First aid is the earliest and immediate care for victims suffering from minor injuries or significant health issues. First aid procedures make use of locally available items to save a life, control pain and suffering, and prevent further details damage. There are different types of first aid for addressing different types of injuries. Everyone should acquire skills in various kinds of first aid as you never know when you might need to use them.
Different Types of Medical Emergencies
Different types of medical emergency situations require first aid, and they include:
- Cardiac arrest and heart attack
- Burns and scalds
- Bleeding, cuts, wounds, and splints
- Fractures and sprains
- Health-related emergencies (hypothermia and hyperthermia)
- Animal and insect bites
Importance of First Aid in Daily Life
It saves lives: One of the primary objectives of providing first aid is to preserve life. Some health emergencies can be life-threatening and require immediate administration of first aid. Unfortunately, we cannot always count on the emergency medical rescue teams to arrive in time to save a life.
Prevent further damage and suffering: First aid ensures that the victim is comfortable by reducing pain and any other challenges they might be experiencing, such as breathing and positioning. It becomes critical for the responder to be skilled in different types of health emergencies, as a wrong diagnosis and first aid can lead to further injuries to the victim and even death.
Fasten healing: Proper first aid at the right time hastens the healing process. Some injuries and conditions don't require further medical care after the initial first aid. However, without proper first aid, some injuries, even minor ones, can develop complications becoming life-threatening and difficult to treat.
Why You Need First Aid Training?
First aid training is critical in daily life as life-threatening emergencies can occur when least expected. Every professional should be skilled in how to handle such emergencies. The best way to acquire these skills is through first aid training. You might be the only person available when a health emergency occurs. Therefore, it's best to know how to act to save the lives of those involved.
With the right skills and first aid knowledge, you get to know how to prepare for emergencies. There are different ways you can prepare for emergencies at home and place of work. The first step in preparing for emergencies is attending a first aid class. The right skills and knowledge place you in a better position to prevent and take care of accidents and health conditions.
Basic first aid procedures
When providing first aid, it's important to take take precautionary measures for one's safety. It is most likely that the cause of the injuries is still active. If possible, move the victim to safety before you begin first aid.
Whenever life-threatening emergencies occur, people tend to rush around in panic. For a rescuer, it is important to stay as calm as possible and try to keep others calm. Panic distorts the mind's ability to make critical decisions and act. It is also likely to cause more chaos which comes in the way of providing first aid care.
There are some first-aid procedures that every professional should be aware of:
Treatment for burns
Burns can be minor or major. In most cases, first aid will take care of a little burn without needing further medical care. The first aid for burns depends on the extent of the injury. There are four categories of burns: first, second, third, and fourth-degree burns. First and second-degree are minor and mild burns. Minor burns don't go deep beneath the skin.
The signs of burns include:
- First-degree burns: In cases of first-degree burns, only the outer layer of the skin is burnt. They resemble sunburns with swollen red skin.
- Second-degree burns: They are more extensive, with some inner skin burnt. They are usually very painful, with blisters and swelling.
- Third-degree burns: For third-degree burns, all the inner skin is burned, and the burnt area has a white or black appearance. In some cases, the burn is so extensive that the nerve endings are damaged, and the victim is not experiencing pain.
- Fourth-degree burns: These are extensive burns that go beyond the skin to the bones and tendons.
Treatment for Minor Burns:
- Minor burns don't require much medical care. First, remove the organ from the heat source and cool the burn with water. Avoid too cold or freezing water, and don't break blisters, if any.
- Apply a good moisturizer on the burn and give painkillers.
- Avoid exposure to the sun.
- For major burns, immediately call for emergency medical services. Cover the wound with a loose material to prevent exposure to infections and water loss.
First aid for cuts and bleeding
Blood loss should be prevented to the maximum. To control bleeding, use a clean piece of cloth or bandage to apply pressure on the injury for 20 minutes. If bleeding persists, apply another bandage on top of the other and continue applying pressure until the bleeding stops. Treat heavy bleeding as a health emergency.
- For minor wounds without bleeding, clean the cut or injury with clean water, apply antibiotics and cover the wound with a sterile bandage. For major injuries, apply pressure to stop bleeding. Do not, however, apply any ointment. You can place a bandage on top and tie it to create pressure to stop bleeding. Seek immediate professional medical care.
Sprains are less alarming as they commonly heal on their own. First aid for sprains helps in reducing the swelling on the injured part. Swelling is a normal body reaction to injuries as blood flow to the injured person's organ increases. Here are some tips for reducing swelling:
- Apply ice to the injury to reduce blood flow to the injury. Avoid applying ice directly onto the skin. You can wrap the ice in a clean cloth or plastic bag.
- Elevate the injured organ.
- Place a bandage tightly around the injury to prevent swelling. Avoid making it too tight that it cuts off the blood supply.
- You can apply ice on top of the bandage. Do not ice continuously – you can take 20-minute intervals between the icing.
- You should rest and avoid applying pressure on the injured part to hasten to heal.
Any case of suspected broken bones is a health emergency. Sometimes it is hard to tell if the injury is indeed a fracture. Do not move or straighten the injured part if you suspect broken bones. If possible, you can use a splint to stabilize the fractured organ to prevent further injury and reduce pain. Wrap ice with a cloth or plastic bag and apply it to the injured. Keep the injured organ elevated and use anti-inflammatory drugs to slow down swelling. If bleeding, try to control bleeding. Do not push back any protruding bones.
Allergies result whenever the body reacts to a foreign substance or allergen. While some allergic reactions are minor, others can be life-threatening. Anaphylaxis, for instance, is a severe body reaction to an allergenic substance. In addition, the response differs from one person to another. Some of the allergens include drugs, insect stings, and foods.
Epinephrine or adrenaline is a medication injected to treat allergic reactions. It is usually done by the use of an EpiPen or epinephrine auto-injector. When administering first aid to a person with an allergic reaction, make sure they remain calm. Help the victim lay on their back and elevate their feet. Loosen any tight clothing to allow ease in breathing. Do not give them food, drinks, or medicine. After injecting the epinephrine, allow up to 15 minutes. If the reaction has not been subdued, inject a second dose.
The first aid kit
The first aid kit is a critical component of first aid. Every home and business should always have one readily available in an emergency. You can put together your kit or purchase it from the store. A customized first aid kit is more beneficial as it suits your needs.
As you prepare your first aid kit, ensure you are familiar with the items and their use. First aid training is available online. Professionals can easily acquire first aid certification at their convenience. Anyone can acquire first aid certification as it doesn't have barriers of age and education.
A first aid kit should be easily accessible whenever needed. All the likely users of a first aid kit should be able to access it whenever necessary. Keeping a regular check on your first aid kit is also essential. Apart from being readily available, the equipment should be useable. You should replace items as soon as they run out. You should replace medicines contained in the kit as soon as they expire. Using expired medication can lead to complications and even death.
Where can you get first aid training?
First aid certification classes are available everywhere, including online platforms, making it easier for persons with busy professionals to train. In addition, businesses can quickly put their employees through first aid training to prepare them for health emergencies. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR certification, a necessary first aid procedure for cardiac arrest, is available online alongside AED certification. There are no limitations to taking any first aid classes as they are cheap and online courses are pretty flexible.