Basic First Aid Advice: Top 10 Things To Know
You may feel like you’ll never be in a situation where you need to save a life, but the truth is that it could happen to anyone at any time. On the flipside, it could be you that needs saving – and if that’s the case, you’d no doubt be relieved to know that the people around you knew basic first aid.
First aid can – and does – save lives, so the more you know about it the better. But to begin with, we’ve listed our top 10 things to know about first aid below. Hopefully you’ll never have to put your knowledge to the test but, if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation, you could change the outcome for the better with this life-saving information.
- Remember ABC: ABC stands for airway, breathing and circulation. If you come across an unconscious or unresponsive individual, check and clear their airway, check to see if they’re breathing and examine them carefully to see whether they’re bleeding.
- The recovery position: If someone is breathing normally but is unresponsive, place them in the recovery position. This ensures that their airway is kept open and allows vomit to drain away rather than choking them.
- Bleeding: Apply pressure to the affected area with a towel or similar, preventing as much blood loss as possible.
- Severe allergic reactions: Also called an anaphylactic shock. Call 999 immediately and ask the affected individual whether they have medication on them; if they do, either help them use it or read the label and administer it yourself.
- Choking: If the person is unable to shift the blockage by coughing, lean them forward, support their chest with one hand and use the other to deliver five ‘sharp blows’ between their shoulder blades. If that doesn’t work, begin giving abdominal thrusts.
- Heart attacks: Call 999 straight away and give the person an aspirin tablet to chew (provided they’re not allergic to it or under 16). Monitor their breathing and perform CPR if they become unconscious.
- Strokes: Use the FAST acronym: Look for facial weakness, arm weakness, speech problems and, if you identify all of these, it’s time to call 999. Keep a close eye on them but don’t offer them anything to eat or drink.
- Asthma attacks: Ask the person to take their inhaler or administer it yourself if necessary. Ensure they breathe slowly and deeply, and are sat in a comfortable position. If they don’t improve after a few minutes, they should take a puff of their inhaler every 30 to 60 seconds and stop at 10 puffs. If they stop breathing, perform CPR.
- Broken bones and fractures: Open wounds should be covered with a sterile dressing or clean cloth, with pressure applied around the wound to minimise blood loss. Avoid touching any protruding bones and support the injured area. Call 999 as soon as possible.
- Burns and scalds: Cool the area with cold running water until the pain reduces, and cover it with a cloth or clingfilm to minimise the risk of infection. Ensure it’s wrapped very loosely, and don’t apply any lotion or cream.