In Part 1 of this series on delivering the basics of first aid, we talked about how to approach an injured person and addressed the three Cs of first aid: 1) check the surroundings and circumstances, 2) call for help and 3) care for the condition of the injury. In Part 2, we will begin to expand on how to provide care. However, before we discuss what to do, let’s go over some things you should NEVER DO under any circumstances:
- Do not try to feed or hydrate an unconscious person. This could cause choking and possible asphyxiation.
- Do not leave the person alone. Unless you absolutely need to signal or call for help, stay with the person at all times.
- Do not move an injured person’s head.
- Do not prop up an unconscious person’s head with a pillow.
- Do not slap an unconscious person’s face or splash it with water.
- Do not move the person from the site unless the surrounding area is dangerous.
Let’s review some general first aid approaches to the most common first aid situations. Formal first aid training is necessary in order to provide the best level of care.
- Stop the bleeding. Once you have established that the victim is breathing and has a pulse, controlling the bleeding is one of the most important things you can do to save a trauma victim. Use direct pressure on a wound before trying any other method of managing bleeding such as a tourniquet.
- Treat shock next. Shock, often caused by a loss of blood flow to the body, frequently follows physical and, occasionally, psychological trauma. A person in shock may have cool, clammy skin, be agitated or have an altered mental status and have pale color to the skin around the face and lips. If left untreated, shock can be fatal. Anyone who has suffered a severe injury or life-threatening situation is at risk for shock. Have the person lie down. Be extremely gentle, since any sudden movements could injure the person. If the person is not in pain, place his or her legs on a pillow to elevate them about 12 inches above the head.
- Keep the person flat and still after he or she is lying down.
- Keep the person warm.
Next week we will discuss how to deal with specific injuries, seizures, burns and choking.