First Aid
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First Aid In The Home!
Although most of us consider our home to be a safe place, we are more likely to have an accident there than anywhere else. We never expect accidents to happen to us but in reality they can - and often do. In fact, each year, a staggering 3 million of us have accidents at home that are serious enough to require hospital treatment. Knowing what to do in an emergency really can mean the difference between life and death.
Getting It Right
Here are the vital procedures that could save someone's life in a crisis

Checking for Breathing
This can be done in three ways:
  • See if the chest is rising and falling.
  • Feel for breath against your cheek.
  • Listen for breathing.

Finding a pulse (for adults only)
Place two fingers in the groove to one side of the windpipe and press for ten seconds.

Recovery position
If the casualty is unconscious but breathing and has a pulse, place them into the recovery position.The casualty's bent leg prevents her from rolling forwards. His hand supports his head, which is tilted well back to keep the airway open.

Mouth-to-mouth ventilation (Adults)
  • If a casualty stops breathing but has a pulse, lie them on their back and remove any obstruction from the mouth, such as false teeth.
  • Lift the chin to open the airway, pinch the nose firmly closed, take a deep breath and seal your lips around the mouth.
  • Blow until the chest rises. Then remove your mouth, letting the chest fall.
  • Continue at a rate of ten breaths a minute. Check the pulse every ten breaths.

Follow the same procedure but the rate should be twenty breaths a minute.

  • Carefully remove any obstruction from the mouth. Open the airway by lifting the chin.
  • Seal your lips around the baby's mouth and nose.
  • Blow gently into the lungs - Fill your cheeks and use this amount of air each time.
  • As the chest rises stop blowing and allow it to fall.
  • Continue at a rate of twenty breaths per minute.
  • Check the pulse every twenty breaths.

Mouth-to-mouth ventilation with chest compression (Adults)
  • If there is no sign of breathing or a pulse, place the heel of your hand two finger's width above the junction of the bottom rib and breastbone.
  • Place your other hand on top and interlock your fingers, keeping your arms straight and your fingers off the chest. (see illustration).
  • Press down about 4-5cm and release.
  • Repeat 15 times, aiming for a rate of 100 per minute.
  • Give two breaths of mouth-to-mouth ventilation.
  • Continue doing 15 compressions to two breaths.
  • If the casualty's colour improves, check the pulse.
  • If you find a pulse, stop chest compressions, but continue with mouth-to-mouth until they start breathing.

Follow the same procedure but do five compressions at a rate of 100 per minute, to one gentle breath of mouth-to-mouth ventilation.

Mouth-to-mouth ventilation with chest compression for babies

  • Put the baby on a firm surface.
  • Place two fingers, one finger's width below the nipple line, in the middle of the chest.
  • Press down sharply to a third of the depth of the chest.
  • Press 5 times, at a rate of 100 compressions per minute.
  • After 5 compressions, blow once, very gently into the lungs.
  • Continue resuscitation for a minute before dialing 999 for an ambulance.
  • Check the babies pulse if their colour returns

Is it a heart attack?
To tell if someone has suffered a heart attack, look out for the following symptoms:
  • Tight, constricting pain in the chest - it often feels like severe indigestion.
  • Pain may spread to the jaw and down the left arm.
  • Lips may be blue and skin look pale and clammy.
  • The person may become dizzy or breathless, with rapid, weak or irregular pulse.
  • If they are conscious make them as comfortable as possible.
  • Get the casualty to chew one aspirin if possible.
  • Call for an ambulance.
  • If the patient is unconscious follow the resuscitation technique described previously.

Choking (For an adult)
  • Encourage the person to cough.
  • Check their mouth and remove any obvious obstructions.
  • If the casualty stops coughing or breathing, stand slightly behind them and give 5 sharp slaps to their back between the shoulder blades. Check the mouth.
  • If this fails, stand behind them and place your arms around their abdomen, bend them slightly forwards and put your fist just below the base of the breastbone. Put your other hand on top and pull sharply inwards and upwards five times. Listen for the obstruction being dislodged and check the mouth.
  • Repeat this three times. If the obstruction does not clear, call 999 for an ambulance, but continue following the above steps until help arrives.

For a child aged 1-7
  • Encourage the child to cough.
  • If they become weak or stop coughing bend them forwards with their head lower than their chest. Give up to 5 back slaps firmly between the shoulders.
  • Check the mouth for obstructions, remove anything obvious with one finger.
  • If this fails stand behind the child and place your fist against their lower breastbone. Grasp it with your other hand and press into the chest with a sharp inward thrust.
  • Repeat up to 5 times at a rate of 1 every 3 seconds. Check the child's mouth.
  • If this fails make a fist and place it against the child's central upper abdomen. Grasp it with your hand. Press into the abdomen with a sharp upward thrust up to 5 times. If it fails repeat 2-4 times, checking the mouth.
  • Dial 999 for an ambulance and repeat the steps until help arrives.

For a baby under 1 year
  • Lay the baby face down on your forearm, supporting back and chin. Give up to 5 sharp slaps on the baby's back.
  • Check the mouth and remove any obvious obstructions with one finger. Don't feel blindly down the throat.
  • If this fails, turn the baby face up on your arm or lap. Give up to 3 sharp thrusts into the baby's chest.
  • Check the baby's mouth again.
  • Don't use abdominal thrusts on a baby.
  • If the obstruction still has not cleared, repeat. Then take the baby with you and dial 999 for an ambulance and repeat steps until help arrives.
Don't Forget
First aid training can equip you with the knowledge of how to save someone life, plus give you the confidence to help in emergency situations. However, it's important that you keep your first aid skills up-to-date and fresh in your mind - you never know when you might need to use them.

Your First Aid Check List.
When faced with an emergency situation always:
  • Stay calm - try to reassure the injured person.
  • Use your common sense - is there any continuing danger?
  • Assess the situation - do I need specialist help?
  • Be safe - make sure you don't act in a way that may injure yourself or bystanders.
  • Quickly assess the persons injuries - act on what you find.
  • Give emergency first aid.
  • Don't move the injured person.
  • Get help - ask bystanders to dial 999 for you.

Always Remember.
When giving first aid to several injured people, treat them in the following order:
  • Unconscious.
  • Serious bleeding.
  • Fractures.
  • Other injuries.

How To Treat Burns & Scalds:
Cool the burn/scald immediately with running water.
  • Dial 999 for an ambulance if necessary. Then lie the injured person down and make them as comfortable as possible.
  • Continue to pour large amounts of cold water over the burn for at least ten minutes or until the pain stops.
  • Remove any jewellery, watches or clothing from the burn, before it begins to swell - unless it is sticking to the skin.
  • Cover the burn with clean, non-fluffy material to protect it from infection. Items such as a clean cloth, cling film or a plastic bag work well.
  • Don't use lotions or ointments on the burn or burst blisters.

Taking Up A First Aid Course.
Although this information could help you in an emergency there is no substitute for thorough knowledge of first aid. St John's Ambulance holds first aid courses throughout the country.

For one in your area call: 08700 10 49 50

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