Survival 102: Applying Basic First Aid

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Survival 101: What Survival Is

Everyone should know elementary field medicine

Field medicine and first aid are designed to keep a person stable until a medical professional can tend to them Unless you have medical training, don’t remove anything Keep the affected environment sterile
  • Wear protective gloves as a barrier between you and the victim
    • You’ve doubled the issue if you acquire a disease or infection while aiding them
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after touching the victim

Before anything, control any immediate bleeding

A. Call 911 for medical assistance B. Lie the victim down and restrain them if they refuse to listen C. Apply direct pressure to any wounds with a clean cloth or sterile dressing
  • Bleeding is the most critical issue because people don’t need to lose much blood before it’s fatal
  • Don’t remove any object lodged in a wound since it may cause worse bleeding
D. If you don’t see any signs of a broken bone, carefully elevate the wound above the victim’s heart to reduce swelling E. Once you’ve controlled the bleeding, keep them warm with a blanket F. Keep checking on them to ensure the victim hasn’t gone into shock
  • Too much blood loss can cause shock (the body not receiving enough oxygen)
  • Without treatment, going into shock is usually fatal
  • Shock symptoms include cold and sweaty skin, a weak and rapid heart rate, irritability, thirst, and irregular breathing
  • Keep them hydrated and warm
  • If you have an IV dripper but no saline, use coconut fluid instead

Next, clean and bandage all wounds

A. After washing your hands, clean the injured area with soap and water, then blot it dry
  • If you wipe a wound dry, you’ll usually cause tremendous pain and might reopen the wound
B. Apply antibiotic ointment to minor wounds
  • Speed up the healing process by keeping the wound moist and covered
  • Applying sugar or honey will kill bacteria through dehydration, dry out the wound, and promote fresh tissue growth
  • Apply aloe vera plant sap to small cuts
C. Cover the wound with a slightly larger bandage or a sterile gauze dressing
  • Use spider webs free of dust if you don’t have a wound dressing
  • For injured feet, alternate wrapping around the ankle and arch

Memorize special circumstances

If you risk losing consciousness

Stay focused on your next tasks to keep your mind busy Tighten your abs as hard as you can if you stand up too fast and start to black out

Treating choking

If you’re choking with nobody around
  1. Place your fist above your navel
  2. Grasp your fist with your other hand
  3. Lean over a chair or countertop
  4. Drive your fist upwardly into your stomach and repeat until the object has dislodged
If the choking victim is at least two years old
  • Ask the victim if they are okay
    • Don’t interfere if they can speak, breathe or cough
  • If the victim can’t talk, breathe or cough
    • Point to someone and ask them to call 911
    • Perform the Heimlich maneuver
      1. Stand behind them, make a fist, and place it between the bottom of the victim’s ribs and navel
      2. Grab the fist with the other hand, then thrust upward sharply
      3. Repeat until the object has dislodged
  • If the victim is an infant and choking to the point of not breathing
    • Place the infant face down on your forearm and support the head and neck with your hand
    • Rest your hand on your knee with the infant’s head lower than its body
    • Give four blows with the heel of your hand between the infant’s shoulder blades
    • Turn the infant over, place two fingers on the center of the infant’s chest (right below the nipples) and give up to five chest thrusts
    • Repeat until the obstruction is clear
Choking can cause complications, so seek medical attention after every choking incident

Treating a heart attack

The victim will feel pain on their left arm, will have shortness of breath, and have an extremely rapid heart rate Call 911 immediately, then try not to move the victim Have the victim chew an uncoated aspirin

Treating an unconscious victim

A. Ask the victim if they’re okay to determine their awareness
  • Don’t leave an unconscious victim alone except to call for medical help
B. Check their airways, breathing, and circulation (ABC), in that order
  • Perform CPR if you’ve received training for it and the victim’s ABC isn’t present
C. If you see ABC and don’t suspect any spinal injury, place the victim on their side with their chin on the ground to drain body fluids more easily D. Cover the victim with a blanket to keep them warm and prevent shock
  • Remove the blanket if the victim says they feel warm

Treating eye injuries

If the eye has an impaled object
  1. Call 911 immediately
  2. Cover both eyes with sterile dressings or eyecups to immobilize it
    • Covering both eyes will minimize how much the injured eye moves
    • Don’t rub the eye or apply pressure, ice or raw meat to the wounded eye
  3. Always consult a medical professional after an eye injury
For black eyes, you can set ice or raw meat on the cheek and area around the eye, but not directly on the eyeball If the eye has a chemical in it, flush the eyes with cold or room-temperature water for at least fifteen minutes
  • Remove contact lenses after flushing, not before
  • For one infected eye, flush them by positioning the contaminated eye below the good one to prevent it from getting contaminated as well
If the eye has small particles in it
  1. Fill a bowl of water large enough for the victim’s face
  2. Have the victim open their eyes while their eye is submerged

Treating burns

Burns have three degrees of damage
  • 1st-degree burn
    • Skin looks red and might be swollen or painful
    • Generally doesn’t need medical attention
  • 2nd-degree burn
    • Skin looks red, blistered and swollen
    • Might need medical attention if severe enough
  • 3rd-degree burn
    • Skin is visibly charred and might be white
    • Usually very painful
    • Always requires medical attention
Treating minor burns
  1. Immediately submerge the burn area in cold water until the pain stops
    • Cover large burned areas with cold, wet cloths
    • Don’t break any blisters you may find
      • Hold a cut potato on the blister to help it heal
    • Put an ice cube in a rag to painlessly apply it to the skin
  2. If the victim’s pain continues but doesn’t need medical attention, apply medicated first aid cream or gel and cover with a sterile dressing
    • Burns have many alternative remedies
      • Over-steeped black tea with over three bags cooled to room temperature
      • Apply vinegar to alleviate pain
      • Apply aloe vera plant sap to heal it and reduce pain
      • Rub an egg yolk on it
      • Apply mustard to it
      • Apply honey to it
      • Apply toothpaste to it
      • Apply mineral ice to prevent blistering (will become a brown spot and then fade away)
  3. If the victim needs medical attention or you don’t know, cover it with a dry, sterile dressing and don’t apply any cream, then seek medical help
Treating major burns
  1. Call 911
    • 3rd-degree burns need immediate medical attention
    • Don’t try to remove clothing stuck to the burned area
  2. Cover the wound with a sterile dressing or clean sheet
    • Don’t apply any creams or gels

Treating chemical burns

A. Flush the affected area with cold running water for at least fifteen minutes
  • If the chemical burn is in the eyes, flush it continuously with water and seek medical attention immediately
B. Remove all contaminated clothing and jewelry C. Monitor the victim for shock and seek medical attention

Treating a poisoning

A. Call your local Poison Control Center or 911 immediately
  • Antidotes on labels might be wrong, so don’t follow them unless a doctor has instructed you
B. If the poison is on the skin, flush it with water for fifteen minutes, then wash and rinse with soap and water C. If the poison is in the eye, flush it with lukewarm water for fifteen minutes
  • Adults can stand under the shower with their eyes open
D. Never give anything by mouth (e.g., ipecac, milk, water) until a medical professional gives you permission
  • Keep a one-ounce bottle of ipecac on hand at all times in case of an emergency, but only use when directed by a doctor
E. Always consult a medical professional after every eye injury

Treating a bee or wasp sting

A. If possible, remove the stinger by scraping it off with a blunt edge like a credit card B. Clean the wound and apply a cold compress to reduce the swelling
  • Neutralize the venom with a paste of baking soda and water or toothpaste
  • Relieve bee sting pain with vinegar
  • Use Epsom salts
    • Stir two tablespoons of Epsom salts into a cup of water, then soak a cotton ball or cotton cloth in it
    • For many stings, soak in a bath of two cups of Epsom salts in a bathtub of warm water for twelve minutes
C. Remove tight clothing and jewelry from areas near the bite in case the area swells D. Watch for signs of shock or allergic reaction
  • Allergic reactions can include swelling, itching, dizziness, nausea or difficulty breathing
  • Call 911 for any allergic reaction and continue monitoring the victim for signs of shock until help arrives
E. Check the victim’s ABC’s, then begin CPR if you’ve received training for it and their ABC’s are impaired

Treating jellyfish stings

Don’t pee on the sting since it can infections Apply vodka to the sting and call 911

Treating animal bites

A. Control any bleeding, but keep the wound open to avoid risking infection B. Thoroughly rinse the bite by holding it under running water C. Clean the wound with soap and water and hold it under running water again for five minutes D. Cover the wound with a dry sterile bandage or gauze
  • Don’t put ointments or medicines on the wound
E. Seek medical attention immediately
  • Report any animal and human bites to local police and health authorities
Snake Bites
  1. Call emergency services immediately
  2. Try to take a photo of the snake to help emergency services decide the correct treatment
  3. Minimize the victim’s movement, loosen their clothing, and put pressure on the bite
  4. Don’t take painkillers and keep the wound below the victim’s heart

Treating ear infections

A. Have the victim lie on their side B. Fill the infected ear with 3% hydrogen peroxide C. Wait about 5-10 minutes until the bubbling stops, then clean out all the earwax with a cotton swab

Treating sprained ankles

A. Elevate the foot B. Wrap in cold, wet cloth C. Run one cloth from the bottom of the water jug to the bandage to keep it wet
Next: Survival 103: Disaster Preparedness