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Basic First Aid

Basic First Aid knowledge can help you address particular injuries and wounds you may have been inflicted by as a result of abuse or violence. Please note that the following information is only first aid and is NOT a substitute for medical help. This list of first aid support can help you address any injuries on yourself (as a survivor) or on a survivor (as a bystander) until you get professional help for your injuries.

First aid for Fractures

A fracture is a break in the bone. If you find yourself with a swelling or bruising over a bone, or a deformity in a limb, or pain in the area injured that worsens it every time you move it, or put pressure on it, or if you’re just not able to move the part, or loss of function in the injured area, or find any protrusion of a broken bone through the skin, it is a fracture. Take these steps until you can access professional medical help:

- Immobilize the area that is injured.

- Do not attempt realignment

- Apply ice to contain the swelling

First aid for Bruises

Bruises are injuries that result in discolouration of the skin. They may be situated in the superficial levels of the skin, or to a muscle. If you have a bruise or bruises, take these steps until you can access professional medical help:

- Place ice on the bruise to reduce the swelling. Always wrap the ice in a clean towel or used clean t-shirt and then place it on the wound – never place it directly. You may ice the wound for up to fifteen minutes each hour.

- Raise the bruised area above the heart level if it is possible. This can help avoid pooling of blood in the bruised tissue area.

- Rest the bruised area and don’t move it about too much. Don’t press on it.

- Avoid using the area and exerting yourself by exposing the area to activity or injury.

First aid for Wounds

Wounds are damages or breaks to the surface of the skin caused by an injury to the area so wounded. If you have a wound as a result of violence or abuse, you may take these steps until you can access professional medical help:

- Wash your hands before you handle your wounds, since it is a bleeding injury, you want to be careful and avoid infection.

- Control bleeding by applying a clean towel to the area with light pressure.

- Rinse the wound gently with clean, lukewarm water.

- Dry the wound by patting it dry with a clean pad or a towel.

- Use a gentle or light dressing over the wound and apply a light bandage over the wound.   

First aid for a head injury

If you have a head injury or are helping someone with a head injury, take the following steps:

- Apply something cold – ice inside a towel, placed on the area of the injury.

- Watch out for drowsiness or vomiting. If either symptom manifest, get immediate help. 

First aid for poisoning

If you have been poisoned or are helping someone who has been poisoned, take the following steps:

- Identify what they have been administered, when and how much. 

- Get them to help immediately.

- Do not induce vomiting

First aid for someone who’s unresponsive and breathing

If you are helping someone who has fainted, is unresponsive but still breathing, take the following steps:

- Place the person on their side

- Tilt their head back

- Call for medical help immediately.

First aid for someone who’s bleeding heavily

If you are bleeding heavily or are helping someone who is bleeding heavily, take the following steps:

- Apply pressure on the wound with anything available to stop or slow down the flow of blood.

- Call for immediate help and keep the pressure on the wound until help arrives.

First aid for burns

If a person has faced burns, take the following steps to help them:

- Cool down the area that has been burned under cold running water for at least ten minutes

- Cover the burn loosely with cling film or a clean plastic bag

- Get medical help immediately. 

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