COULD YOU SAVE A LIFE? First aid for everyone
You are all that stands between disaster and a lucky escape… Would you SPRING INTO ACTION or FREEZE
WITH FEAR? Here’s what to do to make a difference
CHOKING First ask the person if they need help. Coughing, spluttering and going red in the face may look alarming, but are signs they’re dealing with the situation. A person who is truly choking will be silent, but will be able to nod if they need help. Lean them forward, then, using the heel of your hand, strike the person hard between the shoulder blades. Whatever is causing the blockage should shoot out. Do this up to five times. This usually works, but if not, hold your nerve and perform abdominal thrusts. Circle their body from behind, linking your hands with your lower fist in the soft squidgy part above their belly button. Push up and inwards sharply.
There is a different procedure for babies – see the Chokeables video on sja.org.uk/thechokeables. SEVERE BLEEDING Don’t panic! If you see a lot of blood on the floor it will look terrifying, but your body can cope with losing as much as three to four pints. Apply pressure to the wound until the blood flow slows down. Use sterile dressing pads if you have them in your first-aid box – if not, use a clean tea towel or bathroom towel on the wound. If you think the wound is deep and may need stitches, consult a doctor.
Losing two to three pints of blood can cause someone to go into medical shock – when the body’s organs shut down – so look out for the patient going pale and sweaty, and becoming dizzy. Lie them down, raise their legs, if possible, and put a blanket over them. Make sure an ambulance is on its way.
Help is at hand! How to act fast in an emergency