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You are here: Home > First Aid & Safety Information > Quick Reference First Aid Guide
HOLD IT! Before you offer help...
Contact with bodily fluids such as blood or vomit can put you at risk for HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, and other bloodborne pathogens. To be safe, you must assume that all patients are infectious and use appropriate barriers such as gloves, CPR masks, eye shields and/or gowns as indicated. Avoid direct contact and indirect skin or mucous membrane contact with blood and bodily fluids and avoid puncture from needles, broken glass and other sharp objects. When you remove protective barriers, do it carefully so that blood and bodily fluids do not contact your skin or mucous membranes, and wash hands immediately after removal for at least two minutes.


SEVERE WOUNDS

  1. Call for help! Phone 911 or local EMS providers immediately.
  2. Control bleeding by applying direct pressure on the wound with a sterile dressing. If blood soaks through, do not remove first dressing; add additional dressings on top. This will speed clotting.
  3. If fracture or neck/back injuries are not suspected, elevate injured area.
  4. If bleeding continues, apply firm pressure at appropriate pressure point (femoral arteries-groin area, brachial arteries-inside upper arm).
  5. Apply pressure bandage if needed over dressings already on the wound.
  6. Do not attempt to remove impaled objects. Bandage in place.

MINOR WOUNDS

  1. Wash minor wounds that are not bleeding severely with soap and water.
  2. Apply antiseptic or antibiotic ointment to the wound.
  3. Apply a clean dressing.

HEAD INJURIES

Signs & Symptoms: Wound of scalp or skull, blood or clear fluid draining from nose and/or ears, lowered level of responsiveness, deformity of skull, bruising around eyes or ears, nausea and vomiting, shallow or irregular breathing.

  1. Call for help! Phone 911 or local EMS providers immediately.
  2. Immobilize the head and neck. Do not move the patient.
  3. Do not attempt to stop bleeding or draining from nose or ears.
  4. A head injury may also indicate a neck injury. Treat neck, head and body as one unit.
  5. Watch for vomiting and keep airway clear.

SIMPLE FRACTURES

Signs & Symptoms: Deformity, swelling, discoloration, pain and tenderness.

  1. Do not move patient except in case of life-threatening danger.
  2. Call 911 or a local EMS provider.
  3. If EMS is not immediately available, ice or cold packs may help to reduce pain and swelling.
  4. If you must transport the patient, splint of immobilize fractured limbs in the position found.
  5. Continue to check for proper circulation and sensation and loosen splint if either are impaired or decreased.

OPEN OR COMPOUND FRACTURES

Signs & Symptoms: Skin is broken and bleeding, bone may be visible.

  1. Call for help! Phone 911 or local EMS providers immediately.
  2. Control bleeding, but do not elevate area.
  3. Keep a close eye on circulation.
  4. Do not apply cold packs.
  5. Continually recheck circulation.
  6. Provide care for shock.
  7. Monitor airway, breathing and circulation.

DISLOCATION, SPRAIN OR STRAIN

  1. Check circulation and sensation below point of dislocation or sprain. If either are impaired, call for help. Phone 911 or your local EMS providers.
  2. Affix splint to injured area or otherwise immobilize the area in a position of comfort.
  3. Apply a cold pack to reduce pain and swelling and recheck circulation.
  4. Transport patient to a medical facility for treatment.
  5. Note that elbow and knee dislocations are emergency cases, as there is a high potential for nerve damage.

HEART ATTACK

Signs & Symptoms: Pale or bluish tissue color, sweating, chest pain, pressure or squeezing sensation. Pain may spread to one or both shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back; sweating, nausea, weakness and dizziness, anxiety and denial of a problem.

  1. Call for help! Phone 911 or local EMS providers immediately. Ask for EMS equipped with oxygen; contact the patient's doctor.
  2. Insist on rapid care. Denial may be strong, but rapid care may prevent permanent damage or death.
  3. Place patient in a comfortable seated or semi-seated position, loosen all tight clothing; do not let the patient move around.
  4. If breathing stops, begin rescue breathing.
  5. If the heart stops, perform CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).

STROKE

Signs & Symptoms: Weakness, loss of feeling or paralysis, usually on one side of the face or body, difficulty with vision or movement. Slow, noisy breathing (may sound like snoring), drooling or difficulty swallowing, tissue color flushed, then pale, pulse slow and strong, becoming weak and rapid, skin feels cool and clammy to the touch, ability to speak may be impaired, lowered consciousness level.

  1. Call for help! Phone 911 or local EMS providers immediately.
  2. Allow patient to assume position of most comfort.
  3. If patient is unconscious, place the affected side in the recovery position (on the side with legs bent, bottom arm under head).
  4. Continue monitoring airway, breathing and circulation until help arrives. Be extra vigilant to keep airway open; patient may have difficulty breathing due to paralysis and lowered consciousness level.

SHOCK

Signs & Symptoms: Pale or bluish tissue color, moist, clammy skin, shivering, rapid, weak pulse, shallow, labored or noisy breathing, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, thirst, mental confusion or restlessness.

  1. Call for help! Phone 911 or local EMS providers immediately.
  2. Lay the patient down. Position according to injury. If head, neck, spine or leg fractures are not present, lay the patient on their back and elevate the feet and legs 8 to twelve inches. If a head, neck, spine or leg fracture is suspected, do not move the patient unless extreme danger is present.
  3. If the patient has trouble breathing, place the person in an elevated position, using blankets or other objects to raise the head and back for easier breathing.
  4. Help the patient maintain a normal body temperature. IF cold, warm the patient by putting blankets underneath as well as around the body. Do not overheat. If too warm, provide shade and/or loosen clothing.

BURNS

  1. Call for help! Phone 911 or local EMS providers immediately.
  2. Relieve pain and prevent contamination using the following methods:

      First Degree or Second Degree burns with closed blisters:
      A. Wrap with a cooling burn gel compress or flush with cool water until pain subsides.
      B. Apply loose, moist, sterile dressings and bandage.
      Third Degree Burns (full thickness burns) or burns with open blisters.
      A. Apply loose, dry, sterile dressing and bandage.
      B. Treat for shock.

HEAT STROKE

Symptoms: Hot, red skin; very small pupils; very high body temperature (up to 105F (40C)). If patient was previously sweating from heavy exercise, skin may be wet. Otherwise, skin is hot and dry.

  1. Call for help! Phone 911 or local EMS providers immediately.
  2. Give nothing by mouth.
  3. Move patient to cooler place.
  4. Cool the patient quickly by whatever method is available, such as drenching with a garden hose, fanning and using a cool bath or wrapping cold, wet sheets around the body.
  5. Treat for shock.

HEAT EXHAUSTION

Symptoms: Cool, pale and moist skin, heavy sweating, dilated pupils, headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting. Body temperature will be near normal.

  1. Move person into a cooler place and call 911 or local EMS providers.
  2. Treat for shock.
  3. Loosen clothing, cool patient by fanning and applying cold packs, wet towels or sheets.
  4. If patient is conscious and can tolerate fluids, provide about eight ounces of water every 15 minutes.

FAINTING

  1. Keep patient lying down with feet raised eight to 12 inches until recovery is complete.
  2. Loosen any tight clothing and keep crowds away. Maintain open airway.
  3. Bathe face gently with cool water, but do not drench the patient's face with water.
  4. Unless recovery is prompt, call 911 or local EMS providers.
  5. If patient has fallen and sustained injury, address accordingly.

SNAKE BITE

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 8,000 people a year receive venomous snake bites in the United States, and only 9 to 15 victims (.2%) die. In fact more people die from wasp and bee stings than from snake bites. Most of the fatalities received no medical treatment or first aid. The same simple care one takes around wasp nests and busy roads also suffices to keep the risk of snake bite to acceptable levels. Nonetheless venomous snakes must be considered dangerous and even non-fatal bites can cause severe pain and long-lasting tissue damage.

There have been many snake bite remedies offered over the years. Recent studies have concluded that the following protocols are best:

  • Stay calm, get safely away from the snake, and have someone call 9-1-1 (or the emergency number in your area). The less the victim moves the bitten site, the less likely the venom will be spread through the body and cause damage.
  • Have the victim lie down with the affected limb lower than the heart. Keep the limb immobilized. If practical, splint the limb.
  • Treat for shock and preserve body heat.
  • Remove any rings, bracelets, boots, or other restricting items from the bitten extremity. (It WILL swell.)
  • Apply a light constricting band about 2" above and below the bite, however never place the bands on either side of a joint (such as above and below the knee or elbow). This band should be made up of wide, soft material, which could be a handkerchief or shredded clothing. The band should only be as tight as the band the nurse applies when taking a blood test.
    • NOTE: The purpose of constricting bands is to restrict lymphatic flow, not blood, so they should not be too tight. Check pulses below the bands and readjust the bands as necessary when they tighten due to swelling.
  • Wash the bite with soap and water (if available).
  • If the victim has to walk out, sit calmly for 20-30 minutes to let the venom localize at the site, then proceed calmly to the nearest source of help and try to avoid unnecessary exertion which will stimulate circulation of the venom.
  • Get the victim to definitive medical care for antivenin, which will provide the greatest relief from the toxic effects of the bite.

ACTIONS TO AVOID:
  • DO NOT cut the bite. The additional tissue damage may actually increase the diffusion of the toxins throughout the body.
  • DO NOT apply a tourniquet. Such action can result in the loss of the limb.
  • NEVER try to suck out the venom by mouth. You can try the suction cup in a snakebite kit if it doesn't delay other needed treatment. Suctioning seldom provides any measurable advantages, however.
  • Do not apply cold and/or ice packs. Recent studies indicate that application of cold or ice makes the injury much worse.


This guide is a compilation of general first aid obtained from sources believed to be reliable. The Cure, Inc. cannot guarantee the medical validity of the information or the results obtained from using said information. Nor does The Cure, Inc. represent that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein, or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or further or additional procedures. The Cure, Inc. assumes no liability for information provided in this guide. User of this guide releases The Cure, Inc. from any loss or other liability incurred by user.



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