First Aid symbol
is the provision of initial care for an illness or injury. It isusually performed by a lay person to a sick or injured casualty untildefinitive medical treatment can be accessed. Certain self-limitingillnesses or minor injuries may not require further medical care past thefirst aid intervention. It generally consists of a series of simple and insome cases, potentially life-saving techniques that an individual can betrained to perform with minimal equipment.While first aid can also be performed on animals, the term generallyrefers to care of human patients.
The instances of recorded first aid were provided by religious knights,such as the Knights Hospitaller, formed in the 11th century, providing care to pilgrims and knights, and trainingother knights in how to treat common battlefield injuries.
The practice of first aid fell largely in to disuse duringthe High Middle Ages, and organized societies were not seen again until in 1859 Henry Dunant organized localvillagers to help victims of the Battle of Solferino, including the provision of first aid. Four years later, four nationsmet in Geneva and formed the organization which has grown into the Red Cross, with a key stated aim of "aid to sick and wounded soldiers in the field".
This was followed by the formation of St. John Ambulance in 1877, based onthe principles of the Knights Hospitaller, to teach first aid, and numerous other organization joined them, with theterm first aid first coined in 1878 as civilian ambulance services spread as a combination of 'first treatment' and'national aid'
in large railway centres and mining districts as well as with police forces. First aid training began tospread through the empire through organisations such as St John, often starting, as in the UK, with high risk activities such as ports and railways.
Many developments in first aid and many other medical techniques have been driven by wars, such as in the case of the American Civil War, which prompted Clara Barton to organize the American Red Cross.
Today, there areseveral groups that promote first aid, such as the military and the Scouting movement. New techniques andequipment have helped make today
s first aid simple and effective.
The key aims of first aid can be summarised in three key points:
- the overriding aim of all medical care, including first aid, is to save lives•
Prevent further harm
- also sometimes called
prevent the condition from worsening
, this covers both externalfactors, such as moving a patient away from any cause of harm, and applying first aid techniques to preventworsening of the condition, such as applying pressure to stop a bleed becoming dangerous.•
- first aid also involves trying to start the recovery process from the illness or injury, and insome cases might involve completing a treatment, such as in the case of applying a plaster to a small wound.First aid training also involves the prevention of initial injury and responder safety, and the treatment phases.