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Essential First Aid That Everyone Should Know

Updated on November 11, 2012
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I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest is just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learning & development professional.

International symbol for first aid
International symbol for first aid | Source

First aid is the initial care given to a sick or injured person. First aid consists of simple but and in many cases life-saving steps. You don’t have to be a medical professional to administer first aid. However, first responders should have proper training.

Here are some essential first aid that everyone should know.

A second degree burn caused by glue at 145 °C
A second degree burn caused by glue at 145 °C | Source

First Aid for Thermal Burns

Burns are injuries caused by heat, electricity or chemicals.

What to do:

1st and 2nd degree burns:

Apply wet cloth or pour cold water to relieve pain

Cover with dry, non-sticking sterile gauze

3rd degree burns:

Cover with dry, non-sticking, sterile dressing. A clean cloth is good enough in emergency situations.

Note; Chemical and electrical burns should be addressed differently. Moreover, the severity of the burn will determine what type first aid it requires.

Liquid chemicals must be washed off while powder chemicals must be brushed off. Likewise, cut the garmetns off to prevent further the chemicals to come in contact with the skin.

Sprained ankle - this hurts!
Sprained ankle - this hurts! | Source

First Aid for Sprains:

Sprains are caused by torn fibers in the ligaments. Swelling and bruising are the most common signs.

What to do:

1. Remove jewelry or any clothing in the affected area.

2. Apply cold compress

3. Elevate the affected area

Note: The victim should not move the affected area. Also, putting pressure on the joint is not recommended.

High cut rubber shoes provide additional support so don't remove the shoes. It is always best to consult a physician for medical advice.

An x-ray of a fractured bone
An x-ray of a fractured bone | Source

First Aid for Dislocations and Fractures

Dislocations are displacements of the bone. Joints are prone to dislocations when hyper-extended. On the other hand, fractures are the actual breaking of the bone.

What to do:

1. Check for ABC (Airway, Breathing and Circulation) especially if the accident is severe

2. Cover the affected area with sterile dressing to prevent infections (especially if there is an open wound)

3. Immobilize the injured area using bandages or splints

this bottle of bleach is a dangerous substance found at home
this bottle of bleach is a dangerous substance found at home | Source

First Aid for Poisoning

Poisons are substances that when introduced into a living organism causes injuries or death. Furthermore, poisonous substances can be in solid, liquid or gaseous form. Likewise, the poison can be ingested, inhaled, injected, or absorbed by the skin. In addition, poisoning can be accidental or intentional.

What to do:

  1. Place the victim on his/her left side
  2. identify the poison if possible
  3. Collect vomit for analysis
  4. Call emergency medical services.

Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally to the victim

Note; There are many types of poisonouis substances found in the house. Properly storing them reduces their risk.

Poisons can be introduced into the system through absorption through the skin, Inhalation, ingestion or injection.

Bee sting still on the skin
Bee sting still on the skin | Source
A 3-day old dog bite
A 3-day old dog bite | Source

First Aid for Bites and Stings

First aid for bee stings

  1. carefully remove the stinger
  2. wash the wound with clean water
  3. put a clean dressing on the wound
  4. apply cold compress
  5. watch for signs of allergic reactions

First aid of spider bite

  1. clean the bite area
  2. wash with water
  3. apply cold compress

First aid for snake bites

  1. wash and clean the wound
  2. immobilize bitten part
  3. position the part so it is not higher than the heart

First aid for dog bite

  1. Wash wound
  2. Apply antibiotic ointment
  3. Cover the wound with sterile dressing

Many factors affect the severity of the sting or bite. This includes the type of animal or insect the bit the person, the size and age of the victim and the number of times the person was bitten or stung just to name a few.

First Aid for Cuts and Abrasions

For minor bleeding from cuts and abrasions

  1. Stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure
  2. Clean the wound using clean water to decrease the risk of infection
  3. Apply antibiotic to further reduce the risk of infection
  4. Cover the would with sterile gauze.

Putting direct pressure usually stops the bleeding. But depending on the depth and severity of the injury, the wound may not readily stop. As a first aid, covering the wound can help prevent exposure to the elements. However, once the wound heals, you can remove the dressing so it will heal faster.

For severe bleeding remember the 4 Cs:

  • Control bleeding
  • Cover the wound
  • Care for shock
  • Call a physician

It pays to know what to do when faced with an emergency situation. First aid can minimize complications from the sickness or injury and can even save lives. As such, it is essential for every household, office or work area to have people with first aid training. Moreover, it is beneficial for everyone to know basic first aid.


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    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Tonipet,

      Thanks for the kind remarks. You can check your local Red Cross chapter for standard first aid training. They also have a basic life support training. Although they may ask for a minimal fee, the knowledge and skills are worth it.

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      What a very helpful list and very useful guide for those who have not had any training (like me). It pays to be equipped! Wish I could have training one day. Thank you for this. My votes!

    • yougotme profile image

      Renz Kristofer Cheng 5 years ago from Manila

      Thanks jpcmc for all the information.

      Perhaps in summer vacation I can enroll there so I can be a certified firstaider. And, Disaster Management Training would be nice too. Thanks for sharing!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi yougotme,

      You can check out the local Red Cross chapter in your area. The Philippine Red Cross offers Standard First Aid and Basic Life Support (BLS). Together, they will take a round 5 days and on the 6th day you get to practice all your skills. You may opt to get just the First aid or just the BLS.

      If you pass the course you can be a certified firstaider. You need yearly certification for BLS - that's CPR and rescue breathing and get certified every two years for first aid.

      I recently got mine so it's an added comfort knowing what to do in emergencies.

      You may want to enroll in a disaster management training as well. Thanks for the vote up and share.

    • yougotme profile image

      Renz Kristofer Cheng 5 years ago from Manila

      Interesting and useful hub on first aid.

      I actually want to enroll in a first aid class. You'll never know who would get caught in an accident. Plus, it feels great when you are able to help out or most especially if you are able to save lives.

      Voted up and shared! :)

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Arthur, some basic first aid is common sense. unfortunately common sense is not so common. As such, properly training people to do basic first aid is important.

    • profile image

      Arthur Dacena 5 years ago

      everyone should know first aid. Proper training should be done so that everyone in the house or office can provide initial care. great collection of first aid tips.