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How to be real lifesaver... Would you know what to do in a medical emergency? LAURA CONNOR reveals vital first aid tips.


LEARNING first aid could be one of the most important things you ever do. After all, when someone's life is on the line, knowing what to do could be the difference between them living and dying.

Here, Joanne Shepherd from St John Ambulance reveals how you can be a lifesaver in an emergency.

HOW TO DO CPR A CARDIAC arrest happens when someone's heart stops. If someone has become unresponsive and they are not breathing normally, they could be in cardiac arrest and you need to act quickly.

What to look for: | They are unresponsive. | They are not breathing normally.

| They show no movement or signs of life.

What to do if someone is having a cardiac arrest: | Call 999/112 for emergency help and do not leave them. Use a defibrillator if available (see next step).

| Start CPR. Give 30 chest compressions and then two rescue breaths. Repeat until help arrives.

| If they become responsive, for example by coughing, opening their eyes or speaking, put them in the recovery position and continue to monitor their level of response.

HOW TO USE A DEFIBRILLATOR ANYONE can use a defibrillator, so you don't need to worry about getting it wrong or causing harm, says Joanne.

By using a defibrillator before an ambulance arrives, you can significantly increase someone's chance of survival after a cardiac arrest. Many public places keep a defibrillator as part of their first-aid equipment.

Chest pain sign of a Defibrillators come in a small portable plastic box, stored in a noticeable casing, with a green sign above often showing a heart with a lightning bolt.

What to do: | Call 999/112 for emergency help. Do not leave the casualty to look for a defibrillator. Do CPR until the defibrillator is ready to use.

| Switch on the defibrillator. Remove or cut through any clothing. Wipe away any sweat from the chest.

| Apply the pads. Follow the voice prompts given by the defibrillator.

| Continue doing CPR between each shock. Stand back when the shock is advised.

| If the casualty shows signs of becoming responsive, put them in the recovery position, leave the defibrillator pads attached and continue to monitor their level of response.

HEART ATTACKS A HEART attack happens when the supply of blood to part of the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.

What to look for: | Crushing pain in the centre of their chest that may spread to their jaw and down one or both arms.

could be a heart attack | They're breathless or gasping for breath.

| They're sweating profusely. | They experience pain similar to indigestion.

| They collapse without warning. | They complain of dizziness. | They have pale skin and their lips have a blue tinge.

| They have a rapid, weak or irregular pulse. | They have a feeling of impending doom.

What to do: | Call 999/112. Tell them you suspect a heart attack. | Help move the casualty into a comfortable position. The best position is on the floor, with their knees bent and their head and shoulders supported. You could place cushions behind them or under their knees.

| Give them 300mg of aspirin to chew. Do not give aspirin to under-16s or if they are allergic. Help them use angina medication if they have it.

| Monitor their level of response. If they become unresponsive at any point, prepare to start CPR (see above).

CHOKING WHEN someone is choking, their airway is partly or completely blocked, meaning they may be unable to breathe properly. They might be able to clear it by coughing, but if they can't, you will need to help straight away. What to look for: | Difficulty breathing, speaking or coughing.

Apply some using a to stop the a | A red, puffy face. | Signs of distress. | They may point to their throat or grasp their neck. What to do: | Cough it out - encourage the casualty to keep coughing.

| Slap it out - give five sharp back blows between the shoulder blades. Check their mouth each time.

| Squeeze it out - give five abdominal thrusts, otherwise known as the Heimlich manoeuvre. Check their mouth each time.

| Call 999/112 for emergency help. Repeat the first two steps until help arrives.

SEVERE BLEEDING IT CAN be dramatic and distressing for both you and the casualty when bleeding is severe, explains Joanne.

The Heimlich manoeuvre If someone's bleeding isn't controlled quickly, they may lose a lot of blood, become unresponsive or develop shock.

Shock does not mean emotional shock - it is a life-threatening condition, often caused by loss of blood. Your main priority in this situation is to stop the bleeding.

What to do: | Apply direct pressure to the wound, using a sterile dressing if possible or a clean non-fluffy cloth, to stop the bleeding.

pressure dressing bleeding. | Call 999/112 for emergency help. | Secure the dressing with a bandage to maintain pressure. Make it firm enough to maintain pressure but not so tight that it restricts their circulation. | Loss of blood could cause the casualty to develop shock. Treat them for this by helping them to lie down on a rug or blanket. Raise and support their legs so they are above the level of their heart. | You should then loosen tight clothing around their neck, chest and waist and cover the casualty with a blanket to keep them warm.


First aid isn't just for adults Youngsters can learn the skills too

When doing CPR, two rescue breaths (left) follow 30 chest compressions (above)

Chest pain could be a sign of a heart attack

Using a defibrilator increases chances of survival

Apply some pressure using a sterile dressing to stop the bleeding

The Heimlich manoeuvre
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Loughborough Echo (Loughborough, England)
Date:Feb 13, 2019
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