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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The Simple Steps That Save a Life – The Critical Seconds to Drowning and the Importance of First Aid

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Last week started with a tragic news, after a 43-year-old man in Limassol drowned with a piece of meat while eating in a restaurant in the city. He asked for help from others who were gathering in the same restaurant who tried to help with blows to the back to no avail. After being transported to the Limassol General Hospital, he was pronounced dead from drowning, while a piece of meat was found in his neck. This incident once again sounded the alarm bell, highlighting the importance and especially the need for knowledge of first aid by literally everyone.

Time is life

In many cases of a life-threatening injury, time flies at the expense of the sufferer. Even if we know for sure that access to a hospital or ambulance is immediate, the minutes until it is picked up by qualified staff are crucial. For example, some brain cells begin to die within the first five minutes of lack of oxygen. Early care increases the chances of survival and complications can be less serious.

In our daily lives

First aid is applied in many different cases, and something extremely extreme does not need to happen to intervene. Burns, drowning from food or water, sunburn and other frequent incidents need immediate care. Sometimes first aid can be so effective that you do not need to be rushed to a hospital. Thus, the extra hassle time is significantly reduced. One of the basic rules of first aid is to confirm our own safety before intervening. There are times when caregivers can jeopardize their physical integrity if they do not know how to approach the sufferer. Sometimes, in fact, the helper can lose his life trying. By taking concrete steps, everyone's health is ensured to a great extent. Much of the first aid can be applied to ourselves. In cases where we do not have someone to help us, but knowing what to do, we save our own lives. From simple cases to more complex ones, the knowledge of applying first aid to our body is essential. We do not all have the same acumen, ability or ability to act immediately. First aid offers a wide range of knowledge on how we can become helpers for all people. Infants, children and the elderly need special attention. Thus, we can do with specialized controls in mind. Providing immediate care is a solidarity move towards our fellow human beings. All, all and all we can find ourselves in a potentially dangerous situation. Knowledge and first aid ensure a safer environment. At work, on vacation, on the road or at home, the risks are greater than we think.

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Another drowning, another drowning

Mr. Dimitris Pieroudis, first aid instructor from the Chiron School, speaking to “P” pointed out the need for knowledge of first aid and explained in simple words the steps to be followed in a similar incident. “What we need to make clear is that drowning and drowning are two different things. Drowning is when one drowns in the sea or in the water in general, while on the contrary, drowning is when a foreign object, usually food, blocks the airway. The truth is that we are all exposed to the possibility of drowning. Infants due to inexperience, children due to liveliness, and older ones due to weakened muscles and the fact that they do not have strong teeth to chew their food adequately “.

When we do not intervene >

Mr. Pieroudis states that in case we are in front of a drowning incident we should make a quick assessment and identify if it is a partial or complete blockage of the airway. Partial obstruction is when an object (eg a piece of meat) prevents us from breathing properly and so we start coughing in order to eliminate it. This is something that can happen to anyone very often. In this case we should not intervene by hitting the back or pressing the abdomen of the person who coughs, because something like this could move the object to a worse position. What we need to do is encourage the person to continue coughing so that they can expel the object and breathe normally.

The cycles of effort

On the contrary, complete blockage is when the person is unable to speak, breathe and cough, and therefore needs outside help before he becomes hypoxic, collapses and then stops. In this case we should stand up, next to the drowning person, place him with one hand on his chest so that he leans forward, and with our palm hit between the shoulders with enough force, proportional, of course, with his body type. We have to knock five times and in the meantime see if the object in question has left the mouth. Next, we should place our hands under the armpits of the drowning person and place our fist just above the navel, but lower than the stomach. We need to apply five abdominal compressions, also known as the Heimlich pressures. This is the first round of efforts, which according to existing research gives a 70% chance to the person who has suffered a complete blockage to be saved. If the person is still drowning, then we proceed to a 2nd round of efforts which increases the chances to 80-85%. In case the object has not come out, then we make a 3rd round of attempts, the chances of which are shot up to 95%. During all these efforts, if we see something in the mouth, we take it out carefully. In no case, however, do we start the blind search in the mouth because it can cause injury to the oral cavity. We continue our efforts until the airway is released or until the sufferer collapses. If the patient collapses, we apply a primary assessment to determine if he is conscious and breathing. If he is not breathing, call an ambulance at 112 and apply CARP pulmonary resuscitation.

In case of a child or infant

The same steps apply in case a child has undergo a complete airway obstruction. However, the steps should be taken while we are on our knees and have reached the height of the child. It is clarified that in infants we do not do abdominal compressions, but chest compressions. That is, after we have pressed the baby's back five times, we turn it so that it looks up and we press five times with a corresponding force between the baby's breasts. All efforts, of course, are made while we have already called the ambulance which is on its way. Mr. Pieroudis concludes that “first aid each of us should know first about our family and then about everyone else. We personally consider first aid knowledge as a human duty and not as a choice “.

Source: politis.com.cy

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