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Life-saving box: First aid box essentials and training
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Life-saving box: First aid box essentials and training

While having a well-stocked first aid kit accessible to all is important, what’s also crucial is to have the right knowledge and training to administer care
Having the essential components in a first aid box is crucial so that in a time of need, things are readily available to hand.
First aid box should be kept in a location that is known and accessible to all at any given point in time.

Be it a small bruise on the knees or trauma following a major accident, the first reaction is to try and help the people suffering. It becomes a hopeless situation if one can’t find a first aid kit around, or even worse, the first aid box doesn’t have the medicines needed, or no one has a clue on how to administer them correctly. It’s important to stock not just a well-maintained first aid box but also to develop a basic knowledge of how to administer aid.

First aid 

Proper first aid can make a difference between managing an injury till medical attention can be provided or things getting worse or life-threatening.

“First aid is an immediate and temporary management, which can be given to the person who is waiting for an ambulance or medical aid to come, by using the things which are available to deliver the care,” says Shashi Kumara HS, founding member and lead trainer at VMEDO Academy, Bengaluru.

Dr Surendar S, head of emergency medicine, Kauvery Hospitals, Bengaluru, adds: “First aid kit is meant to be useful in all cases of accident and emergency like accidents, falls, cut injuries, small domestic injuries, and swelling or some fractures. To begin with, first aid can be done and then the person can be taken to the nearest health care facility.”

First aid can be used to treat burn injuries too.

Essential first aid box components

Having the essential components in a first aid box is crucial so that in a time of need, things are readily available to hand.

“The first aid kit can vary from situation to situation, but the general or basic first aid box is something that the majority of the population should have,” says Dr Surendar. “A general first aid box components includes sterile gloves, sterile cleaning swabs, cotton gauze pieces, antiseptic solution, Betadine ointment or antiseptic T-Bact ointment, pain relief spray, a roller bandage, crepe bandage, and a pair of scissors. For small burns, a Silverex ointment can also be added.”

When there are elderly people staying in the family and have an ailment, then the first aid box can be customised to add more components into it, after discussing it with the family physician.

“For example, if the person is asthmatic or having breathing difficulty, one can add an inhaler. If someone has cardiac issues, then one aspirin 325 can be kept. Like this, it can be customised for special cases,” adds Dr Surendar.

Where should first aid boxes be kept?

When the first aid box is complete, it should be kept in a location that is known and accessible to all at any given point in time.

“I would recommend having a first aid kit wherever there is public, especially locations like, roads-at the traffic police stands, because they’re the ones who will respond to any road traffic accidents.  Then, industries- large scale industries, small scale industries and corporate companies should have it too,” says Kumara.

Apart from that every school, household and transport vehicle should at least have the basic first aid kit.

Dos and don’ts of first aid

“The first aid box components must be checked every six months, and the ones that are still good can be retained, while the expired ones must be replaced. Don’t follow unhygienic or unhealthy practices as that can cause more harm,” says Dr Surendar.

In the event of a major accident, it is natural to panic. The key, however, is to be calm while administering first aid.

“The first hour in an emergency is called the golden hour and the first 10 minutes are called the platinum 10 minutes,” says Kumara. “So, first aiders can try to help the person in need of help by protecting ABC [airway, breathing, circulation], by controlling the bleeding if there’s any bleeding by the application of pressure. One can also dial in the emergency services to get support for all the emergencies.”

Importance of first aid training

To be able to be of some help in a life-threatening situation is the biggest gift. So, having the right knowledge and first aid training is crucial.

“Only 2% of Indians have proper first aid skills. Remaining 98% are doing the traditional or outdated first aid,” says Kumara, narrating the example of how people thrust a key in the hands of people who are having epileptic seizures. “But according to the updated first aid guidelines, it [placing a key or metallic object in the hand] causes more harm to them. Some people also put a cloth in the mouth so that tongue biting can be prevented. But that blocks the ABC (airway, breathing circulation) which is very important to survive.”

Dr Surendar adds: “Undergoing basic first aid training and getting a scientific approach will be beneficial so that all the myths and taboos can be avoided.”

Takeaways

  • First aid is the immediate and temporary management provided to a person while waiting for medical care.
  • The basic first aid box components include sterile gloves, sterile cleaning swabs, cotton gauze pieces, antiseptic solution, Betadine ointment or antiseptic T-Bact ointment, pain relief spray, a roller bandage, crepe bandage, a pair of scissors and a Silverex ointment (for burns).
  • Basic first aid training and CPR training is necessary to administer the right first aid and will be beneficial to avoid mistakes or bust myths around first aid.

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