Accidents can happen at any time, and when they do, knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath can make a significant difference in the outcome. Trauma first aid can mean the difference between life and death for the victim, and it is crucial to know how to respond in these situations.
WHAT IS FIRST AID?
First is is the assistance given to any person suffering a sudden illness or injury with care provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening and promote recovery.
SITUATIONS OF FIRST AID
First aid is necessary in the following conditions to save lives:
*Stoppage of breathing, severe bleeding and shock.
*If breathing movements are not proper, the lips, tongue and finger nails become blue. In such a situation, artificial respiration should be started immediately.
*If there is heavy bleeding, it may be from wounds through one or more large vessels. In this condition, pressure should be applied directly over the wound.
*The third important factor to be attended immediately is shock.
Shock accompanies severe injury or emotional disturbance. Cold and clammy skin, beads of perspiration on the forehead and palms. Pale face, nausea and vomiting are the common symptoms of shock.
*The ‘first aider’ should be observant with the rules or objectives of first aid and act quickly and vigilantly.
*He should inspire confidence in the patient and others closely related to the patient.
TREATMENT OF CASUALTY
Sometimes, the cause of casualty may be present at the place and it important to shift the patient to a safer place before starting of providing any first aid, such as fire, electric shock, road accident, sun (heat) stroke frost bite, etc. Remember the casualty should not be crowded around by the on lookers. If the weather is extremely cold or hot or it is raining heavily, take the patient to a nearby room or a sheltered place. If there no such facility, make use of an umbrella or a newspaper etc. The injure person should be made to lie in a comfortable position on his back.
•His belt should be loosened, open the buttons of his shirt and trousers.
•Keep his legs in a natural position with toes facing up. The injured person should be kept comfortable but not hot.
•Water or other liquids should not be given to an unconscious person.
•The person should not be allowed to see his own injury. If there are wounds on the body, they should be cleaned gently and then dressed.
•In the case of burn victims, their clothes should not be pulled out. They should be cut with clean scissors and removed.
•If there is bleeding, stop bleeding by pressure bandage.
•Use soft words and reassure the casualty. Send the patient to a hospital or a doctor by quickest means of transport. Inform the relatives of the patient, if possible.
Always remember that you are only a first aider and not a doctor.
GOLDEN RULES OF FIRST AID
1. Don’t be panic, be calm, quick and methodical. Search for any major injuries and wounds and treat them appropriately.
2. In case victim is not breathing, CPR may be started immediately.
3. To stop bleeding, press on the bleeding point with a pad and keep pressing at least for a few minutes. For this, a clean handkerchief or a pad may be kept on the wound and pressed firmly with one or both hands, then apply a firm bandage.
Remember do not remove the original pad, which may lead to profuse bleeding, keep adding fresh pads one on top of the other, instead.
4. In case the patient is affected with severe shock, he has to be transferred to the hospital on emergency.
5. Patient may be treated in open if the weather is suitable. Otherwise move the casualty to nearby safer place like an open place or in any room with ample ventilation. In extreme weather general condition of the casualty deteriorates very quickly, e.g., In extreme weather, in case the victim is lying on the road due to heat stroke, he is needed to be shifted to a cool place immediately.
6. Allow access of fresh air to the casualty and do not allow people to crowd around.
7. Remove clothes of the casualty carefully and keep the body warm to avoid shock. Transport the patient to a medical facility quickly.
Inform the police when serious accident takes place.
8. When treating a victim who has suffered a head injury, it is essential to immobilize the neck and head. This can be done by placing a rolled-up towel or blanket around the neck to prevent any movement. This will help prevent any further injury to the spine or head.
Basic Rules for Use of Dressing
• Use sterile or very clean materials as dressings. Avoid touching the part/s of the dressing that will directly come into contact with the wound. If possible, wash your hands with soap and water before handling the dressing but this should not delay providing emergency care. If using pre-packed dressings, grass it from the corner of the protective pack and place over the wound.
• Cover the entire wound and its immediate surrounding areas.
• Do not remove dressing once it has been applied to a wound.
Removing the dressing may restart bleeding and even injure surrounding tissues. If bleeding continues, put new dressings on top of the blood-soaked dressings.
However, if bleeding persists despite bulky dressing, the bulky blood-soaked dressings may be removed to allow reestablishing of pressure.
Basic Rules for Use of Bandage
• Not too tight but not too loose. All dressings must be held snugly in place, but the bandage should not be too constricting that it restricts blood flow to the affected part. The bandage should hold the dressing snugly so that it does not slip or move around the wound.
• Do not leave loose ends as they can get caught on objects when the victim moves. Common loose ends include that of tape, gauze and cloth.
• Leave the tips of fingers and toes uncovered. The fingers and toes must be exposed, if possible, to observe changes in skin color that may indicate possible problems with circulation, as well as to allow easier neurologic assessment. Pale, pain or bluish-colored skin all indicate too tight bandage. However, if the digits are burned, they should be covered.
Cover all edges of the dressing to reduce possible contamination.
• It is best to apply bandage to a large area of the extremity to ensure uniform pressure.
In conclusion, knowing how to respond to a trauma situation can mean the difference between life and death for the victim. Basic first aid skills, such as CPR and controlling bleeding, can save lives. It is essential to remain calm, assess the situation, and call for emergency services. Remember that first aid is not a substitute for professional medical care, and seeking professional medical care as soon as possible is essential.
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