First aid training is an incredible qualification that can enable one to offer life saving assistance in an emergency. This can prevent a case from worsening in both minor incidents but also in the crucial moments when waiting for the emergency services to arrive. The forthcoming article will explore ways in which first aid can be correctly performed, specifically the main role of the recovery position and CPR as well as why these are such critical skills more individuals should obtain.
Quick facts on First Aid
- The aim of first aid are to ultimately save a life, in less serious cases it can be to deal with minor injuries and ensure they are safely and correctly dealt with to prevent them worsening.
- A helpful first aid abbreviation is ABC: airway, breathing, and circulation, these are all things to be aware of on a patient you are offering assistance to.
- The recovery position (also known as the lateral recumbent position) is particularly helpful for unconscious but breathing casualties.
- CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation which are chest compressions that can help to keep the blood flow oxygenated.
What exactly is First Aid?
First aid is an emergency response treatment which overall consists simple and usually live-saving procedures that many individuals can learn to do with little to know professional equipment and no prior medical skills*.
*Please note that first aid training does not permanently eliminate the need for medical professionals and hospital treatment and is not appropriate for all situations. However first aid is consistent with many simple and easy to understand techniques that can really make a difference in an emergency.
The objectives of First Aid
- In the most severe cases- preserving life, but also treating minor injuries such as cleaning and covering a wound or cut.
- To inhibit the possibility of further harm to an individual that has suffered an injury. This could include positioning them safely whilst you await an ambulance or additional support or relocating them away from the hazard that caused the accident. This could also be keeping them warmth and dry or putting pressure on wounds to prevent bleeding.
- Assisting in recovery- applying bandages, plasters or any kind of medical dressing where necessary.
Some key topics you will learn on your First Aid Training Course
As aforementioned, it’s likely you will encounter the term ‘ABC’ in your training(airway, breathing, circulation). This is a cue for you to think about when in an emergency situation with the view to administer first aid-let’s break this term down into more detail:
- Airway: You need to make sure that a individual’s airway is clear to avoid choking.
- Breathing: Ensure the individual is breathing regularly, the most common way to do this is to check pulse points which can be found on the wrist or neck.
- Circulation: If the injured person is not breathing, as a first aider in many circumstances it may be recommended that you perform chest compressions and rescue breathing. Those compressions will help the circulation of blood with the aim of getting the cardiovascular system pumping again.
It’s important to remember that these three steps should be considered in that order, however occasionally you may be required to perform two steps together. For example if a person isn’t breathing and doesn’t have a pulse you may find it appropriate to perform chest compressions alongside rescue breathing.
More helpful First Aid Tips
Another helpful method you can use when assessing a situation that requires first aid is-
- Danger: The first thing to do is assess the scene of the accident for possible dangers. This could be whatever caused the injury or something that could endanger yourself. If there is no safe or viable way for such an obstacle to be removed, remain calm and wait for more help, it is imperative not to injure oneself when offering aid to another.
- Response: when you are in safe area with no possible danger, identify if the individual is conscious and understands what is happening, try to ask questions and check if you get any response.
- Airway: If the patient is not breathing correctly, place them on their back and place one of your hands on their forehead and two fingers of the other hand on their chin. Then lightly tilt the head back and whilst raising the chin. Any objects should be removed from the mouth. Only perform this step on the person if you believe there to be an airway blockage.
- Breathing: try to identify if the individual is breathing normally. Investigate the chest area to see if any movements or any other signs that they are breathing
Afterward, it is essential to examine if the person has open wounds, swelling, or any other signs of injuries.
The Recovery Position
If you notice that an individual is breathing normally but is unconscious there is a possibility of airway obstruction. Manoeuvring the patient into the recovery position can help significantly in lessening the risk. During your first aid training course you will learn how to safely administer the recovery position:
- Remove any glasses if a person is wearing them.
- Get down next to the person, and put the nearest arm in the specific recovery position (they will show you the angle on your course).
- Place the other arm across the chest area and put the back of your hand against their cheek.
- With your other hand, hold the furthest thigh and pull their knee
slowly down on that one knee and roll over the body carefully.
To ensure that they do not roll onto their face place the upper leg so the hip and knee are placed at right angles and slightly tilt their head back so that the airways remain open.
If an injured individual is not breathing, it is likely that you will need to start performing CPR. There is a chance that it can start the heart beating again. The main purpose of CPR is to keep oxygen flowing through blood to circulate to the heart and brain, which in turn lessens the possibility of tissue failing. The main points in performing CPR are chest compressions-
- Get down right next to the individual ensuring they are kept on their back.
- For adults: place your hands on top of each other and then put them on the middle of the chest, fingers should be kept interlaced; and push for 2 inches down. If it is a child then maximum down to 1.5 inches and using one hand. Ensure that you keep your elbows straight the whole time. Push on the breastbone about 3 times for a pulse rate of 100 per minute.
- Make sure that their airway is open and then pinch the nose closed; lightly place the chin up with two fingers; take a deep breath, seal your mouth over the injured and exhale into them. Be sure that chest moves, provide those breaths as many times as needed.
- Do not stop until the person start breathing; continue performing thirty chest compressions and two breathes approximately 5 times.
CPR is a very vital procedure that can help to save a life. Please bear in mind that during the Covid-19 pandemic it is recommended that rescuers should place a cloth over the victims nose and mouth and attempt only compression CPR until the emergency services arrive.