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First Aid: A Quick Look



First aid can be the difference between life and death.  Simple as that.  So when somebody is looking for a reason to give up their time and energy to learn some simple life-saving skills, then there is no better reason than that.

It could help a loved one, a colleague or even someone in the street; wouldn’t you feel better knowing that you could learn a few simple skills that could mean the difference between life and death?

Classes are available on first aid all over the country even ask your employer – they may also have courses lined up as part of a health and safety campaign.  Whatever route you go down, it will help hugely, but we are going to go through some techniques and procedures that provide essential treatment until professional help arrives at the scene.  Do not do anything else until a medical team arrives.

When it comes to first aid, practice makes perfect.  And if the time comes, the practice put in could be invaluable in an emergency by reacting efficiently and quickly.  Here we look at just one way we can help someone; in this example, someone has difficulty breathing, and studying this list could help someone.


The first thing to do when a person stops breathing is to tap them on the shoulder and see if they reply or move.  If there is no response, then immediately phone an ambulance and begin first aid.  Also, send any bystanders for help can assist in the situation.  Here is what you should do when noticing someone that isn’t breathing correctly:-

  1. Place the person onto their backs on the floor
  2. Tilt the head, with the jaw pointing up towards the ceiling.  Do this by placing fingers under the jawbone and tilt gently while pressing gently against the person’s forehead.  This is done to make sure that the tongue isn’t blocking the person’s airway.
  3. Keep the head in the same position and check for breathing.  Is the chest moving up and down?  Place your ear against the person’s mouth to listen for breathing also.  Only do this for 10 seconds
  4. Check if there is normal breathing hold the casualty as described previously until assistance arrives.  If there is no breathing, then administer essential life support.

Giving Basic Life Support

In adults, the issue is usually the heart and rather than the lungs – so cardiac compressions are required, then rescue breaths secondly.

There is no point in checking for a pulse if the patient isn’t responding.

  1. Placing the heel of your hand in the middle of the chest above the breastplate.  The heel of the hand should be situated in the middle half of the breastbone and not over the ribs or stomach
  2. Place the heel of your other hand on top of your other hand, keeping the fingers away from the chest by locking them together. Pressure should be applied through the heel of the hands only
  3. Keep the elbows straight and bring your body weight over the sides making it easier to push down
  4. Press firmly and quickly to achieve a downwards movement of 4 to 5 cm, relax and then repeat the compression
  5. Do this at a rate of 100 times a minute
  6. Action this 30 times
  7. Now open the air passage by positioning the head with the chin pointing up as previous
  8. Pinch the nostrils, close them with two fingers to prevent an air leakage
  9. Take a regular breath seal your mouth and breath slowly into the person’s mouth until fully inflated – this should take around two seconds
  10. Do this twice
  11. Check to see if this is increasing the chest as it is being blown into
  12. If there is resistance try to hold the head back and lift the chin back again
  13. Continue with 30 chest compressions and, then two rescue breaths – and only stop if the person starts to breath

Do not stop the treatment until someone else can take over for you.

This is just one example of first aid; there are many other methods and treatments that you can administer while giving first aid, and you should take the time to learn and practice them.  I hope this has been useful and gives you a small insight into how to treat a person who has stopped breathing for one reason or another.