WHAT IS FIRST AID?
First aid is the immediate assistance or treatment given to someone injured or suddenly taken ill before the arrival of an ambulance, doctor or other appropriately qualified person. The person offering this help to a casualty must act calmly and with confidence, and above all must be willing to offer assistance whenever the need arises.
Being a First Aider
Most people can, by following the guidance given, give useful and effective first aid. However, first aid is a skill based on knowledge, training, and experience. The term “first Aider” is usually applied to someone who has completed a theoretical and practical instruction course, and passed a professionally supervised examination.
AIMS OF FIRST AID
>To preserve life
>To limit worsening of the condition
>To promote recovery
THE FIRST AIDER IS:
>Examined and regularly re-examined
>Up-to-date in knowledge and skill
BEING A FIRST AIDER
The first aider learned from a manual or course is not quite like reality. Most of us feel apprehensive when dealing with “the real thing”. By facing up to cope with the unexpected.
Doing your part
First aid is not an exact science, and is thus open to human error. Even with appropriate treatment, and however hard you try, a casualty may not respond as hoped. Some conditions inevitably lead to death, even with the best medical care. If you do your best, your conscience can be clear.
The golden rule is, “ First do no harm”, while applying the principle of “calculated risk”. You should use the treatment that is most likely to be of benefit to a casualty, but do not use a doubtful treatment just for the sake of doing something.
The “Good Samaritan”
This principle supports those acting in an emergency (but not those who go beyond accepted boundaries). If you keep calm, and you follow the guidelines ,you need not fear any legal consequences.
PROTECTING THE CASUALTY
To avoid cross-infection when giving first aid, if possible you should:
>Avoid direct contact with body fluids where possible
>Wash your hands
>Wear protective gloves.
If gloves are unavailable, life-saving treatment must still be given.
YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS A FIRST AIDER
>To assess a situation quickly and safely, and summon appropriate help.
>To protect casualties and others at the scene from possible danger.
>To identify, as far as possible, the injury or nature of the illness affecting a casualty.
>To give each e early and appropriate treatment, treating the most serious condition first.
>To arrange for the casualty’s removal to hospital, into the care of a doctor, or to his or her home.
>To remain with a casualty until appropriate care us available.
>To report your observations to those taking over care of the casualty, and to give further assistance if required.
>To prevent cross-infection between yourself and the casualty as much as possible.
GIVING CARE WITH CONFIDENCE
Every casualty needs to feel secure and in safe hands. You can create an air of confidence and assurance by:
being in control, both of yourself and the problem;
acting calmly and logically;
being gentle, but firm, with your hands, and speaking to the casualty kindly, but purposefully.
Building up trust
Talk to the casualty throughout your examination and treatment.
>Explain what you are going to do.
>Try to answer questions honestly to allay fears as best you can. If you do not know the answer, say so.
>Continue to reassure the casualty even when your treatment is complete-find out about the next-of-kin, or anyone else who should be contacted about the incident. Ask if you can help to make arrangements so that any responsibilities the casualty may have, such as collecting a child from school, can be taken care of.
>Do not leave someone whom you believe to be dying. Continue to talk to the casualty, and hold his or her hand, never let the person feel alone.
Talking to relatives
The task of informing relatives of a death is usually the job of the police or the doctor on duty. However, it may well be that you have to tell relatives or friends that someone has been taken ill, or has been involved in an accident.
Always check that you are speaking to the right person first. Then explain, as simply and honestly as you can, what has happened, and, if appropriate, where the casualty has been taken. Do not be vague or exaggerate; you may cause undue alarm, it is better to admit ignorance than to give misleading information.
Coping with children
Young children are extremely perceptive and will quickly detect any uncertainly on your part. Gain an injured or sick child’s confidence by talking first to someone he or she trust-a parent accepts you and believes you will help, this confidence will be conveyed to the child.
Always explain simply to a child what is happening and what you intend to do;
Do not talk over his or her head. You should not separate a child from his or her mother, father or other trusted person.
LOOING AFTER YOURSELF
It is important not to jeopardize your personal safety. Do not attempt heroic rescues in hazardous circumstances.
Coping with unpleasantness
The practice of first aid can be messy, smelly, and distasteful, and you may feel that you will not be able to cope with this. Such fears are common but usually groundless. First-aid training will bolster your self-reliance and confidence and will help you to control your emotions in a difficult situation.
Taking stock after an emergency
Assisting at an emergency is a stressful event, and you may suffer a delayed reaction some time afterwards. You may feel satisfaction r even elation, but it is common to be upset, particularly if the casualty was a stranger and you might not know the outcome of your efforts.
PROTECTING YOUR SELF AGAINST INFECTION
You may worry about picking up infections from casualties. Often, simply measures such as washing your hands and wearing gloves will protect both you and the casualty from cross-infection.
However, there is a risk that blood-borne viruses, such as hepatitis B or C and HIV (which can lead to AIDS-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), may be spread by blood-to-blood contact.
These viruses can be transmitted only if an infected person’s blood makes contact with a break in the skin, such as a cut or abrasion containing blood or blood products, of another person. No evidence exists of hepatitis or HIV being passed on during mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
To prevent cross-infection, you should:
always carry protective gloves;
cover your own sores or skin wounds with a waterproof plaster;
wear a plastic apron when dealing with large quantities of a casualty’s body fluids and wear plastic glasses to protect your eyes against splashes;
take care not to prick yourself with any needle found on or near the casualty, or to cut yourself on glass;
if your eyes, nose or mouth or any wound on your skin is splashed by the casualty’s blood, wash thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible, and consult a doctor;
use a mask or face shield for mouth to mouth ventilation if the casualty’s mouth or nose is bleeding;
dispose of blood and waste safely after treating the casualty
First Aiders should seek medical advice on hepatitis B immunization from their own doctors. If, after giving first aid, you are concerned that you have been in contact with infection of any sort, seek further medical advice.