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Basic First-Aid Tips & Procedures

September 12, 2020

Minor injuries and illnesses in day-to-day life are common. And with some basic first-aid techniques and essential supplies, some of these can be treated at home with ease. On the event of World First Aid Day, here’re a few basic first-aid tips and practices that everyone should know.

What is First Aid?

First-Aid refers to immediate medical assistance, treatment or emergency care provided to an ill or injured during unexpected situations. The aim of First-Aid is to preserve life, prevent further harm and promote recovery (refer to the Three P’s) before proper/professional treatment or patient care is being provided either in a clinic or hospital facility.

The Three P’s

The basic first-aid principles consist of the Three P’s that are:
–   Preserve Life: To keep the subject alive is the main purpose.
–   Prevent Further Injury: To prevent the injured from further damage is yet another essential motive. It is advised that shouldn’t move until proper help arrives.
–   Promote Recovery: Do what is possible to treat the injuries as best as can be.

The First-Aid Kit

To treat minor injuries the moment they happen, either at home or on-the-go, you need a well-stocked first aid kit. Whether you’re buying or putting together one, be sure the first aid kit has all the essential supplies.

Essential First-Aid Kit Supplies

–   Elastic bandages and adhesive tapes of varying sizes
–   Alcohol wipes
–   Anti-allergy medicine and an antibiotic ointment
–   Calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream and hand sanitizer
–   Cold packs, gauze rolls and pads, latex-free gloves
–   Sterile eye dressings
–   Scissors, tweezers safety pins
–   Saline wound wash and eye wash
–   Digital thermometer
–   Pain relievers

How to Perform First Aid

      –   Analyse the Scene

Post-injury first-aid practice includes critical safety analysis of the area where the incident has occurred as well as its surrounding. Being a respondent, you don’t want to end up experiencing the same which is why you should carefully look for any potential dangers before rushing to aid the injured.

      –   Treat Minor Cuts or Scrapes

Infections and scars can be prevented by keeping the cuts clean. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Wash Your Hands: To prevent bacteria from getting into the cut and cause an infection, simply wash with normal soap and water.
  • Deal with Bleeding: Use a clean cloth or a gauze pad to put gentle pressure on the cut. Do so for a few minutes.
  • Cleaning the Wound: Once the bleeding stops, rinse the cut with cold running water or a saline wound wash. Use a damp washcloth and soap to wipe the area around the wound but make sure the soap doesn’t get into the cut. Avoid applying hydrogen peroxide or iodine else it can irritate the cut.
  • Wipe Away Dirt & Debris: Clean a pair of tweezers with alcohol and gently use it to remove dirt and debris from the cut or wound. Debris can be anything from dust, dirt, broken glass/shard, gravel or any other foreign body in the cut.

To prevent spreading of the disease, infection or illness, it’s essential to wash your hands before approaching the person as well as post-delivery of the first-aid. If the wash sink is unavailable, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers as a substitute.

Visit the Doctor When…

–   The cut is too deep as stitches and tetanus shot may be required
–   The injury is due to an animal or venomous insect bite
–   Unstoppable bleeding even with pressure being applied at the affected area
–   Unable to wipe clean dirt and debris from the wound
–   Cut received on the face or at a joint like knee, finger
–   Post-injury fever that’s above 100.4 Fahrenheit Visible inflammation, soreness, gradual increase in pain, pus or any other sign of infection around the area of injury

Call an Ambulance

Ambulance assistance is critical during the following situation:
–   Post-injury or illness unconsciousness, drowsiness, blurred vision or mumbled speech
–   Breathing abnormalities such as too fast or slow, wheezing or no breath
–   Chest pain, discomfort or pressure lasting more than a few minutes that goes away and comes back or that radiates to the shoulder, arm, neck, jaw, stomach or back
–   Persistent pain, discomfort or pressure in the chest that may radiate across shoulder, arm, neck, stomach, jaw or at the back
–   Persistent abdominal pain or pressure
–   Severe external bleeding that wouldn’t stop even after pressure application
–   Blood oozing from nose, mouth or via vomit
–   Second-degree or higher burns
–   Seizure, stroke or suspected poisoning
–   Sudden weakness or numbed body, facial drooping, mumbled speech, severe headache
–   Obvious or suspected injuries to the head, neck or spinal cord
–   Damaged or deformed areas of the body
–   Direct injury or fracture to the bone or joint
–   Unexpected emergency or seemingly dangerous situation such as fire or explosion, downed electrical wires, flood etc.