Accidents happen so quickly. It is therefore of utmost importance that we are aware of how to ‘save someone’s life’ if put in that situation. Here are a few simple life-saving tips with which you need to become familiar:
1. How to perform CPR:
CPR requires three simple steps; call, pump, blow! Firstly, check if the person is unresponsive (if so, call a paramedic immediately). Secondly, begin chest impressions by pushing down on the centre of the chest about 30 times – pump hard and fast. Thirdly, tilt the head back and lift the chin, pinch the nose and cover the mouth with yours and blow until you see the person’s chest rise – each breath should take one second. Continue until the paramedics arrive or the person regains consciousness.
2. How to help someone if they are choking:
Stand behind the person who is choking. Place your arms around their waist and bend them forward. Clench your fist and place it right above the person’s belly button. Place your other hand on top, thrust both hands backwards into their stomach with a hard, upward movement about five times – check is the blockage is still there. Repeat this until the object stuck in the throat comes out of the mouth.
3. What to do if someone may be having a heart-attack:
A heart-attack is identified by the following symptoms: uncomfortable pressure, fullness or squeezing pain in the centre of the chest; discomfort or pain spreading beyond the chest to the shoulders, neck, jaw, teeth, or one or both arms, or occasionally upper abdomen; shortness of breath; lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting; sweating; and nausea. If you or someone else is experiencing these symptoms, call the paramedics immediately. Swallow an aspirin if you are not allergic – this will help increase blood circulation. If the person is unresponsive, perform CPR until the paramedics arrive.
4. How to treat bleeding:
Make sure you wash your hands before and after cleaning and dressing the wound. Apply direct pressure on the cut or wound with a clean cloth, tissue, or piece of gauze until bleeding stops. If the wound is on the arm or leg, raise limb above the heart to help slow bleeding. Once bleeding stops, gently clean with soap and warm water. Apply an antibiotic cream to reduce risk of infection and cover with a sterile bandage. Change the bandage daily to keep the wound clean and dry.
5. How to treat a burn:
First, determine the degree of the burn. Then run cool running water directly over the burn and remove any tight jewelry. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to address the pain and then clean the wound. Use soap and water only and apply an antiseptic cream straight after to curb possible infection. Lightly cover the treated wound with gauze until it heals.
Be proactive and take responsibility for not only your well-being, but also for the person’s life you could save by knowing and applying the useful tips mentioned above.
SMASA’s Medicine Cabinet Checklist: make sure you have the following items in your medicine cabinet or first-aid kit.
• Pain relievers
• Antibiotic or antiseptic cream
• Cooling / heating pads
• Cotton swabs / balls
• Petroleum jelly
• Hand sanitizer