Providing immediate assistance during emergencies is vital as it helps preserve life until the trained medical professionals arrive.
As much as it is vital to save lives as a first aider, it is equally crucial to take care of your safety while performing first aid. Regardless of the type and degree of injury, there are high chances of coming into contact with body fluids which can pose some health concerns.
As a first aider who doesn't know how to avoid these health concerns, this post has put together tips to help you stay safe while conducting first aid. But first, let's understand first aid and recall the procedures.
Understanding first aid.
First aid is the immediate assistance given to a person suffering from a severe or minor injury or illness to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, and promote recovery.
In any case, you should continue first aid until paramedics arrive at the scene. Quick decisions to provide first aid can make a huge difference and save a life.
First aid basics.
The immediate step in an emergency is to recognize the problem and offer help appropriately. If you are in doubt or someone has suffered a severe injury or illness, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
You will be asked a series of questions by the 911/999 responder to confirm the degree of severity. They will also guide you on performing CPR over the phone until they arrive at the scene. So it is advisable not to hang up the call until you are told to do so by the responder.
Whether it is at your workplace, home or school, know where the first aid box is kept and familiarize yourself with its components. Stay along with your workplace's policies and learn how to reach the emergency services in your area.
The next step after identifying the problem is to assess the responsiveness of the victim. The appropriate way of doing this is to tap the person and loudly ask them if they are okay. After that, call for help.
Tips to stay safe while conducting First Aid.
Keeping yourself safe when performing first aid is as important as trying to help the victim. Observing safety will prevent exposure to factors that can cause health complications later in your life.
Here are tips to help you stay safe.
Before reaching the scene, assess the safety of the area as you may not want to be another victim of injury. Remove the person from the possible dangers like automobile traffic and the presence of water at the scene.
Secure the scene and place marks to show people that it is an accident scene. This will let people recognize the place and volunteer to offer more help.
Handwashing is among the effective ways of preventing diseases and illness—Wash hands after every act of care and after removing gloves. If you cannot access water immediately, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will make a better alternative.
Wet your hands entirely and generously apply soap.
Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
Rinse your hands with running water.
Completely dry your hands with a towel.
Use appropriate personal protective gear
Using PPEs is an effective strategy to reduce the risk of exposure to blood and body fluids. When you perform first aid to a bleeding victim, always ensure you wear hand gloves and protective face masks.
Using protective gear helps the victim and the rescuer avoid the risks of contracting blood-borne infections like HIV AIDS. Eye protection helps prevent accidental splash of fluids, while gloves keep you from touching the wounds with bare hands.
Also, use a pocket mask to keep you safe during rescue breathing. Ensure all the used PPEs are safely disposed of in bio-hazard bags. Also, avoid touching the contaminated outer side of the glove. Pull the gloves off while turning it upside down.
Personal First Aid Kit.
To be safe and alert all the time, consider making your safety box or purchasing the commercially available ones in the market.
Having a first aid kit at work, home, school, or in your car makes you ready and safe all the time. You can quickly handle minor injuries and save a life.
First Aid kit essentials include:
Alcohol swabs and wipes.
Eye shield and eyewash.
First Aid guide.
Shout for additional help.
When you encounter an emergency and have performed the basics of identifying the problem, call for extra help if you are alone in the scene.
Getting extra help will help you handle the victim with ease and avoid too much contact with the fluids when moving the victim from one place to another.
Additional help will also keep you company and help in decision-making while you carry on with the procedure. The person will double up as a nurse, giving you the required materials on demand.
First aid is an important skill that one needs to learn as it can help save a life when given appropriately in time. However, it is a procedure that can put you at risk of exposure to blood and bodily fluids, which can lead to various infections.
To avoid being exposed to potential health risks, it is essential to practice safety while conducting first aid.
Always assess the safety of the scene and take the victim from any danger, wear hand gloves and protective eyewear and wash or sanitize your hand after every episode of care.
Additionally, have a personal first aid kit with you at home, work, or in your car to facilitate quick assistance when an emergency occurs. Finally, call for help since it is more efficient and safer to help each other during emergencies.