First aid is the immediate treatment given to the victim of an unexpected health issue, in order to save their life or keep the situation from worsening until a medical professional is able to see them. Having basic first aid skills can come handy as emergency situations come without warning and in order to deal with them swiftly and calmly, you must know what to do and have the necessary resources on hand.
Preparing a First Aid Kit
A well-stocked first aid kit is essential for treating minor injuries at home and while on the move. The following is a list of items that should be kept in the first aid kit. Adhesive tape, alcohol wipes, allergy medicine, Tablet Disprin (chest pain), antibiotic ointment, bands in various sizes, SilverX ointment(Burns), cold packs, rolls of gaze and pads, hand sanitizer, Cream which contains hydrocortisone, latex free gloves, pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, saline wound wash, tweezer and scissors. The kit must be easy to locate but also stored in a high, childproof cabinet out of reach of children. You can run out of items if you use them frequently, and prescriptions can expire if you only use them occasionally, so check through your kit and replace any empty or out-of-date items at least once a year.
The checklist below outlines what one must to do in the event of minor burns, cuts, drowning, electric shock, snake bite, bee sting –
If you experience severe central chest pain, shortness of breath and sweating.
- Make sure you call for help if you are alone.
- Take Aspirin/dispirin 325mg orally immediately.
- Call for ambulance or reach nearest hospital as soon as possible.
In case of Drowning:
- Make sure you’re safe. If you don’t know how to swim, don’t go near water.
- Make an emergency call and notify the Emergency Response Team.
- Pull the victim out of the water.
- Check for a reaction and a pulse-Radial/Carotid.
- If there is no pulse or respiration, begin CPR by putting the heel of your palm over the chest-nipple line and giving 100-120 compressions per minute.
- Begin artificial respiration by straightening the victim’s airway (head tilt and chin raise). After then, take a regular breath and cover the victim’s mouth with your own to establish an airtight seal.
- Begin compressions and breathing in a 30:2 ratio.
- Give artificial respiration/mouth to mouth breathing if the victim has a pulse but is not breathing.
- If no spinal injuries are present, provide support and place the victim in the recovery position, which is a side-to-side posture that allows fluid to drain from the airway.
- Change the victim’s clothes and keep warm.
- Get the victim to the hospital as soon as an emergency rescue crew is available.
In case of minor burns:
- Remove any clothing covering the affected area.
- Place the burned area under running water for few minutes until the pain subsides.
- Do not use ice- or ice-cold water directly on the burned area.
- Remove the obstacles that may compress the affected area and cause it to swell.
- Cover the wound with sterile gauge.
- Do not apply adhesive creams or lotions.
- Give medical care and treatment as soon as possible.
In case of an electric shock:
- It is a medical emergency, even if the victim appears to be normal.
- Determine the source of the electric shock and disconnect or turn off the equipment.
- Separate the victim from the source of the electric current by utilising non-conductive items such as a wooden stick, plastic handle, chair, or rubble material when the power supply cannot be interrupted.
- In the event of a high-voltage power outage, the local power company or industry must cut down the main power supply.
- Begin CPR if the sufferer is not responsive and has no pulse.
- Electric shock has an effect on the heart; it may cause rhythm disturbances, known as arrhythmias;
- Take the victim to the hospital as soon as possible.
In case of a snake bite:
- Keep the patient laying down for a few minutes after a snake bite and look for fang marks.
- Ensure the patient’s calm and avoid panicking, since fast heart rate will accelerate circulation and poison distribution in the body.
- Make an emergency call and inform the incidence.
- Do not try to suck out the poison or cut the wound.
- Apply a pressure bandage and immobilise the afflicted limb which will restrict venom circulation.
- Do not use a tourniquet, which can obstruct blood flow.
- Seek medical treatment, as soon as possible.
In case of bee sting:
- Move the victim from the scene of the incident.
- Remove the bee sting with a blunt-edged instrument as the sting triggers allergic responses.
- Examine the area for any inflammation, redness, swelling, or itching.
- If antihistamine lotion/cream is available, use it or use an ice pack to relieve inflammation.
- Keep an eye out for indications anaphylaxis i.e. breathing difficulty, swelling of tongue and face, chest pain.
- Seek medical help right away.
Accidents are unavoidable. As a result, it is critical to remain vigilant and aware of one’s surroundings and working environment. It’s also critical to understand the significance of first-aid supplies in order to protect the safety. A small, curable injury might become much more dangerous if you don’t have proper first aid supplies.
Article by Dr. Mohammed Imran Soherwardi, Consultant – Emergency Medicine