The ABCDs of First Aid; Airway, Breathing, Compression, Defibrillator

ABCDs of First Aid – Airway, Breathing, Compression and Defibrillator

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One of the basic skills that every person should have is CPR and first aid training that can help someone in case of emergency. Imagine how beneficial it would be to know how to perform first aid or being aware of what is a CPR procedure when put in an emergency situation. While it is always best to enrol yourself in professional first aid training, this ABCD First Aid guide we have curated for you can help you get an understanding of what all first aid entails.

Let’s begin with the basics:

If you ever have to face an emergency, you must keep in mind some important things while you offer first aid to the victim. These are often considered the "ABCs" of first aid.

First aid is the initial treatment provided to somebody who is severely ill or wounded before the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS). An individual's life can be saved in an emergency by providing first aid immediately. Attempting to learn basic first aid skills might help you deal with a medical emergency.

You might be capable of keeping someone breathing, relieving their discomfort, or reducing the severity of an accident or sudden sickness until an ambulance comes. For them, this might spell the difference between life and death.

Take CPR and first aid training to learn how to identify an emergency and provide basic first aid until the professionals come to the spot. Let us learn from the beginning:

The ABCs of first aid

The airway, breathing, and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) are the three components of the ABCs of first aid. You must, however, apply the DRSABCD Action Plan in any situation.

What is the DRSABCD Action Plan?

It is a combination of ABCD first aid plus a DRS responde guide. DRSABCD is an abbreviation for -

  • Danger: Always take into account the threat to yourself, any onlookers, and the wounded or unwell individual. When going to someone's aid, be sure you are not putting yourself at risk.

  • Response: You must check if the person is in a conscious state or if they are responding to you by talking, touching their hands or squeezing their shoulder.

  • Send for help: You can call 112—the emergency helpline number—and remember to answer each of the operator’s questions properly.

  • Airway: You must check if the person is breathing or if their airway is clear. If the individual is responsive, awake, and their airways are clear, find out exactly how you will assist them with any injuries they may have. However, if the person is unconscious and not responding, you must check their airway. You can do this by opening their mouth and looking inside it to check for content. This is important because if the person’s airway is blocked, it can become difficult for them to breathe properly.

When the airway is clear, you can check for breathing by tilting their head back gently and lifting their chin. If the airway is not clear, then you can try placing the individual on their side, opening their mouth and removing all the contents in their mouth to clear the airway. You can then tilt their head back gently and lift their chin to check for breathing.

  • Breathing: The oxygen needed for life is delivered to the body through breathing. This is why it is critical to assess whether or not the individual is breathing. Follow these steps to determine if an individual is breathing properly:

  1. You can look for up-and-down chest movements to check their breathing. 

  2. Put your ear closer to the mouth and ear and try listening to the sound of their breath. 

  3. You can try to feel their breath by placing your hand on the lower part of their chest. 

  4. Turn the individual onto their side if they are unconscious but still breathing, while taking care to maintain the alignment of their head, neck, and spine.

  5. Keep an eye on their breath until you pass them over to the ambulance officials.

Rescue breathing can be performed for somebody who has not been breathing. This allows you to momentarily breathe for the affected individual. During cardiopulmonary resuscitation, rescue breaths and chest compressions are administered.

  • CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)

Here’s how you can perform the CPR procedure:

  1. Whenever an individual is unresponsive and just not breathing, put the heel of one hand in the middle of their chest while placing the other hand on top. 

  2. Apply pressure securely at least 30 times. 

  3. Lift their chin to gently tilt their head back and let the breath flow in. 

  4. Close their nostrils, position your open mouth over theirs wide open, and blow strongly into the individual's mouth. 

  5. Continue with the 30 compressions and two breaths at a rate of around five repetitions every two minutes until you hand over to the ambulance officials. 

  6. CPR procedure for kids under the age of eight and newborns is quite similar, and you may acquire these techniques in first aid CPR training.

  • The letter "D" can mean a few different things:

Defibrillation: This stage entails employing an electrical current to restart a person's heartbeat who is suffering from cardiac arrest. It is commonly performed with the use of a defibrillator first aid device known as an automated external defibrillator, or AED first aid and sometimes even CPR AED. This should only be carried out by a professional as CPR AED training is mandatory to use a defibrillator.

Disability: Check the person's current condition and look for injuries if any. The AVPU technique may quickly assess how conscious the person is, in which case the individual is categorised as alert (A), voice responsive (V), pain responsive (P), or unresponsive (U).

The first aid kit

In addition to understanding some basic first aid methods, it is critical that homes and offices have a first aid kit that suits their needs, is very well organised, well stocked, and easily accessible. Based on the setting, the components should be acceptable for dealing with a variety of emergency cases. It's a beneficial practice to keep a variety of kits on hand in various locations, such as the house, car, or office.

Make use of bandages during first aid

You must not consider this important piece of information as a substitute for proper first aid training. We advise you to:

  1. Make sure that the injured individual is lying down or maybe sitting down. 

  2. Make sure that you are on the injured side of the individual. 

  3. Provide support to their injured body part before using a bandage

  4. As you bandage the leg, be sure that each round overlaps the one before it. 

  5. Put it another way, by wrapping the bandage in a "figure eight" pattern. 

  6. You must make sure that you don’t wrap the bandage too tight as it may reduce the blood flow. 

  7. You may use the Hansaplast Cotton Crepe Bandage over the injured body part.

After you are done wrapping the bandage, an arm sling may be required to lift the injured forearm and reduce its movement.

  1. You may arrange the individual’s arm into a "V" by bending the elbow such that the hand rests near the hollow where the shoulder meets the collarbone. 

  2. Create a hammock-like wrap over the injured arm by gently gathering the material at the elbow and drawing it tight without removing the bandage from the injured arm.

  3. Make a long spiral by twisting the material, bringing it around and up the back of the person. 

  4. At the individual's fingertips, tightly knot the two ends securely.

First aid for someone unconscious

In cases such as head injury, alcohol poisoning, low blood sugar levels, seizure, stroke, etc., there are chances for the person to be unconscious and still have heartbeats. In such cases, you must do the following until the professionals arrive:

  1. Kneel next to them on the ground.

  2. Place their nearest arm at a 90-degree angle to their body, along with their palm facing upwards.

  3. To place their hand under the cheek that is closest to you, they must bend their opposite arm. 

  4. For stages 4 and 5, keep it in position.

  5. With your spare hand, bend their distal knee at a straight angle such that it lays level on the floor.

  6. Turn them onto their side and towards you by gently pulling on their bent knee.Check if the hand on their bent arm has still been supporting their head.

  7. Tilt their head slightly to the back and raise their chin to gently open their airway. 

  8. Examine their airway to see if anything is obstructing it.

Call the ambulance once they are in the recovery position and monitor their condition until the professionals arrive.

First aid for a person choking

To ensure that the individual is breathing normally, it is important to maintain a clear airway. You may have to roll the injured person on their side. However, in some cases, such as an accident, spinal injury is always considered a possibility. There are techniques for positioning an accident victim on their side such that their spine moves as little as possible. CPR and first aid training may teach you these abilities.

When should you call the ambulance?

Additionally, there are certain emergencies other than the ones where the individual is not breathing, is unconscious or whose heart is not beating, where it becomes important to immediately call the ambulance. 

You must call 108 (Emergency Medical Response Ambulance Service) in situations like:

  1. Stroke
  2. Breathing problems

  3. Heart attack

  4. Heavy bleeding

  5. Severe burns

  6. Seizures

  7. Suspected poisoning

To Conclude

CPR and first aid training is something that should be taken seriously and shouldn’t be offered by someone who is inexperienced or not trained for it. If these tips are followed concisely they can be hugely beneficial for the injured individual. 

Disclaimer - Please note that the above recommendations are general care tips. Consult a health care professional in case of any uncertainty around wound treatment and healing.

Always see your doctor if a wound is deep, bleeding profusely or shows signs of infection. For diabetic patients especially, proper wound care holds the utmost importance. Do not hesitate to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor or your podiatrist, even when it comes to minor wounds and cuts – especially if they’re on your feet.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Although compiled with great care, it is not a substitute for professional advice. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult your doctor immediately. 

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