ST JOHN AMBULANCE: Prevent infection of wounds with these tips

Any open wound is at risk of becoming infected
Any open wound is at risk of becoming infected

St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity, has teamed up with the Littlehampton Gazette to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips – this week: bleeding.

Any break in the surface of the skin will not only allow blood and other fluids to be lost, but will allow germs to enter the body.

If the wound is minor, the aim of the first aider is to prevent infection.

To treat a minor bleed:

• Wash and dry your own hands.

• Cover any cuts on your own hands and put on disposable gloves.

• Clean the cut, if dirty, under running water and pat dry with a sterile dressing or clean, lint-free material.

• If possible, raise the affected area above the heart.

• Cover the cut temporarily while you clean the surrounding skin with soap and water and pat dry.

• Cover the cut completely with a sterile dressing or plaster.

Dealing with severe wounds may be daunting but it is essential to prevent further blood loss and minimise the shock that could result from the bleeding:

• Wash and dry your own hands.

• Cover any cuts on your own hands and put on disposable gloves.

• Remove or cut clothing as necessary to expose the wound.

• Apply direct pressure over the wound with a sterile dressing or clean, lint-free material.

• If there is an object in the wound, apply pressure on either side of the object.

• Maintain direct pressure on the wound and raise the injured limb above the level of the casualty’s heart to reduce blood loss.

• Help the casualty to lie down to help prevent shock.

• Bandage the pad or dressing firmly but not so tight as to restrict circulation.

• If bleeding seeps through the dressing, apply a second bandage.

• If bleeding continues to seep through, remove it and reapply, maintaining pressure on the wound

• Raise the casualty’s legs above the level of the heart to further prevent shock.

• Call 999/112 for emergency help and record vital signs, level of response, breathing and pulse until help arrives.

Any open wound is at risk of becoming infected, it is important to maintain good hygiene procedures to prevent cross infection between yourself and the casualty.

• For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website {http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/default.aspx |(www.sja.org.uk)|www.sja.org.uk} offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice. For more information about first aid courses please call 0303 003 0101.

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