13 Basic First Aid Skills That Everyone Should Know

In this article, you will learn 13 basic first aid skills that everyone should know.

You never know when an emergency will occur, and you may be called upon to provide emergency care to somebody who requires it.

It’s critical to be prepared, especially if you’re a parent or responsible for the health and safety of children, but even if you’re not because your preparation could mean the difference between life and death for an injured person or yourself.

Here are some basic first aid skills that everyone should be familiar with.

Stopping heavy bleeding is basic first aid knowledge, that may save your life one day. Heavy bleeding is dangerous because the blood loss is not just from the body’s natural output but also from a bleeding wound.

Heavy bleeding can be caused by major causes such as a torn, punctured, or impacted blood vessel.

The most common cause of severe bleeding is an acute injury to the veins and arteries that supply blood to the heart.

You can stop heavy bleeding by applying direct pressure to the site of the bleeding without pinching or twisting.

You should also check for any nearby fractures and wrap the wound tightly in clean cloths or a clean bandage.

For a severe bleed with internal injury, you would want to get medical attention as soon as possible so they can treat it appropriately.

2. Heimlich Maneuver

The Heimlich Maneuver is a lifesaving technique for people who are choking. Most first aid training will include this. It was developed in proper hospital settings but is now practiced outside of the hospital environment. This means that this is a great critical care skill to have for yourself and your loved ones.

You can do the Heimlich maneuver by placing your arms around your victim’s waist and giving a quick abdominal thrust upwards.

You can also do it by placing your arms around their chest and pressing the fist of one hand into the diaphragm while using the other hand to push up on their abdomen. If you have difficulty performing either maneuver, you should first learn the Heimlich maneuver through video.

3. Dress Wounds

This is a crucial first aid skill. The first step in dressing a wound is locating clean water and grabbing gauze or a cloth that you can gently use to clean the injury. If the wound is not too deep, you can do it yourself by rinsing the area with water. 

Many times though, this cannot be done because of the location of the injury, so ask someone else for help before proceeding to remove dirt from around your wound. This should be done as gently as possible; try to minimize further damage to already swollen tissue.

After the wound has been cleaned, it needs to be flushed. Flushing is done by running cool to lukewarm water over the wound for a few minutes, at which point any remaining blood and debris should have been cleansed away. 

You can simplify this process by using ice-cold water instead and letting it run over the area for about ten minutes. Ice-cold water will provide much more effective results than warm water; this helps stop bleeding and send shockwaves of cold, healing the area faster.

Rinsing out any wounds should be done with a gentle soap solution for a minute while flushing. This step will help prevent infection, and an infection may result in improper healing of a wound.

Once the injury has been cleaned, your next step is to cover it. First, find a bandage and wrap it around the affected areas. This should be done gently, making sure not to place too much pressure on the wound itself, to prevent further injury.

Place a strip of sterile gauze underneath your bandage, and use this as a base for the main bandage. It would help if you wrapped it around twice onto itself with enough overlap so that you do not cut open the wound when removing it later (this will prevent running water from entering wounds).

After applying the main bandage, another strip of gauze should be placed one every three inches. This strip is used to protect the wound from dirt and debris during movement.

4. Make Splints

You can make a splint by cutting a piece of cardboard (1-2″ wide) to the desired length.

Then, take an additional strip of cardboard and wrap it around the middle of your splint with adhesive tape (cloth tape might also work). You can also attach one or more strips of cardboard on the outside for increased stability.

Be sure to alert hospitals as well, if it’s possible.

5. Stopping Nose Bleeding

To treat a nosebleed, you must first stop the bleeding. Hold your head high, pinch your nose closed with one hand while sucking in your breath with the other.

This should draw blood up to the nasal passages and relieve pressure on the nasal membrane. If it doesn’t work, try pinching both nostrils shut with a cloth or tissue. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to go to the hospital for stitches and medical care.

6. Perform CPR


You can do CPR by following some simple steps that are designed to keep the victim’s oxygen level in their blood high. I reccomend you do professional CPR training to do this correctly. To do this, you will have to compress their chest and breathe into their mouth. Here are the steps:

  • If you see someone collapse, check to see if they’re okay before doing anything else! This takes priority over all other actions.
  • Call 911 or your nearest emergency number and wait for help to arrive.
  • Do not give up too soon! CPR can save a person from death; it can also be very helpful in keeping a victim of cardiac arrest from getting brain damage.
  • Take the person’s pulse, and if it is very slow or not there at all, start CPR.
  • Make sure you apply gentle, rhythmic compression on the chest.
  • Once help has arrived, take instruction from a trained professional for further steps.

7. Hypothermia Treatment

Hypothermia affects a person by lowering their body temperature, and it can occur in any environment where there is cold water or conditions. This is because the colder your body gets, the less energy you have to keep yourself warm.

If you’re ever faced with a situation where someone has hypothermia symptoms, always call 911 or head to the emergency room for help as soon as possible. If that is impossible to do promptly, then a hot drink (no alcohol or caffeine) and blankets may help.

8. Treat Internal Digestive Tracks

You should drink plenty of liquids to stabilize your electrolyte levels and replace fluids lost to treat diarrhea. The trick is to choose very salty liquids because this will help you retain the fluids better than drinking water. This will also decrease the amount of diarrhea that you have.

Next, you can treat vomiting by applying pressure to the stomach or using your knuckles to press a point below the navel. It is often recommended that people who vomit should drink water, though this is not always the case. Vomiting can also be treated by inducing nausea reducers (Amazon link).

You need to know if vomiting can present a serious health risk. In some cases, prolonged vomiting can lead to dangerous dehydration and need urgent medical attention.

Finally, to treat a stomach ache, all you need to do is first find out what’s causing the stomach ache by eating less of certain foods and trying not to vomit. Common foods that cause stomach aches are fried chicken, raw meat, raw fish, very ripe fruit, and milk.

Other foods that you should stop eating are as follows: bread and potatoes. Then, you should lie down and try taking a warm bath. This will help to loosen up the stomach and cause the digestive tract to work better to expel all of the bad stuff more quickly. After that, you can take over-the-counter medication if needed.

9. Treating Shocks

How to Treat Shock

Shock occurs when the body’s response to stress causes a change in the person’s mental status. It is a medical emergency.

The loss of blood volume or fluid leads to pressure on the brain and affects how it functions. This can lead to confusion or difficulty communicating (often referred to as ‘incoherent speech’).

You can treat shock by restoring blood to the body, but there’s a better way. First of all, blood is not the only thing needed. Your heart must beat, or the body will die. This means CPR is a potential solution. 

For less severe cases, having the person lie on their back with their feet elevated may be the solution. This is the basic gist, but here is another article covering more details.

10. Treating Fevers

Fevers in children can be very scary because they may be more serious than in adults. You or someone else may have several illnesses that cause fevers, and they could be at risk for dehydration if you don’t watch out. Here are some things you can do to help alleviate the fever:

Intake plenty of fluids, especially water. A fever causes the body to lose a large amount of fluid. Several OTC fever medicine (Amazon link) may help.

Try to keep your child from having a fever for two or more days. Transient fevers are common and usually last less than five days. However, any fever lasting more than 48 hours should be checked by a doctor to ensure there isn’t an underlying illness that needs treatment.

11. Treat Burns

To treat burns, first and foremost, make sure the victim is out of danger. After that, cool the burn by using cold water or a cold compress. This will minimize swelling and prevent further damage to the skin.

Next, apply a bandage by placing it gently over the burnt area, but do not wrap the burn; leave the bandage loose. Do not remove a bandage if it feels too tight or causes pain.

Applying an antibiotic ointment is helpful to fight infection. The American Burn Association recommends using clean cloths and washes them with soap and water after each use.

Afterward, continue taking care of the wound by washing it at least three times a day with soap and water. When the wound is inflamed, add an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen.

If possible, keep the burned area elevated to reduce swelling and pain. In addition, take an over-the-counter antibiotic such as erythromycin.

12. Treating Allergies

To treat most food allergies, apply an Epi-Pen. If that is not available, then administering CPR or the shock treatment may be alternatives. 

To apply an Epi-Pen: 

  1. Remove the blue safety cap from the head.
  2. Press the orange tip against the outside of your thigh until click is heard.
  3. Keep the pen stationary for ten seconds.
  4. Remove the pen and massage the injection site for an additional 10 seconds.

13. When to Call 911

You should call 911 for a medical emergency when:

  • The person is not responsive or breathing
  • The person is having a seizure, convulsing, or spasming uncontrollably.
  • There are signs of poisoning or exposure to toxic substances.
  • The person’s skin looks bluish or grayish, and/or they have no pulse (heartbeat).
  • The person is not breathing, has a pulse but is unconscious, or has no pulse.
  • The person’s breathing or heart rate is very slow (less than 10/min)
  • There is an increase in vomit, urine, or bowel movement in the last 2 hours.

Last Words

I hope you will never have to use these, but don’t be afraid to re-read to get the main gist of everything. This is all very important for your own safety and for others too.

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