Consciousness pertains to our awareness of our own thoughts, feelings, memories, sensations and environment. It is when we are aware of the world around us. Thus, when one is unconscious, he/ she is incapable of responding to people and/ or activities. The disruption in the brain’s normal activity leads to momentary loss of consciousness, which can occur gradually or suddenly. It must be noted that being asleep is different from being unconscious. Whereas the former is capable of responding to loud noises or mild pressure applied to their body, the latter will not. Moreover, an unconscious person is unable to clear his or her throat or cough. You need to have your AED training to learn more about first aid treament and CPR as well.
The first important step is to begin by completing an initial survey – danger, response, airway, breathing (DRAB). Check for danger. Ensure that the area is safe before assessing the victim. If the victim is drowning, first make sure that it is safe to enter the water before jumping in to rescue. Check for a response from the victim. Give a command such as “Open your eyes” or “Can you hear me?” Shake their shoulders gently. If there is a response, immediately assess for other injuries such as severe bleeding. Lift the chin, clear the mouth and tilt the head to open airway. Using two fingers lift the chin and place the other hand on the forehead. It is necessary to check for breathing as first aid would differ if there is absence. To do this, position the cheek close to the mouth. For no more than ten seconds, observe if there is a rise and fall in the chest. Listen for breathing and try to feel the breath on the cheek. If there is breathing and assuming there is no major injury, move the victim into the recovery position. Turn the victim on his/ her side. To open airway position, lift chin forward. Place the hand under the cheek and adjust as necessary. Ensure that the victim will not be falling forward or backward. Continuously monitor for breathing. Again, assuming that there are no other injuries, turn the victim to the other side after half an hour. If there is suspected spinal injury, do not move the victim. Call for emergency medical response. Find for the nearest first aid and CPR training locations in your place and enroll.
Here is a related video from the British St Mark James entitled “Everyday First Aid: Unconscious and not breathing”[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ_62avLPv0″ width=”600″ height=”400″]
If the victim is unconscious and deemed not breathing after completing the initial DRAB survey, immediately begin CPR. Call for emergency medical response only if the rescuer is not alone. However, if alone, scream for help and return, reexamine and carry on with CPR. If the victim is unconscious cause by drowning, give five initial rescue breaths. To perform a rescue breath, make sure airway is open and pinch the nose resolutely closed. Take a deep breath and cover the lips around the victim’s mouth. Blow into the mouth until there is a rise in the chest. Allow the chest to fall by removing mouth. Repeat five times. Then commence CPR for one minute before finding help. In order to give compressions, position the heel of the hand in the center of the chest and position the second hand on top, interlocking the fingers. Arms must remain straight and fingers off the chest. Press down five or six centimeters and discharge the pressure whilst keeping the hands in place. Repeat compressions for about 30 times, at a rate of 100-120 per minute. Give an additional two rescue breaths. Continue the same cycle: CPR, 30 compression, two rescue breaths until either arrival of emergency help or there are recovery signs such as coughing, eyes opening, speaking or moving and normal breathing.
Although these are fairly easy to do, panic almost always arises from these kinds of situations. First Aid certification and CPR classes are always the best way to be guided in emergency situations such as these.