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First aid (1) Dealing with common injuries

By Lotte Newman

Many pharmacists find themselves having to recall their first aid knowledge when customers consult them so preventing a potentially unnecessary visit to their doctor. Pharmacists seem so much more easily accessible — no appointment is needed, and they are available to dispense medicines and advice throughout the day. Add to that the fact that many pharmacies are open for long hours, and it is easy to see why the public takes advantage of such convenient access to health advice.

Some of the more common complaints that a pharmacist might be faced with are outlined below, with the correct first aid procedure given for each complaint, as recommended by St John Ambulance. Clearly, this guide is not a substitute for attending a first aid course but it should serve as an informative taster for those who are considering first aid training, or as a useful memory jogger for qualified first aiders.

Step-by-step instructions are included below, which go through what should be done if asked about the following:

  • Animal bites
  • Asthma attack
  • Bone, joint and muscle injuries
  • Foreign bodies in the eye
  • Head injuries
  • Insect stings
  • Burns and scalds
  • Splinters

Animal bites

Any bite that breaks the skin can cause a wound that is vulnerable to infection. Therefore, it will need prompt first aid and medical attention. For serious wounds, control bleeding by applying direct pressure and raising the injured part. Cover the wound with a sterile dressing, bandaged in place, and arrange for the casualty to go to hospital.

For superficial bites, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water. Pat the wound dry with clean gauze swabs and cover with a sterile dressing. Advise the casualty to see a doctor in case he or she needs primary immunisation against tetanus, or a booster.

Asthma attack

If you see someone having difficulty in breathing, remember to keep calm and reassure him or her while they take a dose from their bronchodilating inhaler.

Download the attached PDF to read the full article.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10977629

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