Have you ever waited around for an ambulance? If so, those were some of the tensest minutes (or hours) of your life. It's those moments that make us wish we had more basic training in how to assist someone during an emergency. The time which elapses between raising the alarm and getting to the hospital is essential; let's do what we can to prepare for it.
Must-Have Medical Skills
The fact is, only about ten percent of us work in healthcare, and a smaller percentage of these are nurses or doctors. Therefore, don't be too hard on yourself for not knowing it all. Instead, equip yourself with a few everyday skills.
If you haven't already, get CPR certified. By practicing chest compressions, you'll be able to jump in and help save someone's life when getting oxygen to the brain is crucial. It's cheap, it doesn't take long, and it's invaluable.
The same goes for the Heimlich Maneuver. Watch a few instructional videos on the correct protocol for how to handle someone who is choking (make sure you or someone else has called for help, too).
If your job involves sharp objects, or you like engaging in extreme sports, you should also be well-versed in stopping bleeding. Using the toughest tourniquet you can get your hands on is the difference between life and death. With serious wounds, someone can bleed out in a matter of minutes.
First Aid On the Move: Packing the Essentials
Most of us have first aid kits at home, but a smaller percentage of us travel with them a gross oversight. After all, we're just as likely, if not more, to suffer medical mishaps when we step outside of our homes. Start building your first aid kit today, and keep it in the trunk of your car for safety on the go.
In addition to more serious equipment like a tourniquet, you'll only need some basic supplies, some of which can have a huge impact on one's survival. For example, generic aspirin, when chewed by someone during a heart attack, can reduce their chances of death by nearly a quarter. It does so by thinning the blood a bit, preventing blockages and muscle damage, thereby potentially preserving quality of life following the event.
Bandages and gauze are a no-brainer, yet we might forget to pack things like scissors and tweezers. Tweezers are vital to small fixes like removing a splinter or small shard of glass. Scissors should be used to cut bandages and gauze to the size and shape most appropriate for the dressings to hold. They can also be used in more dire emergencies to cut away clothing when you need immediate access to a wound.
Finally, don't forget that antiseptic and antibiotic cream. Preventing infection is the number one way to prevent further complications from small mishaps.
When something bad happens, we all want to feel that in some way, it's under control. We also don't want the situation to get worse. When first aid is delayed, healing and recovery times become more difficult, and long-term consequences are more likely to occur. Arm yourself with skills that are accessible to us all, as well as a good kit, and when the unexpected happens, you'll know that you did everything you could.