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At some point or another, bad things are going to happen, and you need to know how to handle the situation.  Having basic first aid knowledge can potentially save someone’s life.  Here are five skills you must know.

How to perform CPR

If you witness someone suddenly collapse or come across a person lying unconscious, they may be in need of CPR.  First, tap them on the shoulder and ask if they’re okay.  Call 9-1-1 immediately if the person is unresponsive. The next thing you need to do is lay the person on their back, but be careful when moving them. Tilt their head back slightly to open their airways then take a few seconds to see whether the person is breathing.  If they don’t take a breath within 10 seconds, start CPR.

  1. For adult victims, you’re going to use a 2-hand technique to give 30 chest compressions.  Place one hand on top of the other and clasp them together.  Push hard and fast in the center of the person’s chest slightly below the nipples.  Your compressions need to be at least 2 inches deep to be effective.  Ideally, you want to deliver at least 100 compressions per minute. 
  2. After every 30 compressions, give the victim two rescue breaths.  Pinch the person’s nose shut, place your mouth on theirs and blow to make their chest rise. If you’re uncomfortable giving rescue breaths at least keep performing chest compressions.  Doing so will keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs.
  3. Repeat the cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until help arrives or the victim wakes up.

Treat a burn

When it comes to burns the first thing you want to do is evaluate its severity.  Seek medical attention if the burned area is larger than 3 inches or you have black or white charred skin.  The latter indicates that you’re dealing with third-degree burns.  Minor burns can be handled on your own by holding the skin under cool running water for at least 10 minutes.  Do not apply ice to the area. If you’re in pain, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for relief.

Take care of cuts and scrapes

Some people freak out at the sight of blood, but there’s no need to panic over a minor cut or scrape.  Simply cover the wound with a clean cloth and apply gentle pressure for 20 minutes.  This will help the blood to clot.  Once the bleeding stops, you can clean the wound with water, then apply an antibiotic ointment and a bandage.

Heal a sprained ankle

Sprains are one of the most common injuries.  They usually occur when you twist or roll your ankle awkwardly.  An effective way to treat a sprain is to use the R.I.C.E. method which is an acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation.  Give your ankle time to rest so you don’t do any more damage.  Apply ice throughout the day to reduce swelling and redness.  Wrap your ankle using an ace bandage or something similar which will also help with the swelling.  Finally, keep your ankle elevated.

Stop a nosebleed

Usually when you see someone having a nosebleed, you instinctively tell them to put their head back because you don’t want them to mess up their clothes.  However, this isn’t the best advice.  It’s actually recommended that you sit upright and lean forward so the blood doesn’t drain down the back of your throat.  To stop the bleeding, pinch the soft part of your nose just below the nasal bone for 10 minutes while breathing through your mouth.  Once the bleeding stops, apply an ice pack for 10 minutes at a time.  Avoid bending down, blowing or picking your nose as it may cause it to bleed again.