Fears of First Aid

The ‘Fears of First Aid’ – Are you worried about being sued?

Fears of First Aid

We regularly get learners at our First Aid at Work courses who have worries, or confidence issues about providing First Aid to another person. We tend to call this the ‘Fears of First Aid’. There are many different fears and they can range from everything from a fear of blood to a fear of getting hurt yourself. We like to spend some time during our courses discussing these Fears of First Aid and how to overcome them. Surprisingly, we’ve found one of the most common fears is that you, the first aider, could be sued if the outcome isn’t good.

Despite the fact that no one in the UK has been successfully sued for providing Fist Aid, recent studies conducted by the St John’s Ambulance Service in England found that 34% of respondents would avoid getting involved in an emergency because of concerns about legal repercussions. In response to these perceptions, the UK government introduced the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism (SARAH) Bill in February of 2015. Of course, this doesn’t mean anyone assisting a casualty shouldn’t avoid acting recklessly, but it does mean that courts need to consider if the person was acting with a clear, helpful intent at the time.

To help keep you right, and to help tackle the Fears of First Aid, we’ve compiled a list of five things you can do to improve your confidence and put your mind at ease whilst giving your patient the best possible initial care.

Due to the specifics of each individual emergency scenario, these tips must be considered as general advice only, and are in no way a substitute for the Law as it stands.

1) Introduce Yourself

We can’t really be any simpler than that. Even if your patient appears to be unconscious, you need to introduce yourself to give the patient a chance to respond and also to let anyone else in earshot know what you’re there for.
Say something like, “Hello. My name is ……., I’m a First Aider”. Boom! You’re off to a flyer!

2) Get Consent to Assist

Again, keeping it simple is the best approach. Ask, “Can I help you?” If there is no response, it can be assumed that you have their consent. If they refuse, you must respect their wishes, but you should ensure, as far as is reasonable, that they come to no further harm. If in doubt, contact the emergency services.

3) Call the Emergency Services

This might seem like an obvious one but you’d be surprised to learn just how easy it can be to allow adrenaline or panic to take over and cloud your thinking if you’re not fully in control. With the professionals on the way, you can increase your patient’s chances. So make sure when dealing with your patient, keep  asking yourself, “Does this person need an ambulance?”. If you’re not sure, don’t take the risk. Call 999 or 112.

4) Stay within the Scope of your Training

Sure, you may have just watched a box set of Grey’s Anatomy, or an SAS documentary, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean you’re qualified to perform complicated medical procedures on your patient. So no amputations or tracheostomy procedures – you’re not Andy McNab and this isn’t the set of Grey Sloan Memorial! Only do what you’ve been trained to do by a qualified First Aid Instructor and you won’t harm the patient any further.

5) Stay with your patient until help arrives

As you can imagine, a patient, particularly one in a serious condition, would be understandably upset if the person providing assistance to them suddenly ups and leaves the scene before professional help has arrived.
So, while you may not necessarily have a duty of care to offer your assistance in the first place, if you do, you are required to stay with the patient until you’re satisfied they have made a full recovery or are in the capable hands of a professional, e.g. a paramedic or ambulance technician.

 
And there we have it – five simple steps you can take to keep yourself right when providing First Aid.

You can help improve your knowledge and confidence by attending one of our regularly scheduled First Aid courses. Contact us today for information on how to book a course and learn real, every day, life-saving skills.

First Aid for New Drivers

It’s time to make First Aid training compulsory for New Drivers

First Aid Training for New Drivers

What do you think about First Aid Training for new drivers? Well, picture yourself driving home from work one evening. It’s winter and it’s dark. The weather has turned to a night of blustery, wintery showers. You’re looking forward to getting home. As you turn the bend, you prepare to accelerate, suddenly you approach a scene you weren’t anticipating – vehicle debris, mud and gravel are strewn across the road. Across the white lines you can make out what appears to be a car on its side. You stop, put your hazards on and get out of your car to investigate. You attempt to listen for any signs that the occupants are ok, but the noise of the accelerator is making it difficult to hear. You feel your heart rate increase and a knot in the pit of your stomach. What do you do next?…

Well, if you were a driver of a vehicle in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Bulgaria, you’d know how to make the scene safe and then administer potentially lifesaving First Aid until the emergency services arrive. You’re able to do all of this because when learning to drive you attended First Aid Training for new drivers. In fact, if you’re Swiss, you had to complete 10 hours’ worth of training before even applying for your licence. In France, anyone first on the scene of such an incident has a Duty of Care to provide assistance if they are capable of doing so.

However, if you hold a UK Driver’s Licence, the chances are, you’re  one of the 93% of people without up-to-date First Aid training. In the UK, there is no requirement to complete any First Aid training for new drivers, meaning two-thirds of people have said they wouldn’t feel confident attempting to save a life, and 24% of people would do nothing until the ambulance arrived. We all know to call the emergency services, but as a trained first aider, you could provide the operator with additional details that could really help the ambulance team when they arrive.

What’s the current situation?

With approximately 23,700 people either killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2015, it’s safe to say some First Aid training for new drivers would go a long way. The current UK government policy of leaving it up to the individual to register for First Aid training simply isn’t working, and we’re lagging behind many of our European neighbours as a result.

The current Driver’s Theory Test does include some questions on First Aid, which is a good place to start. However, is this really enough to prepare a new driver to assist someone in the case of an emergency? We’d have to say no. To develop a practical understanding of the skills necessary to help someone in an emergency some hands-on training would really be needed.

How can we Improve?

Now, we’re not suggesting every driver should be sent on a First Aid course- or that you’d all need to re-sit your tests- but with around 450,000 new drivers passing their test each year, there’s certainly room to improve our woeful First Aid statistics. Let’s take a look at the numbers. Approximately 63% of the population aged between 21 and 29 have a driver’s licence. If those figures remain steady, which they are set to do, then within 13 years we could have nearly two-thirds of people, under the age of 30, in possession of the knowledge, skills and confidence to be potential lifesavers.

Moreover, the skills learned will not just be applicable on the road. It is estimated around 140,000 people die each year when the early intervention of a trained First Aider could have potentially saved their life, just think of the impact it would have if we provided these new drivers with these lifesaving skills.

What do you think?

We think it’s a no-brainer, that the pros far outweigh any cons, but what do you think? Is the current volunteer basis of First Aid enrolment working for us? Is it time for some kind of compulsory program to be legislated for? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. If you are interested in booking a First Aid Course, take a look at our training sessions here or give us a call today on 01698 421 444.

Health & Safety Top Tips

5 Health & Safety Top Tips for Your Business

In February 2016, sentencing powers, for the non-compliance of Health & Safety legislation, within the Scottish court system became tougher. This was designed to bring the penalties more in line with those available in England and Wales, and since February 2016 the fines handed down from Scottish courts to businesses has ranged from anywhere between £160,000 to £2.6 million.
The likelihood of custodial sentences being imposed on individuals for serious breaches of Health & Safety law also became more common, with sentences of 26 weeks imprisonment available for offences even where no negligence was found.

Furthermore, even where no criminality took place, the implications for businesses which suffer major incidents are considerable.
For example, 60% of UK businesses which suffer fire damage never recover; the loss of premises, equipment, stock and clients being too much for a company to regain.

To assist you in creating a safer workplace, and avoid falling foul of the law, we’ve created what we consider to be 5 Health & Safety Top Tips.

1) Appoint Competent Persons.

A Competent Person is someone with the relevant experience, skills, knowledge and, just as importantly, the motivation to manage Health & Safety for your business and workforce.
As safe working practices will have a much better chance of being successful if they’re accepted rather than enforced, your Competent Persons should be able to demonstrate a good understanding of effective man-management techniques.
They should be able to demonstrate, through accredited certification such as an IOSH Managing Safely course, a CITB or an NEBOSH equivalent, that they have at least understood the fundamentals of Health & Safety legislation, regulations and Accepted Codes of Practice. They may also require further accredited certification if your business operates in specialised sectors, such as offshore, mining or construction.

For low-risk businesses, that Competent Person may be yourself, or one or more members of staff whom you feel meet the above criteria, but for larger organisations and those where the work activity reaches a medium to high-risk category it may be necessary to hire an expert consultant, either on a freelance basis or fully employed within the company itself.

There are a number of sources available to advise and guide you in appointing or recruiting the right person. These may include:

Trade associations
Safety groups
Trade unions
Consultants registered on the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR)
Local councils
Health and safety training providers
Health and safety equipment suppliers

2) Have a written Health & Safety policy for your Business.

Despite the fact that it is a legal requirement for businesses with 5 or more staff to have one, you’re simply not going to have a workforce which understands your commitment to a safer workplace, far less how to achieve it, if you do not have a formal written policy in place.

Your Health & Safety policy will quite simply state who does what, when and how. There’s no need to over-complicate things. Keep the policy simple and clear, and keep the objective in mind when writing it.

The Health & Safety Executive have created handy templates to assist with writing your policy.
http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/safety-policy-risk-assessment-template.odt

Remember, a workplace policy will only be effective if everyone involved follows it and you review it regularly.

 
3) Conduct a Risk Assessment.

Again, this is not something you can nor should avoid. For one, you have a legal obligation to “avoid or reduce risks to what is reasonably practicable”, and secondly, you cannot hope to eliminate or reduce risks if you have not clearly identified what they are.

Like your written policy statement, your Risk Assessment should be kept simple. There are 5 main stages to risk assessing:

  1. Identify the Hazard
  2. Identify who is at Risk
  3. Evaluate the Risks
  4. Record your findings
  5. Revise & Review the RA at regular intervals or when necessary

Essentially, all you’re doing is attempting to identifying everything significant that may cause harm to anyone affected by your business and then devise a plan to avoid that risk altogether or reduce it.
You won’t win any business award for over-complicating the Risk Assessment so keep things simple and focus on the control measures you can put in place.
Take a tour of your premises or site and look for anything that may cause harm. Speak with your colleagues and staff, listen to any concerns they raise and consider them carefully. Very often a potential hazard will be identified by someone else when it may not seem obvious to you.
Don’t fill your risk assessment with everyday hazards and don’t attempt to predict unforeseen risks, rather concentrate on the significant hazards which are likely to cause harm without sufficient control measures in place. Remember to consider people who may not normally work on your site, such as inductees, temporary workers, contractors and visitors. As they’ll be unfamiliar with your workplace, the chances of a hazard harming one of these individuals is higher than someone who has spent a reasonable amount of time working there.

Different templates and example Risk Assessments are available all over the internet, but the HSE website is probably your best first port of call. If you use theirs, you can be sure all fields of entry will cover what you require.

Finally, as hazards and risks continually change and evolve over time (and sometimes day-to-day) remember to regularly review and revise the Risk Assessment so that it continually meets your requirements. This should be done when there is any significant change to policy, working practice or when you appoint new staff.

4) Invest in your people.

You’ve come this far. You’ve appointed a Competent Person and you’ve written a formal Health & Safety policy. This will all fall short, however, if you do not train your staff to identify hazards and risks for themselves and, by extension, how to work safely. Don’t rely on your staff having, “common sense”, ensure that they are made aware of the hazards they may face and the consequences of failing to work safely.

A Health & Safety poster is your first step, but you’ll need to provide more if you’re serious about creating a safer working culture.

Not all staff will have to attend the same training courses. So take a considered, proportionate approach when considering what type of training should be provided and who it should be provided to. Low-risk businesses, for example, will generally only require staff to receive simple information, instructions or guidance. If you’ve identified a need for your staff to receive a formal training course, remember that, as most Health & Safety training can only ever provide general information and advice, you’ll have to supplement the training with in-house updates and more specific details peculiar to your own business or workplace.

Consult your staff and ask them for feedback on the training they’ve just received. This will allow you to determine whether the training was effective or even relevant.

Document all training and retain records. Not only is this a legal requirement, it will greatly assist you when the time comes to renew or refresh training.
All work-related training should be paid for by the business itself and take place during normal working hours. Don’t simply go for the cheapest or most expensive training either. Price is not a good barometer of quality, and, unfortunately, neither is simply going for one of the “big names”.
Instead, choose a training provider which is affiliated to an industry body such as IOSH, CITB or NEBOSH. This will demonstrate that the training provider has achieved a high standard of accreditation underpinned with relevant industry knowledge and experience.

Providing Health & Safety training to your staff may feel like a distraction or expensive without an obvious ROI, but remember these key points:

* A well trained, safety conscious workforce will reduce the risk of accidents.
* A reduced risk of accidents prevents loss of reputation and the prospect of claims
* A good Health & Safety culture may be rewarded with reduced insurance premiums
* The absence of accidents helps to prevent stress
* An accident-free, stress-free workforce is generally a happier & more productive workforce.

Remember to include contractors and the self-employed in any information you provide.

5) Don’t be afraid to encourage the reporting and documenting of ‘Near Misses’

Accidents can and will happen. We can implement all the safety measures available to us, but we have to face up to the fact that human error is one of the main causes of accident in the workplace. Hopefully, no one is harmed. But recognise that the potential for someone to have been harmed was very real, but for luck or good fortune.

Therefore, do not fear the reporting and documentation of near misses or “Dangerous Occurrences” as something that may get your business in trouble with the authorities. Instead, look upon them as an opportunity to learn and improve your working practices. Use the opportunity to work in partnership with your staff, the HSE or local authority to ensure “so far as reasonably practicable” that it doesn’t happen again.

Encourage your staff to report genuine concerns. By doing so you’ll automatically begin to engineer a safer culture, and if the staff feel like senior management is approachable, flexible and attentive where there welfare is concerned, you’ll achieve something which cannot be bought – their loyalty.

hazards

Holiday Safety Hazards

Yes, it may be considered the most wonderful time of the year but Christmas tops the health hazards list, too.  Whilst this time of the year is the peak period for cold, flu (and in some cases hangovers), not all of the seasonal dangers are immediately obvious.  Many Christmas customs bring unexpected risks that can become serious health hazards during this yuletide season.

For some, the Christmas fun of completing age-old family traditions can become a minefield of dangers.  Read on to discover some of the most common seasonal dangers to be aware of this festive period.

  1. Decorating Dangers

A staggering 80,000 people seek hospital treatment every year for Christmas-related injuries.  Christmas mishaps come in all shapes and sizes, from cuts opening presents to falls putting up Christmas decorations, or even electrocutions from fairy lights.  Christmas poses some very real health risks so be sure to take extra care and precautions when assembling toys or putting up decorations.

  1. House Fires

The Christmas tradition of hanging stocking by the fireplace is only safe if you don’t have a fire going.  During the festive season, the percentages of fires in and around the chimney increased dramatically.  Plus, other classic Christmas decorations such as fairy lights or festive candles are both fire hazards.  Whilst it may not be Christmas without these classic decorations, you need to ensure that they are safe to use.  Make sure your Christmas lights carry the British Safety standard logo and remember to unplug them before going to bed!

  1. Snow and Sledging

If you’re lucky enough to wake up to a white Christmas, you’re sure to want to go out sledging to celebrate.  Whilst sledging is great fun and a classic Christmas tradition, it poses some major health risks.  When sledging you must ensure that you are in areas with plenty of open space where there is lots of room to stop safely at the bottom of a gently sloping hill.

  1. Drink Driving

Drinking too much at Christmas time is a pretty common occurrence during the holidays, whether it’s schmoozing with colleagues at the ill-planned work Christmas party or spending Boxing Day with extended family.  The number of fatalities associated with excessive drinking increases over the holiday season.  Make sure you don’t drink and drive this holiday season.

  1. The Christmas Coronary

The “Merry Christmas Coronary” is becoming a regular health hazard over the festive period.  Thanks to the over-rich and indulgent diets many adopt over the Christmas period and high levels of holiday-related stress, there is a rise in heart attacks over the festive season.  Make sure you stay safe and don’t over-do-it this Christmas!

With so many health hazards and dangers associated with Christmas, it’s important to recognise how a basic understanding of first aid can ensure peace of mind this holiday.  Gaining first aid certification could help you to save a life this Christmas.  Contact us today to start your first aid training.

 

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!

 

 

 

head injury symptoms

Halloween Head Injury Handbook

This week, many of us will be busy celebrating Halloween. It’s a time that’s usually filled with enough blood to make even us first aiders feel slightly nauseous! Thankfully, most of it is usually fake. However, Halloween can be a time when a massive amount of pressure is put on EMS. Many people forget that whilst they may be dressed as a superhero, they don’t actually have superhuman powers. So, this week we’ll be looking into one of the most serious injuries that can occur. Whilst things may go bump in the night this week, we sincerely hope that one of them is not your head. So, without further ado, let us fill you in on some essential tips for spotting head injury symptoms & signs.

Types of Head Injuries

There are a few different types of head injuries. We’ve listed the main ones below:

  • Concussion – this is when the brain is shaken
  • Cerebral Compression – when swelling or bleeding puts pressure on the brain.
  • Fracture – this is when the skull is cracked caused by fractures resulting from direct or indirect force.
  • Cerebral Contusion – bruising on the brain.

Head Injury Signs & Symptoms

Head injuries can happen very easily. Common causes include a blow to the head, car accidents or even falling. Not every head injury occurs as a result of direct impact to the skull, so you should always check for signs no matter the situation.

Some of the common head injury signs & symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Sickness
  • Dizziness
  • Watery blood coming from nose and ears
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Personality change
  • Headache
  • Pain

What to Do if You Suspect a Head Injury

If you spot a person exhibiting head injury signs & symptoms, you must alert the EMS. It is then your job to monitor the patient until they arrive.

Lay the patient down, and gently raise their head and shoulders by a few centimetres to relieve pressure on the brain.  Monitor vital signs.  No food.  No drink.  Stay with patient, and prevent them from sleeping.

What is the AVPU scale?

A patient may lose or fall in and out of consciousness after suffering a head injury. The AVPU scale is the scale that is used to determine whether or not a person is unconscious. AVPU is an acronym to help you remember the steps, which are as follows:

  • Alert – check whether the patient is alert, although not necessarily orientated.
  • Voice – Does the patient respond to voice?
  • Pain – are they responding to pain or touch?
  • Unresponsive – they are failing to respond to any of the above.

Head injuries can be very serious and result in severe trauma, so it’s important that you recognise them early. Although you cannot treat a head injury yourself, you can help the patient gain prompt access to medical care. Recognising head injury symptoms and signs is crucial. Remember that not all occur as a result of direct impact to the skull. They could just as easily be triggered by landing on your feet, with the impact transferring up through your body and damaging the brain.  Be aware that spinal injuries could be a result of this type of impact. It is your job as a first aider to recognise head injury symptoms & signs and monitor the patient’s wellbeing until EMS arrives.  Recognising these symptoms could help you to become someone’s superhero – with or without the costume. Keep it in mind this Halloween.

heart attack symptoms

Affairs of the Heart: How to Spot the Signs of a Heart Attack

A heart attack can lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the most common cause of death in the United Kingdom. This week, we celebrated Restart a Heart Day. It is a day dedicated to the awareness of CPR training. CPR or ‘Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation’ is used when the heart has gone into cardiac arrest. Although a heart attack is not the same as cardiac arrest, it is very serious. It signals that the heart is in serious trauma, meaning that it may stop at any time. Knowing the main heart attack symptoms allows you to seek treatment earlier. The earlier a patient receives treatment, the higher their chance of survival is.

What Causes a Heart Attack?

A heart attack is caused by a blockage or restriction of blood to the heart. It results in a starvation of oxygenated blood to the heart and body, which then causes the trauma we mentioned above. Blockages are more common in arteries that have been narrowed by a build-up of plaque, which is made up of cholesterol particles. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise contribute to high cholesterol, which is why it is so important to live a healthy lifestyle.

Never Delay Treatment

One of the biggest problems when dealing with a heart attack is that people brush off common heart attack symptoms as something else. Many of the earlier signs can easily be explained away as something minor. Therefore, treatment is delayed and more damage is done. By spotting the signs early, you may be able to provide the patient with the best chance of recovery.

Heart Attack Symptoms

One of the first things that people experience during a heart attack is chest pain. Although this seems like an obvious warning sign, many still discount it. Not all heart attacks start with a severe gripping pain in your chest. It can feel like indigestion, which it is commonly mistaken for. However, the pain can swiftly radiate from your neck to your jaw and down one arm – usually your left.

Dizziness and nausea can swiftly follow. Again, many people shirk this off as the beginnings of a virus. Someone experiencing a heart attack may display signs of becoming pale grey and will often have sweaty skin. These signs are often accompanied by other symptoms including difficulty in breathing and a rapid, irregular pulse. Many of the symptoms above mirror those associated with other conditions; such as indigestion, stress or a panic attack. Yet, they are signs that your body is imploring you to get help. Do not ignore them. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

First Aid for Heart Attacks

If someone is experiencing heart attack symptoms, it is crucial that you immediately contact the Emergency Medical Services. Whilst you wait for their arrival, it is important that you try to keep the patient calm. Loosen clothing and place them in a position where their back is against a flat surface, such as a wall, and their knees are raised with feet flat on the floor. If the patient can speak, ask them if they have medication for angina. If so, assist them to take it. Also, ask if they are allergic to aspirin, or if they’ve been prescribed any blood-thinning medication. If not allergic and you have some at hand, advise them that chewing ONE 300mg aspirin tablet can be useful for adults. Whilst you are doing this, be sure that you are monitoring their vital signs, particularly breathing and circulation.

When is CPR required?

We mentioned above that we recently celebrated Restart a Heart Day, to help train more people in CPR. This is because, during cardiac arrest, any time that the body spends without oxygen lessens a person’s chance of survival. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops, which can happen at any time during a heart attack. If a person’s heart attack symptoms have become so severe that they fall unconscious and stop breathing, it is time to perform CPR. It is important to remember that in a case of cardiac arrest, CPR, on its own, will not ‘restart’ the heart. If possible, obtain an AED unit to deliver a shock, but do not leave the patient to go looking for one. The EMS will have one when they arrive.

Recognising common heart attack symptoms is crucial in getting a person early access to medical treatment. Delaying treatment increases the chance of the patient falling into cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, 60% of the UK population has not been trained in CPR which means many people die needlessly as a result of this lack of training. We want to change this. Learning how to effectively carry out CPR and use AED units, come as part of our training courses. Every workplace should have a person with these skills, should the worst happen. It is a vital part of keeping your employees safe.

For information on any of our first aid or health and safety courses, get in touch. We even offer a free consultation, to help you best assess the needs of your premises.