10 Basic First Aid Procedures You Should Know

10 Basic First Aid Procedures You Should Know
Source -Healthshots

First aid is the medical treatment given to a sick or wounded individual in an emergency. In some situations, it may be the only treatment someone needs, while in others, it may be enough to keep them alive until paramedics arrive or they are transferred to the hospital.


Medically reviewed by Dr K on 21st June 2022. 

Skip to Your Favourite Part:

  1. The First Aid ABCs
  2. AEDs and CPR
  3. Bleeding
  4. Choking
  5. Burns
  6. Blisters
  7. Broken Bone Or Fracture
  8. Sprains
  9. Nosebleeds
  10. Frostbite
  11. Bee Stings

10 Basic First Aid Procedures You Should Know

First aid is the medical treatment given to a sick or wounded individual in an emergency. In some situations, it may be the only treatment someone needs, while in others, it may be enough to keep them alive until paramedics arrive or they are transferred to the hospital. The best approach to prepare for these occurrences is to undergo certified first aid training, but until you can, you may learn some basic life-saving techniques.

This article will walk you through the procedures of first aid for a lot of situations. It will also provide first aid demonstrations and explain when additional care might be required.

Source - FM First Aid Training

The First Aid ABCs

When someone is unconscious or unresponsive, a fundamental first-aid concept is ABC:

  • Airway: Clear the airway if they aren’t breathing.
  • Breathing: Provide rescue breathing if the airway is clean but they are still not breathing.
  • Circulation: Use chest compressions to maintain blood circulating and to help with breathing. If unresponsive but breathing, check the person’s pulse. Provide chest compressions if their heart has stopped.

A simplified version of the ABCs is:

  • Awake? If not, attempt to wake them. If they don’t wake up, make sure someone dials 911 and proceed to B.
  • Breathing? If not, begin rescue breathing and chest compressions. If this is the case, go to C.
  • Continued care: Follow 911 instructions or maintain treatment until an ambulance comes.

Some courses also have D and E:

  • D can stand for disability assessment, lethal bleeding, or an automated external defibrillator (AED), which is a device that shocks the heart into beating.
  • E stands for examining the individual for symptoms of injuries, blood, allergies, or other issues after you know they’re breathing and their heart is beating.

AEDs and CPR

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is one of the most critical emergency medical treatments. A person can die if their heart stops beating while they are in cardiac arrest. CPR or the use of an AED might save their life. AEDs are offered in a variety of public places and companies. Even if you have never been taught, these devices are simple to operate.

What You Should Do

When you believe someone is having a cardiac arrest, do the following steps:

  1. Ask someone to dial 911.
  2. Begin chest compressions right away. Push down firmly and rapidly in the middle of the chest with both hands, allowing the chest to rise freely between compressions. Continue until someone with more experience arrives.
  3. Use chest compressions and rescue breathing if you have CPR training.
  4. Utilise AED. However, do not postpone chest compressions in order to locate the device. If at all feasible, have someone else search for it.

Taking formal CPR training can help you get acquainted with chest compressions, rescue breathing, and the use of an AED. To enrol in a course, contact the American Red Cross or look for local or online alternatives.

Bleeding

The colour of the blood and how it exits the body might indicate the severity of the injury:

  • Capillaries: Bleeding from capillaries, the tiniest blood vessels, appears as a trickle and normally stops on its own.
  • Veins: Consistent blood flow and blood of a dark red tint are most likely caused by veins. Its severity might vary from minor to severe.
  • Arteries: Arteries are the largest blood arteries in the body and transport a lot of oxygen. When they are damaged, bright crimson blood usually bursts out. This sort of bleed will cause significant blood loss.

Almost all bleeding is under control. If heavy bleeding is allowed to continue, it can result in shock and, in the worst-case scenario, death.

What You Should Do

While it is critical to stop the bleeding, remember the ABCs of first aid and check out anything more severe first.

Then:

  1. If possible, wash your hands or put on disposable gloves. This may help protect you against infections such as viral hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
  2. Use water to clean the wound.
  3. Cover the wound with gauze or cloth (towel, blanket, clothes, whatever you have on hand).
  4. Apply direct pressure to restrict blood flow and promote clotting, which occurs when blood naturally thickens to prevent blood loss.
  5. Raise the bleeding body part just above the heart if possible.
  6. If the fabric gets wet through, don’t remove it; instead, add extra layers if needed. Cutting the first layer will disrupt the clotting process and cause further blood loss.
  7. Apply a clean bandage after the bleeding has stopped.

Seek medical attention if:

  1. The wound is rather deep.
  2. The sides of the wound are widely parted.
  3. After applying pressure, the injury exudes blood.
  4. The injury is the result of an animal or human bite.
  5. A puncture, burn, or electrical harm has occurred.
  6. You believe there is arterial bleeding.
  7. Bandages are soaked with blood.
  8. The bleeding would not stop.

Ensure that someone continues to treat the patient while you are driving to the hospital or waiting for an ambulance.

Choking

Choking from a throat obstruction is a dangerous situation that can result in unconsciousness or even life.

Among the signs are:

  • Wheezing, gagging, or gasping
  • Inability to communicate or create sounds
  • Face turning blue
  • Arms flapping
  • Panicked appearance

The Heimlich manoeuvre is a sequence of abdominal thrusts that can be used to release whatever is choking someone. It should be done only if someone is actually choking.

Simply ask the individual whether they are choking before doing anything else. Someone who is coughing or chatting is not choking. Proceed with the Heimlich if they are unresponsive or display any of the symptoms listed.

What You Should Do

  1. To do the Heimlich manoeuvre, approach the individual from behind and lean slightly forward.
  2. Wrap your arms around the person’s waist.
  3. Make a fist and put it between their navel and rib cage.
  4. With your other hand, grab your fist.
  5. In 5 fast thrusts, pull the clinched hand quickly backwards and upward beneath the rib cage. Repeat this process until the thing is coughed up.

Perform thrusts across the chest rather than the abdomen for someone who is obese or pregnant.

  1. If someone is unconscious, turn them over on their back and crouch over them.
  2. Place your hand’s heel just over your navel.
  3. Place your other hand on top.
  4. To remove the impediment, do fast upward thrusts.

Please keep in mind that methods for newborns vary.

Burns

Stopping the burning process is the first step in treating a burn. Chemicals must be cleaned up. The power must be switched off. Running water must be used to cool down the heat. Those who have sunburns should wear protective clothing or go indoors.

The depth and extent of a burn determine its severity:

First-degree burn: This damages just the skin’s outer layer, causing redness and swelling. It is classified as a minor burn.

Second-degree burn: This kind of burn affects two layers of skin and results in blistering, redness, and swelling. A severe burn is one that is more than three inches broad and is on the face, hands, feet, genitals, buttocks, or over a major joint.

Third-degree burn: This affects the deeper layers of skin, resulting in white or blackened skin that could be numb. It is always regarded as a severe burn.

What You Should Do

Major burns need immediate medical treatment. Once the fire has been extinguished, dial 911 or have someone else call.

Take the following first-aid steps for various burns:

  1. For several minutes, flush the burnt area with cold running water. Never use ice.
  2. Wrap the wound with a thin gauze bandage. (If the burn is minimal, use an ointment like aloe vera before doing so.)
  3. If required, use Motrin (ibuprofen) or Tylenol (acetaminophen) for pain relief.
  4. Breaking any blisters that have formed is not advised.

Blisters 

Blisters are intended to shield the wounded skin underneath from further injury as it heals.

Whether or whether it should be treated, and how, is determined by the characteristics of the blister as well as your general health.

What You Should Do

It’s preferable to leave the blister alone if it’s tiny, unbroken, and not very painful. Cover it to avoid friction, which might cause it to expand and perhaps explode. Popping a blister will allow germs to enter and cause an illness.

If the blister is big or painful, do the following steps:

  1. Wash your hands and get an alcohol sterilised needle.
  2. Make tiny punctures around the blister’s border.
  3. Push the fluid out gently.
  4. Apply antibacterial ointment.
  5. Apply a bandage.
  6. Take precautions to prevent the area from excessive rubbing or pressure if possible.

If your immune system is compromised, you are at a higher risk of infection and should not drain a blister on your own. To protect you from infection, your healthcare practitioner may recommend draining it.

If the blister ruptured on its own:

  1. Only use clean water to wash.
  2. Unless the flap of damaged skin is unclean, torn, or pus has formed beneath it, smooth it over the freshly exposed flesh.
  3. Use petroleum jelly.
  4. Bandage it. 

If the bandage becomes wet, change it. Remove it before going to bed to allow the area to air out.

Broken Bone or Fracture 

Any damage to your limbs, hands or feet should be treated as a fractured bone until an X-ray can clarify what’s wrong.

While fractured bones or fractures certainly need medical attention, they do not always necessitate an emergency visit to the hospital.

What You Should Do

Call 911 immediately:

  • If the individual is bleeding heavily, is unconscious, is not breathing, or has several injuries.
  • You suspect a spinal column fracture or other major damage to the head, hip, pelvis, or thigh. In this circumstance, only skilled medical staff should transfer the victim.
  • An open or complicated fracture occurs when a shattered bone protrudes from the skin.
  • The area underneath an affected joint feels cold and clammy and may become blue.
  • You are unable to immobilise the injuries enough to transfer the victim.

If none of these applies, utilise first aid before going to an urgent care centre or contacting your healthcare professional for advice.

Steps to take:

  1. Do not attempt to straighten the bone.
  2. Use a splint and padding to hold a limb still and elevate it.
  3. To avoid tissue damage, place a cold pack on the injury with a layer between it and the skin. If all you have is ice, put it in a plastic bag and cover it in a shirt or towel.
  4. For pain, use anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen).

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen sodium) have been proven in studies to delay bone repair. Short-term NSAID usage, on the other hand, seems to have little or no impact on recovery.

Sprains 

Sprains are injuries to the ligaments, which are connective tissues that bind bones, cartilage, and joints. Sprains are often developed by twisted joints, which causes these tissues to overstretch or rupture. They are most typically seen in the ankle and wrist.

Because the symptoms of a sprain are similar to those of a fractured bone, an X-ray will most certainly be performed to make the diagnosis.

What You Should Do

The first step is to ensure that the wounded individual refrains from engaging in any unnecessary activity so that the injury does not worsen.

Sprains might not always need immediate medical attention. However, if the wounded individual has any of the following conditions, you should seek emergency medical attention:

  • Severe pain while moving or being touched
  • Inability to bear weight on the damaged joint for an extended period of time
  • Increased bruising 
  • Numbness or pins and needles in the area of the sprain
  • Infection symptoms
  • During the first week, there was little to no improvement.

If they do not, start first aid:

  1. Keep the limb still.
  2. Apply a cold compress.
  3. Elevate the wounded area if it is safe to do so.
  4. For pain relief, use NSAIDs.

See your doctor as soon as possible for adequate treatment.

Nosebleeds 

The most common cause of a nosebleed is digital trauma, often known as nose-picking. Other possible reasons include:

  • Dry or heated air
  • High altitudes
  • Nasal irritants caused by chemical fumes
  • Allergies and colds
  • Blowing your nose hard or often
  • Nose injury
  • Deviated septum; twisted nasal cartilage
  • Nasal polyps or tumours, which are non-cancerous or cancerous growths in the nasal canal and sinuses
  • Bleeding disorders, including haemophilia and leukaemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Frequent use of nasal sprays, decongestants, and antihistamines
  • NSAIDs
  • Blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Cocaine and other snorted drugs

Many of these things dry out or damage your nostrils’ sensitive nasal membranes, causing them to become crusty and rupture when irritated.

What You Should Do

First aid for nosebleeds includes:

  1. Lean slightly forward, not back.
  2. Pinch the nose just below the bridge, high enough that the nostrils aren’t pinched closed.
  3. Check after five minutes to see if bleeding has stopped. If not, continue pinching and check after another 10 minutes.
  4. You can also apply a cold pack to the bridge of the nose while pinching.

Consult a doctor if:

  • You get frequent nosebleeds.
  • You have anaemia symptoms such as tiredness, weakness, and pale skin.
  • You’re on blood thinners.
  • You suffer from a clotting condition.
  • You’ve recently begun taking a new drug.
  • You have strange bruises.

A nosebleed needs immediate medical attention when:

  • The nosebleed does not stop even after more than 15 minutes of direct pressure.
  • A significant amount of blood loss.
  • You’re having trouble breathing Swallowed a lot of blood and vomited it up.
  • You’ve suffered a severe injury or a hit to the head.

Frostbite 

Frostbite occurs when the body’s tissues freeze completely in cold temperatures. This is the polar opposite of a burn, although the damage to your skin is almost equal.

What You Should Do 

Frostbite treatment is a sensitive method that involves gradually warming the damaged area. This should be done by a medical expert if at all possible.

If it is not, or if an ambulance is not accessible, you should begin first aid:

  1. Get yourself out of the cold.
  2. Soak the afflicted area in warm water (98-105 degrees Fahrenheit) for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Avoid rubbing the afflicted area.
  4. Do not utilise dry heat sources such as a heating pad or a fireplace.
  5. After your fingers and toes have warmed up, place clean cotton balls between them.
  6. Wrap bandages around the affected area loosely.
  7. For pain, use Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen).
  8. Seek medical help as soon as possible.

Skin-to-skin contact can also be used to warm tiny patches of minor frostbite.

If your skin becomes hard and white, get immediate medical attention.

Bee Stings 

Bee stings can be irritating for some individuals, but for those who are allergic to bee venom, they can be fatal.

Because allergies can form at any moment, it’s important to keep an eye out for indications of an allergic response following a bee sting. These are some examples:

  • Swelling away from the stung area
  • Flushing
  • Hives are elevated, big red or flesh-coloured bumps on the skin.
  • Itching
  • Signs of anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic response that may result in hives, swelling, chest discomfort, disorientation, sweating, blue lips and nails, and trouble breathing.

What You Should Do

If any indications of allergy occur, call 911 immediately or take the victim to the hospital.

Use an EpiPen to prevent anaphylaxis if the individual who was stung has a confirmed allergy to bee stings.

While conducting first aid on someone who does not have a reported bee allergy, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  1. To prevent the stinger from injecting additional poison, get it out in any manner you can. It makes no difference whichever approach is used. What matters most is that this is completed as soon as possible.
  2. Soap and water should be used to clean the area.
  3. Apply a cold compress to the affected area to minimise swelling, but do not apply ice directly to the skin.
  4. To relieve swelling and itching, use an allergy medicine, often known as an antihistamine, such as Benadryl.
  5. For pain, use Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen).

Summary 

Knowing the fundamentals of first aid might make you feel better prepared in the event of an emergency. Look into first aid training since it is the simplest method to prepare for an emergency circumstance.

When someone is unresponsive, the ABCs are the fundamental principles of first assistance. This abbreviation stands for airway, breathing, and circulation.

Depending on the nature of the problem, emergency treatment will differ. Examples of common crises include:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Bleeding
  • Choking
  • Burns
  • Blisters
  • Broken bones
  • Sprains
  • Nosebleeds
  • Frostbite
  • Bee stings

Remember that in an emergency, performing first aid treatment is preferable to doing nothing. In fact, swift action might save someone’s life.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • What are the first aid ABCs?

ABC is an abbreviation for airway, breathing, and circulation in first aid. When someone is unconscious or unresponsive, examine and clear their airway, as well as administer rescue breathing and chest compressions. ABC can also stand for “awake, breathing, and continued care."

  • What are the most frequent first-aid procedures?

CPR, the Heimlich manoeuvre, and diagnosing and treating minor injuries are among the first aid treatments included in basic training. Wounds, burns, sprains, and shattered bones are examples of such injuries.

  • What are the three Ps of first aid?

The three Ps of first aid are as follows:

  • Preserve life
  • Prevent deterioration
  • Promote recovery
  • Is it necessary to apply a tourniquet to halt the bleeding?

A tourniquet, which is a band or device that is wrapped around the arm to restrict blood flow, should preferably be applied by a qualified expert. If direct pressure isn’t working, anybody may apply a tourniquet to save an injured person’s life. In an emergency, a belt or a ripped piece of cloth can be used as a tourniquet.

Sources

  1. https://www.verywellhealth.com/basic-first-aid-procedures-1298578 
  2. American Red Cross. What is aed?
  3. American Heart Association. Saving lives: why cpr aed training matter.
  4. Charlton NP, Pellegrino JL, Kule A, et al. 2019 american heart association and american red cross focused update for first aid: presyncope: an update to the american heart association and american red cross guidelines for first aid. Circulation. 2019;140(24):e931-e938. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000730
  5. AlSabah S, Al Haddad E, AlSaleh F. Stop the bleed campaign: a qualitative study from our experience from the middle east. Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2018;36:67-70. doi:10.1016/j.amsu.2018.10.013
  6. Nemours KidsHealth. First aid: cuts.
  7. MedlinePlus. Bleeding.
  8. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Choking and the heimlich maneuver.
  9. National CPR Foundation. Choking, hypothermia & dehydration.
  10. American Burn Association. Initial first aid treatment for minor burns.
  11. MedlinePlus. Burns.
  12. Hyland EJ, Connolly SM, Fox JA, Harvey JG. Minor burn management: Potions and lotions. Aust Prescr. 2015;38(4):124-127. doi:10.18773/austprescr.2015.041
  13. MedlinePlus. Minor burn-aftercare.
  14. Cleveland Clinic. Blisters: caues, treatments — and why you should never pop them.
  15. Michigan Medicine. Blister care.
  16. Nemours KidsHealth. First aid: broken bones.
  17. Nemours TeensHealth. First aid: broken bones.
  18. Wheatley BM, Nappo KE, Christensen DL, Holman AM, Brooks DI, Potter BK. Effect of nsaids on bone healing rates: a meta-analysis. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2019;27(7):e330-e336. doi:10.5435/JAAOS-D-17-00727
  19. Cleveland Clinic. Sprains of the ankle, knee, and wrist.
  20. Nemours KidsHealth. First aid: strains and sprains.
  21. Cleveland Clinic. Nosebleed (epistaxis).
  22. Nemours TeensHealth. Nosebleeds.
  23. Beck R, Sorge M, Schneider A, Dietz A. Current approaches to epistaxis treatment in primary and secondary care. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2018;115(1-02):12-22. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2018.0012
  24. Nemours KidsHealth. First aid: frostbite.
  25. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Insect sting allergies.
  26. American Red Cross. First aid steps.
  27. American Red Cross. Sof tourniquet.

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