Accidental Injuries: 6 Types of First Aid Tips You Should Know
Accidental injuries impact millions of people throughout the United States each year. Occurring fast and unexpectedly, many of these injuries happen when you are away from home, and you could find yourself wasting valuable minutes waiting for help to arrive.
Knowing some basic first aid procedures in the event of an accident can potentially help you lessen the impact an injury has – it could even help you save a loved one’s life. Regardless of your level of skill or experience, there are six types of first aid tips you should know for these different accidental injuries:
- Head, neck, or spinal cord injuries
- Loss of consciousness
Common Types of Accidental Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 30 million people each year suffer accidental injuries that require emergency medical care. While many may think of these injuries as minor, the CDC further reports that accidental, unintentional injuries kill more than 30,000 people each year and are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
The most common causes of these injuries include:
- Slip and falls
- Being struck by or against an object
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Accidental chemical or thermal burns
- Motor vehicle accidents
In the event of a serious accident, your first step should always be to get emergency medical attention immediately. While waiting for help to arrive, any first aid you can provide could be valuable.
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Providing Different Types of First Aid at the Accident Scene
Once you call for help, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines some first aid fundamentals companies use for training purposes (page 11-15). For example, it outlines one of the first steps as assessing the scene, as well as the victim’s injuries and consciousness. You want to ensure that you are not putting yourself in danger or risking further injury to the victim.
Below are the six types of first aid tips that everyone should know:
First Aid for Bleeding
When you or another person has lacerations, the goal is to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible and protect the wound. You can follow these steps:
- Cover the wound with a clean compress.
- Apply direct pressure until the bleeding stops.
- Apply a bandage over the dressing and continue to apply pressure.
- Do not attempt to remove anything lodged deeply within the wound, such as metal or glass.
- Wait for help to arrive.
Caring for Burns
Burns can be tricky, as there are different types: chemical, thermal, and electrical. You will want to use caution when treating burns, particularly if you do not know the source. Each type requires different treatment, but in general, you want to:
- Assess the burn’s severity and identify its source, if possible.
- Remove the source of the burn. (e.g., for electrical burns, turn off the electricity if possible. For chemical burns, flush the area with cool water).
- Make sure the victim is breathing – if not, begin CPR.
- Cover the site loosely with sterile dressing.
- Wait for help to arrive.
Head, Neck, and Suspected Spinal Cord Injuries
As with burns, these types of injuries require additional care. Trauma to the head, neck, and spine can lead to severe and even permanent injuries, including paralysis. Taking the wrong steps could cause further harm, so make sure to:
- Avoid moving the victim, even if their head or body is in an awkward position.
- Stabilize their head in whatever position they are in by providing support with your hands, heavy rolled towels, or something similar.
- If they aren’t breathing, you can carefully begin CPR, but avoid tilting their head back.
- Remain in this position until help arrives.
First Aid for Poisoning
Applying first aid for poisoning will depend on the type of poison ingested. In general, these actions can help address the situation:
- Determine how they were poisoned, if possible. If the victim ingested a household cleaner or something similar, you can read the packaging for specific instructions.
- Remove any remaining poison in the mouth or on their clothing.
- If poison made contact with the victim’s skin or eyes, flush the area with cool water.
- Begin CPR if the victim is unconscious.
- Turn the victim to their side if they begin vomiting.
- Contact the National Poison Control Center (PCC) hotline at 1-800-222-1222 for advice.
- Call 911 or go immediately to the nearest hospital emergency room.
When Someone Is Choking
If you see someone choking, you can perform the following steps:
- Put the victim in a standing position.
- While standing behind them, lean the victim forward and administer five blows to their back with the palm of your hand, between their shoulder blades.
- Make a fist. Then, wrap your arm around their waist, and with the thumb side of your fist positioned just above their navel, give five quick thrusts.
- Continue alternating steps two and three until the object is dislodged or until help arrives.
For Loss of Consciousness
If you find someone who appears to be unconscious, you want to:
- Check for responsiveness by tapping the victim’s shoulder. Do not shake them.
- If they are face down, turn them face up, being careful to keep the head, neck, and back in a straight line.
- Check their airway for any blockages. If there is a blockage that is loose and within your reach, carefully attempt to remove it.
- Keep the victim warm and check their pulse frequently.
- Tilt their head back and lift the chin to open the airway.
- Check for bleeding and other injuries.
- Begin CPR and wait until help arrives.
The best way to be prepared for an accident is by signing up for CPR and basic first aid training. You can sign up for Red Cross first aid training online. Classes are offered throughout South Carolina.
Contact Our Firm for Legal Assistance
If you or someone you love suffers an accidental injury, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm for legal support. Our personal injury attorneys could help you seek compensation from the individual or entity responsible for causing you or your family member harm. The initial consultation is free: (800) 313-2546.