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First aid basics and DRSABCD
First aid basics and DRSABCD
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First aid basics and DRSABCD Actions for this page Summary
Some knowledge of basic first aid could mean the difference between life and death.
Consider doing a first aid course, so that you will be able to manage if someone is injured or becomes ill.
CPR is a life-saving skill that everyone should learn.
Keep a range of first aid kits handy at home, in the car and at work.
On this page
Learn the first aid method of DRSABCD
Where to learn first aid and CPR
Infection control when performing CPR
First aid for a person choking
First aid for a medication or drug overdose
First aid kit
Reducing the risk of infected wounds during first aid
Using bandages during first aid
Where to get help
Learning basic first aid techniques can help you cope with an emergency. You may be able to keep a person breathing, reduce their pain or minimise the consequences of injury or sudden illness until an ambulance arrives. This could mean the difference between life and death for them.
It is a good idea to take a first aid course so that you can recognise an emergency and give basic first aid until professional help arrives.
Learn the first aid method of DRSABCD
First aid is as easy as ABC – airway, breathing and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). In any situation, apply the DRSABCD Action Plan.
DRSABCD stands for:Danger – always check the danger to you, any bystanders and then the injured or ill person. Make sure you do not put yourself in danger when going to the assistance of another person.Response – is the person conscious? Do they respond when you talk to them, touch their hands or squeeze their shoulder?Send for help – call triple zero (000). Don’t forget to answer the questions asked by the operator.Airway – Is the person’s airway clear? Is the person breathing?
If the person is responding, they are conscious and their airway is clear, assess how you can help them with any injury.
If the person is not responding and they are unconscious, you need to check their airway by opening their mouth and having a look inside. If their mouth is clear, tilt their head gently back (by lifting their chin) and check for breathing. If the mouth is not clear, place the person on their side, open their mouth and clear the contents, then tilt the head back and check for breathing.Breathing – check for breathing by looking for chest movements (up and down). Listen by putting your ear near to their mouth and nose. Feel for breathing by putting your hand on the lower part of their chest. If the person is unconscious but breathing, turn them onto their side, carefully ensuring that you keep their head, neck and spine in alignment. Monitor their breathing until you hand over to the ambulance officers.CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) – if an adult is unconscious and not breathing, make sure they are flat on their back and then place the heel of one hand in the centre of their chest and your other hand on top. Press down firmly and smoothly (compressing to one third of their chest depth) 30 times. Give two breaths. To get the breath in, tilt their head back gently by lifting their chin. Pinch their nostrils closed, place your open mouth firmly over their open mouth and blow firmly into their mouth. Keep going with the 30 compressions and two breaths at the speed of approximately five repeats in two minutes until you hand over to the ambulance officers or another trained person, or until the person you are resuscitating responds. The method for CPR for children under eight and babies is very similar and you can learn these skills in a CPR course.Defibrillator – for unconscious adults who are not breathing, apply an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is available. They are available in many public places, clubs and organisations. An AED is a machine that delivers an electrical shock to cancel any irregular heart beat (arrhythmia), in an effort get the normal heart beating to re-establish itself. The devices are very simple to operate. Just follow the instructions and pictures on the machine, and on the package of the pads, as well as the voice prompts. If the person responds to defibrillation, turn them onto their side and tilt their head to maintain their airway. Some AEDs may not be suitable for children.
Where to learn first aid and CPR
You can attend a CPR training course or first aid course with a non-profit organisation such as St John Ambulance Australia (Victoria), Australian Red Cross and Life Saving Victoria. St John also runs awareness programs in schools and the community.
There is no age limit to learning CPR. The ability to carry out CPR is only limited by the physical capabilities of the person carrying out the procedure.
In some schools, CPR is a module of the first aid course taught to Year 9 students. CPR is a life skill that everyone should learn. Remember that doing some CPR in an emergency is better than doing nothing.
Infection control when performing CPR
To avoid contact with potentially infectious bodily fluids such as blood or saliva, everyone with training in resuscitation is advised to carry a resuscitation mask in their purse, wallet or first aid kit. This helps take the worry of infection out of helping someone in a life-threatening situation. These masks are available from first aid providers or from your pharmacy.
First Aid/CPR/AED Care During COVID
Read information from the Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council for those who may perform CPR/First Aid care and are not healthcare professionals.
First Aid/CPR/AED Care During COVID-19
The emergence of COVID-19 has raised questions among those who may need or choose to give care in an emergency. This page is meant to inform those who may perform CPR/First Aid care and are not healthcare professionals.
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
The SARS-CoV2 virus, which causes COVID-19, is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. Additionally, spread can occur when droplets contaminate nearby surfaces and when touched, can lead to self-inoculation when a person inadvertently touches their own mouth, nose or eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.
General Guidance for Preventing COVID-19 Transmission During CPR and First Aid
While there is currently no specific data on COVID-19 transmission while performing CPR or giving first aid, it is reasonable to conclude that chest compressions have the potential to generate respiratory droplets or aerosols and close contact needed for some aspects of first aid may have risk of transmission.
Guidance for PPE
For lay responders and those who may need to provide care to someone suspected to have COVID-19. We recommend wearing PPE as recommended by CDC, this would be wearing respiratory protection using a respirator (e.g. N-95 mask), eye protection, disposable gloves and a disposable isolation gown if possible. Per CDC guidance facemasks are an acceptable alternative when there is shortage of N-95. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for all persons requiring CPR, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and face mask should be worn, if available. We recognize that for lay responders, CPR and first aid is often performed for household members where there would have already been close contact and exposure.
We recommend placing a face mask or face covering over the mouth and nose of the victim. If only 1 mask is available and it is simple face mask or face covering, we recommend placing it on the victim.
Guidance for Performing a Breathing Assessment and Rescue Breaths in Children or Adults
While CPR with breaths has been shown to be beneficial when compared to compression-only CPR, during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is currently recommended that no rescue breaths be performed for adult cardiac arrest patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, due to the risk of disease transmission. The following measures are recommended and may be associated with a decreased risk of transmitting the virus:
When assessing for normal breathing, we recommended that the CPR/first aid care provider looks for breathing but does not listen or feel for the victim’s breathing, as this will minimize potential exposure.
We recommend that adult victims of sudden cardiac arrest receive continuous compression-only CPR from their CPR/first aid care provider until emergency personnel arrive. Note: Compression-only CPR saves lives compared to no CPR.
Cardiac arrests that occur after a breathing problem (which is often the case in infants and young children), drowning and drug overdoses may benefit from standard CPR that includes compressions and rescue breaths. Note: It is recognized that in some of the cases, the victim may also have COVID-19. However, if a lay responder is unable or unwilling to provide rescue breathing with CPR, compression-only CPR should be initiated.
Guidance for Compressions
Chest compressions and use if an AED is available is recommended for every cardiac arrest victim. Whether or not a cardiac arrest victim is suspected of having COVID-19, 9-1-1 should be called and, if available, an AED should be used.
Guidance for AED Application & Use
No studies to date have shown that defibrillation generates respiratory droplets or aerosols, and it is known that prompt use of AEDs save the lives of cardiac arrest victims. In addition, the current methods of automatic external defibrillation use hands-free methods via adhesive pads that allow performance without direct contact with the victim.
If an AED is available, it should be applied and used consistently with the manufacturer’s guidelines while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
If gloves are available, they should be worn.
The AED device should be cleaned with disinfectant after use.
Guidance for Protecting those at Home and in your Community
Most COVID-19 patients do not require hospitalization and can be cared for at home. The following guidance can help provide care for someone at home. Keep in mind that many people have mild illness and are able to recover at home.
If a person has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, Stay Home and Call a Health Care Provider
Stay at home and call their doctor for medical advice. Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions should call a health care provider as soon as symptoms start.
Infection Control | HA Training - Common Types of Infections : Colds, Glandular fever, Hepatitis, Meningitis, HIV infection, Measles, Mumps, Chicken Pox.
As First Aiders, we are trained to assist casualties who are sick or injured. The risk of cross infection is very low. However, every First Aider needs to take precautions with all first aid situations. The use of gloves, glasses and facemasks will protect both you and the casualty from the risk of infection. Bodily fluids can penetrate the body through open wounds, sores, cuts, the mouth and the eyes.
Common Types of Infections
Colds Glandular fever Hepatitis Meningitis HIV infection
Measles, Mumps, Chicken Pox
How They Are Passed OnBlood and body fluids – saliva, sneezing, vomit, pus from infected sores, urine, faeces, vaginal and seminal fluids.Hypodermic needles –sharing a needle, teaspoon, or being stabbed by an infected needle.
Blood transfusions with infected blood or plasma.
Before administering First Aid:
Use latex, vinyl or disposable gloves.
Use plastic apron.
Use safety glasses to protect the eyes.
Use a resuscitation mask if available.
During First Aid Treatment:
Wear gloves that are not thin, worn, or torn.
Wear two pairs of gloves if possible.
Do not cough or sneeze onto the casualty’s wounds.
Use clean bandages and dressings.
Clean wounds and try not to get dirt into them.
Wash off any body fluids immediately. If you are accidentally cut and there is blood
from the casualty near or in your cut, wash the cut immediately with running water, cover the wound and seek medical advice.
After Administering First Aid Treatment:
Dispose of gloves, blood soaked bandages and pads properly.
Wash facemasks and any contaminated equipment in bleach. Soak them in the bleach solution for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Wash hands thoroughly.
Wash blood off any clothes or surfaces with bleach.
Contamination by Body Fluids:Eyes and mouth: wash thoroughly with cold running water and seek medical advice immediately.Hands: Wash thoroughly with soap and running tap water. Wounds wash with antiseptic, cover and seek medical advice immediately.
Procedure for Needle Stick Injuries:
Wash the injury immediately with cold running water.
Apply antiseptic solution to injury.
Dress the wound.
Go to the hospital immediately where they will arrange pathology tests and counselling.
Try not to panic. The calmer you are the slower your heart will beat.To further prevent accidents always handle the situation as if the casualty is infected.
Disposal of Contaminated Materials:
ALWAYS WEAR A GOOD SET OF LATEX GLOVES WHEN DEALING WITH CONTAMINATED MATERIALS
Dressings, gloves and bandages should be double bagged, ensuring they are securely sealed, and arrange for disposal. – Ambulance Station, Hospital, Doctor Surgery. Any used needle or syringe should be carefully placed in a sharps or plastic container, and then the container placed in a plastic bag and your local council contacted for details of removal or take them to your local chemist, doctor’s surgery, hospital, or ambulance station for disposal. Body fluids should be cleaned up with absorbent paper towelling or rags, and then double bagged in plastic bags ensuring they are securely sealed, and disposed of carefully.