Stop ten people in the street and ask them, “What is first aid?” Their responses might range from “It’s putting on a Band-Aid” or “It’s giving CPR” or “It’s calling the Doctor. “All of these answers would be appropriate because first aid encompasses the entire gamut of help and medical assistance that someone gives — not only to an injured person — but to a person who is sick.
First aid applies to a broad range of medical situations. First aid is not just a set of skills. It also involves the ability to determine the appropriate response to a specific illness or injury. In some cases, the appropriate first aid measure is enough in and of itself — for example, putting a Band-Aid on a cut or water on a burn. This type of first aid can be described as self-sufficient.
There is also a broad category in which first aid literally means providing the “first” aid — initiating a procedure such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or defibrillation for a heart attack — which will then be taken over by medical professionals as soon as they become available. This is classic first aid.
But in other cases, appropriate first aid means that all one can do is to get expert medical aid for the patient as quickly as possible. This type of first aid is the invaluable act of summoning urgent medical assistance. In Laos this is not as simple as calling 911.
Preparedness is a key element of first aid.
Every home, auto, and bike should be equipped with a Basic First Aid kit. Kits in your car or bike should be in a dry bag to prevent them from getting wet of dirty.
Traveling out to a village may require specific preparation for an emergency. It may involve improvising with facilities and materials available at the time…. In Vientiane we are fortunate to have Vientiane Rescue that will respond to any kind of Emergency by calling 1623.
But out in the countryside you might have to use a car, van or a tuk tuk. Having simple things like card board, tape, rope, towels will help you stabilize fractures, and control bleeding. Antihistamine tablets for bites, stings or allergies are good things to carry with you.
Stabilizing fractures will reduce pain and patients recovery time. Use the good leg to stabilize the hurt leg. Stabilize upper limbs to the body. Being able to lay the patient down will help patient from going into shock. Avoid driving fast; it is not always the best for the patient. It can create anxiety and faster deterioration.
You should know ahead of time where the clinics in the area. You should have some extra cash as you will need to pay for services before you get treated. It is a good idea to carry a Lao/ English dictionary with you.
Each one of us can be endangered by a serious accident or illness requiring rapid assistance. One day you may witness an accident and be the one called upon to provide that assistance to someone else. If you are the first person on the scene of an accident, the future survival of the victim may depend on what you do or don’t do in the first few moments. Remember most often the people we need to give first aid to will be our children, our family or our friends.
Preparedness is the key element of First Aid…
This article has been provided by FAS First Aid Services, known for its experience in first aid and trauma training courses carefully tailored to the needs of each customer in Laos