There are those who, at the merest thought of an accident, or the sight of blood will run a mile.
But thankfully for the rest of us there are those who will offer assistance in any way they can. But if you don’t know what you are doing – it may be that you are actually causing more harm than good.
It’s pretty difficult to stress just how important simple first aid skills are, and attending the most basic of courses can only increase your chances of being able to administer vital aid if it’s needed.
Until then it’s worth knowing some basic knowledge so that, if the time should come, you are able to lend a helping hand.
Here are five first aid techniques well worth remembering, but remember – always call for an ambulance or medical help before attempting any of these procedures.
Place the heel of one hand on the centre of the chest and place the other hand on top. Keeping your arms straight, push down on the chest with the heel of your hand to a depth of around 4-5cm. Keep your hands in place, release the pressure, and allow the chest to rise. You should try to do one to two chest compressions a second and do this 30 times at a steady rate. This should be followed by rescue breaths or the “kiss of life,” which is performed by pinching the person’s nose, placing your mouth over theirs and blowing until the chest rises. You should do this twice, before administering more chest compressions.
The Heimlich Manoeuvre
Most partial blockages of the airway can be cleared with four or five blows to the back. But if this doesn’t do the trick you will have to attempt abdominal thrusts, also known as the Heimlich manoeuvre. Stand behind the person and put both arms around their waist and bend them forward. Then place a clenched fist above the person’s navel and the bottom of the breast bone. Place your other hand on top, and pull sharply inwards and upwards with both hands. After each thrust, check the mouth for signs of the object.
The aim objective here is to prevent blood loss, minimise shock and prevent the wound from becoming infected. Check whether there is an object embedded in the wound – If not then press on the wound with a clean pad, cloth or bandage. Keep pressure on the wound at all times and if possible, get the person to raise the area that has been cut above their heart in order to try and slow the flow of blood.
If someone scalds themselves you must act quickly to alleviate the pain and reduce the damage caused. First you should take-off any clothing or jewellery near the burnt area of skin. But don’t try to remove anything that is stuck to the burnt skin as this may cause more damage. Cool the burn with lukewarm water for around 10 minutes, but never use ice, iced water or any creams or greasy substances like butter. You should then cover the burn with cling-film or plastic wrap – making sure you don’t put too much pressure on the affected area before seeking urgent medical assistance.
One thing to remember when someone has a nose bleed is not to tilt their head backwards. This will only encourage the blood to go down the windpipe and possibly cause choking or vomiting. Pinch the victim’s nose just below the bridge with your fingers on the soft tissue as well as the bone. There shouldn’t be any bleeding while you are holding the nose as blood vessels that supply the nasal membrane are pinched against the bone. Hold the nose for at least 5 minutes, check if the bleeding has stopped and repeat if necessary.
Written by journalist and blogger Matthew Crist on behalf of Liverpool based solicitors Canter, Levin and Berg – accident claim specialists.