Basic training in administering first aid is of utmost importance: accidents can happen, after all, just about anywhere – outside on the road during cycling or even when lying on a couch, for that matter. Don’t let accidents find you unprepared, when they happen: get basic knowledge today.
Some of the necessary information is available in the following pages; however, it is highly recommended that you attend a first aid course as well.
In the following text will basic procedures will be presented for administering first aid in life threatening emergencies and for attending injuries and conditions common in sports activities.
LIFE THREATENING EMERGENCIES
State of shock
In attending these conditions basic knowledge of resuscitation procedures is paramount; you will perform these procedures when an injured person is either not breathing normally or not breathing at all or is immobile. Should you notice “gasping” for air in an injured person, you should suspect the possibility of a cardiac arrest and start resuscitation at once.
We shall divide basic resuscitation procedures into the following, easily memorable scheme:
A. unblocking airways
B. restoring breathing
C. ensuring blood circulation
As already noted you will perform these procedures when an injured person is either not breathing normally or not breathing at all or is immobile.
Where do we perform resuscitation?
- In the exact location of the accident.
- On a flat, hard surface – preferably on the ground, however, stay clear of the road.
Basic resuscitation procedures – CPR
1. Safety precautions
2. Establishing unconsciousness
Call the injured person by his name; shake him/her gently and monitor his/her reactions
In case the injured person is conscious
In case the injured person is unconscious
call for help
turn the injured person on his/her back and loosen his/her garments
open the injured person’s airways by performing the tongue–jaw lift
remove any foreign objects from his/her mouth including mouthpieces, dental prosthetics etc.
3. Make sure the injured person’s airways are free and monitor his/her breathing
monitor moving of the chest
listen for any crepitation in his/her breathing
establish whether the injured person is breathing or not by moving your cheek next to his/her mouth
observe and listen for at least 10 seconds before you conclude whether or not the injured person is breathing normally or not
4. If the injured person is breathing normally:
call tel. Nr. 112 or send someone for help while monitoring the injured person’s breathing
if the state of injuries permits it, roll the injured person on his/her other hip after some 30 minutes
5. If the injured person is not breathing normally or is not breathing at all:
6. Perform artificial breathing:
after 30 chest compressions commence artificial breathing by giving two slow rescue breaths
artificial breathing procedure
open the airway by tilting the injured person’s head backwards ad lifting up his/her chin;
press shut the injured person’s nose with your thumb and index finger
open the injured person’s mouth slightly while lifting his/her chin
encircle tightly the injured person’s lips with your mouth
give slow, even rescue breaths while monitoring the movement of the injured person’s chest
single rescue breaths should last up to 1 second (about 0.5–0.6 litres of exhaled air – sufficient to ensure visible chest movement)
remove your mouth and make sure the injured person’s airways are open; observe lowering of the chest
inhale normally again and repeat the procedure
if you suspect an injury of neck spine, follow the same procedure when opening the injured person’s airways, however, when administering artificial breathing, press shut his/her nose with the edge of your palms
if the injured person’s chest does not rise during the first rescue breath, you should check the following before the second rescue breath:
ensure sufficient tongue–jaw
remove any obstructing object from the injured person’s mouth
if the second rescue breath proves unsuccessful continue chest compressions
7. Continue chest compressions and administering artificial breathing (30:2 ratio)
continue chest compressions and artificial breathing (30 : 2 ratio respectively) until:
the arrival of medical assistance
o the injured person starts breathing again on his/her own
you are overcome by exhaustion
you can resume resuscitation by using an electric defibrillator – in that case follow the instructions of the device
when several individuals with no medical training are present it is recommendable that everyone performs resuscitation for up to 2 minutes due to the physical strain
8. CPR and chest compressions
when administering artificial breathing is not possible (due to extensive injuries of the face, toxic poisoning, etc.) or the rescuer feels uncomfortable administering artificial breathing, chest compressions alone should be performed (100 thrusts per minute)
open airways will enable at least partial ventilation during chest compressions
During sports activities anything can happen …
Listed below are possible injuries which can occur during sports activities and proper treatment procedures.
Sprains, dislocations, fractures
Treating sprains and joint dislocations in situ is not advisable; immobilizing the injured extremity and seeking medical assistance is the only proper course of action. Use whatever tools at hand to immobilize the injured extremity such as folded newspaper, small boards etc. The easiest way of immobilizing an injured extremity is to tie it with a scarf or a bandage (tie the injured leg against the healthy one or the injured arm against the torso). Open fractures should be covered with a sterile bandage first.
When fluids in the organism reach critically low levels dehydration occurs. Usually the feeling of thirst will prevent a person to dehydrate since it urges a person to drink and increase intake of fluids.
Signs of dehydration: severe thirst, dry lips and tongue, elevated heart-beat rate and breathing, dizziness, disorientation and, finally, coma. The skin loses its elasticity and seems try to the touch, urine is dark and low in quantity. With the loss of electrolytes (usually a consequence of severe perspiration, vomiting and diarrhoea) additional signs are fatigue, sleepiness, low energy, headache, convulsions and pallor.
Action: drink enough water (urine should be clear); occasionally this means you have to drink more often, not only when you feel thirsty (intake of water in summer months should be up to half a litre every hour). During outside sports activities such as cycling it is paramount to have sufficient quantities of water with you in order to rehydrate.
Due to haemorrhage or a blood clog in one of the brain vessels oxygen supply to a part of the brain can be severely obstructed, the result of which is a stroke.
Signs of a stroke: partial facial paralysis (manifested, for instance, in partial numbness of the mouth), trouble speaking, sudden confusion (in worse cases coma), sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body, sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden severe headache coupled with vomiting.
Action: don’t ignore the signs, call emergency medical service (tel. Nr.112), put the affected person in a resting position; if he/she is unresponsive, start CPR.
Signs of a heart attack: chest discomfort (symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach), trouble breathing (gasping for breath), nausea, vomiting, cold sweat, light-headedness.
Action: Calm the affected person and put him/her in a comfortable position; don't wait longer than a few minutes (no more than 5) before calling for help. Call 112, perform CPR if necessary.
Bug bites, snake bites
Bug bites are painful yet seldom dangerous. Usually a cold compress (doused in alcohol or a strong saline solution) is sufficient treatment. Some people, however, are highly sensitive to animal toxins; in severe cases their strong reaction to a (bug) bite could lead to death. People who are aware of their high (allergic) sensitivity to these toxins should always carry proper medicine.
Bites from poisonous snakes in Slovenia are seldom fatal for an adult, but could be potentially fatal when a child is bitten. People bitten by a poisonous snake should be kept as calm and still as possible; fasten a bandage tightly just above the bite so that the infected blood from the bite is prevented from reaching the heart. The bitten limb should be loosely immobilized and the bitten person taken to the nearest medical facility immediately.
Symptoms of sunstroke (a type of heatstroke) can occur several hours after a sports activity in the sun. They include headache, stiffness of the neck, light-headedness, flush, convulsions and mental confusion. The best action is to keep the affected person in the shade, give him/her cold compress and give him/her plenty of (tepid) liquid.
Summertime sports activities can often cause different heat conditions, such as harmless skin blisters (a consequence of excessive sweating), heat exhaustion, heat syncope, heat cramps and heat stroke, all of which should be avoided and prevented by limiting the time spent outside in extreme temperatures. When you feel any of the following symptoms – headache, elevated heart rate and muscle spasms – you have to cease whatever activity out in the sun and rest in shade. Drink lots of (flat) liquids and make sure you ingest enough electrolytes and minerals. Excessive recreation in the sun can also result in vomiting, exhaustion and light-headedness; in severe cases heat exhaustion conditions can even lead to life-threatening conditions.
Mild hypothermia occurs when the core body temperature drops to between 35 and 32°C. In such cases we have to remove the affected person from the cold; increase physical activity, wrap his/her body in warm clothing, blankets or an aluminium space blanket – and drink warm liquids. Prevention is the key to avoid hypothermia – once you’re prepared (warm clothes, aluminium blanket etc.) it is not likely you will have to deal with hypothermic conditions. Still...