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First aid - basics


Learningbasicfirstaidtechniquescanhelpyoucopewithanemergency.Youmaybeabletokeep apersonbreathing,reducetheirpainorminimisetheconsequencesofinjuryorsuddenillnessuntil anambulancearrives.Thiscouldmeanthedifferencebetweenlifeanddeathforthem. Itisagoodideatotakeafirstaidcoursesothatyoucanrecogniseanemergencyandgivebasic firstaiduntilprofessionalhelparrives.

Ima ge des crip

Learn the first aid method of DRSABCD


FirstaidisaseasyasABCairway,breathingandCPR(cardiopulmonaryresuscitation).Inany situation,applytheDRSABCDActionPlan. DRSABCDstandsfor: Dangeralwayscheckthedangertoyou,anybystandersandthentheinjuredorill person.Makesureyoudonotputyourselfindangerwhengoingtotheassistanceof anotherperson. Responseisthepersonconscious?Dotheyrespondwhenyoutalktothem,touchtheir handsorsqueezetheirshoulder? Sendforhelpcalltriplezero(000).Dontforgettoanswerthequestionsaskedbythe operator. AirwayIsthepersonsairwayclear?Isthepersonbreathing? Ifthepersonisresponding,theyareconsciousandtheirairwayisclear,assesshowyou canhelpthemwithanyinjury. Ifthepersonisnotrespondingandtheyareunconscious,youneedtochecktheirairway byopeningtheirmouthandhavingalookinside.Iftheirmouthisclear,tilttheirhead gentlyback(byliftingtheirchin)andcheckforbreathing.Ifthemouthisnotclear,place thepersonontheirside,opentheirmouthandclearthecontents,thentilttheheadback andcheckforbreathing. Breathingcheckforbreathingbylookingforchestmovements(upanddown).Listenby puttingyourearneartotheirmouthandnose.Feelforbreathingbyputtingyourhandon thelowerpartoftheirchest.Ifthepersonisunconsciousbutbreathing,turnthemonto theirside,carefullyensuringthatyoukeeptheirhead,neckandspineinalignment. Monitortheirbreathinguntilyouhandovertotheambulanceofficers. CPR(cardiopulmonaryresuscitation)ifanadultisunconsciousandnotbreathing,make suretheyareflatontheirbackandthenplacetheheelofonehandinthecentreoftheir chestandyourotherhandontop.Pressdownfirmlyandsmoothly(compressingtoone thirdoftheirchestdepth)30times.Givetwobreaths.Togetthebreathin,tilttheirhead backgentlybyliftingtheirchin.Pinchtheirnostrilsclosed,placeyouropenmouthfirmly overtheiropenmouthandblowfirmlyintotheirmouth.Keepgoingwiththe30 compressionsandtwobreathsatthespeedofapproximatelyfiverepeatsintwominutes untilyouhandovertotheambulanceofficersoranothertrainedperson,oruntiltheperson youareresuscitatingresponds.ThemethodforCPRforchildrenundereightandbabiesis verysimilarandyoucanlearntheseskillsinaCPRcourse. Defibrillatorforunconsciousadultswhoarenotbreathing,applyanautomatedexternal defibrillator(AED)ifoneisavailable.Theyareavailableinmanypublicplaces,clubsand organisations.AnAEDisamachinethatdeliversanelectricalshocktocancelanyirregular heartbeat(arrhythmia),inaneffortgetthenormalheartbeatingtore-establishitself.The devicesareverysimpletooperate.Justfollowtheinstructionsandpicturesonthe machine,andonthepackageofthepads,aswellasthevoiceprompts.Iftheperson respondstodefibrillation,turnthemontotheirsideandtilttheirheadtomaintaintheir airway.SomeAEDsmaynotbesuitableforchildren.

Firstaid-basics

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Where to learn first aid and CPR


YoucanattendaCPRtrainingcourseorfirstaidcoursewithanon-profitorganisationsuchasSt JohnAmbulanceAustralia(Victoria),AustralianRedCrossandLifeSavingVictoria.StJohnalso runsawarenessprogramsinschoolsandthecommunity. ThereisnoagelimittolearningCPR.TheabilitytocarryoutCPRisonlylimitedbythephysical capabilitiesofthepersoncarryingouttheprocedure. Insomeschools,CPRisamoduleofthefirstaidcoursetaughttoYear9students.CPRisalifeskill thateveryoneshouldlearn.RememberthatdoingsomeCPRinanemergencyisbetterthandoing nothing.

Infection control when performing CPR


Toavoidcontactwithpotentiallyinfectiousbodilyfluidssuchasbloodorsaliva,everyonewith traininginresuscitationisadvisedtocarryaresuscitationmaskintheirpurse,walletorfirstaid kit.Thishelpstaketheworryofinfectionoutofhelpingsomeoneinalife-threateningsituation. Thesemasksareavailablefromfirstaidprovidersorfromyourpharmacy.

First aid for a person choking


Maintainingaclearairwayisalwaystheprioritytomakesurethepersoncankeepbreathing.You mightneedtorollthemontotheirside,butspinalinjuryisalwaysapossibilityinanyoneinvolved inanaccident.Therearewaysofplacinganinjuredpersonontheirsidesothatthereisverylittle movementtotheirspine.Youcanlearntheseskillsinafirstaidcourse.

First aid for a medication or drug overdose


Medicationsareveryunpredictable.Manymedicationsorillicitdrugshavedangeroussideeffects, particularlyiftheyaremixedtogetherortakenwithalcohol. Ifyouareawareorsuspectthatsomeoneyouhavefoundhasoverdosedondrugsormedications, donotleavethemtosleepitoff.Adoctororambulanceparamedicshouldassessanypersonwho overdosesonanymedication. Itisveryimportantthatyoucalltriplezero(000)ifyouareawareorsuspectthatsomeoneyou havefoundhasoverdosedondrugsormedications,asmanyoverdosescausedeath.

First aid kit


Aswellasknowingsomebasicfirstaidtechniques,itisimportantthathouseholdsandworkplaces haveafirstaidkitthatmeetstheirneedsandiswellorganised,fullystockedandreadilyavailable atalltimes. Thecontentsshouldbeappropriatetocopewitharangeofemergencysituations,dependingon thesetting.Itsagoodideatohaveanumberofkitshandyindifferentplaces,suchasinthe home,caroroffice. Firstaidkitsareavailableforpurchasefromavarietyofproviders,includingStJohnAmbulance Australia(Victoria)oryourlocalpharmacy.Specialtykitsarealsoavailabletomeetspecificneeds.

Reducing the risk of infected wounds during first aid


Openwoundsarepronetoinfection.Suggestionstoreducetheriskofinfectioninclude: Washyourhandsifpossiblebeforemanagingthewound.Youcouldalsousean antibacterialhandsanitiser. Putonthedisposableglovesprovidedinyourfirstaidkit. Trytoavoidbreathingorcoughingoverthewound. Cleaningofthewounddependsonthetypeandseverityofthewound,includingthe severityofthebleeding.Youmayjustcleanaroundthewound. Coverthewoundwithasteriledressing.Trynottotouchthedressingssurfacebefore applyingittothewound.

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Seekmedicaladviceorcalltriplezero(000)foranambulance.

Inanemergency,thesesuggestionsmaynotbepractical.Iftheinjuredpersonisbleedingheavily, dontwastetime.Forexample,cleaningthewoundmightdislodgeabloodclotandmakethe woundbleedagainorbleedmore. Immediatelyapplypressuretoaheavilybleedingwound(oraroundthewoundifthereisan embeddedobject),andapplyabandagewhenthebleedinghassloweddownorstopped.Calltriple zero(000)immediately.

Using bandages during first aid


Thisinformationisofageneralnatureonlyandshouldnotbeconsideredareplacementforproper firstaidtraining. Generalsuggestionsinclude: Theinjuredpersonshouldbesittingorlyingdown.Positionyourselfinfrontoftheperson ontheirinjuredside. Makesuretheirinjuredbodypartissupportedinpositionbeforeyoustarttobandageit. Iftheinjuredpersoncanhelpbyholdingthepaddinginplace,wrapthetailofthe bandageonefullturnaroundthelimb,sothatthebandageisanchored. Ifthereisnoassistance,wrapthetailofthebandagedirectlyaroundthepaddingoverthe wound. Bandageupthelimb,makingsureeachturnoverlapstheturnbefore.Alternatively,you canbandageinafigureeightfashion. Makesurethebandageisnttootightsoyoudontreducebloodflowtotheextremities (handsandfeet).Checkbypressingonafingernailortoenailoftheinjuredlimbifthe pinkcolourreturnswithinacoupleofseconds,thebandageisntaffectingthepersons circulation.Ifthenailremainswhiteforsometime,loosenthebandage.Keepcheckingand adjustingthebandage,especiallyifswellingisaproblem.

Making an arm sling


Afterbeingbandaged,aninjuredforearmorwristmayrequireanarmslingtoliftthearmand keepitfrommoving.Stepsinclude: ArrangethepersonsarminaVsothatitisheldinfrontoftheirbodyandbentatthe elbow,withthehandrestinginthehollowwherethecollarbonemeetstheshoulder. Openatriangularbandageandplaceitontopoftheinjuredarm.Thelongestedgeneeds tobelengthwisealongthepersonsbodyandthepointofthebandageshouldbetowards thepersonselbowontheirinjuredside.Youonlyneedenoughmaterialtotieaknotatthe fingertipend. Createacradle(hammock)aroundtheinjuredarmbyfoldingtheupperhalfofthelong edgeundertheinjuredarm. Gentlygatherthematerialtogetherattheelbowandpullittightwithoutpullingthe bandageofftheinjuredarm.Twistthematerialintoalongspiral. Bringthelongspiralaroundandthenupthepersonsback. Tiethetwoendstogetherfirmlyatthepersonsfingertips.

Where to get help


Inanemergency,alwayscalltriplezero(000) Yourdoctor Theemergencydepartmentofyournearesthospital StJohnAmbulanceAustralia(Victoria)forfirstaidandCPRcoursesTel.1300360455 AustralianRedCrossforfirstaidandCPRcoursesTel.1300367428

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Things to remember

Someknowledgeofbasicfirstaidcouldmeanthedifferencebetweenlifeanddeath. Considerdoingafirstaidcourse,sothatyouwillbeabletomanageifsomeoneisinjured orbecomesill. CPRisalife-savingskillthateveryoneshouldlearn. Keeparangeoffirstaidkitshandyathome,inthecarandatwork.

This page has been produced in consultation with, and approved by:

StJohnAmbulance
Contentonthiswebsiteisprovidedforeducationandinformationpurposesonly.Information aboutatherapy,service,productortreatmentdoesnotimplyendorsementandisnotintendedto replaceadvicefromyourdoctororotherregisteredhealthprofessional.Contenthasbeen preparedforVictorianresidentsandwiderAustralianaudiences,andwasaccurateatthetimeof publication.Readersshouldnotethat,overtime,currencyandcompletenessoftheinformation maychange.Allusersareurgedtoalwaysseekadvicefromaregisteredhealthcareprofessional fordiagnosisandanswerstotheirmedicalquestions. Forthelatestupdatesandmoreinformation,visitwww.betterhealth.vic.gov.au Copyight 1999/2013StateofVictoria.ReproducedfromtheBetterHealthChannel (www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au)atnocostwithpermissionoftheVictorianMinisterforHealth. Unauthorisedreproductionandotherusescomprisedinthecopyrightareprohibitedwithout permission.

Firstaid-basics

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