First aid basics
Having basic first aid knowledge can help you save a life… as there isn’t always a paramedic in the room, but accidents can happen anywhere. When someone is sick or injured, acting accordingly could be the difference between life and death. As a rule, always call for emergency services as soon as possible, but while they are on their way, there are several actions you can take to stabilise the patient.
In a work or home environment, always be aware of where the first aid kit is stored. Every office should have an appointed Health and Safety Officer, although everyone should know the basics in case of an emergency.
Be sure that the kit is equipped with all necessary bandages, gauze, tape, plasters and ointments. Also important is sanitiser, alcohol swabs, burn gel and mercurochrome.
There should also be a First Aid reference guide on hand that includes local phone numbers, as well as an eye shield and chemical cold pack for sprains.
While waiting for the emergency services with a patient, look for any medical identification signs, such as a necklace or a bracelet, says Save A Life. This may provide a valuable clue to the cause of the situation. Ask the person questions while he/she is still conscious; make sure that the questions are of use to the emergency staff when they arrive.
“Are you okay? Where does it hurt? Have you taken any meds?” etc.
Personal hygiene and safety
When working with sick patients, be sure to sanitise your hands regularly. Contamination and the spreading of bacteria are as simple as a handshake, so be wary. If there is no sanitiser available, wash your hands and the patient’s hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Also, look around the scene if there are any other hazardous materials lying around. Steer clear of broken glass or gasoline or anything that can cause injury while you tend to the patient.
If working with a patient who is bleeding, wear gloves if possible. This is to protect both you from cross contamination.