The sad fact is that there are just too many of us who aren’t. Accidents and incidents can happen anywhere, anytime. And when they do, it’s often those first few moments afterwards that are crucial in determining the speed of the recovery process. Also, knowing how to perform simple procedures to keep a person breathing or how to perform basic treatment to stop a person from bleeding excessively can help save a life. At the very least, it can help reduce the severity of an incident. And this is where the importance of first aid knowledge comes into the picture.
Training in town
Not many may know this but the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) has actually been providing first aid training over the years. Their courses are of two kinds. The first is a certificated course that runs for three to four days and requires the participants to take part in evaluations. The other course is just a one-day orientation where the instructors brief them about the first aid methods. It isn’t mandatory for the participants to take part in the demonstrations and there are no evaluations.
However, Ranju Raut, at the NRCS, reveals that they often have to wait for months to reach the required number of participants to carry out these first aid courses. “Often those seeking these trainings are youngsters who are trying to go abroad because this is a plus for them and INGO or NGO officers because it’s often mandatory for the employees,” says Raut. Even though, they start these courses with a total of only 14 participants, Raut shares that it is almost always difficult to gather them all.
The importance of learning first aid is clearly not acknowledged by our masses.
Emergencies aren’t really emergencies when you know how to treat them and you have the tools. According to Raut, the first aid training provided by the NRCS covers everything one needs to deal with situations like deep bleedings, fractures, shock, wounds and bandaging, and lifting and evacuation. They start with factors like how to identify the situation at hand to understanding the basics of how the body might respond in the scenario and then the right processes of dealing with them.
The longer version of the training session teaches how to deal with slightly more complicated first aids like giving CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.
First Aid is obviously always more effective when individuals attend the sessions themselves. You can’t replace first hand practice in such emergency scenarios so experts highly recommend that everybody take some time out to attend such trainings and courses. Learning the basics is always a worthwhile pursuit.
Nevertheless, here are some common mistakes people make while dealing with medical emergencies.
If you happen to see somebody seizing it can be very flustering indeed and many have been known to panic. But that doesn’t help the situation in anyway.
If somebody is seizing, you always turn him/her over to a left lateral position. Chances are they will have a seizure while lying on their backs and this can cause aspiration. Aspiration is the medical term for inhaling small particles of food or drops of liquid into the lungs. This can lead to the patient ending up in a ventilator or suffering from pneumonia. So to prevent the risk of aspiration, turn the patient to left lateral position and hold that position until they stop seizing. This is the only thing you can do.
Burns: Toothpaste, tomatoes
These tricks might have been passed down to you from your grandmother, but doctors don’t recommend them.
If you have been burns, simply put that area under running water for 5-10 minutes. That’s all you have to do. You don’t even need ice water, as tap water will suffice. This will not only reduce pain, it might even help prevent blisters. Then considering the degree of your burn, decide whether you need medical attention for not.
Nosebleed: “Look up in the sky”
Often nosebleeds are a result of some kind of rupture in the blood vessels in your nose. It’s incredibly common among children as well since they may have the habit of picking their nose. The best thing to do is pinch your nose. Place your two fingers at the opening of your nostrils and pinch them while applying constant pressure. If the bleeding is a little intense then you can also use a towel. This should fix common nosebleeds.
Falling (accidents): Moving the patient
If somebody has fallen from significant height, the first thing to do is to immobilize the patient. Don’t let them move. This will prevent further injuries from occurring and might even help with the pain.
You can also use your hands to hold the patient’s neck and head in a steady position, especially since the other priority is to give support. If required materials are not available, one can improvise with cardboard boxes or bamboos. Though, again, let’s remember it’s important to keep the patient immobilized. So never just lift them up, rather slide the piece of cardboard, for example, under the body or the fractured limbs. Even if the limbs are badly distorted, try and keep them in the same position.
Bleeding: Immediately applying a tourniquet
Some think tying a tight bandage will stop the bleeding but a tourniquet cuts off the blood supply to the extremity completely.
If the patient is bleeding one can use a piece of cloth to cover the wound and then apply pressure. Applying pressure should help stop the bleeding, though it would be best to remove the piece of cloth after 15-20 minutes.
If there are shards of glass or any other object inserted in the patient’s body after the accident don’t ever remove them at the scene. It might be some people’s first instinct, however there is a very high chance that this will cause active bleeding and worsen the situation. It’s best to let the doctors handle it.