First-Aid is often taught by CPR certification organizations and there are a few different learning environments, such as in-person, blended, and online certifications, that teach bystanders how to respond to various medical situations. This article discusses those medical situations and explains what you’ll learn in a typical First-Aid or CPR certification class.
Every year, approximately 250,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest (SCAs) alone. Learning CPR and First-Aid skills don’t only equip you to respond to cardiac arrest emergencies. These skills give you the tools and confidence to respond to a wide array of medical emergencies such as severe bleeding, poisoning, and choking. Continue reading to learn more about what First-Aid includes.
What Is First-Aid?
First-aid refers to a wide range of medical responses administered after various injuries occur. It is typically short-term treatment with specific technology and you can use the methods in the First-Aid course to respond to injuries such as cuts, scrapes, scratches, burns, or applying bandages and dressings.
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What Do You Learn?
You will not only learn CPR and First-Aid knowledge when you take a First-Aid class. After acquiring the knowledge, you’ll acquire the skills necessary to respond to a wide range of emergencies and medical situations. In the CPR portion of your education, you’ll be able to conduct person-to-person CPR, CPR rescue breaths, hands-only CPR, and how to administer a shock with an AED.
In the First-Aid course, you will learn how to respond to the following:
- Control bleeding
- How to respond to head injuries
- How to assess and treat injuries to the extremities
- How to address a person’s mental status
- How to respond to chest pain, severe pressure,
- Treating poisoning
- Responding to environmental emergencies
- Responding to hypothermia and stroke
With the knowledge and skills to respond to a wide array of situations, you’ll be able to cultivate the confidence to act quickly and decisively. The more confidence you have in your ability, the more likely you are to perform the correct procedures in these situations.
Textbook and classroom training is great, but the more hands-on experience you receive, the more confidence you will have when responding to medical emergencies.
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Types of Classes
In-person classes are the most effective learning method for CPR and First-Aid classes. This method gives you valuable experience and exposure to real-life situations that require emergency responses from bystanders.
Blended CPR certification and FIrst-Aid courses offer valuable convenience for people who might not have the time to devote to an in-person class. In this setting, the students can control their schedule while practicing hands-on skills on a provided dummy.
Solely online classes give people the opportunity to conveniently achieve their certification from the comfort of their homes. These classes are all online and don’t feature the hands-on approach to learning CPR and First-Aid, which can somewhat hinder retention and skills development. However, for people with full schedules looking to gain a little knowledge in the medical response realm, these classes offer viable alternatives.
What Does First-Aid Include?
The acronym A-B-C forms the basis of how First-Aid should respond to an unconscious or unresponsive victim. The acronym represents the following procedure:
- Airway- if someone can’t breathe, check their airway
- Breathing- If the airway is clear, and the victim still is not breathing, provide rescue breaths.
- Circulation- Chest compressions keep the blood circulating and you should perform them in addition to rescue breathing. If you are not CPR-certified, then chest-compression-only CPR is recommended.
CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a life-saving technique you learn in most First-Aid classes that responds to patients in cardiac arrest. The procedure uses both rescue breaths and chest compressions to keep blood circulating throughout the body until medical professionals arrive. CPR is often taught in conjunction with AED or an automatic external defibrillator. The AED analyzes the heart’s rhythm and issues a shock to try and restore the heart to its normal rhythm.
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Bleeding is typically a straightforward response process. The first objective is to try and stop the bleeding. However, you should consider the ABCs if the person is unconscious or not breathing. Most bleeding can be mitigated, so try not to be alarmed by the amount of blood loss. If severe bleeding continues, it can lead to shock and eventually death, so you must act confidently and quickly.
You might have a tendency to overestimate the amount of blood loss given your inexperience in responding to these situations, so assessing the blood’s color and how it’s leaving the body is critical.
Capillaries: Bleeding from the capillaries, the smallest blood vessels, looks like a trickle and it will typically stop without significant intervention.
Veins: Consistent, dark red bleeding alerts you of a more severe bleed, but not as severe as bleeding from an artery. People can experience rapid blood loss from the veins and rapid response is necessary.
Arteries: Arteries are the largest blood vessels and they spurt in step with the beating of the heart. This is the most severe form of bleeding and people can go into shock quickly. Any blood loss from an artery is an emergency and may require a tourniquet.
You should call 911 if you suspect arterial bleeding, blood soaks through bandages, or the bleeding won’t stop. While you wait for the ambulance, someone should always attend to the patient.
Choking is another one of the most common emergencies CPR and FIrst-Aid certification covers. Choking occurs due to a windpipe obstruction. Prior to administering help, you should make sure the person is actually choking. If they are talking or coughing, they are not choking.
Symptoms of choking include:
- Gagging, gasping, or wheezing
- Inability to talk or make noise
- Turning blue in the face
- Grabbing at the throat
- Waving arms
- Appearing panicked
If the person is conscious and old enough to respond, ask if they’re choking before performing the Heimlich maneuver.
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Other Responses Learned in CPR
Learning how to perform CPR and responding to bleeding and choking emergencies are the most common procedures to learn in CPR and First-Aid training. However, you will also learn how to respond to various situations that include:
- Broken Bones
- Bee Stings
Earning your CPR/First-Aid certification is a critical part of being a responsible member of your community. Since 350,000 SCAs occur outside of the hospital, your family member or friend might be the one who needs your assistance.
You can learn CPR and FIrst-Aid in a number of ways. In-person classes offer the most immersive learning experience while blended and online certification courses allow you to learn in your own space and control your schedule.