First Aid

First aid is an immediate, temporary treatment carried out in cases of emergency or sudden illness before professional treatment.  OR

First aid is an immediate assistance given to a sick or an injured person before getting professional medical help.

Importance of First Aid;

  1. First Aid can save lives.
  2. First Aid can reduce pain suffering
  3. First Aid can prevent the illness or injury from becoming worse.
  4. First Aid can remove the fear of death,
  5. First Aid help the patient recover from shock.

First Aid Kit

A First Aid Kit is a small box which holds medical supplies for emergencies. OR

A First Aid Kit is a small box that contains items that are used during first aid. The First Aid kit should be placed in a safe and easy to see area.

 First Aid kit has the following things:

01 Gauze Used to cover wounds to prevent dirt and microorganisms from entering.
02 Adhesive Bandage or Plaster Used for securing fractures and dislocated bones.


03 Scissors Used for cutting dressing materials such as gauze, bandages, or plaster.
04 Razor blades Used for opening a wound to cut away loose tissue to prevent further injuries and pain.
05 Antibiotic Ointment Used for preventing infection.
06 Antiseptic Used to clean wounds and reduce bleeding. Example Methylated Spirit
07 Painkillers Used to reduce pain.  Aspirin is an example of a pain-killer
08 Soap Used for washing hands, wounds, and medical equipment.
09 Forceps Used for removing things from wounds, like splinters or dirt.
10 Gloves Used to prevent the spread of pathogens.
11 Safety pins Used for securing bandages
12 Cotton wool Cleaning and drying wound
13 Petroleum jelly Soothing chapped skin

First Aid Procedure

(a) Risks or dangers of giving First Aid

When you are giving first aid be sure to keep yourself safe.  Pathogens are disease-causing organisms that can spread through the air or through the blood.

Air-borne pathogens can be passing on if a patient breathes, coughs, or sneezes.  If a patient has a blood-born pathogen it can be given to someone else if their blood mixes.

1. Bleeding

Bleeding can occur from a visible wound or from an internal organ. Excessive bleeding can cause death

If someone has small cut, this is the way we can treat them

  1. Clean the wound.
  2. Reassure the victim
  3. Dry the skin and wound around it.
  4. Apply a bandage.

(c). Major Bleeding

If a person gets a large cut, they can lose a lot of blood, which can cause them to lose consciousness or even die.

Reassure the victim

Remove clothing around the cut and cover the cut using a piece of gauze pad or clean cloth.

Use your fingers to apply direct pressure to the bleeding point or points for 5 to 15 minutes.

If the wound area is large and there is no fracture, press the sides of the wound firmly but gently together.

Lay the victim down in a suitable and comfortable position

Elevate or raise the injured part and support it in position, however, not when it causes pain or an underlying fracture is suspected.

Carefully remove from the wound any foreign bodies which are visible and can easily picked out or wiped off with a dressing

Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the wound because this can lead to more bleeding.

If a dressing is available:

(a). Apply it directly over the wound and press it down firmly.

(b). Cover the dressing with a pad of soft material.

(c). Hold the dressing and pad in position using a firm bandage

(c) If the bleeding persists, take the person to the hospital

(d) Nose bleeding

To treat a nosebleed, which is when a person’s nose starts to bleed, do the following steps.

Ask the patient to sit with their head tipped forward.

Get them to pinch their nose for 10 minutes and breathe through their mouth,

The patient should not talk, swallow, or sniff if possible.

If the bleeding does not stop, take the person to the hospital

(e) Internal bleeding

There are times when bleeding occurs inside the body. Sometimes the blood will leak from the body through a natural opening. At other times, the blood remains inside the body causing pain and shock, even though there are no visible signs of blood loss

A person may be losing blood inside his or her body if you notice any of the following

  1. Blood running out of the mouth
  2. Blood flowing out of the ear
  3. Blood in the stool
  4. Blood in the urine
  5. Red blood cells or a substance that looks like coffee granules in vomit.
  6. Blood flowing from a woman’s birth canal after any injury or during pregnancy.

Take the person to hospital as quickly as possible


If a person suddenly falls to the ground and is unconscious they may have fainted.

Have the victim lay down and lift legs slightly.

Loosen tight clothing.

Offer them water once they are able to sit up.

(f)Treatment of snake bites

Snake bites can be common in Africa, although not all snake bites are poisonous. Victims of snake bites are usually very frightened. It is important to first calm them down and reassure them.

Fear increases as the pulse rate and if the snake was poisonous then the poison (venom) will spread in the body more rapidly. Most snake bites occur on the arm or the leg. .  If possible, try to identify the snake to see if it is poisonous.

Do these steps to treat someone who has been bitten by a snake.

i. Calm the person and have them lie or sit down.

ii. Support and keep the bitten area from moving because the more that part of the body moves, the faster the poison will spread to the rest of the body.

iii. Immobilize the bitten area by tie a wide elastic bandage or clean cloth around the part of the body to stop the blood flow and prevent poison from spreading.

iv. Keep the wound at heart level or lower in order to reduce the flow of venom to other parts of the body.

v. Remove all jewellery and restrictive clothing from the injured limb.

vi. Wash the bite with soap and water to remove the poison from around the bitten area.

vii.Do not apply ice, cut the wound or try to remove venom from the wound.

viii. Take the person to the hospital right away.

ix. Do not risk a second bite by trying to capture the snake.

 (g) Burns

Burns are caused by fire or other hot objects.

If a person gets a large burn, this is the way we can treat them

  1. Put the burn in cold water as soon as possible.
  2. Cover burn with a cloth to prevent infection.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment, burn cream, or aloe Vera.

(h). Poisoning

A poison can be defined as any substance which is capable of destroying life or of seriously endangering a person’s health when applied to the body internally or externally.

If the poison is eaten or drank, it must be removed by having the victim vomit. The victim can vomit by placing two fingers in the back of the throat.

Kerosene is a common poison in Tanzania because it is clear and people thinking it is water. If a person swallows kerosene they should not vomit, but instead drink water or milk.

  • Call a doctor as soon as possible.

(i). Choking

If someone is conscious but cannot breath, cough, or speak, they may be choking, which means something is blocking their airway.

  1. To perform remove the object from the throat
  2. Get behind a patient and wrap your arms around their chest.
  3. Make one hand into a fist and wrap the other hand around it.
  4. Push up and back on the victim’s chest. You are trying to push air out of the lungs so the object will be loosened.
  5. Once object is removed, give victim water and have them rest until breathing is normal and they are calm.

(j) Safety at home and school

Common Accidents

An Accident is an unexpected event that can cause injury and sometimes death.

Accidents are very common at home and school. Examples of accidents are:

  1. Fractures and dislocations caused by falls
  2. If a fire starts
  3. Burns caused by hot liquids or corrosive chemicals
  4. Choking caused by food or drink or swallowing something
  5. Snake or insect bits
  6. Drowning
  7. Cuts and scratches caused by sharp objects
  8. Eye injuries from sand or dust
  9. Poisoning from drinking chemicals or taking too much medicine

Ways to Prevent Common Accidents

Be aware of the danger around you at the house and at home.  Follow these rules to prevent accidents at home.

1. Keep sharp objects away from children.

2. Throw away sharp objects safely.

3. Electricity should be turned off when you are not using it.

4. Young children should not be given small objects to play with because they can choke on them.

5. Turn off gas stoves when you are not using them.

6. Mop up any liquids that have spilled on the floor right away.

7. Follow lab safety rules.

8. Keep all dangerous chemicals and medicine away from children.

9. Keep medicine and chemicals clearly labeled.

10. Have a fire extinguisher in the lab at all times.

11. Cut grass and other plants around the house and classroom to keep away snakes and bees.

12. Keep first aid kit full.

13. Check that water, electric, and gas systems are working.

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