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Treatise on First aid

It is astounding that basic first aid care has remained the same for years. Discounting all the new technological advances in “electronic first aid intervention and monitoring”, emergency first aid is the same as it was almost 100 years ago. First aid consists of many inherent common-sense approaches.

First Aid is the care given initially by someone to a victim of trauma or accident. It is usually given by a layman as they abound in the population. It is designed to stop the ongoing detrimental process of pain. If given properly, first aid has long lasting positive effects and can be lifesaving. I’ll discuss remedies from most severe to less.

Stop severe bright red pulsing bleeding first. The acronym D.E.P.T can remind of the care for all bleeding: Direct pressure to wound; Elevate the wound above the heart; apply Pressure to pressure points (brachial inside of bicep, femoral inside of thigh); apply a Tourniquet just above wound. The latter is used only as a last resort, when if bleeding continues, the person may die.

Cardiac arrest, cessation of breathing, call for immediate help, give Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) as needed. For CPR the acronym C.A.B. is used: C: perform chest Compressions; A: insure clear Airway; B: give Breaths, i.e., mouth-to-mouth. If airway is blocked by object, (no breathing, voice) stand behind victim, place hands around waist by navel, thrust inward and upward until object is expelled.

Wounds should be covered with clean gauze, tissue, cloth. Impaled objects or imbedded glass should be covered to prevent dirt penetration and never removed. Eye wounds should be covered loosely to prevent dirt and light penetration. All the previous lessens pain and chances of infection.

Fractures, dislocations, and/or obvious out of place limbs. Limb should be immobilized by splinting as found. Laymen should never attempt resetting limbs. Where bone is exposed, open wound should be covered with clean gauze.

Common bruises, contusions and sprains are evidenced by blueness, swelling and pain. They should be covered with ice or cold and immobilized. This limits movement to ease pain and prevent further injury.

Burns evidenced by skin that is red to charred. Where skin is intact, it should be soaked in cold water. Where skin is broken, it should be covered to ease pain and prevent infection. In severe burn cases, person should be put on back and feet should be elevated to prevent shock.

Fainting spells, shock, is body’s reaction to blood deprivation to brain. Person is pale, has elevated heart rate. If not already down, have person lie down and elevate feet. The person should be watched closely and given CPR as necessary.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke is body's reaction to excessive work, sunlight and/or heat. Red dry skin, high temperature and/or delirium are symptoms. Persons should be immediately removed from heat and cooled slowly. Water should be given sparingly.

Ingested poisons or dangerous substances swallowed should be diluted by ingestion of copious amounts of water. Vomiting may be induced if substance is NOT caustic, as it may burn more on regurgitation.

Common stings, spines, hooks, bites, or imbedded small objects (swelling of skin) should be left in place. Areas should be covered with clean gauze or cloth if available. This limits penetration of dirt and reduces chance of infection.

First aid is life-saving techniques that have been unchanged for many years. Although it is the first care, its effects are long lasting. Most are common sense techniques that most people know. They can ease pain and prevent further damage. The fact that common layman abound, the proper application of first aid techniques by them can achieve positive results and save lives.

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ANTHONY POZUNCorrespondent

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