Common conditions requiring first aid

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Common conditions
1 requiring first aid
Broken bones
Bones contain blood vessels and nerves. A fracture is painful,
more so if the broken ends are sticking into flesh. Follow these
simple rules:
? Tell the injured person to keep still. Steady and support the
limb with your hands.
? Cover any wounds with a dressing or clean non fluffy material,
eg shirt. Press as hard as required to stop the bleeding.
Bandage the dressing onto the limb.
? If a leg is broken, tie both legs together with a piece of wood
or rolled up magazines between them. Tie the knees and
ankles together first then closer to the broken bone.,
? Suspected broken arms or collar bones should be
supported by fastening the arm on the affected side to the
? Always check that the hands or feet are warm and colour
Wrap broken limbs against the
returns after squeezing a nail. If not, loosen the bandages a
body for support, but check for
blood circulation regularly
? Swelling can tighten bandages so check every fifteen minutes.
Broken spine
A broken neck or spine will not necessarily kill or paralyse you,
but if you suspect a broken spine it is essential you follow these
simple rules.
? Do not move the person unless there is imminent danger within
the area. If they must be moved, always support the head on
each side with gentle but firm pul ing and use a number of
people to lift in as many places as possible. If possible use a
flat piece of wood to carry him while stil supporting his head.
? Reassure the person and tell him not to move. Steady the
head with hands on either side of the ears.
? Get helpers to place rolled blankets or coats around the sides
to stop him rolling.
? Dial 999 or 112 and explain what has happened.
? Continue to check his breathing while you wait for help.
Dislocated joints
Dislocating any joint can damage surrounding nerves, blood
vessels, and ligaments. Trying to force the joint back into
place can make this ten times worse. Dislocated shoulders are
common because it is a relatively lax joint. Horrendous damage
can be done by well meaning offers to ‘pop it back in’.
? Simply support the arm against the front of the body and get
him to casualty. Don’t give him anything to eat or drink as he,
may need a general anaesthetic.
? Cool the burn area with cold water. This can take 10 minutes.
Cool the burn area with cold
Send someone for the ambulance if the burn is severe (greater
in size than the size of their own palm).

? Remove watches, bracelets or anything which will cause
Heart attacks
constriction once the flesh begins to swell. This includes shoes Heart disease is the single biggest killer of men so you are
and necklaces.
likely to see it happen at some time. Modern treatment can
? Don’t remove clothes if they are sticking to the skin.
significantly improve chances of survival if you can get him
? Cover the burn area with light non-fluffy material.
to hospital quickly. Recognise what’s going on. Central
? Don’t apply creams or burst any blisters.
chest pain can move upwards to the throat or arms, usually the
? With severe burns there will be a rapid loss of fluid from the
left arm.
blood system with a loss of blood pressure. Lay him down
? Fear causes the release of adrenaline which makes the heart
and raise his legs. This helps keep blood available for the vital
beat faster, increasing the pain, so talk calmly and reassure.
organs as well as the heart, brain, kidney and lungs.
? Call for an ambulance.
? If they normally take a tablet or oral spray for chest pain, let
them do so.
It takes surprisingly little to choke a person. Here’s what to do if
? Sit them down but don’t force them to lie down if they don’t
you see someone choking:
want to.
? Check inside his mouth. If you can see the offending
obstruction pull it out. If you can’t see it, bend him over
Heavy bleeding
and use the flat of your hand to slap him firmly on the back
? Lay them down. Bleeding from a vein is generally slow
between his shoulder blades five times.
and simply pressing a cloth against the wound and raising
? If all this fails, go for the Heimlich manoeuvre (the abdominal
the affected limb above the level of the heart will stop the
bleeding. Get him to hospital.
? Stand behind the person. Put both arms around his waist and
? Arterial bleeds can be seriously different. It’s hard to miss
interlock your hands.
when it happens. The blood is bright red and comes out in
? Pull sharply upwards below the ribs. Try five times and go
spurts with each heart beat.
back to checking inside the mouth.
? Press a cloth against the wound and hold it down firmly. If
Eye injury
you have to leave them, secure it to the wound with a shirt or
Eyes are amazingly tough. Blows from blunt instruments, such
? Raise their arms and legs to keep the blood pressure up.
as a squash ball, cause extensive damage to the surrounding
Some seepage will occur but you may save their life. Get them
bone but the eye usually remains intact. Penetrating injuries
to hospital.
are a different matter. Flakes of steel from a chisel struck with a
hammer travel at the speed of sound. That’s significantly faster
Do the knowledge
than the blink of an eye.
The principles of First Aid are easy when explained by an expert
? Lay him on his back and examine the eye. Only wash the eye
on a training course. Whether you end up reassuring an elderly
if there is no obvious foreign body stuck to the eye and it has
relative after a fall, or saving a choking child, the sense of
no open wound.
reward is amazing. The British Heart Foundation and St John
? Place a loose pad over the eye and bandage.
Ambulance charities offer courses, why not give them a call
? Take him to hospital.
today? See Contacts for details.
No matter how tough the eye is, it
Don't be a Dipstick, get trained
always makes sense to wear some
sort of protection