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Basic First Aid Tips Everyone Needs to Know

Accidents can happen anytime. Every year, thousands of people get seriously injured in the UK. Some of the incidents claim lives. Whether it’s a little scratch or life-threatening injury, basic first aid tips will prove useful for us. Different types of accidents and hazards can happen in our day to day life. Everyone should learn some basic first aid techniques that can save lives in cases of emergencies.

We can prevent many deaths with proper first aid before the emergency services arrive. Small accidents are fairly common in workplaces where manual labour is involved. From my experience, I can tell you that you can save a lot of time and energy with a little awareness of first aid.

In this article ...

What is first aid?

First aid is the first and prompt response to anyone suffering from minor or major illness or injury. The aim of first aid is to provide care in order to preserve life, prevent the existing condition from deteriorating, promote recovery. In other words, it is the initial intrusion in a serious medical condition prior to the availability of professional help. 

Usually, first aid is implemented by people with basic medical training. Nowadays, we have another form of first aid to tackle mental health conditions like PTSD. We refer to it as mental health first aid.
Different countries have different regulations, provisions to ensure health and safety at workplaces. The provisions include specific training requirements in the form of compliance courses and necessary equipment in case of emergencies. To ensure health and safety at your workplace, you need workplace first aid training from accredited authorities.

Why is first aid crucial?

Little accidents happen around us every now and then. Most of them go unnoticed but some of the accidents can be life-threatening. Even if you are a bystander, accidents have an impact on you. You empathise with the affected people. Somewhere in your heart, you want to make things right.

Basic knowledge of first aid can help you a lot in case of emergency. At your workplace, you might be responsible for others’ safety. As a first aid provider, you have to provide medical support until professional support arrives. First aid is required for injuries and illnesses. With a basic first aid kit, you can ensure the primary support required for the victims.

Some of the benefits of basic first aid knowledge include:

  • Providing support in case of emergencies. One of your colleagues may have a serious burn or an asthma attack. With your instant response with first aid, you can save your colleague from a serious health hazard.
  • Following the right procedure, you can save an invaluable life. Our brain dies in six minutes due to lack of oxygen. As a first aid giver, you take quick and right steps for proper treatment.
  • Awareness of your own situation. If you have first aid training, you can make informed decisions about yourself if you encounter any issue.

First aid training can be helpful for people working in different sectors. If you are working with children, you must know how to demonstrate first aid. It applies to daycare centre professionals too. People working in high-risk environments like factories, industrial plants and machine shops need some form of first aid training for health and safety at work. When a sportsman falls into an injury during game, the first aid trainer must provide primary care. So even there, sports first aid training is necessary. 

Giving first aid: The initial steps

Prior to your first aid training, the following basic first aid tips will help you in cases of emergencies:

Scenario Table Header
Checking ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation)
ABC refers to the priorities in a first aid situation. While dealing with unconscious people, we have to keep their airways open. For those who are breathing, put them in recovery positions. Air circulation is also a key matter for the casualties.
Preventing bleeding
If the wounded person is bleeding profusely, you have to apply slight pressure to the affected area using something that soaks blood.
Burns and scalds
Use a piece of wet clothing to minimize the damage on the skin. The victim should be in a comfortable position. Keep assuring the victim until the professional help arrives.
Sprains
Applying ice blocks, you can help people with sprains. If the swelling doesn’t improve, specialized care will be required.
Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea leads to rapid dehydration. The primary target would be to rehydrate the person who is suffering. Anti-diarrhoea medication is helpful in this case.
Trauma
The casualty must remain as still as possible if an injury from fall results in trauma.
Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to help someone with breathing. Necessary training would be helpful in understanding CPR.
Gathering essential supplies
Necessary supplies should be close at hand. You’ll require bandages, gauzes, thermometer, cotton wool, antacid, scissors etc.
Seeking professional help

First aid can’t be the conclusive care for most of the people you are helping. Make sure that you call the ambulance on time and wait for the professionals.

First aid procedures

What can you do in case of a medical emergency as a first aid provider? If someone becomes injured, you should:
  • make sure that you and the casualty are safe.
  • dial 999 or 112 (if you are in the UK) for an ambulance when you are safe
  • start first aid procedures
If someone is unconscious and breathing, you should look for injuries that would prevent you from moving the person. If the person has no other injuries, place them in the recovery position until the professionals arrive.
If the casualty isn’t breathing, call 999 and start CPR immediately. You can use hands-only CPR if you don’t have the required training to perform rescue breaths.

Some common accidents and emergencies

  • Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock: A severe allergic reaction that can be caused by insect stings or food allergens. Due to the rapid adverse reaction, the affected person might face breathing difficulties. You need to call 999 or 112 immediately in such a case. If the person carries any sort of medication, you can administer the medication or help them to take it.
  • Heavy bleeding: Try to prevent further blood loss by applying and maintaining pressure to the wound. Use disposable gloves to reduce any chance of infection. If there is any object embedded in the wound, try not to put pressure on the object. Use a clean dressing to bandage the wound. Dial the emergency helpline for an ambulance as soon as possible.
  • Choking: If the airway of the casualty is partially blocked, the person might be able to get rid of the blockage coughing or spitting. In case of severe choking, you need to have different approaches for adults, children under the age of 1 and pregnant women.
  • Drowning: If the casualty isn’t breathing, open the airway and give 5 initial rescue breaths before initializing CPR. If the casualty is unconscious but breathing, you can place them into the recovery position. Don’t put yourself in a risky position under any circumstances.
  • Electric shock: Switch off the electrical current at the mains to disengage the person from the electrical supply. You shouldn’t go near the person until the power supply is switched off. Call the emergency helpline if the person isn’t breathing after the disengagement.
  • Fractures: If the injured person is bleeding heavily, concentrate on the bleeding first. In cases of severe pain, call an ambulance and don’t move the casualty.
  • Heart attack: It is one of the most common life-threatening conditions in the UK. Call the emergency helpline and move the victim into a comfortable sitting position.
  • Poisoning: When a person swallows toxic substances or takes an overdose of prescribed medicine, poisoning happens. Alcohol poisoning and other forms of wild plant consumption could lead to life-threatening situations. You need to call 999 to get immediate medical help. CPR should be performed in the casualty becomes unconscious. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is not advisable as the victim’s mouth or airway might be contaminated.
  • Shock: Signs of shock could be visible in cases of serious injuries or illnesses. It’s a life-threatening condition as the circulatory systems fail to supply oxygenated blood to the vital organs of the body. You should seek medical help immediately and treat the symptoms as much as possible.
  • Stroke: Use the FAST guide for people who appear to have a stroke. The treatment should start as quickly as possible. You should ask for emergency medical help straight away. The FAST guide stands for the following aspects:
    Face - The face drops to one side. The person may be incapable of smiling. The mouth or eye may drop too.
    Arms - Inability to lift both arms or one arm due to numbness or weakness.
    Speech - The speech of the patient may be garbled.
    Time - Dial 999 immediately as soon as you notice any of the symptoms stated above.

One step for saving lives

Now that you are aware of the aspects of first aid, you can take one step towards saving lives at your workplace.

October 20, 2020