Teenagers need to learn first aid

Teenagers and young people are often armed with a feeling of invincibility and are therefore likely to push boundaries and take risks. When accidents happen, it is crucial that teenagers are equipped with the skills and confidence to protect themselves and their friends.

A survey, commissioned by the British Red Cross revealed these worrying statistics:
More than 532,000 young teenagers have been left to cope with a drunken friend who was sick, injured or unconscious within the last year.

1/4 of young people have had to deal with asthma attacks.
1/3 of teenagers have had to cope with someone with a head injury.
1/5 teenagers have had to help someone who is choking.
Moreover, when faced with these emergency situations, 44% panicked and 46% simply didn’t know what to do.

In the survey’s most compelling statistic, 97% of young people, said they believed first aid education would improve their confidence, skills and willingness to act in a crisis.

The flowing offers some guidance as to how to deal with some of the most common emergencies that teenagers could face.

Overdoing it on the alcohol:
If someone has consumed so much alcohol that they have collapsed; immediately check that they are breathing and then roll them into the recovery position to ensure their airway remains clear. If someone is drunk; it becomes harder for them to maintain their body temperature and they can quickly succumb to hypothermia. If they are outside bring them in, or alternatively, if you are unable to move them, insulate them from the ground and cover them with a coat or blanket. Keep checking they are breathing and that their airway remains clear, especially if they are vomiting.
The effects of alcohol can also make it harder to assess serious signs and symptoms. If someone has hit their head and they are drunk; they should always be checked out by a medical professional. Anyone who has suffered a head injury should be monitored for the next 48 hours to check for any signs of brain injury; this is even more important if they have been drinking or have taken any other substances.

The effects of alcohol can also make it harder to assess serious signs and symptoms. If someone has hit their head and they are drunk; they should always be checked out by a medical professional. Anyone who has suffered a head injury should be monitored for the next 48 hours to check for any signs of brain injury; this is even more important if they have been drinking or have taken any other substances.

Drugs:

If someone has taken some sort of drug, they are likely to have poor judgement and underestimate risks; they may even seek danger as an additional thrill. It is usually obvious if someone is high – check for dilated or constricted pupils, speak to them and listen to what they are saying and how they say it. They may have taken a cocktail of drugs, or they may not know what they have taken at all. It is also very common that the drug they have been sold is completely different to what they thought they were purchasing. They may hallucinate or become violent; do not put yourself in any danger. If they do not want your help and you are concerned about them; call an ambulance and the paramedics will take control of the situation. Many drugs lead to an excessive thirst and overheating and it is vitally important to remain well hydrated and not to mix drugs and alcohol. If you are caring for someone who is suffering a bad reaction from drugs, get help fast. If they are unconscious and breathing, you should put them into the recovery position and keep checking that they are breathing. If they stop breathing and you need to do CPR, ensure you protect yourself with a face shield.

For asthma attacks:

It is important for everyone to remain as calm as possible as stress and panic will make the situation worse. Encourage the casualty to use their blue reliever inhaler. If they haven’t got access to their inhaler; you must phone for an ambulance. If you are near a chemist and it is open; if they can provide proof that they have been prescribed the medication, it is possible to buy an emergency inhaler over the counter. If their symptoms get worse, you should seek medical help immediately.

Fallen from a height or hit by a car:

If you suspect someone may have a spinal injury it important to avoid twisting their spine. However, maintaining a clear airway is always of paramount importance and so you will still need to roll them into the recovery position if they are unconscious and breathing and it is best to log roll them with the help of others. Treat bleeding by applying direct pressure; monitor them closely for signs of shock and phone for an ambulance.

First Aid is an essential life skill and helps young people remain safer by appreciating risk and being able to help each other if they are involved in a medical emergency. My own teenagers have both had to use their first aid skills and knowledge on numerous occasions; at parties, on the sports pitch, babysitting and whilst doing their Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions.
A First Aid qualification is invaluable to young people striving to achieve their Duke of Edinburgh and Sports Leadership Awards and is highly sought after by UCAS – particularly if applying for a medically related subject. Parents will feel far more confident leaving their little ones with someone equipped with the skills to help if there is an accident and Sports and kids clubs view First Aid skills as a necessity.
Therefore, not only are the skills hugely valuable, likely to be used and could save a life; the qualification gained is likely to increase a young person’s chances in this increasingly competitive world.

Emma Hammett

Emma Hammett

Emma Hammett is an experienced nurse and first aid trainer, she has worked in many areas including A&E, Children’s Ward, Burns Unit and Acute medical and surgical wards before becoming hospital manager of Hammersmith and Charing Cross Hospitals. In 2007, she founded First Aid for Life and is shortly going to publish her second book, Burns, Falls and Emergency Calls – The ultimate guide to the prevention and treatment of childhood accidents.
Emma is also the founder of First Aid for Pets offering first aid training courses for your pets https://firstaidforpets.net/
Emma Hammett
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