First aid is the help that you give someone quickly after they have hurt themselves or have had an accident . It can stop a person from becoming more ill. In some cases, it can even save a person’s life.
Only someone who knows first aid well should try to treat an injured or sick person. Usually, you give first aid until a doctor or an ambulance arrives. Never try to give someone first aid unless you know what to do. The wrong actions can do more harm than good.
Call for help
When someone has been hurt or has had an accident, the first thing to do is get help. If you don't know the phone number of the local doctor or hospital dial an emergency number: 144 for an ambulance , 133 for the fire department and 122 for the police.
When you call for help you should be able to give correct information. An ambulance needs to know where the injured person is located and what exactly has happened. In some cases, you will be given instructions on what to do until a doctor or ambulance arrives.
Sometimes you cannot wait until help arrives. You must begin helping a person at once, especially if the victim is bleeding strongly, has been poisoned or if breathing has stopped. Even if you wait for a short time this can be fatal . Here are some important rules for immediate help
- Do not move a person who may have a broken bone , internal injuries or an injured spine unless you really have to.
- If the victim is lying down, keep the person in that position. Do not allow them to walk or stand up.
- Never give food or liquid to a person who may need an operation.
- If the victim is unconscious turn the head to one side to keep the person from choking . But do not move the head of a person who may have a spinal injury .
- Never give water to a person who is unconscious .
- Make sure that the victim has an open airway . The nose, mouth and throat should be clear in order for them to breathe .
- Make the victim comfortable, but touch a person only if you have to.
- If necessary move the victim away from the sun or put them into the shade .
- Remain calm and talk to the injured person. Explain what is being done and say that help is on its way.
Sometimes the tongue blocks the airways - Make sure that the victim can breathe.
If the blood in your body does not circulate properly it may result in shock. Any serious injury or illness may lead to shock. When a person is in shock blood does not carry enough oxygen and food to the brain and other organs.
A victim who suffers from shock may look afraid, confused , weak and be extremely thirsty . The skin appears pale and feels cold. Pulse and breathing are fast .
To treat shock, place the victim on his or her back and raise the legs a little. Warm the victim by putting blankets around them.
Strong bleeding can cause death in minutes. Bleeding from small wounds usually stops after a short time because the blood clots . But clotting cannot stop the flow of blood when a wound is big.
The best way to stop bleeding is to press on the wound itself. If possible let the person lie down and raise the bleeding part of the body. Then put a sterile handkerchief , cloth or towel on the wound and press it down with your hand. Do with for 10 to 20 minutes until help arrives.
Sometimes direct pressure cannot stop strong bleeding . If the leg or arm is hurt you can try to stop bleeding by putting pressure on the artery that carries blood to the injured body part.
There are four ways in which a victim may be poisoned . Poison may be swallowed , inhaled, injected or absorbed through the skin. If a poison victim becomes unconscious or has difficulty breathing call for an ambulance immediately .
A person who has swallowed something poisonous may die within minutes if they are not treated . The first step is to find out what kind of poison the person has swallowed. Call a doctor or a poison control centre immediately and follow the instructions that you are given carefully.
If a person has inhaled a poison like carbon monoxide or chlorine gas move him or her to fresh air at once. Open all doors and windows .
Injected poisons are those that come from insect stings or bites. If you are stung by a bee the stinger remains in the wound . Remove it carefully and put ice on the sting or run cold water over it. If a person is bitten by a tick pull out the remaining part carefully and slowly . Use a glove or something else but not your bare hands. Do not try to burn it off or put oil on it. If a rash or flulike symptoms develop in the following weeks contact a doctor.
Sometimes a victim may have an allergy towards bite or stings . In such a case either call a doctor , an ambulance or take the person to the nearest hospital .
Poisons can also be absorbed through the skin if you get in contact with poisonous plants or chemical substances . In such a case remove all the clothes that someone is wearing and flush the skin with water for about 10 minutes.
Begin with artificial respiration as soon as possible if a person has stopped breathing. Two or three minutes without breathing can cause brain damage and six minutes can be fatal . The most efficient way is mouth-to mouth resuscitation. Put the victim on their back . Kneel down , press the nose together and place your mouth over the mouth of the victim . Take a deep breath and blow hard enough to make the chest rise . Then remove your mouth and listen for the air to come out . Then repeat the procedure . Do this until the victim starts breathing again or until help has arrived.
The first aid treatment of burns depends on how severe the burns are. First degree burns show a reddening of the skin. Second degree burns damage deeper skin layers and third degree burns destroy tissue of deeper layers of skin.
To treat a first and second degree burn put ice on it or run cold water over it. Then put on sterile bandages . A person who has third degree burns should not be treated at home .
When you treat burns never open blisters and do not put oil or other greasy substances on the burn.
Frostbite occurs when a person has been in extremely cold weather for a long time. It mostly affects the skin of the ears, fingers , nose or toes . Frostbitten skin appears pale or grayish blue and feels numb . It should be treated gently . Warm the affected area with the heat of your hand or cover it with clothes until you can get the victim indoors. Thaw the skin by putting it in lukewarm water. Never use water that is hotter than 40°C. If you get blisters do not open them.
First aid kits
It is a good idea to have a kit with first aid supplies at home or in your car when you travel. It should include bandages , tissue , something to write on, a flashlight , scissors , safety pins , a spray or a lotion that kills germs . Always have a blanket ready to cover a person.
First aid kit - Riley Huntley (Huntley Photography)
Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets
- absorb = take in
- accident = a situation in which a person is hurt
- affect = influence, change
- airway = the passage in your throat that you breathe through
- ambulance = special car that takes a person to a hospital
- appear = seem, look as if
- artery = one of the passages that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body
- artificial respiration = the way of making someone breathe again by blowing air into their mouth
- bandage = a narrow piece of cloth that you tie around a wound
- bare = naked
- blanket = thick cover for something
- bleed = if blood comes out of your body
- blister = a swelling of you skin that has liquid in it
- bone = a hard part of your body
- brain = the organ inside your head that controls how you move, think or feel
- brain damage = damage to your brain that is caused by an accident or another illness
- breath =the air that you send out of your lungs when you breathe
- breathe = to take air into your lungs and send it out again
- calm = quiet, still
- carbon monoxide = a poisonous gas that is produced when you burn something
- case =situation
- cause = lead to
- chemical substance = chemical material
- chest = the front of your body between your neck and your stomach
- chlorine gas = a greenish yellow gas that has a strong smell
- choke = if you cannot breathe because there is something in your throat and you cannot get enough air
- circulate = to travel around
- clot = to make thicker
- cloth = material that is used for making clothes
- confused = mixed up
- damage =the harm that you do to your body
- degree =the level of something
- depend on =to be affected or decided by something
- destroy =damage
- dial = call, phone
- difficulty = trouble, problem
- efficient = here: best
- either =whichever
- especially =above all, more than the rest
- fatal = deadly
- fire department = organization that works to prevent fires and stop them burning
- flashlight = a small electric light that you carry
- flow =here: the steady running of a liquid
- flulike symptoms =the signs that your body shows you when you have a cold or a flu
- flush = wash out
- gently = quietly, smoothly
- germ = a very small living thing that can make you ill
- glove = something that you wear on your hand to protect it or to keep it warm
- greasy = oily
- handkerchief = a piece of cloth that you use for drying your nose or eyes
- harm =damage
- heat = warmth , very high temperature
- immediate = at once, right now
- inhale = breath something in
- inject = to put a liquid into a someone’s body with a needle
- injured = hurt
- insect sting = if an insect makes a very small hole in your skin
- instruction = information that tells you what to do
- internal injury = injuries inside your body
- kit = a box that has special things in it which you need
- kneel = go down on your knees
- leg = the long part of your body that your feet are connected to
- liquid =fluid, watery material
- located = to be found
- lotion = cream, oil, gel
- lukewarm = not too hot and not too cold
- mouth-to-mouth resuscitation = a method used to make someone start breathing again by blowing air into their mouth
- necessary =needed, basic
- numb = frozen, without any feeling
- oxygen = a gas that has no colour or smell; it is in the air and we need it to breathe
- pale = colourless
- place = put
- poison = something that can lead to death or serious illness if you eat or drink it
- poison control centre = organization that gives you information on different types of poison and what to do
- press = push down
- pressure =force, weight
- procedure = process
- properly = correctly, as it should be
- raise = lift, move up
- rash = a lot of red spots on your skin caused by an illness
- reddening = to become red
- remain = stay
- remove = take away
- rise = to go up
- rule =instruction, advice
- run = here: flow
- safety pin = a metal pin that keeps things together
- scissors = a tool for cutting paper, cloth and other materials
- serious = very important
- shade = out of sunlight
- skin layers =the parts of your skin
- spinal = everything that has to do with your spine
- spine = the row of bones down the centre of your back that keeps your body upright
- sterile bandage =a completely clean piece of cloth that you put around a part of the body that is injured
- stinger = the needle-shaped part of an insect’s body, with which it stings you
- substance = material
- suffer =to feel pain
- supplies =here: the necessary things you need at home
- swallow = to make something go down your throat and into your stomach
- thaw = melt
- thirsty = if you want to drink something
- throat =the passage that leads from your mouth to your lungs and stomach
- tick = a very small animal like an insect that lives under the skin of other animals and sucks their blood
- tissue = the material that forms animal or plant cells
- toe = one of the five moveable parts at the end of your foot
- touch =to put your hand or finger on something
- towel = piece of cloth that you use for drying your skin
- treat = take care of , heal
- treatment =something that is done to cure or heal someone or make them healthy again
- unconscious = you are not able to see, move or feel anything
- unless = if not
- victim = someone who suffers because of an illness or disease
- weak = tired, shaky
- within = inside
- wound = injury