist with one hand and place it above the person's navel. Grasp the fist and make upward thrusts, as though lifting the person. These thrusts are made in 5 consecutive cycles and cycles are repeated if the blockage is still present.
  • If the person is unconscious due to suffocation caused by blockage, lower the person on his/her back on the floor and remove the blockage with fingers (care should be taken not to push the blockage deep into airway).
  • After the blockage or water is removed from the chest, an important procedure called Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) should be performed. To perform CPR, place one hand on the chest where the lower ribs meet the breast. Then, place the other hand on top of this one. Start thrusting the chest in an orderly fashion 15 times. Later, tilt the chin up and give 2 slow breaths in the person's mouth. This procedure should continue until the person starts breathing and a pulse is felt.
First aid kit
One does not have to be a medical professional to carry a first aid kit. It is a very important component in every household, office, risk areas like industries, and persona; and public vehicles (cars, buses and motorcycles). Build yourself a first aid kit and make sure you are ready for emergencies, whether they involve you or others. Your kit should have equipment to tackle all injuries and wounds. A typical first aid kit would include adhesive bandages, gauze, low-grade disinfectant and regular strength pain medications.
What not to do in first aid
  • First aid is a life saver, but if not performed in the right way, it can result in life-threatening situations.
  • Do not attempt to administer procedures you are not sure of. An emergency is no time to experiment. Do the bare minimum you can and call for medical help.
  • Never apply ointment or butter to a burned skin area. This increases the chances of infection.
  • Never try to stop bleeding using tourniquet; it can cause irreversible damage to the organs present in the vicinity of the bleeding area.
  • Never move anyone who has been injured in a vehicle accident as they might look fine, but might be badly injured internally.
  • Never rub the eye if any sharp object or dust enters the eyes; this may lead to permanent eye damage.
  • Finally, do not cover a wound excessively unless necessary. Wounds heal faster when exposed to fresh air. However, cleaning the wound and applying fresh medications to the wound on a regular basis is extremely important.
Even with professional training, the most important quality required for first aid is the ability to stay calm and work sensibly. The sight of wound and blood and the anxiety caused when someone stops breathing can cause panic and alarm. Tough as it may be, try to maintain composure, failing which sensible first aid cannot be administered.
Source: Apollo Munich Insurance
Note: Please consult your Doctor for more details and guidance.  This is just for the general awareness of the readers
Best Regard
Prakash Nair

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