first aid

What Is First Aid?

First aid is an emergency measure, usually consisting of basic, life-saving methods that many people can train to do with minimal equipment and no prior medical experience. The term ‘First aid’ is generally used for administering care to humans. However, it can also be done on animals. It is not classified as a medical treatment and does not substitute therapy from a trained medical professional. To sum up, first aid is a blend of simple procedures with a tinge of common sense. 


Why Is First Aid Done?

  • To save lives: Saving lives is the primary objective of first aid.

  • To avoid further harm: The person who has encountered the injury should be kept stable, and their condition must not worsen before medical aid arrives. This may incorporate moving the individual away from harm, implementing first aid techniques, keeping them warm and dry, and exerting pressure on wounds to cease any bleeding.

  • To facilitate recovery: Taking measures to support recovery may incorporate applying a bandage on the wound.


How To Practice First Aid?

The most common term you will or have heard in first aid is ABC. It stands for three different components. Find information on each of them in detail below:


A: Airway

A blocked airway can impede a person’s ability to breathe. You can help open one’s airway by three simple steps:


  • Place one hand on the person’s forehead.

  • Kindly tilt their head backwards.

  • While tilting their head, use two fingers from your other hand to cautiously lift their chin.


B: Breathing

Breathing provides the body with life-giving oxygen. That’s the reason why it’s important to determine if one is breathing or not.


To check if a person is breathing usually, take these measures:


  • Place your ear above the person’s mouth while looking down at their body.

  • Test for the following signs of breathing:

  • sound of their breaths

  • a feeling of their breath on your cheek

  • their chest moving up and down

  • Keep doing this for no more than 10 seconds.

You may perform rescue breaths on anyone who isn’t breathing. This helps you momentarily breathe for the other person. Rescue beats are often provided along with chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).


C: Circulation/Compression

While breathing supplements the blood with oxygen, it’s the heart beating that supplies this oxygen throughout the body. When organs and tissues don’t get enough oxygen, they can start to die.

If you find that a person isn’t breathing, chest compressions are essential for restoring blood circulation in the body.


The Revised Guidelines

In 2010, the American Heart Association issued revised first aid guidelines. As a part of this, the order in which you perform the ABCs has been transformed to CAB:

  1. Circulation/Compressions

  2. Airway

  3. Breathing

Some reasons for this change are listed below:

  • Dealing with circulation first by performing chest compressions provides significant blood flow to organs such as the brain and heart.

  • Chest compressions can be done immediately, whereas monitoring the airway and efficiently providing rescue breaths may take up critical time.

  • Following the updated guidelines, the latest CAB approach was compared against the old ABC approach. Studies revealed that the CAB approach was more promising in delivering a timely intervention.


The ‘D’ Of First Aid

Sometimes you can also see an additional letter associated with the ABCs of first aid. This is the letter D. It can denote a couple of different things:


  • Deadly bleeding: Check whether the person has severe bleeding. If you observe that they are bleeding excessively, call 911 or your local emergency services, and exert pressure on the wound until help arrives.

  • Defibrillation: This step includes using an electrical current to regain a normal heartbeat in someone who is in cardiac arrest. It’s usually performed using a device known as an automated external defibrillator (AED).

  • Disability: Check for any discernible injuries or disabilities related to the person’s current health condition. Moreover, review their level of response to things such as voices or pain.


What to do in an emergency situation?

You may be inquisitive about what to do if you discover yourself in an emergency situation. When confronted with an emergency, consider the following three things:


Check for danger

Evaluate your immediate surroundings for any indications of danger. Some examples include the following:


  • downed power lines or other electrical hazards

  • fires

  • chemical fumes

  • falling or flying debris

  • flooding or fast-flowing water

  • violent people

  • aggressive animals

  • vehicles


If the area appears to be safe from immediate dangers, go ahead to the next step. If not, get away from the area and dial 911.


Call for assistance

If a person is unresponsive, unconscious, or severely injured, call 911. If you are around others, tell someone to make the call for you while you start to provide care. If you are alone, you can make the call yourself.


Provide first aid care

While you are awaiting medical help to arrive, start to provide first aid. If the person is alert and conscious, make sure to get their approval before delivering care.