Basic First Aid: The Myths That Cost Lives

In an ideal world, everyone would attain at least basic first aid certification – and be able to remember it in an emergency situation.  But according to recent statistics, up to 150,000 people in Britain die in an emergency situation every year through a lack of first aid training; from the 2,500 victims of asphyxiation to the 75,000 killed by cardiac arrests.  Read on to discover some common widespread misconceptions that often stop us doing what we can in an emergency situation.

Myth 1 – The Ambulance Will Be Here Any Minute Now

This is a common misconception.  In Scotland, the target-response-time for any life threatening emergency in urban areas is eight minutes, meaning if you’ve just called an ambulance it won’t magically appear.  Rural areas can take far longer.

Myth 2 – Tilting Your Head Back During a Nosebleed

Tilting the head back during a nosebleed can cause blood to run down the throat and lead to nausea and vomiting.  Instead, tilting your head forward whilst pinching your nose shut and breathing through your mouth should stop the flow of blood.  If the bleeding continues for 30 minutes or longer, go to the hospital.

Myth 3 – Heart Attack Victims Should Lie Down, Rather Than Sit Up

Making a heart attack victim lie down can actually make it more difficult for them to breathe.  Placing the victim in a half-sitting position, with their knees bent will help them to breathe deeper and you should support their head and shoulders.

Myth 4 – You Must Make A Child Vomit After Drinking Bleach

Whilst some believe this is the correct way to help in this emergency situation, this can actually cause more damage to the body.  The best way to help is to call 999 and let your child sip cold milk or water if their lips are burnt from the corrosive substance.

Myth 5 – You Must Always Tie a Tourniquet around a Bleeding Limb

Whilst many people believe this is the best way to treat a patient who is bleeding heavily, it could stop all blood flow and cause potential tissue damage.  In most cases, it is better to place strong pressure on the wound and raise the affected limb. Tourniquets require additional training beyond traditional first aid course types.

Myth 6 – Place Your Head between Your Legs if Someone Feels Faint

This could cause them to fall forward.  You should lie them down, whilst raising their legs to increase blood flow to the brain.

Whilst this is just a brief overview of some of the common misconceptions associated with emergency situations, gaining an awareness of basic first aid by attending a first aid course could help you to save a life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recognising Signs of Hypothermia in Colder Weather

It’s that time of year again, the nights are drawing in and temperatures are plummeting.  Although the winter weather and snow can be fun for all the family, it can also greatly increase your chances of illness and injury.  Cold and wintry conditions are a leading cause of hypothermia, so we thought we would put together some handy tips and tricks below for recognising the signs of hypothermia in colder weather conditions according to NHS.

Signs of hypothermia?

These are the five key things to look for:

  1. Cold body temperature, pale and dry skin
  2. Excessive shivering symptoms or no shivering at all; stiffness in arms/legs
  3. Tiredness, confusion or changes in behaviour
  4. Slurred, slowed speech or shallow breathing
  5. Slow and weakening pulse

If a friend or relative is suffering from any of these signs of hypothermia it is important to know how to help. Firstly, you must warm the person with layers of dry clothing – if they are outside bring them indoors and cover with blankets, get them something warm to drink, such as soup or a food high in energy like chocolate.  If they become unresponsive at any point, you must open the airway and check they are breathing still – call 999/112 and prepare to treat someone who is unresponsive.  Whilst you wait for help to arrive, it is essential to keep checking their pulse, breathing and level of responsiveness.

Staying Warm Inside

We are often warned of the dangers of hypothermia whilst outside, but many people fail to realise the importance of staying warm inside as well.  Cold weather can become a particular worry for the elderly or those more susceptible to cold weather conditions. These people must ensure houses are kept warm and cosy during winter months.  The Department of Health recommends heating to at least 18C and advocate purchasing a room thermometer to help keep track of temperatures.

Staying Warm Outside 

In these cold winter months, wearing warm, dry clothing and wrapping up in cosy layers whilst outside is essential.  Wearing multiple thin layers trap air which keeps you warmer more effectively and wearing a hat can prevent major heat loss.  Whilst outside eating and drinking regularly is just as important as keeping active!

There we have it! There are plenty of handy tips and tricks listed above to keep you safe in cold, wintry months and remember to watch out for stumbles, mumbles or fumbles and make sure you are up to speed on signs of hypothermia.

 

Paediatric First Aid Tips for New Parents

Becoming a new parent (especially for the first time) – can be incredibly daunting.  There’s so much to think about!  That’s why we have paediatric first aid courses – to keep your mind at ease at this already stressful time.  We have put together some handy first aid for kids tips below, in case you want to give yourself a head start.

Is your Baby Choking?

Because babies explore using their mouths – it does mean that there is a likelihood that they could choke.  When your baby is newborn it is most likely that this could be from milk that has curdled – but as they get older, things can definitely be a little more hazardous.

If your baby is choking and is not breathing – here are some steps to follow:

  1. Give your baby up to 5 back blows. Your baby should be held face down along your thigh, and their head should be lower than their bottom. You can then hit them on their back with firm pressure up to 5 times in-between their shoulder blades.
  2. If this doesn’t dislodge what they are choking on – it’s advised to give them chest thrusts up to 5 times. To do this, your baby should be facing upwards – and you should be placing 2 fingers on their chest between the arms and sharply press down 1/3 depth of chest.
  3. If those 2 steps fail, and they are unresponsive call EMS and begin CPR.

What is a Febrile Seizure?

Around 2 thirds of parents have stated that they don’t know what a febrile seizure is, and wouldn’t know how to treat one. These are fairly common in babies, and can be caused by fevers or high temperatures.  It usually occurs in babies and infants as the part of their brain that controls temperature is still developing.  There are some signs to look out for which can include; clenched fists, red face, arched back, hot when you touch them, and a stiffened body.  If you do suspect your baby is having a febrile seizure – here are some steps to follow:

  1. Make sure their head is protected from harm.
  2. Make sure there is some cool, fresh air in the room and take off their outer clothing to cool them down.
  3. Once the seizure is over, place your baby into the infant recovery position. If you are still concerned, or if your baby continues to have what you suspect as seizures – seek medical advice.

These are just a couple of the things that we cover in our paediatric first aid courses to make sure that anything we have suggested above is administered correctly, but you can expect to learn lots more including what to do with burns and scalds, poisoning, managing bleeding and other effective techniques. Although it’s easy for us to say of course – an important part of administering first aid on children is keeping calm.  If you are wary at all about having a little one when it comes to any of these things, make sure you book our next paediatric first aid course online, or feel free to contact us with any queries.

 

Firework Safety Tips for a Successful Bonfire Night

One of the most important reasons to discuss firework safety is the simple fact that fireworks are explosives! Under controlled conditions, they can be fun for all the family so we thought we would come up with some top tips so that you and your family can enjoy fireworks night with ultimate peace of mind!

Fireworks are exceptionally dangerous and the UK Government have a number of laws and regulations in place that are designed primarily to keep people safe at all times. This has resulted in a fine of £5000 being imposed for individuals that misuse fireworks and you could even receive a criminal record or a spell in prison.

First of all, if you are planning to light a bonfire we have a few things that you need to know. Bonfires must be 18 metres away from any building and they can’t exceed a height of 2.5 metres. It is also illegal to light and set off a firework between the hours of 11pm-7am. Additionally, it is illegal to tamper with fireworks in any way and a minor (under the age of 18) should never be sold a firework or have one in a public place.

The above are all factors that could land you in trouble with the law but we have also compiled a number of handy tips to ensure you have good firework safety standards:

Firework Safety Tips

  1. Sparklers – Sparklers are loads of fun but to ensure maximum safety only light one at a time and always wear gloves. This may seem like common sense but you would be surprised at how many people don’t even think on wearing gloves when they light sparklers.
  2. Kids & Sparklers – Sparklers can be good options to keep the kids entertained and they are safe enough for children but in general, the child should be over 5 years old before they handle them on their own.
  1. Fireworks Storage – Another one that may just seem like common sense. Always store your fireworks out of the reach of children and keep the box closed and secure at all times. Simple stuff.
  1. Following Instructions – Don’t just assume that all fireworks are the same. Some have more complex lighting instructions than others and some require you to hold them in a specific way before igniting them. Always read the instructions!
  1. Stand Well Back – This is self-explanatory and never ever go back to a lit firework. Another thing we have seen over the years is people throwing fireworks or keeping them in their pockets. This is just asking to be injured so don’t do it folks!
  1. Pets – A lot of pets will be scared of the loud bangs and bright colours of fireworks so it is best to just keep them indoors until you have finished launching your display. Easy stuff!

There we have it! There are plenty of things to consider when setting up your bonfire or fireworks display. Just follow these tips for ultimate firework safety and we hope everyone has a great evening!