When giving first aid to a sick or injured person you should try to minimise the risks to yourself, the patient, and any helpers or bystanders.

Ten basic rules for first aid

  1. When possible, wash your hands with soap and water and apply disposable latex gloves before touching a wound, blood or other body fluids.
  2. In the case of serious bleeding, where there is no time to obtain or apply gloves, it is still possible to control the blood loss without having any direct contact with blood. Place your hands in plastic bags, and use the patient’s hands to apply pressure.
  3.  If you have any cuts or wounds on your hands, ensure that they are fully covered by a waterproof dressing.
  4.  Cover your mouth/nose during any treatment of a patient with a potentially serious infection (e.g. tuberculosis) to avoid inhaling infected droplets.
  5.  If you are splashed with blood or other body fluids, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible. Then contact your doctor for specific medical advice.
  6. If any of your clothing has been contaminated by body fluids, remove it promptly and immerse it in a container of household bleach, mixed according to and following the instructions on the label.
  7.  Safely dispose of any used dressings, bandages and disposable gloves by placing into a plastic or paper bag, and sealing well before putting it into a rubbish bin or burning.
  8.  If there is a hospital or medical clinic nearby, the dressings can be disposed of in a medical Hazardous Waste bin where they will be correctly and incinerated.
  9.  Used instruments, such as scissors or splinter forceps, should be cleaned thoroughly under running cold or warm water. Serrated edges should be scrubbed with a fine nailbrush under running water. The articles should then be disinfected, preferably by immersion in a 1:80 bleach solution.
  10. After removing disposable gloves always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Dry your hands well to avoid cracking of the skin.

Rules for wound care

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and always apply disposable gloves.
  • A wound containing dirt or other contaminants should be cleaned with either an antiseptic solution or soap and water. Check the expiry date of any solution you wish to use and DO NOT use if past the expiry date.
  • The wound should be dried thoroughly before the dressing is applied.
  • Avoid direct finger or hand contact with the wound or the central part of the sterile dressing.
  • Apply a light dressing to the wound and secure it with a bandage or tape.
  • If the dressing is accidentally dropped or slips off the wound, apply a fresh one at once.
  • If the wound has any obvious discharge present, use an absorbent dressing on top of the first sterile dressing and bandage it in place firmly.
  • After securing the wound dressing, remove your gloves and wrap them with any soiled dressings and put them in a plastic or paper bag. The bag should be placed in a covered disposal bin or in a Hazardous Waste container.

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