Stay well in the heat

High temperatures are forecast for this weekend, making it essential to stay well in the heat and avoid dehydration.

The human body relies on water to maintain a healthy fluid volume and chemical balance.

This is why it’s essential to drink plenty when exercising or in hot weather.

During the festival and holiday season, it’s easy to forget to drink, with all the distractions or simply drink the wrong things.

Alcohol and high caffeine drinks don’t help, in fact they can easily increase you dehydration, leading to serious heat related conditions.

Simple steps to avoid Dehydration

When your body loses more fluid than it takes in you can easily become dehydrated, either from sweating due to heat or exercise, not necessarily just from being in a hot environment.

How will you know you’re becoming dehydrated

  • You’ll be thirsty
  • Your mouth and lips will be dry
  • You may feel dizzy and confused
  • Your urine will be dark coloured
  • You will be passing less urine than normal

What can you do to help?

  • Stop all physical activity
  • You should move to a shady place, ideally in a cool breeze
  • Drink plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol and caffeine rich drinks, since these will increase dehydration
  • Loosen and remove any unnecessary clothing
  • Continue to re-hydrate throughout the day possible using re-hydration fluids

If you think you’ve become dehydrated make sure you watch for the signs and symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

and always remember, if you’re in doubt call the NHS helpline 111.

Ambush in the Undergrowth

Ambush in the undergrowth

Spring is when we all start to think about getting out into nature, but be alert for an ambush.

Enjoying long walks in the forest or out across open heath land is a great way to spend time and breathe fresh air.

However, lurking in the undergrowth there is a tiny eight-legged creature waiting to ambush you and your pets.

The tick

The tick is a parasite looking to latch onto a nice healthy blood supply for a meal and they love warm moist bodies.

As you walk through the bracken, they will attach themselves to you, often making their way to scalp, armpits or groin areas.

Once they’ve found their ideal “camp site”, they’ll bite into your skin, injecting a type of local anaesthetic, so you probably won’t feel a thing, then start to feed.

Because they’ll have chosen their feeding ground well, you probably won’t notice them for some time and that’s when the real danger occurs.

Ticks carry a bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi which causes Lyme Disease, this usually enters the host after the tick has been attached between 36 and 48 hours.

Lyme Disease is an infectious disease and in its early stages causes, tiredness and fatigue. It can make you feel sick, produce muscle and joint pain with a high temperature, chills and neck stiffness.

Once established, after 3 to 30 days, the site of the bite will develop a distinctive circular “bullseye” rash.

Bulls-eye Rash

Joints will become swollen and painful; the limbs and extremities feel numb and the facial muscles can become paralysed.

Over time, people who have developed Lyme Disease, may well have heart and memory problems.

This is why it’s important to identify tick bites early and get appropriate treatment.

What can you do if bitten?

As with all first aid, start with your own protection, put on disposable gloves, if you’re treating someone else, you’ll be in contact with blood.

Your best way to remove a tick is with a special tick removal tool, this will disengage the tick without leaving any mouth-parts in the bite site.

By sliding the tool under the tick from the side like a claw hammer removing a nail until it’s held securely.

Lift it slightly away from the skin and twist the tool 2 or 3 rotations, either way, until the tick detaches itself.

If you don’t have a tick removal tool you can use fine tipped tweezers.

Gently grip the tick as close to the skin as possible and very slowly pull the tick upwards. Don’t crush the tick, or you’ll leave head and mouth-parts embedded, which can cause infection.

Once the tick’s removed disinfect the site of the bite well.

If the site remains red and swollen seek medical advice for treatment.

Never use a cigarette or flame to remove a tick.

How to protect yourself from tick bites

If you’re planning to walk in long grass, bracken or in forest and heath land.

  • Don’t wear shorts
  • Tuck trousers into socks
  • Stick to footpaths rather than walking through long vegetation
  • Brush down your clothes
  • Consider using an insect repellent
  • Check yourself when you shower at the end of the day. Especially, under the arms, in and around the ears, in the tummy button, backs of knees, in and around the hair, between your legs and around the waist.
  • Find out more by attending an Outdoor Activity First Aid Course

An Airtight Seal

The Cork

– a simple piece of tree bark shaped to form an airtight seal for a bottle of wineWine cork

Designed to keep the wine in and the air out.

 

 

 

CorkscrewCork removed from bottle

Simple device makes removing a cork easy

Will extract a cork effectively in seconds

 

 

Chocolate mini egg

– a small sugar coated chocolate sweetChocolate mini Egg

Ideally shaped to form an airtight seal in child’s airway

Becomes sticky in the mouth and dissolves very slowly

Which makes them very difficult to remove

What should you do if they’re choking?

Choking Hazard

Manufacturers warn of the dangers Warning text

Never leave your child unattended with small objects

 

Some other equally dangerous objects:

Carrot rounds, coins, toy parts, batteries*

Mini eggs and small objects can kill a child in minutes

Would you know how to help a choking child? What to do.

Learn Basic Lifesaving skills now it could be your child you save

*Batteries are even more dangerous they can burn through internal tissues causing irreparable damage to airways and digestive tract

Fetch the AED

Where’s the AED (Automated External Defibrillator)

When someone has a cardiac arrest and isn’t breathing, you should start CPR immediately, then send someone to fetch the AED.AED unit

Not all AEDs have locked cabinets, so you may be able to just pull open the door.

Some of the locked units have quite a lot of writing on them and you could be in panic mode, so may not see, “Call 999 for the access code”

Once you’ve dialed 999/112, you’ll be able to open the door. If you’re not by the cabinet, they’ll tell you if there’s a unit within a few minutes of where you are.

Take the AED out of the cabinet.

Defibrillator ON switch
Switch ON
Defibrillator PULL bar
PULL to activate

Once you’re back with the casualty, open the unit, unzip, pull the lever, switch it on if necessary.

Follow the voice instructions and do whatever they say.

Remove Clothing

Remove all clothing from the casualty’s chest, cutting it off if necessary.

Most AED packs include a set of heavy-duty shears, these will easily cut through cloth and underwired bras.

If there are bystanders, get them to hold up a blanket, rug or towel to preserve the casualty’s dignity.

Once you’ve removed the clothes, wipe dry the skin.

Look at the pads to see where they need to go, if the casualty has a lot of chest hair, be prepared to shave it.

There’s a razor in the pack, use it to clear the areas where the pads are to go.

Remove the pads from the backing and place them as shown in the diagram on the reverse side.Defib Pad placement

Don’t worry if you get them mixed up, they’ll work just as well in either position.

Before placing the pads, make sure they’re not touching any metal or jewellery, including piercings.

Remove all patches and plasters and avoid placing the pads over existing internal pacemakers or defibrillators. (If there’s an internal defibrillator beneath the skin, it has failed, so continue with pad placement adjacent to it)

Attach the Pads

Once the pads are attached, the AED should now be giving you further instructions.

If you’ve already been performing CPR it will tell you to stop and not touch the casualty, while it analyses their heartbeat.

Following a cardiac arrest, the heart won’t be beating normally, it will be quivering or fibrillating.

The AED will detect this, but if someone is touching them it will detect their pulse and stop the defibrillator from shocking.

When the AED has stopped analysing, having failed to find a heartbeat, it will tell you the patient needs a shock.

Deliver a shock

Some AEDs deliver this automatically, but others require the person using it to press a button to deliver the shock.Defib SHOCK button

When you’re told the shock’s been given, if the heart hasn’t restarted, you’ll be instructed to begin CPR again.

The unit will give you the option to follow instructions for this and give you a rhythm to follow for the correct rate of compressions.

You should follow the audible instructions from the unit, administering CPR and shocks as directed.

Always continue this until medical professionals tell you to stop, the casualty comes round and makes definite signs of life, or you’re just too exhausted to carry on and there’s nobody to take over from you.

If the casualty comes around, never remove the pads, they could easily have another arrest. Because they’re single use they can’t be reattached.

Myths about defibrillators.

  1. They start the heart – defibrillators stop the heart from quivering or fibrillating. This allows the heart to naturally “reboot” into a normal rhythm.
  2. The casualty can be harmed by an AED – The person is clinically dead, you can only help them
  3. You can be shocked by an AED – You can only shock someone if there is no heartbeat, this why it’s important not to touch them when the device is analysing.

 

 

The choice is yours

Dead or alive, which would you rather be?Ambulance with blue lights

The choice of being driven slowly and respectfully to the crematorium or fast with blue lights flashing, should be simple.

Unfortunately, fear could make that choice irrelevant.

We all react to events in different ways, and how a bystander reacts could make the difference.

The very definition of an adrenaline response poses the option, “flight or fight”.

Which will it be?

Fear, by the person first on the scene of your cardiac arrest.

Or will they fight for you? Confidently beginning resuscitation and using a defibrillator

In too many instances, the answer is flight, where fear overcomes the ability to help.

In an attempt to confront this fear, we need to consider, what makes you fearful.

Many people worry that they will do more harm than good

Sadly, the fact is, if that person has suffered a cardiac arrest and isn’t breathing – they are DEAD

You cannot harm them.

People also worry about using a defibrillator.

The type of defibrillator available to the public is the automated external defibrillator (AED).

Simply applying the pads to the casualty will start the process of analysis.

It checks for circulation, if there’s a pulse, it will tell you no shock is required and will stop it being delivered.

This is why it’s important you shouldn’t touch the person, if the defib detects your pulse because you’re in contact, it won’t give a shock.

It also tells you when to start CPR and even gives you the correct rate and rhythm as well as when to give rescue breaths.

Why would you be fearful in the words of footballer, Glenn Hoddle

“I never thought I’d be grateful to have seven ribs broken”.

After sound engineer Simon Daniels saved his life with CPR and a defibrillator

If you’d like the confidence to fight rather than flee, learn basic life-saving skills – book now

 

 

 

Practice makes perfect

The Generation Game

You may not remember the days of the “Generation Game” on television, when Bruce Forsyth would bring on an expert with an unusual skill.

The contestants would watch a demonstration of the person’s talent, not always terribly complex.potters wheel

It could be throwing a clay pot on a potter’s wheel, filling sausages, or learning a few dance steps.

Whatever the task they’d be asked to replicate it, after seeing it done once.

The fun then commenced, with the additional pressure of doing it in front of an audience.

Adrenaline rushes and panic sets in, laughter from the audience results in few of the contestants carrying out the task successfully.

If you compare this to learning basic life-saving skills, watching it done, is not enough.

Show a group something and ask them if they can repeat it? The majority will confidently say yes.

Testing beliefs

Stress test it, by getting them to actually do it, and more often than not, the answer is a definite no.

As a trainer I’ve noticed you can show learners things, but there really is no substitute for doing it.

For instance, putting someone in the recovery position, they invariably forget some of the steps.

However, given the opportunity to practice it, they become more confident and soon competent.

Learning from a screen

Increasingly we use video as a teaching resource and it has its place as a teaching aid.

But it cannot provide the feel of how hard and deep you must push on the chest to achieve effective CPR compression.

Feeling the difference between using two hands to achieve compression on an adult compared to just two fingers on an infant.Resuscitation Anne

Being able to watch the chest rise when you give rescue breaths, gives a great indication that you’d do it right in a real emergency.

If you’re in a restaurant and someone chokes, knowing where and how hard to slap them on the back and the sort of force it takes to give an abdominal thrust.

You must remember, like the generation game, your adrenaline will kick in. Not because you’re being watched by millions of people, wanting you to make a fool of yourself.

Because you will be dealing with a real life and death emergency.

Practice, practice, practice

Practice is the answer and the more often the better.

Although your certificate last 3 years, we recommend refreshing your skills at least once a year.

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