Emergencies occur without notice, and what happens in the first few moments can make the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, most people do not know what to do in an emergency and rest all their hopes by calling the emergency services.
But some emergencies cannot wait until first responders arrive.
Therefore, everybody should learn some basic first aid skills that might prove vital in case of an emergency.
CPR is an acronym for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In emergencies such as cardiac arrest, CPR is a lifesaver. It ensures that the person’s blood stays oxygenated and keeps circulating to sustain brain function as they await help.
CPR involves both chest compressions that help in manual pumping of the blood and rescue breathing by breathing into the patient’s mouth to keep the blood oxygenated. While most people may have watched CPR performed on movie sets, not many know how it is done in real life.
CPR may seem like an easy thing to do, but without training, even the best intentions of helping may not yield much or even make the situation worse. Learning CPR is straightforward and shouldn’t take long to learn.
2. Heimlich Maneuver
The Heimlich maneuver has some similarities to CPR, but it’s quite different and serves a different purpose. The Heimlich maneuver is designed for situations where a person is choking on a foreign object.
In less severe cases of choking, the person may still be able to breathe or talk. However, in cases of severe choking, the casualty’s airways may be blocked entirely, putting the person at the risk of suffocation.
The Heimlich maneuver involves standing behind and wrapping your arms around the choking patient while they are in a standing position, then placing a fist between their belly button and the ribcage.
Once you hold them in position, deliver quick upwards thrusts until the object is dislodged. It’s important to note that the Heimlich maneuver does not apply to toddlers.
3. Choking First Aid for Toddlers
If you are a parent, no experience can be as bad as having your toddler choking and having no clue what to do.
If you have a choking toddler, hold them face down on one hand while supporting their neck and jaw with the palm. Slap them five times between their shoulder blades using the heel of the other hand until the object is dislodged.
If that doesn’t seem to work, turn them over and give them five chest thrusts using two fingers on one hand with the other hand pushing the breastbone area between the nipples.
The idea is to push down and then let go until the object dislodges, the baby cries, starts breathing, or becomes unresponsive. As you administer first aid, it is essential to have somebody call the emergency services.
4. Stopping Severe Bleeding
Some accidents, for example, a car accident or one involving the use of machinery, can result in injuries with severe bleeding. When not stopped in time, this can cause the victim to fall into shock or even die.
Most injuries with severe bleeding involve arterial bleeding. Arterial bleeding is characterized by a pulsating blood flow with a bright red color.
Severe bleeding can cause death within minutes, so it’s essential to have somebody call the emergency services and act first. The most effective way to control heavy bleeding is to apply pressure on the wound; ideally, you should use a sterile bandage, but any piece of clothing will do in an emergency.
Additionally, you may want to hold the affected area in an elevated position to slow down blood flow.
5. Treating Shock
Shock goes hand in hand with severe bleeding in most situations. Severe bleeding causes a drop in the volume of blood circulating the body, which causes a drop in blood pressure.
If bleeding continues even as you apply pressure to contain it, you may need to consider shock treatment to save the person’s life.
Have the patient lay on their back and elevate their feet above the heart. If the patient is not breathing, you may need to administer CPR.
Ensure that they have no tight clothes on, so you may need to remove their belt and unbutton their shirt. Ensure that their airways are clear and cover them to help them keep warm as you wait for help.
6. Identifying Signs of Stroke
Strokes are mostly associated with older people but can happen to anyone. A stroke involves a small clot that blocks blood flow to the brain.
When a person has a stroke, every second counts, and identifying the signs of stroke can significantly affect the outcomes of a stroke.
While some signs of stroke can be confused with other ailments, some unique symptoms set it apart, for example, sudden drooping of one side of the face or body, disorientation, and numbness on one side of the body.
Although there may not be much you can do in terms of first aid for a stroke, administering aspirin to the patient as you await help can help enlarge the veins and ensure the blood flows unhindered.
However, you have to ensure that the patient does not have aspirin allergies before administering the drug.