First Aid Techniques everyone should know

A majority of the time when accidents happen or when people have attacks due to medical conditions, there may be no hospital or trained medical professional nearby. It is for this reason that everyone should have some knowledge of first aid techniques to save lives.

Let us look at some of them.

First Aid Technique 1 – Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

When most people think about first aid, the first thing that comes to mind is CPR and with good reason. When someone has a cardiac arrest, CPR is one of the best ways to save their life.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about 90% of the people who have cardiac arrest have it at home or somewhere else where there are no trained professionals to help them.

One out of seven deaths is as a result of heart disease. But even sadder than that is the fact that most people have no idea what the signs of a heart attack are and what to do in case they come across someone having a heart attack.

It also only takes four minutes after one has stopped breathing for the brain to start dying and the probability of death after the tenth minute is almost one.

If the heart stops, the CPR first aid technique helps to manually pump blood and oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body. This helps keep the patient arrives until medical assistance arrives.

While in some instances the symptoms of a heart attack may be dramatic, in some cases they may be very mild. If you suspect that someone is having a heart attack, call 911 and ask them if they are allergic to aspirin. If they aren’t allergic, give it to them as this may help reduce damage to the heart. 

You can learn CPR by taking a CPR training and certification course. But even without the course, CPR is one of the most straightforward first aid techniques to learn. Watching a one minute YouTube video can help you learn how to administer chest compressions.

Chest compressions basically involve you placing your hands on top of each other on the center of the patient’s chest.

 Press the patient’s chest 2 inches at the rate of 120 compressions per minute. Do the compressions until medical aid arrives.

CPR is not only straightforward but can be done to anyone who has stopped breathing except infants younger than four weeks old.

First Aid Technique 2 -Using the Automated external defibrillator (AED)

While CPR helps to resume blood circulation, it does not restart the heart. This where the AED comes in an AED can increase the patient’s chances of survival. Using an AED is also an excellent first aid technique.

We reiterate that you should only use the AED if you are untrained and have no way of getting guidance. But even if you have no training, you may call 911, and the operator will guide you through the procedure.

When it is available, you can apply and listen to the use instructions. Ideally, you should administer one shock, continue with CPR for about two minutes before giving another shock.

You can find an AED in most public areas like airports and shopping centers.

The best way to get training is by attending a first aid training course, and there are so many of them you can even find them online.

First Aid Technique 3 – The Heimlich maneuver

Cardiac arrest may be as a result of a genetic or medical condition. Chocking, on the other hand, is usually an accident. It occurs when a foreign object, food in most cases, lodges itself in the throat and blocks the airway.

Like a cardiac arrest, chocking limits the amount of oxygen that goes to the brain. It is for this reason that first aid is needed quickly lest the brain begins to die.

The Heimlich maneuver also known as abdominal thrusts is the best known first aid technique for chocking.

How can you tell someone is chocking?

In most instances, the victim will gesture towards their throat. But if they are not able to do this, the may exhibit any or a few of the following signs.

  • Their skin, nails, and lips may begin to turn blue
  • They may cough, but the cough may sound inhibited
  • Inability to talk
  • They may make squeaking sounds as they try to breathe and their breathing may also be noisy.
  • In extreme cases, they may lose consciousness

How do you administer the Heimlich maneuver?

First, make sure the victim is standing. Next, position yourself behind them and make them lean forward.

With the open palm of your hand, give them five blows to the back.If this does not work, wrap your arms around their waist.

Make a fist between the ribcage and their navel. Deliver five abdominal thrusts by pulling them back and upward like you would if you were trying to lift them.

  1. First aid techniques for burns

People get burnt all the time when cooking or when accidents happen around a fire. If the injuries are severe, there is usually nothing you can do but get the help of a medical practitioner.

The first aid technique you should know when it comes to burns involves water. When you or someone else has a burn, the first thing you should do is run cold water on the affected area for 10 to 20 minutes.

Avoid applying ice or butter to the affected areas. In fact, if it is not water, you have no business using it on the burn.

Burns do not require dressings. But you can take Tylenol or Advil for the pain as you wait for medical assistance to arrive.

  • Saving drowning victims

Drowning is a significant cause of accidental deaths. It, therefore, goes without saying that if you are planning on going swimming, you should have a first aid technique for it. This is even more critical if you are going to open water.

How do you know someone is drowning?

Some of the signs you will notice when someone is drowning include;

  • They are facing the shore, and the water is at mouth level
  • Their head will usually be tilted backward
  • Their body is vertical
  • They exhibit the climbing ladder motion

Call 911 before attempting any rescue mission.

Whenever you are in a situation where you need to save someone who is drowning, remember “reach, throw, row, go.” These are the steps you are supposed to follow.

But how do you implement them?

  • Reach

If you find yourself unable to reach the victim, but they are near you, you may use a branch or a boat’s oar to extend your reach

  • Throw

You can only implement this if you have access to a safety ring which you should throw to the victim.

  • Row

If you are in a situation where the body of water is large, you may get a boat to enable you to get to the victim.

  • Go

If you are a strong swimmer and are unable to reach the victim using all the above means you may swim to save them. You can go with a shirt or towel to use to pull them to shore.

In some cases, the victim may be losing consciousness and is unable to see you offering help. In this case, you will have to swim with them to shore.

It is best for you to approach from behind To avoid them clawing you and pulling you down as well. Ensure the victim’s head is tilted backward to prevent them from swallowing more water.

You are safely at shore

Once you are safely on shore, lay the victim down and let them rest. You may also check for a pulse to see if they are breathing. If they are, wait for help to arrive.

If they are not breathing, you can administer CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation if you have training. If you untrained, hand only CPR will suffice. Continue with CPR until there is a sign of breathing or until help arrives.

Final thoughts

Accidents happen everywhere are some of them can be life-threatening. Most times, first responders are ordinary people like you and me. But if you know the appropriate first aid techniques, you are bound to save lives. You can become a part of the solution.

It is time for you to undertake first aid training. The good news is that you can now do it from the comfort of your home. All you need is your computer or phone and internet connection. You can start with a free course and proceed to the others at the American Academy of CPR and First Aid.