Emergency first aid
Emergency first aid is the treatment of any injury or sudden illness, before professional medical help can be provided. The aim is to prevent the condition worsening, protect from further harm, aid recovery and preserve life.
Why it is necessary
The knowledge of first aid, when properly applied, can mean the difference between temporary or permanent injury, rapid recovery or long-term disability, and the difference between life and death. Deaths due to accidents and heart attacks account for a high proportion of deaths in the UK each year.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) accounts for over 140,000 deaths each year in the UK, and over half the people who have a heart attack, die before they reach hospital.
Accidents in the home
More than 4,000 people die in accidents in the home and 2.8 million are injured in the UK every year.
Approximately 3,500 people are killed on Britain's roads every year, with approximately 320,000 total casualties of whom 38,000 are seriously injured.
Approximately 250 people die from burns and 130,000 require treatment for burns in the UK each year.
Approximately 500 people, mainly children die from drowning in the UK each year.
Approximately 50 people die and 4,000 people require treatment from electricity related injuries.
Approximately 50,000 people require treatment for poisoning, including accidental poisoning especially in children and over-doses.
What to do
Put your safety first and deal with any danger. If it is safe, apply first aid and dial 999 for an ambulance if necessary. First aid can involve anything from dressing a small cut, controlling bleeding in large wounds, or providing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for a person who is not breathing and whose heart has stopped beating. The following advice is not intended to replace professional instruction in first aid and resuscitation (CPR).
The Recovery position
The Recover Position ensures that an unconscious person maintains an open airway that the tongue cannot be swallowed, and any vomit or fluid will not cause choking. Ensure the person is lying on their side, supported by one leg and one arm. Keep airway open by tilting their head and lifting the chin. If the airway is not open and the person is not breathing, begin: ABC of resuscitation. A-airway B-breathing C-circulation
To open the airway, lift the chin with one hand, while pushing down on the forehead with the other to tilt the head back. Once the airway is open, look for chest movement and listen and feel for breathing by placing an ear close to the person’s mouth.
If opening the airway does not cause the person to begin to breathe spontaneously, Artificial Respiration must be started: -
Tilt the head back lift up the chin, and pinch the nostrils together.
Seal mouth over the person’s mouth and take a dead breath.
Breathe slowly into the person's mouth, and check their chest rises.
Repeat until the person starts breathing or assistance arrives.
If there is no heart beat and no pulse i.e. no circulation and if no trained medical help is available: - start, External Chest Compression, Place the heel of hand on the middle half of their breastbone, and the heel of the other hand on top of the first. Lock the fingers and keep off their chest. Keeping elbows straight, press downwards firmly and quickly with hands then relax and repeat compression. Press down approximately 2 inches. The rate of compression should be approximately 100 compressions per minute. Do 15 compressions, and then give artificial respiration twice. Then repeat until assistance arrives.
Following, is first aid advice on: -
The burn should be cooled with cold water. Cover the burn with a sterile dressing of non- fluffy material, cling film, or a plastic bag. Do not put creams on the burn. Seek medical help for the burn unless it is very minor.
Put the person in the recovery position if they are unconscious, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. Do not give the person anything to drink unless a health professional advises. If there are no symptoms consult the poisons unit at your local hospital Electricity Turn the electricity supply off. Initiate resuscitation ABC if the person is not breathing and call an ambulance. Seek medical help unless the shock is very minor.
Once the person is on land, initiate resuscitation ABC, if the person is not breathing. If the person is unconscious put in the recovery position. Call an ambulance immediately.
Apply a clean dressing to the wound with firm pressure. Raise the wound (if there are no fractures) to decrease the flow of blood. Seek medical help for the bleeding unless it is minor. Wrap any severed body part e.g. a finger in a plastic bag or cling film, wrap in soft material and keep cool. Preferably, place in ice; never put the severed body part in direct contact with the ice.
If breathing and heartbeat stop, call an ambulance and initiate resuscitation ABC immediately. If the person becomes unconscious, but is breathing, place in the recovery position.
If the person is unconscious or has difficulties in breathing or is bleeding severely these should be dealt with first. Do not move the person and gently support the injured part by hand until help arrives.