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BASIC STEPS TO TAKE WHEN SECONDS COUNT
>- Emergencies Can’t Wait
 Boom! It happened. An accident. Maybe it happened on vacation. Maybe it was at the family picnic. Maybe it was on a quiet night during the week. Whatever the case, accidents do happen, and knowing at least the rudimentary rules of first aid can make a difference. You can help when seconds-not minutes-count.
Here you'll find the important basic principles you need to know to improve your reaction time, your efficiency, and your ability to handle emergency situations. With these basics under your belt, you can be confident that your instincts are right. In later chapters, you'll find step-by-step instructions for actually beginning emergency procedures in those first few crucial moments. The combination of these basic principles and those instructions will help you take charge fast-and possibly save a life.

Principle 1: Use the Tools You Have
The words "first aid" probably conjure up visions of Band-Aids, ice compresses, and Ace bandages. In actuality, the most immediate and necessary tools for dealing with health emergencies aren't found in a kit or a cabinet. They are found on your person. They are your person-more specifically, your hands, your ears, your eyes, and your instincts.
Instincts are one thing, but don't underestimate the power of observation. When an experienced physician uses his or her gut reaction to make a diagnosis, it isn't just an instinctive feeling. To make a good, quick diagnosis, he also uses his eyes, ears, nose, and sense of touch. The clue is to know what to be watching for, and a good physician goes "right to the punch. Is the victim breathing? What does the breathing sound like? Are the eyes focused? Are there bruises and bumps on the body? What's the victim's reaction time when touched or spoken to? Combine your instincts with your powers of observation, and you'll have an unbeatable combination to help save a life!

Principle 2: Don't Panic!
It's easy to say "Don't panic," but if someone you love is injured, that's often difficult to do. If someone is unconscious, bleeding, crying, or hysterical, even the most calm "first aider" can panic.
Just remember: You'll be able to help the person much more if you remain calm and think through a situation. First, take a deep breath and count to three. Disassociate yourself from the situation. The important thing is to remain calm. You can panic later when trained help finally arrives. .

Principle 3: Determine Whether to Treat-or Wait

It's often easy to see the injuries that need immediate attention. You can usually identify and begin to treat profuse bleeding, respiratory distress, sprained arms and legs, and cardiac arrest using only your eyes and ears. (See Chapters 3 and 4 for such key first aid treatments as making splints, making bandages, and performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.) But some conditions are not so obvious... Unconsciousness, for example, can be a sign of shock or head injury-both of which can be very serious. Unfortunately, these can't be treated with direct pressure or mouth-to-mouth. In fact, the best thing to do is cover the person with a blanket and get help fast. (See Part 2 for. treating specific injuries ranging from choking to head injury, animal bites to splinters-all arranged alphabetically.)
Principle 4: Keep a List of Emergency Phone Numbers

It's a good feeling to be prepared. Whether you simply reach for your cellular, run a half a block to the nearest phone, or pick up the extension in the kitchen, it's nice to know you'll know exactly who to call. In addition to 911, every home should have an easily accessible list of emergency phone numbers that includes police, fire and ambulance, and poison control. If possible, program them into your phones for speed-dialing in an emergency.

Principle 5: Remember Your ABCs

Checking for vital signs of life is obviously a priority in first aid care. That's why you'll notice we talk a lot about checking pulses, listening for breathing, and recognizing signs of shock. (Chapters 3 and 4 cover first aid treatment in the event of weak vital signs or no vital signs.)
To help you remember which vital signs to check, remember your ABCs. These ABCs have nothing to do with reading and writing, but if you can think of them in the correct order, you might save a life.

>- Airways Open. Look: Be sure to see if a person is breathing. Watch for steady intakes of breath and exhalations. Listen: Can you hear breathing? Is the breathing ragged or uneven? Help keep airways clear and accessible by placing one hand under an
injured person's neck and gently tilting his or _
head back to keep the mouth and nose
unobstructed.

>- Breathing Restored. An unconscious person will breath better if he or she is on her back in a prone position. A conscious person will do better either sitting up or semi-reclining. Keep clothing around the neck and shoulders loose. Reassure the injured person, calming him or her in an attempt to prevent emotional breath¬ing problems such as anxiety-induced hyperventilation.
If an injured person is awake, try to find out if he or she has any history of heart disease. Shortness of breath can be a symptom of cardiac distress (which is covered in detail in Paragraph 17).

Emergencies Can It Wait

If you detect shallow breathing or no breathing, make sure nothing is clogging passageways by hooking your fingers and checking a person's throat. Perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (see Vital Emergencies) if the person doesn't appear to be breathing. Get help as fast as you can!
_ Circulation Maintained. Checking for a pulse is as crucial as making sure the victim can breathe. The heart, after all, must send blood oxygen to the lungs for breath (and to the brain for this basic instruction). Take the injured person's pulse (as you'll learn in Chapter Vital Emergencies). If you can't find a pulse, begin CPR if you are trained and certified to do so. If not, do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (see Chapter Vital Emergencies) and scream for help.

It might sound obvious, but the best way to determine if a person is unconscious or awake is to shout in his or her ear. If you get no response, you know he or she is out-and you don't have to count to ten.

Principle 6: Avoiding Infection for Yourself and the Injured Person

¬In today's world, where HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and other infections abound, universal safety guidelines are imperative in any situation. This principal pinpoints the necessary (and simple) precautions you'll need to know to protect yourself against any infection or disease an injured person might have. Because most deadly viruses, such as HIV, are spread through contact of bodily fluids (blood, saliva, and substances that have been vomited up), these universal guidelines are crucial for both you and the victim.
The following illustration shows a number of items that can protect you from infection and disease. As you'll learn in the following sections, you should keep an airway bag, disposable gloves, and heavy duty protective bags (for disposal of infectious or hazardous waste) in your first aid kit.

Wash Your Hands

There's a reason why doctors "scrub up" before an operation. You won't have the luxury of a germ-free environment if you find yourself administering first aid in an emergency, but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.
Wash your hands with hot water and soap if possible. However, in case you're nowhere near a sink (or even a river bed), keep a few "wet naps" in your first aid kid. Cleanse your hands with them. If worse comes to worse, you can even use the alcohol or antibacterial lotion you'll be using to clean a wound.
Universal safety devices prevent the spread of germs and infection.

Before You Put Band-Aid On

Here's a natural germ fighter: the ocean. The salt in the water helps wash away germs and keep infections at: bay; You might not be able to take a sip if you're thirsty, but if you need to wash your hands, you might not have to look further than the horizon!

Wear Gloves

It's a good idea to keep a couple pair of disposable latex gloves in your first aid kit. When you're treating an open wound, gloves can protect you from most contagions. You can purchase latex gloves from a hardware store or medical supply store. If you can't seem to locate any in your neighborhood, simply ask your dentist or physician where they purchase their gloves the next time you're in the office! You might also want to ask them about prices, too.

Wear a Gown. Apron or Cover-Up

Obviously, if you're in the midst of a life-or-death situation, you're not going to have those "George Clooney-ER-greens" at hand. But use common sense-especially if a person is bleeding. If you've been in the water, cover up over your swimsuit and bare skin. If

you're wearing an open jacket, zip it up. You're better to be safe and cover up unless seconds literally count.
And, while you're tying on your gown, don't forget the dental dam. A cross between a football player's mouth gear and a molar mold, this device protects your mouth from any fluids that can accidentally squirt up and in.

Use Disposable Airway Bags

Airway bags let you perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation without making contact between with the other person's mouth. These handy gadgets can be found in many prepackaged first aid kits today. Basically, an airway bag places a barrier between your mouth and the injured person's mouth to prevent the spread of disease.

Use Protective Glasses

Glasses or any type of goggles help protect your eyes from possible splashing from an open wound. If sunglasses are all you have available, you might be safer if you have them on-even if it's dark outside.

Be Aware of Sharp Objects

If you have to treat a puncture wound caused by an arrow, knife, fishing hook, or rusty nail, apply antibacterial ointments and antiseptics around the wound. Never try to remove a large object; sometimes the only thing preventing profuse bleeding is the object in the hole (See Chapter Simple, Step-by-Step First Aid) for specific instructions on when to remove a foreign object and when to leave it alone. And don't forget to wear your protective gear, just in case a puncture wound opens up further or the sharp object accidentally slashes you.
Get help as fast as you can. Clean the wound, and then make the injured person as comfortable as you can while you wait for help to arrive. And one final precaution: Don' take off your gloves or your other protective gear until you're near a hot shower and soap far from the scene.

Use a Mask

Handkerchiefs make great masks. Just ask any cowboy with a bandanna around his neck who's ever been caught in a dust storm.) To avoid possible airborne contagions, especial if you are helping a stranger whose medical history you do not know, simply tie a handkerchief or scarf around your mouth and nose. (Of course, if you have to do mouth ¬to-mouth resuscitation, you'll have to remove the mask!)
Before You Put the Band-Aid on
Fourteen States have passed a “Good Samaritan Law”, which provides legal protection for persons who administer emergency first aid. In other words, if you try to help someone to the best of you ability, you can not be found guilty of negligence. Let the good works begin.

Principle 7: Know What to Do (II Top 10 List)

Obviously, you need to know what to do before you can start anything, especially when it comes to a life or death emergency. The best advice? Browse through this web side ¬especially all of Basic Steps. You'll give your instincts and your powers of observation an important exercise in emergency first aid. To avoid forgetting everything you've learned, here are the rules of first aid emergency care in nutshell. If time's a wasting, don't worry. Just look over this Top 10 checklist, and you'll be prepared to begin your first aid care for real!

1. Shout for help! Don't be afraid to use your lungs and shout for help as soon as you begin first aid measures. Keep shouting for help until you know you've been heard and action has been taken. Professional help can't come soon enough-if it's needed!

2. Assess the situation and scout the territory. If possible, ask the injured person what happened. Can she speak? Can she tell you how serious the accident is? Also, look around and make sure that performing first aid isn't going to be hazardous to your health. Are there any exposed wires near the injured person? Are there toxic fumes or flames? Is the ice hard enough for you to walk on or the water calm enough to jump in? In short, make sure you aren't in any danger before you start first aid. You won't be much help if you get injured, too.
3. Determine if the accident warrants a visit to a hospital-or simply a cleansing and a Band-Aid. If the injured person can talk, great. If the person simply needs stitches, don't call for an ambulance, just make a trip to the emergency room. But if he or she is unconscious, you need to make that 911 call. Check those important ABCs: Are the airways clear? Is he or she breathing? What about circulation? Is there a pulse? And, most importantly, it's up to you to decide whether or not to move the injured person. Sometimes this can't be helped. Once you've decided that you can safely walk on the ice or run past the flames, you might have to save the person in jeopardy by pulling or carrying them to safety, away from flames, thin ice, or toxic fumes. Here's a good rule to remember: don't move a person if there isn't a life-or ¬death reason to do so. You might cause more harm than good.
4. If you are trained and certified in CPR and a person is choking or cannot breathe, begin CPR right away. If you are not trained in CPR, do not attempt to resuscitate. You can break the ribs or puncture the lungs, for example, and if the person is choking, you can actually force the object further down his or her throat! If you don't know CPR, use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation techniques (see Vital Emergencies: The First Top Five “How TO’s”) or for choking, use the Heimlich Maneuver (see Choking). Also, take the injured person's pulse and loosen his or her clothes to make breathing easier.

Ouch!
Don't move an injured person if you don't have to. As long, as you're not in burning building or drawing at the see, it is the best to let a person lie where he or she is.; If the victim has back, head or neck injuries worse or even cause permanent damage or death

First Aid
CPR is short for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation When administered immediately to a patient suffering cardiac or respiratory distress, CPR can safe a life. However, it's best to take a course to learn CPR. It's not safe to rely solely on the knowledge you gain from' reading a web side. You need to be certified in order to perform CPR correctly and save lives. "

5. Stop the bleeding. If the injured person is bleeding, apply direct, even pressure with a cloth and your hands to slow the flow. (To protect yourself against HIV and other infections while in direct contact with blood, don't forget to practice the universal guidelines for preventing infection, covered in detail at the end of this chapter.) Lift up a bleeding limb if it doesn't cause substantial additional pain. Make and apply a tourniquet only as a last resort. (See "How to Stop Bleeding" in Chapter 3 for details on using a tourniquet.)
6. Treat any symptoms of shock. If the victim is chilled, breathing harshly, nauseous, clammy, and pale, it is possible he or she is in shock and might become unconscious at any time. (See Chapter 3 for treating shock.) Vomiting can also be a sign of shock, and you want to keep airways clear. If no back or neck injury is suspected, gently roll your the victim's whole body to the side to keep airways open and prevent vomit from pooling in the back of the throat (which can cause choking). Cover the victim with a blanket if you see any signs of shock. Use the universal guidelines to prevent transmittal of HIV or any other infection (covered later in this chapter) if you come in contact with bodily fluids.
The Least You need to Know


_ Don't panic! Take a deep breath and check for vital signs (breathing and pulse) while you call for help.
_ Loosen the injured person's clothing, and drape a warm blanket around him or her to treat symptoms of shock.

_ Do not move an injured person unless it is unavoidable. Doing so could cause or worsen head, neck, or back injuries.
_ Staunch any bleeding by applying pressure (see Chapter Vital Emergencies for more information).

_ Be prepared. If you're away from home, pull out your cellular phone if you have one and dial 911. Otherwise, run to the closest public phone, shouting for help all the way. And keep a list of emergency phone numbers by your telephone at home



 
 
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