If there is one essential life skill that often goes overlooked, it’s learning how to perform first aid. Accidents can happen unexpectedly, and providing immediate first aid skills can significantly reduce fatal risks. If the thought unnerves you, you should be happy to know that you don’t need extensive medical knowledge to provide effective first aid.
While various health conditions require different first aid methods, there are seven basic first aid skills you should learn for commonly occurring accidents.
CPR or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation:
CPR or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is one of the most important first aid skills every adult should know how to perform. You probably saw it in movies and TV shows, but you wouldn’t be able to perform it unless you knew the ins and outs of the process.
CPR provides artificial ventilation to support proper blood circulation and brain function to an unconscious person who’s not breathing – until the person wakes up. Although CPR may seem complex, it involves a series of steps. You need to monitor the level of pressure you’re applying on the patient’s chest, especially for children as they need gentler handling.
Various institutions offer CPR/first aid training under qualified professionals. So, you can learn how to perform CPR by enrolling in a suitable training program in your area or state.
Choking occurs far more often than we consider and can have fatal consequences if not addressed immediately. It can happen to both adults and children. When a person chokes, an object or food particle blocks their airway, making it impossible to breathe. Coughing hard may remove the blockage in some cases. But if it remains blocked, it can cause unconsciousness.
The Heimlich maneuver, also known as abdominal thrusts, is the best way to assist a choking person. You may have also seen it in movies and TV shows. Simply hold them around their waist from behind, bend them forward, create a lock with your hands, and sharply pull the lock inwards and upwards against their midriff until the object dislodges.
Anyone can learn the seven definitive steps of this maneuver, which can be a life-saving first aid skills to have.
Heavy bleeding can result from an injury to an artery or vein, leading to unconsciousness if left untreated. So, you should immediately provide some first aid to the injured until help arrives.
The first step is to apply pressure to the wound since it’s difficult to determine whether a major artery or vein is injured. Raising the wounded body part above the heart level slows blood flow to the area and reduces bleeding.
Tightening a bandage above or below the wound also prevents heavy blood loss. Learn to locate the four major arteries because applying pressure on them can immediately reduce blood loss.
Fractures are more common than you think and can occur to anyone, anywhere. A fracture is a broken bone caused by falls, accidents, or sports activities. The symptoms of a fracture include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the affected area.
If you come across someone with a fracture, immobilize the affected body part using a splint or a sling. It helps to prevent further damage and reduces pain. Applying ice to the affected area can also help reduce the swelling. However, don’t use a splint or a sling if you don’t know about it because tying them wrong can worsen the damage.
Anyone who’s dealt with anaphylaxis knows how quickly it can become fatal if not treated immediately. It can be triggered by food, medication, insect stings, and other allergens, and the type of allergic reaction varies from person to person. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, hives, and rapid heartbeat.
First aid for anaphylaxis requires quick identification and appropriate action. If you find someone experiencing anaphylaxis, call for emergency medical services immediately. While waiting for help to arrive, help the person to lie down and raise their legs to improve blood flow.
If the person has an epinephrine auto-injector, help them to use it. If the person is unconscious, check their airway, breathing, and pulse, and begin CPR if necessary.
Head injuries and concussions can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. You might not understand the severity of a head injury at first glance, so treat even a small bump on the head with care. Common symptoms of a concussion include headache, dizziness, confusion, and in some cases, nausea and vomiting.
If you identify these, seek medical help immediately. If the injury involves bleeding, try to stop it as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Once hospitalized, the injured person may have to undergo several tests to determine the extent of the injury.
Burns can be minor or life-threatening. The severity of the burn depends on the level of damage caused to the skin. You can treat first-degree burns by applying cold water to the affected area, and they usually heal within a few days.
Second-degree burns can cause blisters and require medical attention. They can take up to 25 days to heal. Third-degree burns are the most severe and can be life-threatening, so you must get medical help immediately. A word of caution – don’t attempt to remove the burnt clothes from the victim’s body while waiting for help to arrive. Cover the affected area with a sterile fabric and ensure that the victim can breathe.
Having first aid skills to treat serious injuries is just as important as knowing the home remedy for sore throats. It can be the difference between life and death in case of emergencies.
Understanding how to react and provide quick primary medical care can make all the difference in stabilizing a patient’s condition and improving their chances of survival. Just stay calm, assess the situation, and seek professional medical assistance whenever necessary.