First aid is the immediate treatment given to a person who suddenly becomes ill or injured. Proper first aid can be the difference in saving someone’s life, and is most often performed by civilian bystanders on the scene of an incident. Everyone has needed some type of first aid at one point or another in their life. First aid can range from placing a Band-Aid on a cut to administering CPR in a life-threatening situation. There are many factors involved in first aid, but first and foremost one must be prepared for emergencies and have a willingness to help those in need around them.
The first component of first aid involves accessing the situation to see if there is any imminent danger present. A first aider should not enter the scene if it appears to pose more danger to themselves or the injured person. When providing first aid, it is also important to prevent cross-contamination by wearing proper PPE (personal protective equipment), including sterile latex-free exam gloves. It is of crucial importance to always wash your hands or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer both before and after providing first aid to protect yourself and the injured person. When providing first aid, it is always important to remain calm, build an element of trust with the injured individual, and to provide comfort and reassurance.
The first step in providing first aid is to assess the injured person and evaluate what is wrong. This involves checking the ABCs (airway, breathing, and circulation) first. Assessing the patient also involves taking a history, including finding out what happened, what the individual's medical problems are, and what medications they are currently taking. It additionally includes asking about the patient’s symptoms and evaluating the patient for signs of injury. The next step is to treat all life-threatening injuries or illnesses before treating minor injuries. Finally, it is crucial to help determine the patient’s next step in the caregiving process, which may include calling for emergency help from trained medical professionals.