First Aid in Road Accidents

Many deaths and impact of injuries can be prevented with First Aid if causalities are treated immediately.

First aid is the initial care given to an injured person. Mostly, this timely care prior to the arrival of the medical help means the difference between life and death.  It must start immediately when the injury or  illness occurs and continue until medical help arrives or the casualty recovers

The basic aims of first aid are :

     1. To save life.
     2. To protect the casualty from getting more harm.
     3. To reduce pain and priorities of Casualty Treatment.
Priorities of Casualty Treatment:
  • Asphyxia
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Severe Hemorrhage (Bleeding)
  • Other Injuries/Illnesses
  • Shock
Immediate Requirement :
Critical four minutes : One of the  most common causes of a road accident death  is due to  loss of oxygen supply. This is  mostly caused by a block airway. Normally it takes less than four minutes for a blocked airway to cause death.

The 'golden hour' : The first hour after the Trauma is called the 'golden hour'. If  proper first aid  is given, road accident victims has a greater chance of survival and a reduction in the severity of their injuries.
In case of Wound :

The job of first-aider is to remove or reduce the problems that hamper healing such as dirt, infection, movement, etc. Leave the wound undisturbed. Clean the wound by washing them with running water. If there are splinters, thorns and pieces of glass inside the wound remove them with a pair of tweezers so as to avoid infection.

In case of Profuse Bleeding :

The easiest way to stop bleeding is to apply direct pressure on the wound. This can be done with any clean folded cloth. Lean on the wound with the heel of the hand instead of your fingers.
In case of a Fracture :

In case of a fracture do not apply direct pressure; instead use a splint, combined with as gentle pressure bandage. It is safer not to give the patient anything to eat and drink. This is to protect the patient from vomiting in case he needs anesthesia and surgery, or has a head injury.

If the wound on the arm or the leg is bleeding profusely, it can be raised. This reduces the blood flow to the wounded area.

In case of Chest or Abdomen injury :

In abdominal wounds the intestines may come out. The only thing you can do as first-aider is to cover the wound with a very wet clean cloth and get the patient quickly to a hospital. The wet cloth will keep the intestine from drying out, and will stick to the intestine.

In case of Chest or Abdomen injury :

Open wounds of the chest could be sucking in the air, making it hard for the patient to breathe. Covering of the wound with a piece of polythene and putting a bandage on the top of this may help to reduce air being sucked into the chest. Get the patient quickly to hospital

In case part of a Limb is cut off :

If a part of the limb has been cut off it may be possible to reattach it to the body. Put it inside a clean polythene bag and place this bag in another bag with cold water. If you can easily get ice put some in the water to keep it cool. Make sure that the limb does not get soaked in water. If nothing else is available, carry the amputated part in a clean cloth quickly to hospital.

In large crush injuries or in amputation avoid washing the wounds, as it will lead to more blood loss. Just cover the wound with clean cloth and tie a pressure bandage quickly. If possible keep the limb raised. Avoid using raw cotton wool to cover a wound as it gets stuck to the wound, and is difficult to remove and delay healing.

In case of an Eye Wound :

Do not attempt any cleaning or washing of an open eye injury. Cover the eye with a clean soft cloth; place a stiff covering on top to prevent any pressure coming on the eye. This is important because the contents can be squeezed out even through a very small wound.

In case Bleeding from Nose :

Bleeding from nose could also mean a head injury. If the patient is conscious and can sit up, ask him to pinch his nose and breathe through his mouth. If he can lean forward, then that could prevent blood from going to his wind pipe choking him. If the patient is unconscious he should lie with the face to one side, for the blood to come out easily, so that there is no choking.

In case of Bleeding from Ear :

Bleeding from ears mean either injury to the ear alone, or serious head injury. Avoid putting anything in the ears to stop bleeding as this could further damage the eardrum. Get the patient to lie down with the injured ear facing down.

In case of Injuries to Muscles, Bones and Joints :

When muscle joints or bones get injured, blood collects over the area, and a swelling appears. You can reduce the swelling by bringing down the bleeding. Apply cold water or ice packs if available. It reduces local blood flow and this brings down the internal bleeding and swelling. But remember not to keep ice packs on more than ten minutes at a stretch as this will lead to something like frostbite, and not to place ice directly on skin. Always wrap it in a cloth first. A muscle injury can be made less painful by putting a splint on the injured limb.

In case of Broken Bones and Dislocated Joints :
A fracture or dislocation can be confirmed if there is obvious deformity, abnormal mobility, if the limb cannot be moved at all and if a grating feeling is there. First aid for all fractures and dislocations must aim to reduce movement, which will give relief from pain. Splinting should be done with caution.
Shifting the Injured to the Hospital :
1 Ensure that he is not hurt more.
2 The patient should be carried on firm board of stretcher so spine remains stable.
3 While shifting, the patient's back, neck and airway need to be protected from further injury. So always take help of another person.
4 If the patient is unconscious, gently place a large folded cloth or towel under the neck so that the neck doesn't sag against the ground.
5 The vehicle used to carry the patient to the hospital should have enough space to keep the patient's back straight and the person accompanying should be able to care for and resuscitate the patients if necessary.
6 During transportation keep a watch on whether the patient's airway is clear, whether the patient is breathing and whether you can feel the pulse in the patient.
7 If there is only one limb injury the patient can be safely taken to hospital on a chair in a sitting position. Take care to splint or protect limb injuries or bleeding.