Survival Medicine 101 Part 3:
How To Save A Life
Consider the following article a written CPR & First Aid course.
photo source: www.healthy.net
If you`ve never been to one of those (or if it`s been too long since your last one), read it closely, as it may save someone dear one day.But maybe you`re wondering how and when you could possibly use these First Aid techniques.
After all, you`re no doctor or nurse… But here`s the thing: we`ve got disasters happening every single day in the US.
You may never know when an earthquake, a tornado or a flood will strike your town. For example, if an earthquake hits tonight, while you`re sleeping, and catches you off guard, you or any member of your family could get hurt. Severly.
And that`s where you step in. CPR & First Aid techniques are not only for pro`s. Anyone can learn these simple steps and save a life, so why wouldn`t you?
photo source: chandigarhtrafficpolice.org
First you need to perform a quick medical exam,to identify the cause of the injury and whether the person is still breathing or not. This is extremely important, because it dictates your further actions. If the victim is bleeding severely, you need to quickly put pressure on the wound to diminish loss of blood. Then you check if the airways are clear or obstructed.
According to Wilderness Survival, if the victim can`t breathe, here`s what you should do:
Check to see if the victim is just struggling breathing or cannot breathe at all. If he can cough or speak, let him clear his throat or nose by himself. Be a good moral support, reassuring him that he`ll be fine once he`ll clear his airway.
However, you always have to be ready for a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in case he can`t do it on his own. If he can`t breathe at all, mouth-to-mouth may not be enough. In such case, you need to administer abdominal thrusts until you hear him choking, coughing or spitting.
Once he starts showing signs of breathing, quickly sweep the victim’s mouth clear of any foreign objects, broken teeth, dentures, sand etc. using a finger. Make sure you pull it all out completely and don`t leave anything inside his throat or mouth.
Using the jaw thrust method (see image below), grasp the angles of the victim’s lower jaw and lift with both hands, one on each side, moving the jaw forward. For stability, rest your elbows on the surface on which the victim is lying. If his lips are closed, gently open the lower lip with your thumb.
photo source: www.wilderness-survival.net
With the victim’s airway open, pinch his nose closed with your thumb and forefinger and blow two complete breaths into his lungs. It`scrucial that you pinch his nose first, so all the air goes straight into his lungs and doesn`t go out his nose.
Let the lungs deflate after the second blow of air and then do this:
- See if his chest rises and falls. If it doesn`t, he may not be breathing by himself yet or his breath may still be too faint to make the chest inflate visibly. So make sue you take the next two steps as well:
- Get close to his cheek and check if he`s breathing. If he does, you`ll feel a flow of air on your cheek.
- Listen carefully for escaping air during exhalation. If you hear a strange noise while he`s breathing, he may be choking on something or may be injured. Try to figure out the cause of the noise.
photo source: www.vcc.edu
If the forced breaths do not stimulate breathing, keep performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The victim may vomit during mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Check the victim’s mouth periodically for vomit and clear as needed.
After cleaning the airway, you may have to perform CPR, but only after major injuries have been taken care of. But we`ll talk more about CPR next time, when you`ll learn how to get every move correctly and keep the victim alive.