The initial assistance or treatment given to a casualty for any injury or sudden illness before the arrival of an ambulance, doctor, or other qualified person is called ‘first aid’.
The notion of ‘first’ aid itself signifies that the casualty is likely to be in need of ‘secondary aid’.
Principles of First Aid
There are certain important principles involved in first aid.
These are listed as follows -
The first aid provider must:
Act calmly and logically;
Be in control----both of himself/herself and the problem;
Be gentle but firm, and speak to the casualty kindly but purposefully.
Build up trust by talking to the casualty throughout the examination and treatment.
Explain the casualty what he/she is going to do.
Never leave the casualty alone but continue to talk to him/her until the ambulance or doctor arrives.
Continuously reassure the casualty.
Never separate a child from its parent or guardian.
Send the casualty to a hospital or doctor by the quickest means of transport.
Always inform the police about the serious accidents, and
Inform the relatives of the casualty.
Certain things to avoid in first aid are listed as follows.
a. Touch a wound with your fingers or any instrument
b. Put an unclean dressing or cloth over a wound.
c. Allow bleeding to go unchecked.
d. Allow a crowd to gather around the casualty.
e. Move a patient unnecessarily.
f. Take off clothing unnecessarily.
g. Allow a patient with a fracture or suspected fracture
to be moved until splints have been applied.
h. Fail to give artificial respiration when needed.
Fail to remove false teeth, tobacco, or any other eatables from the mouth of an unconscious person.
Leave a tourniquet on for over 20 minutes before loosening it.
Forget to send for a physician.
First Aid Box
A first-aid box containing medical supplies for emergency use is usually kept in the housekeeping department.
A minimum variety of certain types of supplies should be ensured at all times.
A 17 ½ inch x 10 x 6 ½ inch dirt-proof box is ideal.
The first-aid box must at least contain the following items:
A first-aid book
Antiseptic cream-useful for cuts and bruises.
Savlon or Dettol antiseptic solution- 2 bottles
Calamine lotion - a medicated liquid containing zinc carbonate, this has a soothing effect on painful sunburn.
It can also relieve itching caused by minor insect bites and stings.
Antacid tablets---give relief from mild indigestion and heartburn, a burning sensation caused by stomach acid irritating the gullet.
Anti-diarrhoeal tablets - these are used to relieve diarrhoea by slowing down bowel movements.
Paracetamol—used for relieving pain and lowering a high temperature.
Aspirin—used for relieving pain and lowering a high temperature. Its use should be restricted, however, as it may irritate the stomach lining.
Pain Relief spray - gives instant relief in back pain, joint pain, muscular pain, sprains & sports injuries.
Chloromycetin eye ointment - 2 tubes-This can be used in case of bacterial infections of the eye.
Soframycin skin ointment-2 tubes. This is used in bacterial infections of the skin and in burns too.
Travel sickness tablets—these can be taken before a journey or as directed on the label.
Oil of cloves - for an aching tooth, this is used to provide temporary relief.
Clinical Thermometer—can be used either orally or under the arm. It should be cleaned with antiseptic after each use, even for the same patient.
Sterilized dressing (No.18) - 12 packets; for use on fingers
Sterilized dressing (No. 24) - 12 packets; for use on hands and feet.
Large sterilized dressing - 12 packets; for use on other parts.
Sterilized cotton wool - 6 packets; can be used to pad a dressing or to clean an injury with soap and hot water.
Crepe bandage - 6 packets; may be needed to bandage a sprained or strained joint such as wrist or knee.
Adhesive plaster (Large)—can be used on minor wounds or to secure a dressing.
Adhesive dressing strip—for small cuts and wounds.
Roller bandages—various sizes, 18 packets, can be used to secure dressings, to apply pressure to control bleeding, and to give support to sprains or strains.
Eye-pad - for placing on the eye in case of an eye injury.
Tweezers—to remove splinters from the skin.
Dressing Scissors—to use when cutting away dressing or bandages.
Safety pins—1 packet of 10; to be used for fixing bandages or slings in place.
Pad and pencil for writing—1 each.