Accidents often occur at home as well as outside and every one must know what first aid must be given in such cases. Without timely and properly help, the patient’s condition may get worse and lack of care may endanger his life.
First Aid is defined as the treatment given till proper medical aid is reached. If at all possible, contact a doctor by phone or messenger and obtain instructions as to the first aid that should be given such as stopping of bleeding, method of carrying the patient, treatment of shock, etc,. because no two cases are similar and rule of thumb type of treatment does not exist. Many a time meddling by untrained and half trained persons has cost lives. It is, therefore, necessary to understand one’s limitations when one renders first aid. Below are the hints on first aid on some of the common conditions:
Elevate the wounds above the heart if possible. Press hard on wound with sterile compress until bleeding stops, Go for doctor if bleeding continues.
If mild, with skin unbroken and no blisters, flush with cool water until pain subsides. Apply a loose sterile dry pressing if necessary and keep patient comfortably warm until doctor’s arrival. Do not try to clean burn or break blisters.
Apply mild antiseptic and sterile compress after washing with soap under warm running water.
If victim feels faint, lower head to knees. Lay patient down on back with head turned to side if he or she becomes unconscious. Elevate the legs 8 to 10 inches. Loosen clothing and open windows. Keep patient lying quietly for at least 15 minutes after he or she regains consciousness. Call doctor if faint lasts for more than a few minutes.
Start rescue breathing immediately after getting patient to fresh air.
Wash wound with soap under running water and apply antibiotic ointment and dressing. When possible, the animal should be caught alive for rabies testing.
Call ambulance and poison control center and follow their directions. Use antidote listed on label if container is found. Do not give the victim any food or drink or induce vomiting, unless specified by the poison control centre.
Keep the victim lying down on back; if uncertain as to his or her injuries, keep the patient flat on the back. Otherwise elevate feet and legs 12 inches. Maintain normal body temperature; if the weather is cold or damp, place blankets or extra clothing over and under the victim; if weather is hot, provide shade.
Send for doctor and place person on his or her back. Start rescue breathing if victim stops breathing. Never give food or liquids.
Chemical in eye:
With patient lying down, pour cupfuls of water immediately into corner of eye, letting it run to other side to remove chemicals thoroughly. Cover with sterile compress. Get medical attention immediately. Continue to flush medical help arrives.
Place person on back on bed or rug. Loosen clothing. Turn head to side. Do not place a blunt object between the patient’s teenth. If convulsions do not stop, get medical attention immediately.
Wash the injury. Keep the area still and at a lower level than the heart. Keep the victim quiet. Use a snakebite kit if available.
Handle frostbitten area gently. Do not rub. Soak affected area in water no warmer than 105 F. Do not allow frostbitten area to touch the container. Soak until frostbitten part looks red and feels warm. Loosely bandage. If fingers or toes are frostbitten, put gauze between them.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion:
Remove the patient from the heat. Loosen any tight clothing and apply cool, wet clothes to the skin. Give the victim cool water, to drink slowly. Call an ambulance if the victim refuses water, vomits, or experience changes in consciousness.
Move victim to a warm place. Remove wet clothing and dry victim, if necessary. Warm patient gradually by wrapping the persons in warm blankets or clothing . Apply heat pads or other heat sources if available, but not directly to the body. Give the victim warm liquids. Call an ambulance if breathing is slowed or stopped or if the pulse is slow or irregular.
Loss of limb:
If a limb is served, it is important to properly protect the limb so that it can possibly be reattached. After the patient is cared for, the limb should be wrapped in a sterile gauze or clean material and placed in a clean plastic bag, garbage can, or other suitable container. Pack ice around the limb on the outside of the bag to keep the limb cold . Call ahead to the hospital to alert staff there of the situation.
Sprains and fractures:
Apply ice to reduce swelling and pain. Do not try to straighten or move broken limbs. Apply a splint to immobilize the injured area if the victim must be transported.
Sting from insect:
If possible, remove stinger. Wash the area with soap and water, cover it to keep it clean. Apply a cold pack to reduce pain swelling. Call physician immediately if body swells or patient collapses.
Foreign body in eye:
Touch object with moistened corner of handkerchief if it cannot be seen or does not come out after a few attempts, take patient to doctor. Do not rub the eye.