First Aid

Basic Principles of First Aid

All life threatening conditions should be evaluated and treated according to the basic principles of first aid. The principles can be remembered by the letters ABCD.

A – AIRWAY – an open airway is a necessity.  The airways may be blocked by foreign bodies in the mouth and throat.

B – BREATHING – patient must breath.

C – CIRCULATION – impaired circulation can be caused by cardiac problems such as a heart attack or vascular problems.

Ineffective circulation can be recognised by:

  • Pulse absent in wrists or neck
  • Blue/pale colouring of patient
  • Noticeable massive bleeding of patient
  • Patient is usually unconscious
  • Heartbeat is not audible in the chest

D – DRIP/DRUGS – drip and medication are administered if required

BURNS

Burns vary from small painful woulds to life threatening situations.

Treatment

Small burns:

  • Remove the cause of burn immediately
  • Keep the burnt part of body under cold water for at least 10 minutes
  • Remove rings, watches etc before the onset of swelling
  • Dress wound with clean gauze and bandages
  • Get medical help
  • Do not put on plaster, apply ointment or cream, lance or break blisters

Large burns:

  • Make person confortable and avoid contact between burnt part and ground if possible
  • Carefully remove burnt, burning or soaked clothing
  • Remove rings, watches etc before onset of swelling
  • Cover the bur with gauze or bandage
  • Do not apply ointment or cream, lance or break blisters.  Remove anything that sticks to the wound.
  • Begin with shock treatment – shock position
  • ABC of first aid if necessary
  • Get medical help

EYE INJURIES

Penetrating

  • Don’t press on eye and don’t remove foreign objects
  • Make a gauze pad and cut a hole in that fits around foreign object
  • Place pad, plastic mug or something similar over eye and tie with bandage
  • Get medical help

Non Penetrating

  • Make sure eye is not penetrated
  • Wipe foreign object out with cotton wool or tissue

HEAT EXHAUSTION

This is when the body loses moisture from excessive perspiration, inadequate liquid intake and exposure to heat.

  • Signs – Thirst, headache, cramps, fast pulse, dizziness, nausea and vomitting, loss of appetite and muscular weakness
  • Treatment – Rest.  Allow to cool in the shade, wet wit water and remove clothing. Liquid per mouth, small sips (preferably non-alcoholic). Treatment given in time can prevent heatstroke.

HEATSTROKE

This is LIFE THREATENING and occurs when the body’s normal temperature regulatory mechanism fails and the body temperature goes above 40 degrees celcius.

  • Causes – Inborn inclination to heat sensitivity, dehydration
  • Symptoms – Person complains of headaches and dizziness and can become disorientated and acts strangely.  Skin is red-hot and dry.
  • Treatment – Try to keep person still and lie in the shade.  Administer liquid per mouth.  Get medical help.

INSECT AND ARACHNID BITES

Malaria

Malaria is a parasite disease and is transferred by the the female Anopheles funestus mosquito.

Symptoms: chills, headaches, nausea and vomiting with severe fever.  Early symptoms may feel like a cold or flu.  If left untreated, malaria can be fatal.

Preventatives: use of mosquito nets, insecticides and repellent sprays.  Wear long sleeves and trousers during the most active times which is early evening and morning.  Consult a doctor or pharmacy advice before embarking on a trip.

Tick bite fever

This is caused by the organism Rickettsia conorii and is transmitted by small red-brown ticks.

Symptoms:  fever, cold fever, headaches and sometimes a rash.  Usually the bite would is visible – a swollen sometimes painful or itchy red area with a black area in the middle.

Preventatives:  rubbing legs and exposed areas with a repellant and spraying clothes, socks and boots with insecticide.

SNAKE BIKES

At the outset, hunters should make themselves familiar with the kinds of snakes we have in South Africa, and pay attention to which are dangerous, and which are not.  Unfortunately and far too often snakes are maligned and mistreated, and this is due to a general lack of knowledge of these reptiles.

Basic rules to avoid being bitten

  • Be aware – watch where you step.
  • 90% of snake bites are due to catching or trying to kill snakes – Leave them alone.
  • Wear boots and long trousers in the bush or veldt, especially at night.
  • Step on top of , NOT over logs and rocks.
  • Do not place your hands or feet into holes in the ground or in the trees.
  • Do not place your fingers under rocks, logs or any object when picking them up.
  • Stay away from dead snakes – many feign death in self-defence.
  • Snakes will also bite in self-defence or if provoked.

Snake bite

In the event of a snake bite, the following process should be followed;

Wrap a crepe or pressure bandage firmly around the area of the bite, covering the entire limb.  Apply hand pressure at the site of the bite until a bandage can be obtained.  If none is available, strips of fabric can be used.  NB: The bandage should slow down the blood flow – NOT stop it altogether.  If splints are easily available, bind them to either side of the limb to immobilise it.   Raise the limb to slow the blood flow.

Keep calm – give the patient support and reassurance.  Do not allow the patient to move unnecessarily.  Observe the patient – record the symptoms and the time taken to appear, also the circumstances of the bite.  Act quickly and calmly with careful planning.

 

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