First aid is an on-the-spot treatment that is provided to a patient before they can be taken to the doctor. It is a set of basic skills that should be learned and practiced by all individuals, irrespective of whether or not they’re in the medical profession. Some of the following conditions are commonly encountered during a person’s lifetime, and require immediate first aid management:
- Minor burns
- Major burns
The causes of these common conditions are listed below:
- Choking – a foreign object (could be food, or inanimate object) gets lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air.
- Minor burns – contact of skin with flames, chemicals, radiation, or hot objects
- Major burns – same as minor burns, but the duration of contact is more
- Bleeding – cut or laceration, road traffic accident
- Shock – trauma, heatstroke, severe burn, severe blood loss, allergic reaction
Before the actual first aid treatment, it is important to discuss some of the symptoms associated with the conditions mentioned above so that they can be recognized easily:
- Choking – hands clutched to the throat, inability to talk, skin turning blue
- Minor burns – red skin, pain, blisters
- Major burns – deep, dry and leathery skin, charred (black) patches of skin
- Shock – cool or clammy skin, pale, rapid breathing, fainting, enlarged pupils, changes in mental status
The diagnosis is made by symptoms.
Even though these conditions are treated in the hospital, the first aid protocol for each is discussed below:
- Choking – the Heimlich maneuver is done. Stand behind the person. Wrap your arms around the waist. Tip the person forward slightly. Make a fist with one hand. Position it slightly above the person’s navel. Grasp the fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust — as if trying to lift the person up. Repeat until the object is dislodged.
- Minor burns – cool the burn, remove all clothing, don’t break blisters, apply lotion, and bandage the burn.
- Major burns – cover the burn, remove jewelry/belts, do not immerse in water, elevate burned area, watch closely for signs of shock.
- Bleeding – apply pressure to the bleeding area, tie a tourniquet.
- Shock – lay down the person and elevate legs and feet lightly, cover in a blanket, immediately call for help