Health and Social Care Level 2

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| First aid - what everybody should know|
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Reviewed by Dr Stuart Crisp, specialist registrar|
Why learn first aid? | WARNING!This advice is a general guideline for use in an emergency. It is not intended to replace professional classes in first aid and resuscitation. |
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First aid is an important skill. By performing simple procedures and following certain guidelines, it may be possible to save lives by giving basic treatment until professional medical help arrives.

Remember, too, that practice makes perfect. In an emergency there is no time to read instructions. If you've memorised some of the basic procedures, it will help you react quickly and efficiently.

Breathing difficulties

If someone stops breathing, see if the person replies if talked to or touched on the shoulder. If not, call an ambulance and then begin first aid. 1. Place the person on his or her back on the floor. 2. Tilt the head so that the chin is pointing upwards. Do this by placing the fingertips under the jawbone, then lift gently while pressing down softly on the person's forehead. This is done to make sure the tongue is not blocking the throat. 3. Keep holding the head in this way while checking for breathing: see if the chest is rising and falling, or place your ear next to their mouth to listen for breathing. 4. If there is breathing, hold the head as described above until help arrives. If not, start artificial respiration.How to give artificial respiration * Tilt the head back and lift up the chin. * Pinch the nostrils shut with two fingers to prevent leakage of air. * Take a deep breath and seal your own mouth over the person's mouth. * Breathe slowly into the person's mouth - it should take about two seconds to adequately inflate the chest. * Do this twice. * Check to see if the chest rises as you breathe into the patient's mouth. * If it does, enough air is being blown in. * If there is resistance, try to hold the head back further and lift the chin again. * Repeat this procedure until help arrives or the person starts breathing again.If an adult is unconscious and has no pulse

If an adult is unconscious, see if there is breathing. If not, start artificial respiration as described above. | Checking for a pulseIf you are inexperienced, you may waste valuable time checking for a pulse. How to take a pulse Place your fingers in the groove between the windpipe and the muscles of the side of the neck.Press backwards here to check for a pulse.|

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If there is no pulse, or if you are unsure, then proceed without delay as follows. 1. Look at the person's chest and find the 'upside-down V' shaped notch that is made by the lower edge of the ribcage. Place your middle finger in this notch and then place your index finger beside it, resting on the breastbone. 2. Take the heel of your other hand and slide it down the breastbone until it is touching this index finger. The heel of your hand should now be positioned on the middle of the lower half of the breastbone. 3. Now place the heel of your other hand on top of the first. Keep your fingers off the chest, by locking them together. Your pressure should be applied through the heels of the hands only. 4. Keep your elbows straight, and bring your body weight over your hands to make it easier to press down. 5. Press down firmly and quickly to achieve a downwards movement of 4-5cm, then relax and repeat the compression. 6. Do this 15 times, then give artificial respiration twice. Continue this 15:2 procedure until help arrives. 7. Aim for a rate of compression of about 100 per minute. You can help your timing and counting by saying out loud 'one and two and three and four ...' etc. If a baby (up to 1 year) is unconscious and has no pulse * Find the place between the nipples where the ribs meet in the breastbone. Move your fingers about 2cm to the right from this point - just above their...
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