There are first aid skills everyone should know because it’s never a good thing to be in the middle of a medical emergency. If you do find yourself in one, it’s important to be prepared so that you can help. You might even save a life if you know what to do. If you’ve never taken a basic first aid class, now is the time to sign up. You’ll never know when your skills might be needed and you want to be ready so that you don’t panic (at least not much). Here are some of the most important first aid skills you should know and have in your arsenal.
This handy skill can be used in many situations, from your kid falling off his bike to your best friend cutting herself slicing limes for margaritas. When someone is bleeding, you should apply gentle pressure to slow it down. Hold a clean cloth over the wound and press down firmly, but not too hard. Check the wound for bleeding every couple of minutes. If it doesn’t seem to be slowing down, call 911 or otherwise seek medical help.
It used to be that you’d get burned and you’d slap an ice cube on it. Not anymore. New information in the first aid world says this is not a good idea. The ice can damage exposed nerve cells. Likewise, don’t put butter or petroleum jelly on a burn either. Run the burn under cool water for several minutes. If it blisters or covers a large area of the body, a trip to the ER is in order.
When someone is injured, the open wound can become infected if bacteria or germs get in. That’s why it’s important to know how to properly clean and dress the wound to prevent this. Start by washing the area with warm water and soap or disinfectant to kill any nasty stuff that got in. Then you need to cover it with an adhesive bandage or gauze and medical tape. If the wound is large or continues to bleed, seek medical help right away.
In general, you want to call for help if someone breaks a bone, especially if it is protruding from the skin. In the meantime, you can make a temporary sling or splint to keep the bone stationary and prevent further damage. You can use anything long and straight to make a splint and fabric of any kind can create a sling.
When blood pressure drops a person can go into shock. Shock can lead to death if left untreated. You’ll want to lie the person down and check for any injuries that need attention. Keep the person still and warm and make sure they have signs of circulation. Call 911 and stay with the person until help arrives.
This is especially important if you have kids or care for an elderly or disabled person. Choking can happen at any age so knowing the Heimlich maneuver can save a life. It basically involves standing behind the person and applying repeated pressure just under the ribcage to remove the object. You must be trained in the maneuver so you know how to do it properly.
A CPR class is pretty short and the info you gain can be lifesaving. You’ll become certified to perform CPR and can use it when necessary. I’ve been trained several times and have never needed it, but I’m glad I’m prepared, just in case. CPR involves chest compressions and mouth to mouth resuscitation to help someone who has stopped breathing.
Can you do any of these things? Have you ever been first aid certified? Have you ever needed to use your skills?