Basic First Aid

When I was growing up I remember my cousin always being taken to the hospital. She was so accident prone that she had to have stitches every once in a while. If she did not fall down or cut herself while playing, she managed to put something into her ear or nose. Her parents were so worried about her that they put together first aid kits for the house and the car. Luckily, things have changed since she has grown up into a beautiful, young lady!

It is very important to have knowledge about the basic first aid steps because emergencies can happen anywhere and at anytime.

Here are a few steps to be followed in an emergency:

  • Send or call for help
  • Check the situation
  • See that the area is safe
  • Attend to unconscious casualty first
  • Keep a close eye on the injured person’s condition till help arrives

Bleeding

If there is severe bleeding, it is important to apply direct pressure to the wound using a clean, dry dressing. After that, raise the area above the level of the heart (Unless broken).

Broken Bones

If you suspect broken bones, it is advisable to let the casualty remain in the same position till expert help arrives.

Burns

In case of a burn, cool the area with water for at least 10 minutes. Do not apply dry dressings on the affected area. Certain chemicals can cause serious damage, so it is important to flush the area longer than usual. If necessary, continue the treatment on the way to the hospital too.

Eye Injuries

Any injury to the eye is serious. If there is something that has gone into the eye, wash the eye with sterile fluid from a clean container or clean water. If chemicals are the cause, repeat the procedure for at least 10 minutes, while gently holding the eyelids open. As the casualty is sent to the hospital, provide him / her with a pad to hold over the injured eye.

Unconscious

If the victim is unconscious and does not display signs of life, give him/her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

  • Pinch the nose of the victim and cover the mouth with yours, then blow until you see the chest rise. Give the casualty two breaths, each one taking one second.
  • In case the victim is still not breathing normally, coughing or moving, begin chest compressions. To do this, push down the victim’s chest 11/2 to 2 inches 30 times right in the center of the chest. Begin pumping at the rate of 100 pumps per minute.

First Aid Kit

It is always best to be prepared for minor accidents and injuries; this can be done with the help of a well-stocked first aid kit. Ensure that the kit is always locked and kept in cool, dry place, out of the reach of children. The medicines in the kit should be checked at regular intervals to check that they are within the use-by dates. You could also keep one in your car for emergencies.

A basic first aid kit should contain the following:

  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Crêpe bandages
  • Painkillers
  • A thermometer
  • Disposable gloves
  • Cough medicine
  • Antihistamine tablets
  • An antiseptic cream
  • A packet of safetypins
  • Triangle shaped bandages
  • Sterile eye dressing – at least 2
  • Plasters in a variety of shapes and sizes
  • A cream that can be applied on skin rash
  • A spray or cream to relieve insect bites
  • Nasal or decongestant spray
  • Distilled water which can be used as an eye bath and for cleaning wounds