Accidents always find a way to happen, and when they do, knowing what actions to take can mean the difference between life and death. These measures do not require specialized equipment and they can be performed by anyone who took the time to learn them. Here are a few first aid skills that everyone should know:
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is one of the most important first aid skills to learn, as this method helps an individual to breathe manually. Prolonged deprivation of oxygen can cause irreversible brain damage, hence the need to perform CPR for at least one minute before calling 911.
Dressing a Wound
A severe wound will often result in copious amounts of blood, and failing to treat a wound quickly will increase the risk of an infection. For minor wounds, cleaning the wound and dressing it is enough. In severe cases, you run the risk of losing too much blood. For severe wounds where there’s a real danger of bleeding out, keep pressure on the wound and cover it with a bandage in order to minimize or stop the bleeding until help arrives.
Treating a Burn
There are many surfaces and appliances at home that people may get burned by, such as stoves, heaters, toasters, candles, and even the copper coil of a recently-used hairdryer. The only difference between treating minor burns and severe burns is whether or not to call 911. Both types of burns require you to cool the burned area by flushing it with cool running water for several minutes, applying burn ointment, and administering ibuprofen for pain relief when necessary.
Preventing Children From Choking
Babies tend to put anything they can grab into their mouths, and sometimes even food is bound to get stuck in a baby’s throat. Choking is dangerous because it deprives the child of oxygen. To dislodge an object obstructing the airway, flip your baby on their belly with their head down, while using your thigh as support. Help the baby dislodge the object with these methods.
The Heimlich Maneuver
The Heimlich maneuver is another method used to dislodge objects that obstruct the airway, but in this case, it is meant for older children and adults. The Heimlich maneuver is performed by putting a fist just above the navel with the thumb side in, and using the other hand to pull the fist inward and upward, repeating until the object is dislodged. It’s important to note that if the person can cough, breathe, or make sounds, the person isn’t choking and it’s best to just let the person cough out the object.
Treating Allergic Reactions
Many people have allergic reactions to varying substances and objects. If a severe reaction manifests, it’s best to call 911 immediately. Next, it’s important to check if the victim has an EpiPen and is able to self-administer it. You may also need to perform CPR while waiting for help.
These skills could potentially save a life one day, and the fact that there are many schools that provide training for healthcare professionals makes these skills accessible to the majority of people.