First aid can be applied by any trained or competent person. Follow this advice to give the best possible aid for a range of common injuries, including burns and head injuries.
Burn first aid
A person who has suffered burn injuries is likely to be in mild to severe pain and may also be in shock. The burned area must be cooled, which can be done with cold water. Cool with running water to wash away any foreign bodies, which may cause later infection. To keep the burn away from potential contaminants, you can loosely cover it with a plastic bag while you wait for a medical professional to arrive on the scene. Note that sever burns require the immediate assistance of ambulance personnel.
Broken bones first aid
A broken bone can be a minor, mild or serious injury depending on the bone and the severity of the break. Minor or mild breaks will be painful but should not cause shock or present a severe risk to the patient. Serious breaks can kill. For minor breaks, get a soft cushion to support the injured part until professional help can be sought. Major breaks should be left untouched until medical help arrives, and the first aider should concentrate on calming the patient.
Poisoning first aid
It’s vital to find out what the poisoned person has ingested, when he or she ingested it, and how much was swallowed. This will help the medical professionals decide on the best course of action. Beyond finding out what the person has taken, the non trained aider can only call the ambulance service and wait with the patient until they arrive. On no account should you make a poisoned person sick: in some cases, this will hinder their medical treatment.
Choking first aid
A choking person is likely to be panicking and may die without immediate aid. In the first instance, strike the person hard between the shoulder blades. In many cases, this act alone will dislodge the article that is blocking their breathing. You may have to perform a Heimlich manoeuvre if striking between the shoulder blades does not work. Medical help should be sought immediately if the obstruction cannot be removed. In reality, a choking person has only a couple of minutes to live without aid, so swift diagnosis and action is essential.
Head injury first aid
The aid you give for a head injury depends on the severity of the wound. Try to keep the person conscious and talking, and keep a close watch for any clear fluid or blood coming from the ears, eyes, nose or mouth. You should call the emergency services as soon as you can. The emergency services controller will ask to speak to the injured person. If the person is able to speak a medic can assess his or her condition through question and answer. If he or she cannot speak, help will be sent rapidly. If the person can talk, keep them speaking with you – this is the best way to watch out for them becoming suddenly drowsy or nauseous. Click here for more information on head injury compensation.
The Author is a qualified first aider, and a former member of the St John Ambulance. He writes regular blog posts on first aid, both for general consumption and for specific situations. His extreme sports first aid blogs are viewed by hundreds of thousands of people every day. He lives in Scotland.
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