importance of first aid
First aid is an important skill. By performing simple procedures
and following certain guidelines, it may be possible to save
lives by giving basic treatment until professional medical
help arrives (if available).
Remember, that practice makes perfect. In an emergency there
may be no time to read instructions or a first aid manual.
If you've learned some basic procedures, it will help you
react quickly and more efficiently.
following advice contains general guidelines for use
in an emergency.
It is not intended to replace professional classes or
training in first aid and resuscitation.
If an adult is unconscious, see if they are breathing. If
not, start artificial respiration as described below.
someone has stopped
breathing, see if the person responds by talking to them or
shaking them by the shoulder. If not, call an ambulance (if
possible) and then begin first aid treatment.
First, place the casualty flat on his or her back on the floor.
Tilt the head so that the chin is pointing upwards by placing
your fingertips under the jawbone, then lift gently while
pressing down softly on the person's forehead. This ensures
that the tongue is not blocking the throat.
Keep holding the head in this way while checking for breathing:
see if the chest is rising and falling, or place your ear
next to their mouth to listen for breathing.
If there is breathing, hold the head as described above until
help arrives. If not, start artificial respiration.
to give artificial respiration
the head back and lift up the chin.
the nostrils shut with two fingers to prevent leakage of
a deep breath and seal your own mouth over the person's
slowly into the person's mouth - it should take about two
seconds to adequately inflate the chest.
to see if the chest rises as you breathe into the patient's
it does, enough air is being blown in.
there is resistance, try to hold the head back further and
lift the chin again.
this procedure until help arrives or the person starts breathing
Checking for a pulse
adult is unconscious and has no pulse. If you are inexperienced,
you may waste valuable time checking for a pulse.
to take a pulse:
your fingers in the groove between the windpipe and
the muscles of the side of the neck.
Press backwards here to check for a pulse.
If there is no pulse, or if you are unsure, then proceed
without delay as follows.
the person's chest and find the 'upside-down V' shaped notch
that is made by the lower edge of the ribcage. Place your
middle finger in this notch and then place your index finger
beside it, resting on the breastbone.
the heel of your other hand and slide it down the breastbone
until it is touching this index finger. The heel of your hand
should now be positioned on the middle of the lower half of
Now place the heel of your other hand on top of the first.
Keep your fingers off the chest, by locking them together.
should be applied through the heels of the hands only.
your elbows straight, and bring your body weight over your
hands to make it easier to press down.
down firmly and quickly to achieve a downwards movement of
4-5cm, then relax and repeat the compression.
this 15 times, then give artificial respiration twice. Continue
this 15:2 procedure until help arrives.
for a rate of compression of about 100 per minute. You can
help your timing and counting by saying out loud 'one and
two and three and four ...' etc.
a baby (up to 1 year) is unconscious and has no pulse:
the place between the nipples where the ribs meet in the breastbone.
Move your fingers about 2cm to the right from this point -
just above their heart.
firmly, but not forcefully, with your index and middle fingers.
you can't see the baby's chest rise, the pressure is not correct.
But with babies, it is especially important to prevent further
injury by taking care not to press too hard.
types of bleeding, it's important to stop the flow of blood
as quickly as possible.
cuts in the veins stop bleeding and clot within a few minutes.
The area should then be washed, and a plaster placed gently
from most injuries can be stopped by applying direct pressure
to the injury. This keeps from cutting off the blood supply
to the affected limb.
Deeper cuts in the veins produce dark blood that seeps out
slowly and steadily. It can be stopped by gentle pressure
on the wound with a sterile or clean cloth, followed by the
application of a clean or sterile bandage.
these wounds need sewing or glueing, and therefore medical
treatment will be necessary after first aid.
Note!: Arterial bleeding must always be referred to a
Bleeding from an artery can cause death within a few minutes,
so urgent first aid is essential. This type of bleeding pulsates
and squirts blood as the pulse beats. The blood is often a
light red colour.
stop bleeding from an artery:
hard pressure on the wound and keep this up until the patient
receives medical treatment.
with a sterile cloth or just use your hand if nothing else
a bandage on the wound if possible. If the blood soaks through
the bandages, press harder until the bleeding stops.
not remove the soaked bandages, but place another on top
not attempt to clean the wound.
person must be made to lie down, preferably with their head
lower than the rest of their body. This will ensure that
enough oxygen gets to the brain.
possible, position the wounded area higher than the rest
of their body so that the pressure, and therefore the bleeding,
will be reduced.
there is severe bleeding where a major artery has been severed,
pressure may be insufficient and a tourniquet may be necessary.
Tourniquets are an effective way of stopping bleeding from
an extremity. They do, however, stop circulation to the affected
extremity and should ONLY be used when other methods, such
as pressure dressings, have failed (or are likely to fail).
Pressure from tourniquets must be relieved periodically to
prevent damage to the tissue from lack of oxygen.
Note: Tourniquets should only be used as a last resort
if the bleeding cannot be stopped and the situation is life
occur when one of the small blood vessels in the mucous membranes
of the nose bursts.
Most nosebleeds look much worse than they really are. Almost
all nosebleeds can be treated easily
you or someone else does suffer a nosebleed do not bend the
head backwards or lie down, because this increases blood pressure
in the head and so increases the bleeding. Keeping your head
above your heart will make your nose bleed less. Blood may
also run into the stomach.
To limit the bleeding:
possible, sit down and lean forward
the nostrils shut with the index and middle finger for 10
minutes. This way, the vein is pressed together, which is
often enough to stem the flow.
the nostrils are shut, the person must breathe through their
the bleeding continues, it is important to contact a doctor.
person frequently suffers sudden, intense nosebleeds, they
should also consult a doctor.
happens when the passage through the windpipe is blocked.
This usually occurs when food that has not been thoroughly
chewed gets stuck.
If someone looks like they are choking, ask them if they are
able to talk.
A person who is genuinely choking can usually only communicate
with hand movements, and may place their hand against their
throat. In such a case they will definitely need help, so
summon assistance for them.
Provided the person is conscious and breathing, you should
not interfere. However, be prepared to do so if the obstruction
appears to become complete or markedly worse.
The best way to relieve choking is by using the Heimlich manoeuvre:
The Heimlich manoeuvre
behind the person who is choking.
your arms around their waist and bend them well forward.
your fist and place it right above the person's navel (belly
your other hand on top, then thrust both hands backwards
into the stomach with a hard, upward movement.
this until the object stuck in the throat is expelled through
you need to carry out this manoeuvre on yourself, place
a clenched hand above your navel (belly button) and your
other hand on top. Then thrust your fist hard into your
this until the object stuck in the throat is expelled through
and fainting occur when only a small amount of blood circulates
to the brain. This means that the brain is not receiving enough
oxygen, which leads to a feeling of faintness, disorientation
may also occur:
an accident involving loss of blood.
a serious infection with loss of fluids.
a serious burn.
other accidents that cause loss of fluids or blood.
the flow of blood in the body is too slow, the blood pressure
drops and too little oxygen is circulated through the body.
this occurs a person will:
sweaty, clammy and cold
a weak, fast pulse
low blood pressure
slow, weak breathing
anxious or restless.
to do if someone is in shock or fainting:
person must lie on their back - preferably with their feet
raised - to ensure enough blood gets to the brain.
sure the person is warm, comfortable and covered by a blanket
not give them anything to drink because they could run a risk
the person vomits or bleeds from the mouth, he or she must
be placed on their side to prevent choking.
for an ambulance. A person in shock must always be treated
by a doctor.
A fracture is a break in a bone. If the broken bone punctures
the skin, it is called an open or compound fracture. Fractures
commonly happen because of various accidents such as car accidents,
falls or sports injuries.
of a fracture are:
or misshapen limb or joint
bruising or bleeding
mobility or inability to move a limb
to get medical care as soon as possible for any fracture.
Very often the limb needs to be immobilised in a cast or splint.
Sometimes surgery is required to put in plates, pins or screws
to keep the bone in place.
If a fracture
should occur or is suspected take these actions immediately
while waiting for medical help:
any bleeding. Apply pressure to the wound with a sterile
bandage, a clean cloth or a clean piece of clothing.
the injured area. Don't try to realign the bone, but if
you've been trained in how to splint and professional help
isn't readily available, apply a splint to the area.
ice packs to limit swelling and help relieve pain until
emergency personnel arrive. Don't apply ice directly to
the skin wrap the ice in a towel, piece of cloth
or some other material.
for shock. If the person feels faint or is breathing in
short, rapid breaths, lay the person down with the head
slightly lower than the trunk and, if possible, elevate