First aid is the initial care of anyone who is either injured or sick. It is care that is given as soon as possible. This quick treatment can often mean the difference between serious and minor injury and, at times, life and death.
Not everyone is a doctor, nurse or paramedic. But everyone can provide basic first aid in case of accidents and illness. There is no doubt by anyone who works in the medical field that first aid saves lives and can change a potentially bad outcome to a much better one.
The most important thing to remember about first aid is to act quickly. When sick or injured people need help they need it now, not later. Don't be too timid to act. Lack of prompt care can often result in unnecessary complications or a bad outcome. Immediate is the byword in first aid. The quicker the action taken by the bystander, the better the outcome will likely be. Never be too timid to get involved quickly.
Some people are afraid that they will hurt the person who needs care so they do nothing. This attitude many times results in needless delay in basic first aid and a much worse outcome for the patient. Quick action is needed to preserve life and limb. A calm and controlled first aid provider will always calm everyone else. Very few people are harmed by first aid attempts. Many more suffer needless complications from lack of basic initial care.
Others will often withhold first aid because they are afraid of being sued. In Texas, Good Samaritan laws protect persons who render basic first aid at the scene of an accident or illness from lawsuits, which could arise from a bad outcome. There is no legal reason to ever withhold emergency first aid in any situation for fear of a lawsuit.
One of the most important things to remember in providing first aid is to call for help when you recognize the need for it. In any emergency, always have someone call 911 or, if no one is available, temporarily leave the injured person and call 911 yourself. Then, return to the person and continue to render care until help arrives.
Always remember to stay calm. If you stay calm then everyone around you will be calm.
The first and most important general principle in first aid is: Don't move an injured person. If an injury results from a fall or moving vehicle of any kind, don't move the person who is injured. Serious harm to the spinal cord can result from moving a person with neck or back injury. Call for help immediately for these kinds of injuries.
The next general principle is: Stop bleeding by direct pressure whenever possible. Never use a tourniquet, unless serious bleeding can't be stopped by direct pressure over the injury.
The next principle is: Know CPR. CPR classes can be located through the college, local EMS or the hospital. Basic CPR saves countless lives each year and everyone, especially parents, should know CPR.
The last basic principle concerns prevention. There are often summertime activities where a little prevention will save the need for first aid. Wear seat belts, use life jackets (flotation devices), keep all summer cleaning supplies put safely away from children, and never let anyone who has been drinking get into or on a motorized vehicle.
Remember, first aid is up to you. Prompt basic first aid can change a bad outcome to a good one and saves lives. Also, thoughtful prevention will almost always keep needless accidents from happening.
So prevent accidents when you can and act quickly when you see someone who needs first aid.
The following is a general list of items that everyone should have in a basic first aid kit. All of the items can be purchased at any pharmacy.
First Aid Kit:
Band Aids - various sizes
Gauze pads - sterile (10) 4 inch x 4 inch
4-inch bandage roll - 2
4-inch-wide Ace wrap - 2
Gloves - non-sterile
Telfa pad - 4 inch
Syrup of IPECAC
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