First aid is an immediate and first line treatment for people with injuries or medical emergencies. It provides relief and prevents further injury or even death before paramedics or professional medical services arrive.
The Golden Period
Giving first aid within the “golden period” – the time between the injury and application of intervention – is very important for it will shorten the duration of healing and recovery, as well as better determine the outcome of the patient’s treatment.
Knowledge of first aid, whether it is a simple scrape or something more serious like a heart attack, will somehow give you confidence to act and do something. Presence of mind and common sense are also important in order to deliver and achieve the expected outcome of the intervention. To learn the basic skills on providing first aid you can take a St Mark James first aid course here.
Recognize an Emergency
First of all, one must be able to identify the injury or situation, and consider the different needs and risks of the victim. Remember that in every situation, there are different types of management schemes; therefore, one must be very careful in assessing the patient and performing first aid, for it can worsen the injury. Communication with the victim and other people in the vicinity is also crucial to the thorough assessment of the patient. Establishing trust between you and the conscious patient as well as his or her companions, is necessary to prevent presumptions from arising. Consider getting help from the people around you because the task can be exhausting. For example, when giving chest compressions, others who were trained to administer chest compressions could relieve you when you get tired.
The Right Equipment – Owning a First Aid Kit
Having a first aid kit close-at-hand is another important thing. Remember that time is of the essence during an emergency situation, so none of it should be wasted on looking for materials and medicines to be used. Before storing your kits, read the instructions on each item and familiarize yourself with them. This is because you will not have the time to read during an emergency. You also have to check your first aid kits on a regular basis. Check the expiry dates and condition of the medicines to ensure safety. Store your kits in proper containers and organize the items according to function so that it will be easier for you to find your things during an emergency.
A basic first aid kit is composed of:
- Several pairs of sterile gloves
- Surgical scissors
- Sterile bandages, band aids, cotton, & gauze pieces
- Antiseptic such as 70% alcohol and Beta dine solution
- Splints for fractures
- Pain relievers. Consider topical preparations
- A tourniquet for controlling profuse bleeding that cannot be controlled by any other means.
- A topical antibiotic gel or cream
- Burn creams such as silver sulfadiazine
- Hot and cold packs
In times of accidents, disasters, natural calamities, and health related emergencies, your preparedness and knowledge about first aid will be able to save lives. Being able to respond and act quickly and effectively during emergency situations can make a huge difference between life and death, not only to other people but most especially to your own families.