Four more ways to save a life


A recent survey revealed that if someone standing nearly had a heart attack, one in three of us would have no idea what to do. Here we show you the lifesaving techniques that ensure you are prepared for any emergency.

Internal bleeding

Large amounts of blood in vomit can be a sign of an ulcer. Anything that looks like coffee grounds can also be a sign of internal bleeding. Put the person in the recovery position, keep them warm, check their pulse, and seek medical advice. Blood in sputum can be due to a chest infection and should always be reported to a doctor.

In the early stages of preg-nancy, slight vaginal bleeding is quite common. Heavy bleeding can be a sign of a possible mis-carriage.

Bleeding and pain at around six to eight weeks after the last period can be a sign of a possible ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside the womb). This is a medical emergency.

Back injuries

If a spinal injury is suspected, do not move the casualty, unless they are in danger.

Keep them still, and steady the head by placing a hand over each ear, and place rolled up blankets or clothing on either side of the neck and shoulders, to give additional support.

If they have to moved, keep the body in a straight line, like a log.

Dehyration and fainting

Dehydration can occur through severe diarrhoea and vomiting, and extreme sweating.

As the condition worsens, shock can develop. Lay the person down, and give them sips of water, with a pinch of salt and sugar added to each glass.

Raise their legs to improve the blood supply to vital organs, and loosen tight clothing. Call for medical help.

Fainting can be due to pain or fright, an emotional upset, tired-ness, lack of food or water, or standing still in a warm atmosphere for a long time.

Lay the person down, and raise their legs. Make sure they have plenty of fresh air. As they recover, sit them up very slowly.

If they feel faint again, either lay them down, with their legs raised, or put their head down between the knees.

Bone and muscles injuries

Signs of a possible fracture are pain, swelling or a distorted shape, and difficulty in move-ment.

Fractures can lead to severed arteries, and severe internal bleeding, which can be worsened if the affected bones are moved.

Suspected fractures should be kept as still as possible. For a leg, tie it to the other one using cloth.

Support an arm with a sling on the chest wall.

If there is also an open wound on the skin, apply pressure to stop bleeding, but do not press down on any protruding bone ends. Cover with a clean cloth.

For injuries to muscles, tendons and ligaments, apply the RICE principles:

Rest the injured part, then apply

Ice or a cold compress for at least 15 minutes.

Compress the injury, applying gentle pressure, using cotton wool, secured with a bandage

Elevate the affected part.

See below for the recovery position

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