You never know when an emergency could strike—and you might be called upon to deliver emergency care to someone in need, especially if you’re a parent or in charge of the health and safety of children or adults—but even if you aren’t, it’s essential to be prepared, and your preparation could mean the difference between life and death for an injured person.
Here are a few first aid skills that everyone should know:
- Cleaning A Wound:
Whether it’s a small scrape, a burn, or a deep cut, the first step to recovery should be to clean the wound to prevent infection. An infected wound can lead to a long list of more serious health problems. It is therefore important to sterilize the wound immediately. Before touching a wound, you must first clean your hands thoroughly using soap and water. If none is available, hand sanitizer would be an appropriate alternative. This makes sure that there is no harmful bacteria on your hands before treating an open wound. Next, find a clean cloth, gauze, paper towel, or other absorbent and apply gentle pressure onto the wound until the bleeding stops. If bleeding continues and oozes through the material, add another layer and seek medical attention immediately.
- Stopping heavy bleeding:
If someone is bleeding
heavily, they will not be able to form a clot—and they could bleed out. You can
stop the bleeding by putting pressure on the wound—ideally with a sterile cloth. However, you can also use ripped pieces of T-shirt or anything
else you have on hand. Raising the wounded limb over the heart will also help
to slow down heavy bleeding.
It’s important to recognize the signs of arterial bleeding, as someone with an arterial wound could bleed out and die within minutes. Arterial wounds pulsate as they bleed, and the blood is usually bright red. It is essential to put pressure on the wound right away, add cloth if the cloth you use soaks through, and do not remove the pressure for any reason until medical professionals arrive.
- Treating shock
Shock occurs when there is
not enough blood getting to the brain. A victim of shock may feel faint, dizzy,
or disoriented; they may also look very pale. Shock usually happens after a serious
loss of blood and fluid, or after an infection, allergic reaction, illness, or
To treat shock, have the victim lie on their back with their feet elevated. Cover the person with a blanket and make sure they are warm. Do not let them drink anything, as this could result in choking. You can move the person on their side if they vomit or bleed from the mouth and call a doctor immediately!
- Treat a Burn:
There are three degrees of burn injuries and treating each degree is different. First degree burns really just need topical remedies and loose gauze. Second-degree burns will be blistered and a little swollen. It is advisable to run it under cool water, then treat similar to a first-degree burn. Third-degree burns are however classified by whitening of the skin, blistering, and numbness. These burns should be treated by a doctor.
- Support a Sprain:
Sprains are common injuries. The sprained joint should be wrapped with a bandage and elevated until a doctor can take a look at it. Usually, the best treatment for sprains is R.I.C.E.—rest, ice, compress, elevate. If a sprain is not properly taken care of, it can cause long-term cartilage and tissue damage.
Emergencies can happen at any time, to loved one and complete strangers. When put in an emergency situation, would you rather be a helpless bartender, or the one to give someone a chance at survival? Understanding the skills discussed above can help save someone’s life.
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