The ability to respond quickly and effectively in the face of a medical emergency is an invaluable asset. Knowing how to apply first aid is a must-know for every prepper.
First aid refers to the first line of treatment in the case of a medical emergency. First aid is usually administered in the absence of immediate professional help and meant to be a short term fix until help arrives. Treating minor burns or cuts, applying dressing to wounds, and even CPR are a few of the examples of first aid treatments.
Five Common Situations That Require First Aid
First, we have to understand the end goal of knowing how to apply first aid. First aid, as the first line of treatment, is not necessarily meant to cure. A lot of serious injuries have to be addressed immediately to stabilize the situation until the necessary help and resources arrive. The purpose of first aid is:
- To keep the person alive
- To stabilize the victim and to prevent it from escalating
- To ensure that the victim receives the appropriate medical care
There are everyday emergencies that require knowing how to apply first aid. But first, there are a few things you need to know before applying first aid in any situation:
- DO NOT PANIC and immediately call 911
- Call on another person to assist you (if needed)
- Before applying first aid, allow for a reasonable amount of space for yourself and the person you are assisting
- Carefully assess your surroundings and the situation
- Cleanse your hands before treatment
Some emergencies that require knowing how to apply first aid are the occurrence of bleeding, burns, choking, and unconsciousness.
Bleeding. Cuts and wounds are frequent. Any open wound has to be dressed and treated immediately to avoid any infection.
- Lay the person down.
- Apply pressure on the wound to stop bleeding. Use a sterile or clean cloth when applying pressure.
- DO NOT remove whatever is stuck on the skin.
- If there is no fracture, elevate the bleeding area above the person’s heart.
- Monitor the person until help arrives.
Dressing/Bandaging Wounds. Dressing is a must for wounds. In case of serious injury like a fracture, a tourniquet might be necessary. However, proper training is necessary so as not to worsen the situation.
- Clean the wound with soap. Make sure your hands and the water used is clean.
- Gently blot the area dry with a clean cloth.
- Gently pat an antibiotic ointment on the wound and cover it with sterile gauze.
Burns. A burn can happen anytime, either outdoors or in the kitchen. Knowing how to apply first aid immediately is essential in ensuring it doesn’t scar and that the pain eased somehow..
- Identify the degree of burn.
- First degree burns: red and swollen
- Second-degree burns: red, has blisters, swollen
- Third-degree burns: may look white, charred skin – NEEDS PROFESSIONAL HELP
- The burnt area must immediately be submerged in cool water. If cool water isn’t available, running water will do. If the area is too large to cover for submersion or running water, you may use cool, damp washcloths.
- DO NOT touch blisters if they are present.
- If you have a medicated cream or gel available, you may apply it and cover it with a clean and sterile dressing.
- In the event of a third-degree burn, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY.
Choking. When someone is choking, be calm, and remember the following steps.
- Check with the victim. Choking can easily be identified because of the victim’s motion. Only initiate first aid if the victim is choking and can no longer breathe.
- Call 911 first before starting the Heimlich Maneuver
- Conduct the Heimlich Maneuver.
- Stand behind the victim.
- Put your arms around the stomach of the victim.
- Form a fist with one hand, and the let the other hold on to it.
- Position your fist’s thumb side just above the belly button but a little below the last rib.
- Make quick inward upward thrusts until the victim spits out whatever is blocking his/her airway.
- With the infant face down on your forearm, support the baby’s head and neck with your hand.
- Sit down so you can rest your hand on your knee.
- Position the baby’s head: It must be lower than the body.
- With the heel of your hand, give four blows between the infant’s shoulder blades.
- Turn the baby over.
- Use your middle and ring fingers and perform chest thrusts. A gentle inward upward thrust will do.
- The chest thrusts must be done on the center of the infant’s chest—right below the nipple.
- Repeat until the airway is clear.
- This must be followed up immediately with medical help because of possible complications.
Unconsciousness – With proper training, you can administer CPR on a person who requires it. Otherwise, the below should suffice until professional help arrives:
- Check victim awareness: ask if they are okay and get a confirmation either verbally or non-verbally.
- If the victim appears completely unconscious, check the ABC.
- Circulation / Pulse
- If there is no sign of breathing or pulse, CPR must be done by a trained individual.
- If the victim is breathing and has a pulse, put them in a recovery position. Put the victim on their side so they will not choke on their saliva or secretion.
- Keep the victim warm if needed, and do not leave them unattended until professional help arrives.
Knowing how to apply first aid is the necessary information that you can keep for yourself and your loved ones. The nature of an emergency is that it can happen anytime and anywhere. It is unexpected, and we cannot rely on the immediate availability of medical professionals to help us. You can save a life when you equipped with the knowledge of how to apply first aid. Get more tips on first aid.