First Aid Essential Care Guide

Definition of First Aid

First Aid is any emergency care given to an injured or ill person before medical assistance arrives i.e. Ambulance Officer, Nurse or Doctor

Importance of Reassurance

Easing of discomfort and anxiety is a very important process of first aid. Many first aiders forget that they are treating a 'person', as well as the injury/illness. By combining reassurance with good first aid management, and possibly distracting or diverting the casualty's attention to something else, you will, in most circumstances, actually ease the anxiety and pain levels of the casualty.
By easing anxiety and pain levels you will help to promote recovery of the injured/ill casualty by:
  • Decreasing the heart rate
  • This will in turn decrease blood loss
  • Which will in turn slow down the shock process

Assessment Principles

History - This is the story of the accident/illness which is obtained from the surroundings, the casualty or any bystanders/witnesses that saw the incident.
Signs - This is what you can see, hear or smell, i.e. you can see external bleeding, vomiting, or swelling. You can hear noisy breathing or you can smell alcohol on the breath.
Symptoms - This is how the casualty feels. They can tell you that they feel sick; they have a head ache, abdominal pain or chest pain.
By linking the History, Signs and Symptoms together, you end up with a fair assessment of the injury/illness. For example:
History - The casualty has had a sudden attack of chest pain which came on all of a sudden and it's been there for 15 minutes.
Signs - The casualty is pale and sweaty.
Symptoms - Central chest pain and the pain is going down the left arm.
Assessment - Possible Heart Attack. Call '000' Immediately.

Priorities of First Aid

(The Primary Survey)
Life threatening problems are identified and dealt with first. This is done in a strict order to prioritise any life threatening problems. The Primary Survey is a systematic approach to any First Aid situation that you go to, from a cut finger to a cardiac arrest. It is also carried in order to ensure the safety of you, any bystanders and the casualty. The Primary Survey uses the following formula:

  • Dangers
  • Response
  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Compressions
  • Defibrillation

 First Aid Kit Essentials        

Here’s a breakdown of some supplies every first aid kit needs:
Dressings and bandages:
  • 25 adhesive bandages of various sizes (brand names: Band-Aid, Curad, others)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 3 inches)
  • Gauze roll
  • Eye shield or pad
  • Roll of adhesive tape
  • Elastic bandage (brand names: ACE, Coban, others) for wrapping wrist, elbow, ankle and knee injuries (3 to 4 inches wide)
  • 2 triangular bandages for wrapping injuries and making arm slings
  • Sterile cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
Equipment and other supplies:
  • 2 pair latex or non-latex gloves (These should be worn any time you may be at risk of contact with blood or body fluid of any type.)
  • Instant cold pack
  • 5 safety pins to easily fasten splints and bandages
  • Turkey baster or other suction device to flush out wounds
  • Aluminum finger splint
  • Syringe and medicine spoon for giving specific doses of medicine
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers to remove ticks, insect stingers and small splinters
  • Scissors for cutting gauze
  • Breathing barrier for giving CPR
  • Blanket
  • Hand sanitizer (liquid and/or wipes)
  • First aid manual
  • List of emergency numbers
Medicine for cuts and injuries:
  • Antiseptic solution or wipes, such as hydrogen peroxide, povidone-iodine (one brand name: Betadine) or chlorhexidine (one brand name: Betasept)
  • Antibiotic ointment (brand names: Neosporin, Bactroban) that contain ingredients such as bacitracin or mupirocin
  • Sterile eyewash or saline, such as contact lens saline solution
  • Calamine lotion for stings or poison ivy
  • Hydrocortisone cream, ointment or lotion for itching

 Other medicines:
  • Pain and fever medicines, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (one brand name: Tylenol) or ibuprofen (brand names: Advil, Motrin). (Note: Do not give children and teenagers aspirin, because it has been related to a potentially serious disease called Reye's syndrome in children under the age of 18.)
  • Antihistamine (one brand name: Benadryl) to treat allergies and swelling
  • Decongestants to treat nasal congestion
  • Anti-nausea medicine to treat motion sickness and other types of nausea
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Antacid to treat upset stomach
  • Laxative to treat constipation
Think about any special needs in your family, such as those of a child or elderly person, as well as allergies or diseases. Add supplies as needed for these conditions. Also, be sure to refill your kit with any supplies you have used or that may have expired. 



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