Understanding First Aid

First Aid can save a life if timely given. Pic Courtesy: Pixabay

What is first aid?

First aid is the initial and immediate given to the victim to prevent the condition from worsening. First aid can be given by any person. However one must go through the training to learn CPR and other first aid techniques. 

The initial care provided to a sick or wounded till professional medical help arrives. In India first aid has been practiced for a long. Applying Haldi is among the common practices Indians do to heal a cut or wound.

First aid is denoted by a white cross on a green background. This first aid sign signifies that emergency first aid assistance is in the nearby area.

The need for first aid

An increasing number of emergencies in India demands better emergency medical services and professionals in India. It is well accepted that a patient has a greater chance of survival if he receives basic first aid care before admitting to the nearest medical facility. Emergencies can occur at any place either it is a home, office, or on the road. It is necessary for everyone to equip with basic knowledge and the right information on first aid so they can save themselves and others too.

First aid can save a life if given in time. Anyone can provide first aid assistance to the person in need. If you are not sure about giving first aid, ask for medical assistance.

Principles of first aid

1. Protection:

Always wear hand gloves before attending to a casualty to protect yourself from infections. Wash hands properly with an antiseptic soap before and after providing care.

2. Safe disposal:  

Always safely dispose of the used hand gloves and other materials like cotton, gauze to control the spread of bacterial infections.

3. Manage anxiety and fear:  

Keep the person calm and warm and try to provide care without making the casualty uncomfortable

Good Samaritan Law 

The Ministry of road transport and highways have published guidelines in The Gazette of India, May 2015 (No. 25035/101l2014-RS.) for the protection of good Samaritans which has to be followed by hospitals, police and all other authorities for the protection of Good Samaritans.

What is a Good Samaritan?

“A Good Samaritan is a person who provides first aid treatment to an injured or sick in need with his/her consent.

According to these guidelines, a Good Samaritan shall not be liable for any civil or criminal liability and will not be forced to disclose personal information.

First Aid Steps

These are the essential steps to be followed while dealing with a victim. It is Airway, breathing, and circulation. When a victim is unconscious, always check these before giving first aid:

A- Open the Airway:

Always confirm that the person has an open airway. There is nothing stuck in the airway and no particles in the mouth. 

B- Check for breathing

Check to see if the person is breathing. If the person is unconscious and not breathing, tilt their head back to open the airway and start CPR ( cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Seek for medical assistance.

C- Check for the circulation

Observe the temperature and color-changing of hands and legs. Pale, blue or pink color signifies poor circulation in extremities. Check for the pulse also. 

Always seek medical help or dial an emergency number if not sure.

What is CPR?

CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a medical technique that can be life-saving in emergencies including a heart attack and drowning. It involves chest compressions and mouth to mouth respiration in a ratio of 30:2 compressions to breath to regain the brain function. However, it is preferred that CPR can only be given by a first aider or a doctor. In the case where a professional is not available, bystanders or the general public can give chest compressions without mouth to mouth respiration.  

In the case of an unconscious person who is not breathing, an AED can save a life. An AED (automated external defibrillator) is a device that diagnoses cardiac arrhythmias. By delivering an electric shock AED helps to restore the heart's rhythm. Follow the instructions on the manual before using AED.

Its always good to learn first aid and be prepared for unforeseen situations.