An injury or a bout of illness can strike anywhere, at home or when you are out at the office or on the road. First aid is the first and foremost line of treatment that is administered to the victim before a more professional help takes over.
One of the prime purposes of first aid is to preserve life and this becomes even more crucial if the victim is unconscious with an irregular breathing pattern, or worse is not breathing at all. This is where the ABC of first aid comes in and denotes airway, breathing and circulation. The sequence of these actions is structured in a way that is easy to remember and as such must be carried out in the same order as they appear. The ABC can be administered by healthcare professional as well as any citizen who knows a little about first aid.
The following points will explain the ABC in more detail.
A. Airway: The first thing that you must do when you approach a person in an emergency is to make sure the victim’s airway is clear. A presence of any obstruction can cause choking and quickly turn into a life threatening situation. The blockage may be caused due to anything from a foreign object or vomit or due to the tongue. The most common and easy action is to tilt the head while lifting the chin to clear the airway. Another method to clear the airway of vomit or get the tongue free is to place the victim sideways. If you are a professional you can use more advanced techniques too. Remember, whatever the method clearing the airway must be your first concern.
B. Breathing: Once you are sure the airway is clear then you must move on to assess the breathing of the victim. Here you must note if the person is able to breathe independently, if not then you will have to help in getting air into the victim’s lungs by administering rescue breathing also commonly known as artificial respiration.
C. Circulation: Next you must turn your attention to ensure that the rest of the body gets some blood and oxygen by promoting circulation. You must check the victim’s pulse to confirm if there is some circulating activity, if not then you must immediately proceed to administering chest compressions to boost circulation. However, if you are new to first aid and are unsure on how to check the pulse you can directly proceed to giving chest compressions after the breathing stage.
Over time the ABC have been extended or alternate courses have been suggested to accommodate a host of different situations. A ‘D’ has been added in some cases to denote defibrillation or deadly breathing while some continue to use this concept by merging it to the circulation stage. A sort of prefix namely DRAB is also used to accommodate danger and response followed by airway and breathing.
For more information, please visit our first aid website.
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