Top 13 First Aid Skills Every Prepper And Survivalist Should Learn – Part II

In the first part of this article, we discussed the first six first-aid skills that everyone should learn to save a life, whether it be their own or that of a stranger. These skills are essential for anyone who aims to be prepared for situations when medical facilities become inoperative due to various reasons.

Some readers wrote to me, suggesting that they would prioritize their first-aid skills differently than the way I’ve listed them. However, I must clarify that they were not listed by priority, and you shouldn’t focus on a specific set of skills just because they are higher on the list. It’s true that some skills, such as stopping heavy bleeding, are more critical than others, but it was not my intention to list them based on priority.

So without further ado, let’s move on to the rest of the first-aid skills.

First-aid skills continued – Continued:

7. Identifying and dealing with Concussions

Identifying and dealing with concussions is vital for ensuring proper care and preventing further injury. Here’s what it involves, why it’s important, and how it can be properly done:

What it implies: A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow or jolt to the head, which can disrupt normal brain function. Identifying and dealing with concussions involves recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion and taking appropriate steps to manage the injury.

Why it’s important: Concussions can have serious consequences if not properly identified and managed. Immediate recognition and appropriate action can help prevent further injury and promote recovery. Additionally, repeated concussions can lead to long-term complications, so it’s essential to manage concussions effectively.

How it can be properly done:

  1. Recognize signs and symptoms: Common signs and symptoms of a concussion include headache, confusion, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, blurred vision, sensitivity to light or noise, memory problems, and changes in mood or behavior. Loss of consciousness may or may not occur.
  2. Assess the situation: If you suspect someone has a concussion, remove them from any activity that may pose a risk of further injury, such as sports or physical exertion. Have them rest in a quiet, dimly lit environment and avoid any activities that could worsen symptoms.
  3. Seek medical attention: Concussions should be evaluated by a medical professional, particularly if the person experiences severe or worsening symptoms, loses consciousness, has persistent vomiting, or shows signs of neurological impairment. A healthcare provider can perform a thorough evaluation, including neurological tests and imaging studies if necessary, to assess the severity of the concussion and determine appropriate treatment.
  4. Monitor for complications: Keep a close eye on the person’s condition and watch for any signs of complications, such as worsening symptoms, loss of consciousness, seizures, or difficulty breathing. Seek emergency medical attention if symptoms worsen or if the person’s condition deteriorates.
  5. Follow medical advice: Follow any recommendations or instructions provided by the healthcare provider for managing the concussion. This may include rest, limiting physical and cognitive activity, avoiding certain medications, and gradually returning to normal activities once symptoms improve.
  6. Educate about prevention: Educate the person and others about concussion prevention strategies, such as wearing appropriate protective equipment during sports and recreational activities, practicing safe driving habits, and avoiding risky behaviors that could result in head injuries.

Identifying and dealing with concussions requires a proactive approach to ensure the well-being of the injured person and prevent further complications. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of concussions and taking appropriate action, you can help promote recovery and minimize the risk of long-term consequences associated with traumatic brain injuries.

8. Setting broken limbs

setting broken limbs

Setting broken limbs is a crucial first aid skill that can help stabilize the injury and prevent further damage. Here’s what it involves, why it’s important, and how it can be properly done:

What it implies: Setting broken limbs involves aligning the fractured bones back into their proper position to promote healing and restore function. This may be necessary for fractures that are displaced or causing severe pain or deformity.

Why it’s important: Setting broken limbs is essential for reducing pain, preventing further injury to surrounding tissues, and facilitating proper healing. Failure to set a broken limb promptly and correctly can lead to complications such as delayed healing, malunion (improper alignment of bones), or nonunion (failure of bones to heal).

How it can be properly done:

  1. Assess the situation: Evaluate the extent and location of the fracture, as well as any associated injuries, to determine if setting the broken limb is necessary and feasible. If there’s suspicion of a severe fracture, spinal injury, or other serious medical condition, seek professional medical help immediately.
  2. Stabilize the limb: Before attempting to set the broken limb, stabilize it to prevent further movement and minimize pain. You can use splints, slings, or improvised materials such as padded boards, blankets, or towels to support and immobilize the limb.
  3. Apply traction if necessary: If the broken bones need to be realigned, gentle traction may be required to gradually pull the limb into the correct position. Apply steady and gentle pressure in the direction opposite to the deformity, taking care not to cause additional pain or injury.
  4. Align the bones: Once the limb is stabilized and traction is applied, carefully manipulate the fractured bones back into their proper alignment. Use gentle, controlled movements to avoid further damage to the surrounding tissues.
  5. Check alignment and stability: After setting the broken limb, check for proper alignment and stability by comparing the injured limb to the unaffected side. Ensure that the limb is straight, with no obvious deformity or angulation, and that it moves smoothly without excessive pain or resistance.
  6. Immobilize the limb: Once the broken limb is properly aligned, immobilize it with splints, bandages, or casts to maintain the alignment and protect the fracture site. Follow any specific instructions provided by healthcare professionals for immobilization and follow-up care.
  7. Seek medical attention: Even if you’ve successfully set the broken limb, it’s essential to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible for further evaluation and treatment. X-rays may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis and ensure proper alignment of the bones.

Setting broken limbs requires skill, caution, and careful assessment to ensure the best possible outcome for the injured person.

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9. Saving a choking person

Saving a choking person is a critical first aid skill that can prevent suffocation and potentially save a life. Here’s what it involves, why it’s important, and how it can be properly done, including information on performing the Heimlich maneuver for both adults and infants/kids:

What it implies: Saving a choking person involves quickly dislodging an obstruction from the airway to restore normal breathing. Choking occurs when an object becomes lodged in the throat, blocking the flow of air to the lungs.

Why it’s important: Choking can be life-threatening if not promptly addressed, as it can lead to asphyxiation and death within minutes. Immediate action is necessary to clear the airway and allow the person to breathe again.

How it can be properly done:

  1. Assess the situation: Determine if the person is choking by asking them if they can speak or cough. If they are unable to speak, cough, or breathe, and they are clutching at their throat or making choking gestures, they likely have a blocked airway.
  2. Perform the Heimlich maneuver:

For Adults:

Stand behind the choking person and wrap your arms around their waist.

Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb side of your fist against the person’s abdomen, just above the navel and below the ribcage.

Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into the person’s abdomen with quick, upward thrusts. Use enough force to dislodge the obstruction, but be cautious to avoid causing injury.

Repeat thrusts until the object is expelled or the person becomes unconscious. If the person loses consciousness, lower them to the ground and begin CPR.

For Infants and Children:

For infants (under 1 year old), sit or kneel and hold the baby face-down on your forearm, with their head lower than their chest.

Use the heel of your hand to deliver quick, forceful blows to the baby’s back between the shoulder blades, aiming to dislodge the object.

For older children (over 1 year old), stand behind the child and wrap your arms around their waist.

Perform abdominal thrusts similar to those used for adults, using quick, upward thrusts to dislodge the obstruction.

  1. Continue until the obstruction is cleared: Keep performing the Heimlich maneuver until the object is expelled, the person can breathe again, or until they become unconscious. If the person loses consciousness, begin CPR immediately.
  2. Seek medical attention: Even if the choking episode appears to be resolved, it’s essential to seek medical attention to ensure there are no residual obstructions or injuries and to address any underlying causes of choking.
  3. Prevent future incidents: Educate others about choking hazards and prevention strategies, such as cutting food into small, manageable pieces, avoiding giving small objects to infants and young children, and maintaining a safe eating environment.

By learning how to perform the Heimlich maneuver and taking prompt action in the event of a choking emergency, you can help save lives and prevent serious injury or death. Regular training in first aid and CPR can enhance your preparedness and confidence in responding to choking incidents effectively.

10. Dealing with allergies

dealing with allergies

Dealing with allergies is essential for managing symptoms and preventing potentially life-threatening reactions. Here’s what it involves, why it’s important, and how it can be properly done:

What it implies: Dealing with allergies involves identifying triggers, managing symptoms, and taking steps to avoid allergens that can cause allergic reactions. Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to harmless substances, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.

Why it’s important: Allergic reactions can range from mild discomfort to severe, life-threatening anaphylaxis. Proper management of allergies is essential for reducing symptoms, improving quality of life, and preventing serious complications associated with allergic reactions.

How it can be properly done:

  1. Identify allergens: Work with healthcare professionals to identify specific allergens that trigger allergic reactions. This may involve allergy testing, such as skin prick tests or blood tests, to determine the substances that cause allergic reactions.
  2. Avoid allergens: Once allergens are identified, take steps to minimize exposure to them. This may include avoiding foods, medications, environmental allergens (such as pollen or pet dander), or insect stings that trigger allergic reactions. Use allergen-proof covers for bedding, keep indoor spaces clean and well-ventilated, and take precautions when spending time outdoors during peak allergy seasons.
  3. Manage symptoms: Depending on the severity of allergic reactions, various medications and treatments may be used to manage symptoms. Over-the-counter antihistamines can help relieve symptoms such as itching, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Nasal corticosteroids may be used to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages. For more severe allergies, prescription medications such as epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) may be prescribed to treat anaphylaxis.
  4. Be prepared for emergencies: For individuals with severe allergies, it’s essential to have an emergency action plan in place in case of an allergic reaction. This may include carrying medications such as antihistamines or epinephrine auto-injectors at all times, wearing medical alert bracelets or necklaces to notify others of allergies, and knowing how to recognize and respond to symptoms of anaphylaxis.
  5. Seek medical attention: If you experience severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis, seek immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires prompt treatment with epinephrine and other medications to reverse symptoms and prevent complications.

Dealing with allergies involves a combination of identifying triggers, avoiding allergens, managing symptoms, and being prepared for emergencies. By taking proactive steps to manage allergies effectively, you can reduce the frequency and severity of allergic reactions and improve your overall quality of life.

11. Treating Vomiting and Diarrhea

Treating vomiting and diarrhea involves managing symptoms, preventing dehydration, and addressing underlying causes. Here’s what it implies, why it’s important, and how it can be properly done:

What it implies: Treating vomiting and diarrhea involves providing symptomatic relief while addressing the underlying causes of these gastrointestinal symptoms. Vomiting and diarrhea can be caused by various factors, including infections, food poisoning, medication side effects, or underlying medical conditions.

Why it’s important: Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and nutrient loss if left untreated. Proper treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, prevent complications, and promote recovery.

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How it can be properly done:

  1. Fluid replacement: Encourage the person to drink clear fluids such as water, oral rehydration solutions, broth, or electrolyte-containing beverages to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Small, frequent sips may be better tolerated than large amounts at once. Avoid beverages that can worsen symptoms, such as caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.
  2. Dietary adjustments: Gradually reintroduce bland, easy-to-digest foods such as bananas, rice, applesauce, toast (BRAT diet), boiled potatoes, or plain crackers once vomiting and diarrhea have subsided. Avoid spicy, fatty, or dairy-rich foods that may irritate the stomach or worsen diarrhea.
  3. Medications: Over-the-counter medications such as antiemetics (for vomiting) or antidiarrheals (such as loperamide or bismuth subsalicylate) may provide symptomatic relief in some cases. However, use caution when giving medications to children or older adults, and consult a healthcare provider before use, especially if there are concerns about underlying medical conditions or drug interactions.
  4. Rest and comfort measures: Encourage the person to rest and avoid strenuous activities while they are experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. Provide comfort measures such as cool compresses, gentle massage, or warm baths to help alleviate discomfort.
  5. Monitor for signs of dehydration: Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration, including dry mouth, decreased urine output, dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, or confusion. Seek medical attention if dehydration is suspected, especially in young children, older adults, or individuals with chronic medical conditions.
  6. Address underlying causes: If vomiting and diarrhea persist or worsen, or if there are concerning symptoms such as high fever, severe abdominal pain, bloody stools, or signs of dehydration, seek medical evaluation to identify and address the underlying cause of the symptoms.
  7. Practice good hygiene: To prevent the spread of infections that can cause vomiting and diarrhea, practice good hygiene measures such as frequent handwashing, especially after using the restroom, before preparing or eating food, and after caring for someone who is sick.

Treating vomiting and diarrhea involves a combination of symptomatic relief, fluid replacement, dietary adjustments, and addressing underlying causes. While most cases of acute vomiting and diarrhea resolve on their own with home care, seek medical attention if symptoms are severe, persistent, or accompanied by worrisome signs or symptoms.

12. Treating Hypothermia

Treating hypothermia is crucial for preventing further heat loss and restoring normal body temperature. Here’s what it involves, why it’s important, and how it can be properly done:

What it implies: Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, causing the core body temperature to drop below normal levels. Treating hypothermia involves rewarming the body and providing supportive care to prevent complications.

Why it’s important: Hypothermia can lead to serious complications, including cardiac arrhythmias, respiratory failure, and death if left untreated. Prompt treatment is essential for preventing further heat loss and restoring normal body temperature to prevent complications and promote recovery.

How it can be properly done:

  1. Move to a warm environment: If possible, move the person to a warm, dry location away from wind and moisture to prevent further heat loss. Remove wet clothing and replace it with dry, warm layers, including hats, gloves, and socks to help retain body heat.
  2. Rewarm the body: Use external heat sources to rewarm the body gradually. Wrap the person in blankets or sleeping bags and apply warm compresses to the neck, chest, groin, and armpits. Use dry heating pads, hot water bottles, or warm towels to provide gentle heat to the body.
  3. Provide warm fluids: Offer warm, non-alcoholic beverages to help raise the person’s core body temperature from the inside. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, as they can increase heat loss and impair judgment.
  4. Monitor vital signs: Continuously monitor the person’s vital signs, including heart rate, breathing rate, and level of consciousness. Seek medical attention if the person’s condition worsens or if there are signs of severe hypothermia, such as confusion, lethargy, or shallow breathing.
  5. Handle with care: Handle the person with care and avoid rough or excessive movement, as this can trigger cardiac arrhythmias or cause further injury. Keep the person lying down and immobilized if possible to minimize heat loss.
  6. Prevent further heat loss: Once the person’s body temperature begins to rise, take steps to prevent further heat loss by insulating them with blankets or clothing and maintaining a warm environment. Avoid exposure to cold temperatures or drafts.
  7. Seek medical attention: Even if the person appears to be improving, it’s essential to seek medical attention for further evaluation and monitoring. Some cases of hypothermia require hospitalization for more intensive treatment and monitoring.

Treating hypothermia involves a combination of rewarming the body, providing warm fluids, and monitoring vital signs to prevent complications and promote recovery. Prompt action is essential for preventing further heat loss and restoring normal body temperature to prevent serious complications associated with hypothermia.

13, Treating Heat-Related Illnesses

treating heat related illnesses

Treating heat-related illnesses is crucial for preventing complications and restoring normal body temperature. Here’s what it involves, why it’s important, and how it can be properly done, including treatment for each heat-related illness:

What it implies: Heat-related illnesses occur when the body’s ability to regulate temperature is overwhelmed by heat. These conditions range from mild heat cramps to severe heatstroke and can have serious consequences if not promptly treated.

Why it’s important: Heat-related illnesses can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and even death if left untreated. Prompt recognition and treatment are essential for preventing complications and promoting recovery.

How it can be properly done:

Heat cramps:

Treatment: Move the person to a cool, shaded area and have them rest. Encourage them to drink fluids containing electrolytes, such as sports drinks or oral rehydration solutions. Gently massage and stretch the affected muscles to relieve cramping.

Heat exhaustion:

Treatment: Move the person to a cool, shaded area and have them lie down with their legs elevated. Loosen or remove tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths to the skin. Encourage them to drink fluids containing electrolytes and seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen.

Heatstroke:

Treatment: Heatstroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate action. Call emergency services and move the person to a cool, shaded area. Remove excess clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or ice packs to the skin to lower body temperature. Fan the person or use a fan if available. Monitor vital signs and provide supportive care until help arrives.

Dehydration:

Treatment: Encourage the person to drink fluids containing electrolytes, such as water, oral rehydration solutions, or sports drinks. Avoid beverages containing caffeine or alcohol, as they can increase dehydration. Offer small, frequent sips of fluids and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or persist.

Sunburn:

Treatment: Apply cool compresses or take cool baths to soothe sunburned skin. Use moisturizing lotions or aloe vera gel to hydrate and soothe the skin. Avoid further sun exposure and protect sunburned areas from additional irritation.

Heat rash:

Treatment: Keep the affected area clean and dry to prevent further irritation. Wear loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabrics such as cotton. Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching and discomfort.

Hyponatremia (low blood sodium):

Treatment: If hyponatremia is suspected, avoid drinking excessive amounts of water and consume fluids containing electrolytes to help restore sodium balance. Seek medical attention if symptoms such as confusion, nausea, or seizures occur.

Treating heat-related illnesses involves a combination of measures to cool the body, rehydrate, and provide supportive care. Prompt recognition of symptoms and appropriate treatment are essential for preventing complications and promoting recovery. If in doubt or if symptoms are severe, seek medical attention promptly for further evaluation and treatment.

Concluding

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Being equipped with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to various medical emergencies is paramount when the health system collapses. The situations outline in these articles can arise unexpectedly, and prompt action can make a significant difference in outcomes.

Whether it’s recognizing the signs of hypothermia and swiftly rewarming the body or administering the Heimlich maneuver to a choking person, every action taken in a medical emergency has the potential to save lives and prevent further harm.

Moreover, prevention plays a crucial role in mitigating the risks associated with many medical emergencies. By understanding common triggers and taking proactive steps to avoid them, individuals can reduce their susceptibility to conditions like allergies or heat-related illnesses.

Overall, while proper treatment techniques are essential, education and preparedness are equally vital. Regular training in first aid and CPR, coupled with awareness of potential risks, empower individuals to respond effectively when medical emergencies arise.

This article has been written by James H. Redford MD for Prepper’s Will.

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