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Other First Aid

Acid Burning

A case occurred of a woman throwing vitriol over a man's face. This is an awful acid, which burns and eats away the flesh wherever it touches. Fortunately a policeman happened to be on the spot at the time, and knew what to do. He at once applied lots of water to which some soda has been added to wash off the acid, then cared for the wound as a regular burn.

Appendicitis

This catches some people rather suddenly, though generally it is preceded by feeling out of sorts. It gives a sharp pain in the abdomen two inches to the right and below the navel. Send for doctor.

Bandages

For binding a broken limb you want a good large three-cornered bandage, such as your Scout neckerchief. Its two sides should each be about forty inches long.

To make a sling for a broken arm or collar-bone, hang the bandage round the patient's neck, tying the two ends together in a reef-knot (square knot) with the point of the bandage towards the damaged arm. Rest the arm in this sling and bring the point round the back of the arm and pin it to hold the elbow in the sling.

The head bandage is used for keeping a dressing on a scalp wound.

Open out your triangular bandage, and fold the base up about two inches. Place the middle of this on the patient's forehead, just at the eyebrows, so that the point hangs down over his neck. Now take the two ends and cross them firmly at the base of the patient's skull, and bring them up round and tie in a reef-knot on the forehead. Turn the point up and pin on the top of the head. Be careful that the folds are neat at the side of the head, and that the two ends are tucked away.

Bleeding from the Nose

This does not usually do much harm or prove dangerous. But the bleeding sometimes refuses to stop, which means the patient is losing a lot of blood. To stop it, sit the patient on a chair and tell him to lean his head forward and breathe entirely through his mouth. Applying cold to the back of his neck may prove beneficial.

Blood Poisoning

This results from dirt being allowed to get into a wound. Swelling, pain, red veins appear. Fomenting with hot water is the best relief. Get the patient to a doctor.

Broken Bones

You can generally tell that an arm or a leg is broken by a swelling and pain about the place where the break is. Sometimes the limb is bent in an unnatural way and the patient cannot use it. Get a doctor. Treat for shock.

The broken limb should not be moved about at all. If it is absolutely necessary to transport the patient, bind the broken limb to something stiff, a splint that will keep it stiff and straight while the patient is being moved to hospital.

A splint may be a wooden batten, Scout staff, tightly-rolled newspaper, etc. It should be long enough to go beyond the joints above and below the break. You should put a splint on each side of the limb if possible. Then bind the splints firmly from end to end with handkerchiefs, neckerchiefs, or strips of linen or cloth, but not so tightly as to stop the blood circulating or to press into the swelling.

The collar bone may sometimes be broken in a fall. No splint is needed. Bend the forearm on the injured side diagonally across the chest and place it in a sling. Tie a narrow bandage around the body, over the sling.

Burns and Scalds

When anyone gets accidentally burnt or scalded with hot water, and the skin gets red, the thing to do at once, is to put some sort of grease over it, such as vaseline, and then bandage gently. A paste made from baking soda and water gives relief for a light burn. SUNBURN is treated as any other burn.

If any part of the dress sticks to the burn, do not tear it away, but cut the cloth around it with a SHARP knife or scissors, then as quickly as possible protect burnt parts from the air.

In a case of severe burning (blisters or even charring), send for a doctor and treat the patient for shock. Never break blisters.

Choking

To dislodge the obstruction, lean the patient forward and thump the back hard between the shoulder blades. A child may be turned upside down and thumped on the back. If this is unsuccessful, open the mouth, forcibly if need be, pass two fingers along the tongue right to the back of the throat and try to pull up the foreign body. If vomiting results, immediately turn the head on one side.

Choking sometimes comes from a sudden swelling inside the throat. In this case put hot steaming flannel fomentations to the neck and give the patient ice to suck, or cold water to sip.

Concussion or Stunning

This is a common result of a fall or bang on the head. Keep the patient quite still and warm. Get a doctor as quickly as possible. The worst thing you can do is to give spirits or stimulants and to move the patient.

Electric Shock

Men frequently get knocked insensible by touching an electric cable or rail. The patient should be moved from the rail, but you have to be careful in doing this that you don't get the electric shock also. If possible switch off electric current. Otherwise insulate yourself by standing on glass, or dry wood if glass is not obtainable, or put on rubber boots. Also put on rubber gloves before touching the patient. If you have none, wrap your hands in several thicknesses of dry cloth, and pull the patient away with a dry stick. Artificial respiration may be necessary; when breathing is restored, treat for regular shock.

A boy was hunting butterflies at St. Ouen, in France, when he fell on the "live" rail of the electric railway and was instantly killed. A passer-by, in trying to lift him off, fell dead beside him. A brickmaker ran up and tried to rescue them and was himself struck dead in the same way. The two would-be rescuers were killed through not having learned beforehand what was the right thing to do.

Fainting

If your patient faints and is pale-fainting comes from too little blood in the head-make him sit down and push his head down between his knees. Bathe the face with cold water. If his face is flushed, raise the head-there is too much blood in it, as in apoplexy or sunstroke.

Fish Hook in the Skin

I got a fish-hook into my ringer once. I got a knife and cut off all the fly which was on the hook, then pushed the hook farther into my ringer till the point began to push against the skin from inside. With a sharp knife I cut a little slit in the skin so that the point came easily through, and I was then able to get hold of it and to pull the whole hook through. Of course you cannot get a hook out backwards, as the barb holds tight in the flesh all the time.

Clean the wound.

Fits

If a man cries out and falls, and twitches and jerks his limbs about, froths at the mouth; he is in a fit. It is no good to do anything to him but to put a bit of wood or cork between his jaws, so that he does not bite his tongue. Let him sleep well after a fit.

Grit in the Eye

Do not let your patient rub the eye; it will only cause inflammation and swelling, and so make the difficulty of removing the grit all the greater.

If the grit is in the lower eyelid, draw down the lid as far as you can, and gently brush it out with the corner of a moistened handkerchief.

If it is under the upper lid, pull the lid away from the eyeball, down over the lower lid. In this way the eyelashes of the lower lid will generally clean the inside of the upper one.

Another way, which every Scout must practise, is to seat your patient and stand behind him yourself with the back of his head against your chest. Lay a match on the upper part of the upper eyelid, and then catch hold of the edge of the eyelid and draw it upwards over the match so that it turns inside out. Gently remove the grit with the corner of a wet handkerchief, and roll the eyelid down again.

If the eye is inflamed, bathe it with lukewarm water.

If the grit is firmly imbedded in the eye, drop a little oil (olive or castor oil) into the lower lid. Close the eye, cover it with a soft wet pad and bandage, and get a doctor to see it.

Hysterics

Nervous people, especially women, sometimes get hysterics when excited, crying, laughing, and screaming. The best treatment is to shut the patient into a room and leave him entirely alone till he gets over it. Don't try to soothe him, it only makes him worse.

Poisoning

If a person suddenly falls very ill after taking food, or is known to have taken poison, the first thing to do is to send for a doctor. Then, if the mouth is not stained or burnt by the poison, make him sick by giving him salt and warm water or mustard and warm water, and try tickling the inside of his throat with a feather. If the poison is an acid that burns, the patient should not be made to vomit, but given magnesia or baking soda in water to destroy the acid. The patient should be kept awake if he gets drowsy.

Smoke, Fumes or Gas

Accidents are continually occurring from escapes of gas in mines, sewers, and houses.

In endeavouring to rescue a person, keep your nose and mouth well covered with a wet handkerchief, get your head as close to the floor as possible, and drag the insensible person out as I have suggested in the case of a fire. Drag your patient as quickly as possible into the fresh air-(I say as quickly as possible, because if you delay about it you are very apt to be overcome by the noxious gas yourself)-then loosen all his clothing about the neck and chest and dash cold water in his face. If you find that he is no longer breathing, then treat him as you would a drowned person, and try to work back the breath into his body with artificial respiration.

Snake Bite

Remember that poison from a snake bite gets into your blood and goes all through your body in a very few beats of your pulse. Therefore, whatever you do must be done immediately. The great thing is to stop the poison rushing up the veins into the body. To do this bind a cord or handkerchief immediately round the limb above the place where the patient has been bitten, so as to stop the blood flowing back to the heart with the poison from the wound, and cut the wound still more, to make it bleed, and run the poison out. The poison, when sucked into the mouth, does no harm unless you have a wound in your mouth.

The patient should also be given stimulants, such as coffee, and should not be allowed to become drowsy, but walked about and pricked and smacked in order to keep his senses alive until a doctor takes him over.

Sprained Ankle

Apply a tight bandage. Keep the patient from trying to walk, or put any weight on the foot. Fetch help and have the patient carried home. Keep the foot raised; remove the shoe carefully. Apply cold compresses, to relieve the pain and stop the swelling. This is done by wringing out a piece of material or a small towel, folded in several thicknesses, in very cold water, and wrapping the ankle in it.

If cold fails to relieve the pain hot applications may be a comfort. These are called hot fomentations, and there are several things to remember about them: Pour boiling water upon the folded material, which should then be wrapped in a thin towel or cloth so that you may be able to wring it out. Be sure to wring as dry as possible, otherwise you may scald the patient. Shake the fomentation out, and apply quickly while very hot. When the pain is relieved, leave off the fomentations. Keep the foot firmly bandaged, and make the patient rest for a few days.

Stings

The best antidote for most stings is ammonia. You can remember this by the front letters of the alphabet: (A)mmonia for (B)ee sting. Baking soda is also good. Remove the sting from the patient with a clean needle. Vinegar is the best antidote for wasp stings and this can also be remembered from the alphabet (V)inegar-(W)asps.

Suicides

Where a man has gone so far as to attempt suicide, a Scout should know what to do with him.

In the case of a man cutting his throat, the point is to stop the bleeding from the artery, if it is cut. The artery runs from where the collar-bone and breast-bone join up, to the corner of the jaw, and the way to stop bleeding is to press hard with the thumb on the side of the wound nearest to the heart, and to keep up the pressure until assistance arrives.

In a case where the would-be suicide has taken poison, give him first aid for poison.

In the case of hanging, cut down the person at once, taking care to support him with one arm while cutting the cord. Cut the noose, loosen all tight clothing about the neck and chest. Let the patient have as much fresh air as possible, throw cold water on the face and chest, or cold and hot water alternately. Perform artificial respiration, as in the case of apparently drowned people.

A "tenderfoot" is sometimes inclined to be timid about handling an insensible man or a dead man, or even of seeing blood. Well, he won't be much use till he gets over such nonsense. The poor insensible fellow can't hurt him, and he must force himself to control himself. When once he has done this his fears will pass off.

Author

Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation

1908

Learn A Continuation:

to the next page: How to Carry a Patient

Back in The Past:

to the previous page: Artificial Respiration


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