First Aid

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Even if it will hopefully be the less of the cases, accidents happen -abroad and at home-. Because we believe that being prepared is the best of the ways of getting over it as fast and successfully as possible, in this section we try to cover two areas of the subject health that we consider are really crucial in case of having a problem. First, everything concerning first aid to help you to treat the problem as soon as it appears. Second, the different health systems of countries to know which hospitals you can go to or what kind of health card you can use.

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First Aid Kit

What should be a content of Your first Aid Kit

  1. First-aid book.
  2. Triangular Bandages X 3 to 5.
  3. Conforming Bandages, 10cm and 15cm X 2 each.
  4. Crepe Bandage 7.5cm X 2.
  5. Tape 2.5cm X 1 Roll.
  6. Tape 2.5cm X 1 Roll.
  7. Absorbent Gauze (Small Roll).
  8. Band-aids (Plasters) X 1 Box
  9. Sterile Dressings (Selection)..
  10. Cotton Wool (50gr.).
  11. Antihistamine, (for Bee Stings.
  12. Antiseptic Solution 50ml.
  13. Antiseptic Wipes X 4.
  14. Scissors.
  15. Safety Pins X 12.
  16. Tongue Depressor X 4.
  17. Latex Gloves, Pair X 2.
  18. Clinical Thermometer.
  19. Pen Torch.

Band aids or sticky plasters are great for dressing small wounds. They come in all shapes and sizes for fingers, legs and anywhere else you might get little nicks and cuts. Some come with cartoons and fancy colors on them for kids. Make sure the Band aid is big enough to cover the wound, if not you should use a dressing instead. Be sure the sterile seal on the Band aid is intact before you use it.

Sterile dressings are cloth pads that are placed directly on a wound to protect and control bleeding They too come in all shapes and sizes and should be used when a wound is too large for a band aid. In an emergency a clean tea cloth, hand towel, clean tee-shirt can be used to cover the wound.

Bandages used to cover and secure wound dressings to the body (e.g. conforming or roller bandages). Triangular bandages are used as above if you have no roller bandages. They are also used to immobilize an injured limb (e.g. arm sling). Crepe bandages which are normally used to provide compression for injuries such as a sprained ankle, wrist etc.

Latex gloves are always a good idea, especially if you are dealing with body fluids from a stranger. You will notice all EMS personnel wear gloves. The possibility of disease transmission from the victim's blood should be in the forefront of your mind. (If I have cuts on my hand, I wear two pairs of gloves). Last but not lest, remember to wash your hands before and after treatment.

Antihistamine cream is used for bee stings and bug bites. Follow the manufactures instructions. If the victim is allergic to bee venom they may develop anaphylactic shock. If this happens they need to be seen by a Doctor. Now!


Asthma is a condition in which the muscles of the air passages go into spasm, making breathing difficult and resulting in a wheeze. Attacks may be triggered off by an allergy to dust, pollen, many other common substances, by over exercise or by nervous tension. Regular asthma sufferers usually carry their own medication in case of attack.


  1. Reassure and calm the casualty.
  2. Advise the casualty to sit down, lean slightly forward, resting on elbows on a support such as a table.
  3. Ensure a good supply of fresh air.
  4. Allow the casualty to take their own medication as prescribed by a doctor.
  5. If the symptoms persist, seek medical aid, i.e.. Call an Ambulance.

Bites & Scratches

Animal bites and scratches, even minor ones, can become infected and spread bacteria to other parts of the body. Whether the animal is a family pet or a creature from the "wild," scratches and bites can carry disease. For example, cat scratch disease, a bacterial infection, can be transmitted by a cat scratch (usually from a kitten) even if the site of the scratch doesn't look infected. In addition, certain animals can transmit rabies and tetanus. Human bites that break the skin are even more likely to become infected.


  1. If the bite or scratch wound is bleeding, apply pressure to the area with a clean bandage or towel until the bleeding stops. If available, use clean latex or rubber gloves to protect yourself from exposure to blood.
  2. Clean the wound with soap and water, and hold it under running water for at least 5 minutes. Do not apply an antiseptic or anything else to the wound.
  3. Dry the wound and cover it with sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
  4. Phone your child's doctor. Your child may need antibiotics, a tetanus booster, or a rabies vaccination. A bite or scratch on a child's hand or face is particularly prone to infection and should be evaluated by your doctor.
  5. If possible, locate the animal that inflicted the wound. Some animals may have to be captured, confined, and observed for rabies. Do not try to capture the animal yourself. Look in your phone book for the number of an animal control office or animal warden in your area.
  6. Go to the nearest hospital emergency department if:
    1. the wound won't stop bleeding after 10 minutes of direct pressure.
    2. the wound is more than 1/2 inch long or appears to be deep.
    3. the attacking animal was wild (not tame) or behaving strangely.
    4. a body part is severed. Wrap the severed part in sterile gauze or a clean cloth and take it with you to the emergency department.


Most small cuts do not present any danger. Larger wounds, particularly those where an artery has been damaged, can cause severe bleeding and result in falling blood pressure and shock. Depending on the type of wound and its location, there can be damage to tendons and nerves. Bleeding from large cuts may require immediate medical treatment.


For Minor Bleeding From a Small Cut or Abrasion

  1. Rinse the wound thoroughly with water to clean out dirt and debris.
  2. Wash the wound with a mild soap and rinse thoroughly. Avoid antiseptic solutions, which don't provide any additional protection.
  3. Cover the wound with a sterile adhesive bandage or sterile gauze and adhesive tape.
  4. Examine the wound daily. If the bandage gets wet, remove it and apply a new one. After the wound forms a scab, a bandage is no longer necessary.
  5. Call your doctor if the wound is red, swollen, tender, warm, or beginning to drain.

For Bleeding From a Large Cut or Laceration

  1. Wash the wound thoroughly with water. This will allow you to see the wound clearly and assess its size.
  2. Place a piece of sterile gauze or a clean cloth over the entire wound. If available, use clean latex or rubber gloves to protect yourself from exposure to blood. If you can, raise the bleeding body part above the level of your child's heart. Do not apply a tourniquet.
  3. Using the palm of your hand on the gauze or cloth, apply direct pressure to the wound for 5 minutes. (During the 5 minutes, do not stop to check the wound or disturb any blood clots that may form on the gauze.)
  4. If blood soaks through the gauze, do not remove it. Apply another gauze pad on top and continue applying pressure.
  5. Call your doctor for all large cuts or lacerations, or if:
    1. you are unable to stop the bleeding after 5 minutes of pressure, or if the wound begins bleeding again. (Continue applying pressure.)
    2. you are unable to clean out dirt and debris thoroughly.
    3. the wound is near a face or a neck.
    4. there is something stuck in the wound.
    5. the cut is more than 1/2 inch long or appears to be deep. Large or deep wounds can result in nerve damage. If you have any doubt about whether stitches are needed, phone your doctor.
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Broken bone

A broken (fractured) bone requires emergency care. Suspect a possible broken bone if you heard or felt a bone snap, if you have difficulty moving the injured part, or if the injured part moves in an unnatural way or is very painful to the touch.

A sprain occurs when the ligaments, which hold bones together, are overstretched and partially torn. Simply overstretching any part of the musculature is called a strain. Sprains and strains generally cause swelling and pain, and there may be bruises around the injured area. Most sprains, after proper medical evaluation, can be treated at home.


For a Suspected Broken Bone

  1. If the injury involves your neck or back, do not move unless you are in imminent danger. Movement can cause serious nerve damage. Phone for emergency medical help. If you must move, the neck and back must be completely immobilized first.
  2. If you have an open break (bone protrudes through the skin) and there is severe bleeding, apply pressure on the bleeding area with a gauze pad or a clean piece of clothing or other material. Do not wash the wound or try to push back any part of the bone that may be sticking out.
  3. If you must be moved, apply splints around the injured limb to prevent further injury. Leave the limb in the position you find it. The splints should be applied in that position. Splints can be made by using boards, brooms, a stack of newspapers, cardboard, or anything firm, and can be padded with pillows, shirts, towels, or anything soft. Splints must be long enough to extend beyond the joints above and below the fracture.
  4. Place cold packs or a bag of ice wrapped in cloth on the injured area.
  5. Keep lying down until medical help arrives.

For a Suspected Sprain or Strain

  1. If the injury involves your neck or back, do not move unless you are in imminent danger. Movement can cause serious nerve damage. Phone for emergency medical help. If you must move, the neck and back must be completely immobilized first.
  2. It may be difficult to tell the difference between a sprain and a break. If there is any doubt whatsoever, phone your doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. An X-ray can determine whether a bone is broken.
  3. First aid for sprains and strains includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as RICE).
    1. Rest the injured part of the body.
    2. Apply ice packs or cold compresses for up to 10 or 15 minutes at a time every few hours for the first 2 days to prevent swelling.
    3. Wearing an elastic compression bandage (such as an ACE bandage) for at least 2 days will reduce swelling.
    4. Keep the injured part elevated above the level of the heart as much as possible to reduce swelling.
  4. Do not apply heat in any form for at least 24 hours. Heat increases swelling and pain.
  5. Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain relievers.

Burns and Scalds

Burns are injuries to body tissues caused by heat, chemicals or radiation. Scalds are caused by wet heat, such as steam or hot liquids. Burns are classified according to the area and depth of injury. Superficial burns involve only the outer layers of the skin, cause redness, swelling, tenderness and usually heal well. Intermediate burns form blisters, can become infected, and need medical aid. Deep burns involve all layers of the skin, which may be pale and charred, may be pain free if nerves are damaged, and will always require medical attention. To limit tissue damage, the burned area should be cooled down immediately by flooding the area with slow running water for at least 10 to 20 minutes. If no water is available, clothing should be remove immediately from the injured area, (only if it is not stuck to the skin) clothing soaked with hot liquids retains heat (avoid pulling clothing over the face).


Severe Burns and Scalds

  1. Cool the burn area with water for 10 to 20 minutes. Or use Burn Gel.
  2. Lay the casualty down and make him as comfortable as possible, protecting burn area from ground contact.
  3. Gently remove any rings, watches, belts or constricting clothing from the injured area before it begins to swell.
  4. Cover the injured area loosely with sterile unmediated dressing or similar non fluffy material and bandage.
  5. Don't remove anything that is sticking to the burn.
  6. Don't apply lotions, ointments, butter or fat to the injury.
  7. Don't break blisters or otherwise interfere with the injured area.
  8. Don't over-cool the patient and cause shivering.
  9. If breathing and heartbeat stop, begin resuscitation immediately,
  10. If casualty is unconscious but breathing normally, place in the recovery position.
  11. Treat for shock.
  12. Send for medical attention.

Minor Burns and Scalds

  1. Place the injured part under slowly running water, or soak in cold water for 10 minutes or as long as pain persists.
  2. Gently remove any rings, watches, belts, and shoes from the injured area before it starts to swell.
  3. Dress with clean, sterile, non fluffy material.
  4. Don't use adhesive dressings.
  5. Don't apply lotions, ointments or fat to burn/ scald.
  6. Don't break blisters or otherwise interfere.
  7. If in doubt, seek medical aid.

Chemical Burns

  1. Flood the area with slowly running water for at least ten minutes.
  2. Gently remove contaminated clothing while flooding injured area, taking care not to contaminate yourself.
  3. Continue treatment for SEVERE BURNS
  4. Remove to hospital.
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  1. Remove the casualty to the shade and cool the skin by sponging gently with cold water.
  2. Give sips of cold water at frequent intervals.
  3. If the burns are mild, gently apply an after sun cream.
  4. For extensive blistering, seek medical help.


Choking occurs when the airway is partially or totally blocked by a swallowed object, i.e. when something goes down the windpipe rather than the food passage.The aim of treatment is to clear the blocked passage.


Conscious Adult

  1. Ask, "Are you choking?" If the victim can speak, cough or breathe, DO NOT INTERFERE - he is not choking.
  2. If the victim cannot speak, cough or breathe, give upward abdominal thrusts.

To do this, stand behind victim and wrap your arms round the waist. Grasp one fist with your other hand and place thumb side of your fist in the mid-line between waist and rib cage. Press fist into abdomen with 4 quick upward and inward thrusts.

  1. Do not use abdominal thrust when dealing with a pregnant woman or over-weight victim. In these cases use chest thrusts - press on breastbone as in CPR.
  2. Stand behind victim and place your arms under her armpits to encircle body.
  3. Grasp one fist with the other hand, and place thumb side on the middle of the breastbone.Press with quick backward thrusts.
  4. Repeat above sequence.Be persistent.
  5. Send for medical aid, call an Ambulance and continue treatment until help arrives.

Self Help The above technique can be used successfully. If a person is choking and alone, lean over a chair or railing as you act to help release obstruction.

Unconscious Adult

  1. Establish unconsciousness.
  2. "Call for Help". Get them to get an Ambulance, Now !
  3. Dial your local emergency telephone number.
  4. Open Airway and begin A of resuscitation procedure.
  5. If unsuccessful deliver five abdominal thrusts.
  6. Use finger probe in mouth to remove the dislodged foreign body.
  7. If unsuccessful repeat these sequences. Be persistent.
  8. Continue treatment until help arrives.

Child (as for adults)

If a child ('1-8 years) is choking, proceed as for adult, depending on whether victim is conscious or unconscious.

Infant (up to 1 year)

If an infant is choking, turn infant face downwards supporting the body along your arm with hand supporting head and neck.

  1. Ensure airway is open.
  2. Deliver five back blows between the shoulders, then turn over and give five chest thrusts.
  3. Remove object if visible.
  4. Do not perform blind finger sweeps in infants and children. When obstruction is removed and infant is still not breathing and has no pulse start CPR.
  5. Call help fast see section on Resuscitation for Children.


People suffering from diabetes need to control their blood sugar levels by balancing the amount of sugar in their diet with insulin injections. As a result, many carry hypodermic needles, insulin bottles, medication, card or identity bracelet with them, indicating that they have diabetes. If a person with diabetes on treatment has missed a meal or taken too much exercise, the concentration of sugar in the blood falls, and unconsciousness can follow. The aim of first aid in this situation is to restore the sugar/insulin balance as soon as possible.


  1. If the casualty is conscious and capable of swallowing, immediately give sugar lumps, a sugary drink, chocolate or other sweet food in order to raise the level of sugar in the blood.
  2. If the casualty is unconscious but breathing normally, place in the recovery position, and carry out general treatment for unconsciousness.


The passage of electrical current through the body can cause cardiac arrest, burning, and shock. Many injuries result from faulty switches, frayed cables or defects in electrical appliances.

Whatever the cause of an electrical accident, never touch the casualty with bare hands unless you are sure there is no danger to yourself.


  1. Switch off the electrical supply if possible or remove fuse.
  2. Remove the casualty from contact with electrical source, using non-conductive articles such as a dry brush handle, dry rope or piece of clothing.
  3. Call for help.
  4. If breathing and heartbeat have stopped, begin the A-B-C of resuscitation immediately.
  5. If the casualty is breathing, but unconscious, place him in the recovery position.
  6. Treat any burns.
  7. Treat for shock.



An epileptic seizure is caused by a disruption in the normal activity of the brain. Some people with epilepsy carry an identification card, or wear a warning bracelet. Very little first aid treatment is required, the main aims being to keep the person safe during a seizure and to provide after-care.


Minor Attack

In a minor attack, the person may appear to be in a daydream, stare blankly or behave strangely.

  1. Take care of him by protecting him from dangers such as busy roads.
  2. Remain with him until you are certain he has recovered.

Major Seizure

In a major epilepsy seizure, the person usually falls to the ground, loses consciousness, followed by jerking. The seizure can last up to five minutes.

  1. If the person is falling, try to support or ease the fall and lay down gently.
  2. Clear a space around him. If possible, loosen clothing around the neck and place something soft under the head.
  3. When convulsions cease, place him in the recovery position.
  4. DO NOT move or lift unless in danger.
  5. DO NOT forcibly restrain.
  6. DO NOT put anything in his mouth or try to open
  7. DO NOT try to wake him.
  8. Seek medical aid.

Eye Injuries


Generally speaking, first aid for all eye injuries (other than the removal of small foreign bodies) should be followed up by expert examination of the eyes. The surface of the eye is very delicate, easily damaged.

Foreign body in the eye

Small items such as dust and grit can be washed from the eye with gently running water. The eye should then be bathed with Hyperacid and Calendula solution. Larger objects can be dabbed off the eyeball with a clean handkerchief dipped in the same solution; you may have to lift the upper lid to encourage the natural rear fluid to wash the object to the front of the eyeball. If pain persists for more than 12 hours after removal of a foreign body, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Penetration of the eye

If the eye is penetrated by glass or splinters, do not try to remove them. Dial the emergency number, and put a pad of gauze over both eyes to discourage eye movements (if the uninjured eye moves, the injured eye moves with it).

Chemicals in the eye

Chemical accidents involving the eyes call for very swift action indeed. As well as causing excruciating pain, they can lead to permanent blindness.

Turn the head so that the affected eye is lower than the other - this prevents the offending chemical from trickling into the uninjured eye. Hold the person's face and eye under a gently running tap for 10-15 minutes, separating the eyelids with your fingers. Then cover the eye with sterile gauze and a bandage. Take the person to the nearest Accident and Emergency department to have the eye checked.

Snow blindness

This is the result of over-long exposure to snow glare without the benefit of sunglasses or ski goggles. The eyes become puffy, painful, and water profusely.

Head Injuries

These injuries are caused by falls, road accidents, sporting accidents, or working in high risk occupations. They can result in skull fractures, scalp wounds, concussion, brain injury/brain damage, and should always receive urgent medical attention.


Skull Fracture

It may be seen or indicated, in some cases by blood or fluid from the ear, or loss of consciousness, or by a wound or sometimes there may be no signs.

  1. If breathing and heartbeat stop, begin the A-B-C of resuscitation immediately.
  2. If any discharge issues from the ear, incline towards the injured side and cover with a sterile dressing - DO NOT PLUG.
  3. If the casualty is unconscious, place him in the recovery position with the injured side down.
  4. If the casualty is conscious, place him in a half sitting position, with head and shoulders supported. If you suspect spinal injury, keep the casualty's head and trunk aligned at all times.
  5. Check breathing and pulse every ten minutes.
  6. Treat for shock.
  7. Send for medical assistance and remove to hospital.


This is a condition of temporary disturbance to the brain after a head injury. It may involve unconsciousness and, occasionally, loss of memory.

  1. If breathing and heartbeat stop, begin the A-B-C of resuscitation immediately.
  2. If casualty is unconscious, place him in the recovery position while awaiting removal to hospital.
  3. In serious cases, check breathing rate, and watch carefully for signs of delayed unconsciousness, shock, stroke.
  4. Treat for shock.
  5. In all cases consult a doctor.
  6. If loss of consciousness is suspected, the person should be examined at a hospital.


Any head injury may burst a blood vessel in the brain. This causes pressure to be exerted on the brain by blood accumulating within the skull. Compression may develop up to twenty-four hours after the casualty has apparently recovered.

With compression, the pupils of the eyes may be of differing sizes, there will be a diminished pulse rate and a deteriorating level of consciousness, an intense headache, noisy breathing, paralysis, raised temperature.

  1. The casualty should be removed to hospital immediately.

This condition requires urgent medical treatment.

Head Injuries in Children

Most head injuries in children are minor. Lacerations bleed freely and seem to be worse than they are. A fall of more than 3 ft. onto a hard surface is a serious matter. It is very common for children who sustain head injuries, to go pale and vomit immediately and subsequently to be sleepy. This should not cause undue alarm. If in doubt, call an Ambulance.

  1. Swelling of the skull on either sides of the head, just above the ears, should be taken seriously and needs medical attention.
  2. The single most important factor after head injury is progressive drowsiness.

The type to watch out for is that which comes on following a period of lucidity after a head injury and is progressive. This requires immediate, urgent medical attention.

Heart Attack

This may be caused by a blood clot blocking a coronary artery. This may cause the muscle to be damaged, or die, or cause interference with the electrical activity of the heart, causing it to stop beating. When the heart stops beating, this is known as CARDIAC ARREST. Damage to the heart muscle is a HEART ATTACK.

Warning signs of Heart Attack

  1. The symptoms of heart attack vary, but the most common is a prolonged oppressive pain or unusual discomfort in the centre of the chest, behind the breastbone.
  2. The pain may radiate to the shoulder, arm, neck, or jaw. Sometimes the symptoms may subside and then return.
  3. There may also be sweating, weakness, nausea and shortness of breath.


If the above symptoms occur, an ambulance should be called at once. Telephone 112 (mobile) or your local emergency number and ask for an Ambulance. If unavailable, the victim should immediately be taken to the nearest hospital. Every minute is vital in cases of suspected heart attack. A victim should not be allowed to drive himself to hospital.

  1. If the casualty is conscious reassure, gently support with pillows, and place in a half-sitting position with knees bent.
  2. DO NOT ALLOW the casualty to move unnecessarily as this will put extra strain on the heart.
  3. Loosen any tight clothing around the neck, chest and waist.
  4. Treat for shock.
  5. Remove to hospital immediately, maintaining the treatment position if possible.

Unconscious Victim

  1. Call 112 or your local emergency number and say cardiac emergency first.
  2. If breathing and heartbeat stop, begin the A-B-C of resuscitation immediately.
  3. Remove to hospital immediately, continuing resuscitation on the way, if necessary.
  4. If the casualty becomes unconscious, but is breathing normally, place in the recovery position.
  5. Check pulse rate continuously.

Heat related conditions

The human body maintains a temperature between 36-37o C. Your body regulates excess heat by sweating. Therefore you should drink plenty of water to maintain your fluid balance. Heat related conditions are brought on by exposure to high temperatures and humidity.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are the result of an imbalance in the body fluids caused by vigorous activity, dehydration and high temperatures. The body loses more fluids than it is replacing. This fluid debit causes muscles to lose their vital electrolyte balance (complex salts), thus causing muscular contraction (cramps).

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Pale, clammy skin.
  2. Sweating (after some form of exertion).
  3. Cramping pains (in the limbs and/or abdomen).
  4. Nausea.
  5. Spasms (affected limb or limbs).


  1. Rest the victim in the shade.
  2. Give sips of water to drink (after nausea has passed).
  3. Don't massage affected limbs.
  4. Discourage any further exercise.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion, also called Heat Prostration or Heat Collapse is caused during or after exertion accompanied by heat and high humidity. It affects all people but particularly the very young and elderly.

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Pale, clammy skin.
  2. Profuse and prolonged sweating.
  3. Cramps in the limbs and/or abdomen
  4. Nausea and/or vomiting
  5. Headache
  6. Lethargy


  1. Rest the victim is the shade.
  2. Discourage any further exertion.
  3. Cool down casualty by sponging. (use tepid water)
  4. Give cool water to drink (cautiously, after nausea has passed).

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is known as a Core Temperature Emergency. Heat stroke can be fatal if left untreated.

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Flushed, hot, dry skin.
  2. The victim will have ceased sweating.
  3. Rapid, strong pulse.
  4. Aggressive or irrational behavior
  5. Staggering, Dizziness or Faintness
  6. Visual disturbances
  7. Vomiting
  8. Collapse and seizures
  9. Coma


  1. Call an ambulance.
  2. Move the victim into the shade.
  3. Remove victim's clothing
  4. Cool down the casualty. (use whatever is available)
  5. Prepared to resuscitate if required.
  6. Give nothing by mouth - rehydration is required by intravenous fluids

Hyperventilation attack

short rapid breathing, (like the person's been running for a while) Hyperventilation can be brought on by a number of factors, they include:

  1. Anxiety (the most common cause)
  2. Severe stomach pains.
  3. Heart or lung disease.
  4. Extensive physical injuries.
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The symptoms usually last 15 to 30 minutes, and can seem like hours to anyone having them. Though very frightening for the patient and indeed for the onlooker, hyperventilation is not usually dangerous. Breathing into a paper bag increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood and relieves the symptoms.

Self help

  1. Loosely cover your nose and mouth with a small paper bag.
  2. Breathe slowly into the bag and rebreathe the air in the bag about 10 times.
  3. Set the bag aside and breathe normally for a couple of minutes.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the symptoms lessen or go away.
  5. Try to breathe slowly. Focus on taking one breath every 5 seconds.


  1. Avoid becoming caught up in the panic (remain calm )
  2. Make direct eye contact, and speak clearly and slowly.
  3. Identify yourself if you're not known to the person.
  4. Give short clear instructions.
  5. Make calming gestures.
  6. Allow the casualty some space ( don't crowd them in )
  7. Minimize embarrassment and avoid an audience.
  8. Get them to sit down, if they aren't already.
  9. Sit with them at eye level
  10. Encourage them to breathe normally. ( talk them through the breathing cycle )
  11. Inhale, take in long slow deep breath. ( breathe with them )
  12. Hold breath for +1 seconds.
  13. Exhale slowly, ( pucker your lips like you're going to kiss )
  14. Tell them to relax in a clam voice, just before they reach the end of exhalation.
  15. Start a new breathing cycle while telling them how well they are doing.
  16. Continue encouraging them to breathe normally.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are brought on by social situations and activities perceived to be a threat to the person. The attack may be the person's first or they may have had an number of attacks before, attacks may recur repeatedly and rapidly, however; once these symptoms abate, moderate to severe anxiety may last for many hours.


  1. Shortness of breath with rapid breathing (or smothering sensations).
  2. Dizziness, unsteady feelings, or faintness.
  3. Palpitations or accelerated heart rate ( feeling ones own heartbeat ).
  4. Trembling or shaking.
  5. Sweating.
  6. Choking.
  7. Nausea or abdominal distress.
  8. Depersonalization or de-realization.
  9. Numbness or tingling sensations ( pins and needles in the arms / legs).
  10. Flushes (hot flashes) or chills.
  11. Chest pain or discomfort. ( Normally this is not a heart attack, but if chest pain persists have it checked out by a Doctor ).
  12. Fear of dying.
  13. Fear of going crazy or doing something uncontrolled.


  1. Avoid becoming caught up in the panic (remain calm )
  2. Make direct eye contact, and speak clearly and slowly.
  3. Identify yourself if you're not known to the person.
  4. Give short clear instructions.
  5. Make calming gestures.
  6. Allow the casualty some space ( don't crowd them in )
  7. Minimize embarrassment and avoid an audience.
  8. Get them to sit down, if they aren't already.
  9. Sit with them at eye level
  10. Encourage them to breathe normally. ( talk them through the breathing cycle )
  11. Inhale, take in long slow deep breath. ( breathe with them )
  12. Hold breath for +1 seconds.
  13. Exhale slowly, ( pucker your lips like you're going to kiss )
  14. Tell them to relax in a clam voice, just before they reach the end of exhalation.
  15. Start a new breathing cycle while telling them how well they are doing.
  16. Continue encouraging them to breathe normally.

Try these breathing exercises on yourself first ! ( sitting or lying down )

When you feel you're on top of the situation, organize transport for the person if they want to go home or call an ambulance to take them to hospital. Don't abandon them.

Does the person suffer bouts of Agoraphobia ?

Anxiety about being in public places or situations from which escape may be difficult (or embarrassing) or they may feel help may not be available in the event of having an unexpected panic attack. Agoraphobic fears typically involve characteristic clusters of situations that include:

  1. Being outside the home alone;
  2. Being in a crowd or standing in a line;
  3. Being on a bridge;
  4. Traveling in a bus, train, or car.


The most common causes of unconsciousness are stroke, epilepsy, drug overdose, head injury, cardiac arrest, poisoning, diabetes and alcohol. There are various levels of unconsciousness. If the person responds to sound and touch, then the state is only light as in a faint. If the level of response is low, then the person is more deeply unconscious.

If there is no response at all, then there is a potentially dangerous state.

  1. Send for an Ambulance.
  2. Dial your local emergency services telephone number.


  1. If breathing and heartbeat have stopped, begin the A-B-C of resuscitation immediately.
  2. If the casualty is breathing normally, place in the recovery position,

But if there is any possibility of spinal injury DO NOT MOVE unless breathing difficulty makes it vital.

  1. Examine the casualty for causes of unconsciousness. There may be signs of injury such as bleeding or swellings.
  2. Treat any serious wounds or fractures.
  3. Look carefully for other clues e.g. glucose tablets could indicate that the casualty suffers from diabetes.

Many people with epilepsy, hemophilia or diabetes wear an identity bracelet to this effect..

  1. Cover with blanket, keep warm and reassure.
  2. If removal to hospital is delayed, check the levels of responsiveness, pulse and breathing every ten minutes, and be ready to give the A-B-C of resuscitation as required,.
  3. DO NOT give anything to eat or drink.
  4. DO NOT leave unattended.

Recover Position

The Recover Position ensures that a casualty maintains an open airway, that the tongue cannot fall to the back of the throat, that the head and neck remain in an extended position so that the air passage is widened, and any vomit or fluid will drain freely.


You will notice the casualty is lying on his side, supported by one leg and one arm. In the case of head or ear injury, keep the injured side down.

Where there are fractures in the upper or lower body, where the casualty is lying in a confined space, or where it is not possible to use the bent limbs as supports, the Recover Position can be modified. In such cases, a rolled blanket can be laid down the front of the body. This method can also be used to transport a casualty on a stretcher in the Recover Position.

N.B.: When moving the casualty, always do so as a total unit i.e. keep the casualty's head and trunk aligned at all times.


For as long as humans have been on this planet, the microscopic life forms that we call germs - bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and others - have been here, too. For all this time, they have been growing and multiplying in the soil, in the water, and in our bodies. Most of the time, people and germs coexist peacefully; in fact, humans couldn't live in a germ-free world. But germs are also the source of many human illnesses.

Kinds of germs

Let's get to know germs better. What do they look like and how do they live? How do they harm us and how do medications work against them?


Bacteria are living things made of only one cell. Bacteria weigh about 1 trillionth of an ounce each, and they come in three basic shapes: cocci, shaped like small balls or spheres; bacilli, shaped like rods or sticks of chewing gum; and small spirals called spirochetes.

Under a microscope, scientists can often identify different species of bacteria by their shape, their grouping pattern, and the purple or pink color that they pick up from a special laboratory procedure called a Gram's stain. For example, staphylococci bacteria from pimples would look like clusters of purple grapes, while Escherichia coli bacteria from the intestines would appear as single pink rods.

Besides having a characteristic appearance under the microscope, each species of bacteria also has a typical bacterial lifestyle. For example, some bacteria colonize a particular part of a person's body and remain there, often without causing illness. Some may even help the body function, as in the case of intestinal bacteria. Other bacteria prefer the soil and live there harmlessly (like the bacteria that causes tetanus) - until they find themselves trapped inside a dirty cut on a gardener's hand. Bacteria differ in their need for oxygen, too, with some living only where there is air (aerobic bacteria) and others living without oxygen (anaerobic bacteria).

Of the approximately 1,600 species of known bacteria, less than 200 are pathogenic (disease-causing). Pathogenic bacteria can cause illness in at least three different ways: by invasive action, directly invading and attacking a part of the body; by making toxins, chemical byproducts that act as poisons; or by multiplying into large clumps that block tiny blood vessels or interfere with the normal closing of heart valves. Depending on the type of bacteria and the illness it causes, bacteria can spread in the following ways:

  1. through contaminated water and food
  2. in the tiny fluid droplets of coughs and sneezes
  3. through dirty hands
  4. through contaminated surfaces
  5. in a sick person's body fluids


On a microscopic scale, viruses are midgets compared with bacteria. Since most viruses are only 1/100 to 1/1000 the size of most bacteria, there are actually some forms of viruses that prey on bacteria instead of animals or humans. All viruses are submicroscopic, meaning that you can't see them with a standard laboratory microscope. In fact, it was not until the electron microscope was invented in the 1940s that scientists had any notion of what even the largest virus looked like.

On the outside, viruses come in several different shapes. Some are 20-sided polygons, others are rod-shaped, and some even appear to have a head and a tail. On the inside, viruses contain a core of nucleic acids, either DNA or RNA, surrounded by one or two protein shells called capsids. Many viruses also have an outer envelope made of a mixture of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Scientists classify viruses according to the type of nucleic acid they contain (DNA viruses or RNA viruses), their capsid composition, the presence or absence of an envelope, and the way they reproduce.

Viruses can only "live," grow, and reproduce inside other living cells. Outside of living cells, viruses are just structured and complex - but inactive - collections of molecules. Whenever a virus rests on the surface of a dirty glass or floats in the droplets of a contaminated sneeze, it is technically "lifeless." Yet once a person swallows it or breathes it in, that same virus can invade the person's cells, reproduce, and make the person sick. Viruses do this by replication. They invade living cells and use the cells' internal chemical reactions to duplicate their viral nucleic acids and proteins. Then they assemble new viruses and release them to infect other helpless cells nearby.

Many viruses invade the body by crossing the moist mucous membranes that line the breathing passages, eyes, intestines, or reproductive tracts. They get there by traveling in an infected person's body fluids or in the airborne droplets of coughs and sneezes. Once inside the body, viruses can spread from one area to another through the blood vessels and arteries, the fluid-filled channels between tissues, and even along the length of nerve cells. Once they invade and cause illness, some forms of viruses can be totally defeated by the immune system. Others, like the chicken pox virus and herpes simplex virus, can lie dormant in our cells and cause more than one episode of illness, even years after infection.


The fungi are a group of about 50,000 species of simple plants that cannot manufacture their own food from the soil, water, and air around them. Instead, they must draw nutrition from nearby plants and animals, living or dead. Some fungi, such as mushrooms, are very large and complex, but others, such as yeasts, exist as single cells.

Because fungi prefer warm, damp areas, they love to grow on moist parts of our bodies; athlete's foot, and vaginal "yeast" infections are two common fungal infections. Since our breathing passages are moist, some forms of fungi can invade them as well.

Persons whose immune systems are weakened by cancer, AIDS, or certain medicines have an increased risk for serious fungal infections. In these persons, a fungus can spread throughout the body, even to the brain, and be deadly.


Like bacteria, protozoa are one-celled organisms and are too small to be seen without a microscope. Because they love moisture, protozoa are most commonly found in the earth's fresh water, oceans, and soil. Only a few of the 30,000 protozoan species cause disease in humans; they include the species that cause amebiasis (from amoebas), giardiasis, and malaria. Although disease-causing protozoa usually spread through contaminated water, many can also be carried on contaminated food and dirty hands. Malaria is spread through the bite of a mosquito that injects the protozoa called Plasmodium into the blood.

Treating Infections Caused by Germs
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When scientists look for new drugs to fight infections, they target specific vulnerable areas in a particular germ's structure or internal chemistry. Then they try to destroy or disrupt these vulnerable areas by using chemical medicines that are safe for humans. Because the different types of germs - bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa - are so different in structure and function, the need to "aim" drugs at their specific vulnerable areas means that all medicines won't necessarily kill all types of germs. For example, the penicillin family of antibiotics kills bacteria by disrupting a component of their cell wall. Yet these same penicillins are useless against viruses, because viruses have no cell walls. The antiviral drug zidovudine (AZT) works by interfering with the mechanism of virus replication inside human cells, so it is useless against bacteria and other germs that don't reproduce by this form of replication.

For doctors, the first challenge in treating any infection is to quickly identify which type of germ is causing it. If it is determined that medication is necessary, the next task is matching the germ with the specific medicine that will attack it most effectively. Not all infections can be treated with medication. But when a successful match is made between the germ and medication, the patient needs to take the medicine as directed, for as long as prescribed, to make sure that all germs have been destroyed.