January 1, 2006

First Aid Tips

When someone is injured or suddenly becomes ill, there is usually a critical period before you can get medical treatment and it is this period that is of the utmost importance to the victim. What you do, or what you don’t do, in that interval can mean the difference between life and death. You owe it to yourself, your family and your neighbors to know and to understand procedures that you can apply quickly and intelligently in an emergency.

Every household should have some type of first aid kit, and if you do not already have one, assemble your supplies now. Tailor the contents to fit your family’s particular needs. Don’t add first aid supplies to the jumble of toothpaste and cosmetics in the medicine cabinet. Instead, assenble them in a suitable, labeled box (such as a fishing tackle box or small tool chest with hinged cover), so that everything will be handy when needed. Label everything in the kit clearly, and indicate what it is used for.

Be sure not to lock the box – otherwise you may be hunting for the key when that emergency occurs. Place the box on a shelf beyond the reach of small children, and check it periodically and always restock items as soon as they are used up.

Keep all medications, including non-prescription drugs such as aspirin, out of reach of children. When discarding drugs, be sure to dispose of them where they cannot be retrieved by children or pets.

When an emergency occurs, make sure the injured victim’s airway is not blocked by the tongue and that the mouth is free of any secretions and foreign objects. It is extremely important that the person is breathing freely. And if not, you need to administer artificial respiration promptly.

See that the victim has a pulse and good blood circulation as you check for signs of bleeding. Act fast if the victim is bleeding severely or if he/she has swallowed poison or if his/her heart or breathing has stopped. Remember every second counts.

Although most injured persons can be safely moved, it is vitally important not to move a person with serious neck or back injuries unless you have to save him/her from further danger. Keep the patient lying down and quiet. If he/she has vomited and there is no danger that his/her neck is broken, turn him/her on his/her side to prevent choking and keep him/her warn by covering him/her with blankets or coats.

Have someone call for medical assistance while you apply first aid. The person who summons help should explain the nature of the emergency and ask what should be done pending the arrival of the ambulance. Reassure the victim, and try to remain calm yourself. Your calmness can allay the fear and panic of the patient.

Don’t give fluids to an unconscious or semi conscious person; fluids may enter his/her windpipe and cause suffocation. Don’t try to arouse an unconscious person by slapping or shaking.

Look for an emergency medical identification card or an emblematic device that the victim may be wearing to alert you to any health problems, allergies or diseases that may require special care.

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Babies CPR

By Dave Burns

As some of you may have noticed, Babies are not built to the same specifications as adults and children. To begin with, they are a lot softer, and they seem to have no necks! This makes the ABC of resuscitation slightly different.

To begin with, lay the infant on a hard surface that is within your reach. The floor is a long way down. Use a table, or sideboard. Open the airway by tilting the head very slightly back, not as far as you would with an adult. Check the breathing in the normal way, but be aware that a baby breathes faster than an adult or child, and you may not see chest movement.

Hopefully the baby is breathing, if so, instead of laying them down in the recovery position as you would for an adult or child, Pick them up and hold them, with the head slightly lower than the rest of the body, and the back to your chest.

If there is no breathing present, you need to give some air. Cover both nose and mouth with your mouth and give a small puff. (Imagine blowing out a candle). Do this 5 times, not 2 as with adults. Now check for signs of pulse.

Being smaller and softer, using the pulse in the neck can do damage to a baby, Therefore we check the pulse in the upper arm. Place the flat of 3 fingers on the inside of the upper arm, and the thumb on the outside. Using a light pressure you should then feel the brachial pulse. Is there a pulse present? Is it more than 60 per min? If yes, carry on giving air and get help fast. If the pulse is less than 60, assume no pulse and give chest compressions. Again, there is a difference here. First, the pressure point is about one finger below the nipple line. Just use 2 fingers, and depress the chest about 1/3rd of the chest depth five times then give one breath and continue at 5 compressions to one breath. (This must be on a firm surface or the pressure will not go where needed). The chances of resuscitating a baby successfully are higher than that of an adult, if you do not panic!

For more information, Call your local Red Cross and ask about training. You will be surprised at how cheap and easy it is to learn how to save lives.

I am a Trainer with the British Red Cross. I am currently based at Shrewsbury, Shropshire in the UK. And have been training now for 7 years. Most of the time is fun, but as any trainer will tell you, it all depends on your class. There is always one that knows it all, and one who just cannot grasp what you are saying. I think that a trainer always needs to keep on top of what is happening, and adapt their courses to the students needs. It is also good to meet and chat to other trainers to get new ideas and perspectives. This is the reason for this area. Your ideas and comments would be most welcome. Email me at dave@burns.enta.net or visit http://www.burns.enta.net DISCLAIMER: First aid is not a subject that can be learned from books or articles. To become a true first aider you need to undertake proper training that will give you the opportunity to practice in a safe and controlled environment. Neither I as the author or the World Wide Information Outlet can or will be held responsible for anything that happens as a result of this article. Having said that, when a life is at stake, you should at least try. Under the ‘good samaritan’ law, provided your intention was to do good, nobody can touch you for it! Brought to you by World Wide Information Outlet (WWIO) your source of FREEWare Content online. Located on the Internet at: http://certificate.net/wwio/