Why First Aid

In February 2010 we started a series of First Aid tips. Since then we covered a lot of topics. Please have a look in our archive.

This month we want to give you some food for thought. We collected some interesting newspaper articles and reports online.

Why do you need First Aid training?

The Red Cross published an interesting report in September 2009. It identifies Ireland as one of the countries that has the poorest record in First Aid training. Only 5% !!! of Irish people stated that they would be confident in resuscitating a casualty. That compares with up to 80% in other European Countries.If you think you are part of the 95% please consider one of our courses. For a list of our next public courses please check our calendar.
Did you know that is compulsory in the majority of countries in the EU to have an up to date First Aid course in order to obtain a drivers licence?As you probably can imagine Ireland is not one of those countries.

The Red Cross published a report in 2008 that outlined their suggestions and gave some very intestesting statistics.

So if you are a motorist and you have not done a general first aid course its time to change this.

By the way – did you know that is compulsory in countries like Germany to carry a first aid kit in your car? Garda in Germany will not only check that you paid your motor tax, they will also check that you have an in date first aid kit and warning triangle in your car.

It is well known how important CPR is at a witnessed cardiac arrest.The chances of survival have significantly improved since AED – automated external defibrilators – are being introduced to more and more sports clubs, public buildings, shopping centres and rural community schemes.

AEDs are a vital part of the chain of survival.

Here you can read a very emotional success story. If it wasn’t for the help of trained Cardiac First Responders this lady would not have survived.

If you want to learn CPR and how to use an AED please book one of our public classes or a CPR & AED for family and friends class.


Meningitis is a global killer, affecting 250-300 people every year in Ireland. Most at risk are children under the age of 5, 16–19 year olds, and people over 55. Around 25 people in this country die from bacterial meningitis each year and many more who survive are often left with after-effects including deafness, blindness, limb loss (where septicaemia is involved), learning difficulties, memory issues and behavioural problems.Timing is crucial. Only if you know the symptoms you can take appropriate action. All our courses cover meningitis in detail.

For more details please go to http://www.meningitisnow.org/meningitis-info/signs-and-symptoms/.

Our next regular First Aid tip of the month will focus on the treatment of hypothermia.

If you would like to like to read about our range of First Aid Courses in Dublin please click here.

Jellyfish Stings

Our topic for August – Jellyfish Stings

July and August is the peak season for jellyfish in Ireland.

There are plenty of myths attached about how to treat jellyfish stings. They reach from applying cold or hot water to urine onto the affected area.

Here you will find the most up to date First Aid advice for jellyfish stings in Irish waters.

Jellyfish are usually found near the surface of the water during times of diminished light, floating in the water column, or after washing up on the beach. Jellyfish stings are generally accidental – from swimming or wading into a jellyfish or carelessly handling them.

Jellyfish Sting Symptoms

  • Symptoms include an intense, stinging pain, itching, rash, and raised welts.
  • The progressive effects of a jellyfish sting may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, lymph node swelling, abdominal pain, numbness/tingling, and muscle spasms.
  • Severe reactions can cause difficulty breathing, coma, and death.
  • A sting from a box jellyfish or other venomous types of jellyfish can cause death in minutes.

When to Seek Medical Care

Seek immediate medical treatment if the person stung has:

  • Difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, chest pain, or intense pain at the site of the sting.
  • If the person has been stung in the mouth and are having voice changes, difficulty swallowing, or swelling of the tongue or lips.
  • If the sting happened to someone who is very young or old.
  • If the sting involves a large area of the body, the face, or genitals.

First Aid Guidelines

These guidelines were drawn up by the Jellyfish Action Group of Ireland and Wales (which includes experts form Beaumont Poison Centre, Pre-hospital Emergency Care experts, hospital A&E consultants, local GPs, and water safety officers) and are only to be applied in Irish and Welsh waters.

  • Ensure you don’t get stung yourself when aiding others.
  • Remove any attached tentacles with a gloved hand, stick, or towel (none of these available use the tips of your fingers)
  • Do not rub the affected area (this may result in further venom release)
  • Rinse the affected area with sea-water (do not use fresh water, vinegar, alcohol or urine)
  • Apply a ‘dry cold pack’ to the area (i.e. place a cold pack or ice inside a plastic bag and then wrap this package in a t-shirt or other piece of cloth)
  • Seek medical attention if there is anything other than minor discomfort
  • If the patient is suffering from swelling, breathing difficulties, palpitation or chest tightness then transfer to the nearest emergency department urgently

As harmless and beautiful those creatures might appear you must never underestimate the potential threat they can cause.

For more information please visit http://www.jellyfish.ie/index.asp. You will find plenty of information about jellyfish in Ireland.

During our research for this article we came across this newspaper clip which shows you the extent of jellyfish in our waters and the likelyhood of an ever increasing amount of those marine species – http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/east-coast-jellyfish-warning-440812.html

If you would like to like to read about our range of First Aid Courses in Dublin please click here.

Head Injuries

Head Injuries – Part I

Any head injury is potentially serious. If not properly treated, injuries that seem minor could become life threatening.

Head injuries include scalp wounds, skull fractures and brain injuries.

Other injuries include nose bleed, eye injuries as well as spinal injuries.

We want to concentrate on scalp wounds, skull fractures and brain injuries. We will cover the remaining head injuries in our June edition.

Scalp wounds

hWounds to the scalp appear very often much more dangerous than they really are.

The reason for this is the fact that there are many vessels in our scalp. So any cut can cause heavy bleeding.

Myth buster – A bleeding scalp wound does not affect the blood supply to the brain!

First Aid:
  1. Apply a sterile or clean dressing and direct pressure to control bleeding
  2. Keep the casualty’s head and shoulders slightly elevated to help control bleeding if no spinal inury is suspected.
  3. Seek medical attention.
  • DO NOT remove an embedded object; instead stabilise it in place with bulky dressings.
  • DO NOT clean or irrigate a scalp wound if you suspect a skull fracture. The fluid can carry debris and bacteria into the brain.

Skull fracture

If a casualty has a head wound, be alert for a possible skull fracture. A skull fracture is serious because there is a risk that the brain may be damaged either directly by fractured bone from the skull or by bleeding inside the skull.

How do you recognise a fractured skull?

Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • wound or bruise on the head
  • soft area or depression on the scalp
  • deformity of the skull
  • drainage of clear or bloody fluid from the ears or nose
  • bruising under the eyse or behind an ear hours after the injury
  • changes in pupils (unequal, not reactive to light)
  • penetrating wound
  • progressive deterioration in the level of response
First Aid
  1. Monitor breathing. It is your aim to maintain an open airway.
  2. If casualty is conscious, help her to lie down.
  3. Control any bleeding by applying a sterile or clean dressing and applying pressure around the edges, not directly on it
  4. Stabilise head and neck to prevent any movement
  5. Call an ambulance
  6. If casualty is unconscious open the airway and check for breathing. Be prepared to deliver CPR.
  7. If necessary put casualty in the recovery position. If you have helpers use the “log-roll” techniques (to be covered in the June edition)

Brain injuries

We only want to concentrate on traumatic brain injuries which include compression and concussion.

Here a quick summary of the different symptoms:

Concussion is characterised by a brief period of impaired consciousness following a blow to the head or indirect force from falling.


Compression occurs when there is a build-up of pressure on the brain and is usually caused by a head injury. However it can also be caused by stroke, infection or a brain tumour.
Concussion Symptoms
Compression Symptoms
Pale Face
Cold clammy skin
Dry / hot
Rapid breathing
Noisy slow breathing
Rapid pulse
Slow, full and bounding pulse
Sudden onset
Gradual onset
Confused-drowsy, dizziness,headaches
Diminished level of response, goinginto unconsciousness
Pupils equal, nausea, may vomit
Possible paralysis / weakness on oneside
Memory loss
Possible fits, unequal or dilated pupils, intense headache

First Aid :

Treat casualty as for impaired consciousness
Call an ambulance – if conscious keep him supported in comfortable resting position
Monitor and record vital signs, level of response. Even if initially fully recovered watch for subsequent deterioration in level of response.
Regularly monitor and record the casualty’s vital signs – level of response, pulse, breathing – until medical help arrives.
If injured during sport don’t allow to “play on” without first obtaining medical advice.
Do not allow casualty to eat, drink or smoke because a general anaesthetic may be given in hospital!

If you would like to like to read about our range of First Aid Courses in Dublin please click here.


From kids washing up under a too-hot faucet to an accidental tipping of a coffee cup, burns are a potential hazard in every home. In fact, burns, especially scalds from hot water and liquids, are some of the most common childhood accidents.

Thats why we decided to dedicate this month’s tip to burns.


There are several different types of burns:

  • Dry burn – contact with flames & hot objects
  • Scald – steam and hot liquids
  • Electrical burn – lightning strikes
  • Chemical burns – paint stripper, bleach
  • Radiation burns – sunburn
The severity of burns is classified into first, second and third degree.


First degree burns are the mildest form as they only involve the outer layer of the skin. They are also superficial burns. Characteristics include redness of the skin, mild swelling and pain.
Second degree burns or partial-thickness burns extend into the second layer of the skin. Blisters, swelling and more severe pain identify these burns. Once blisters break a weeping wound will result. Infections may be caused.
Third degree burns or full-thickness burns penetrate all skin layers, the under lying fat tissue, muscles, blood vessels and nerves. As nerves are damages the victim doesn’t feel pain
What are the dangers of burn injuries? ·
  • infection
  • shock due to fluid loss
  • airway obstruction due to swelling

Most burns are minor and don’t need medical attention. However if clothing is burning, have the casualty roll on the ground. Smother flames with a blanket or douse the casualty in water.

First Aid Tips:

  • Cool the area with running cold water for 10 minutes
  • If water is not available us other harmless fluids
  • Remove any constrictive jewellery or clothing before area will start to swell
  • If clothing is stuck to skin DO NOT remove
  • If burn is caused by chemical protect yourself. Be careful not to contaminate yourself or other areas of the casualty’s body.
  • Dress the burn with sterile dressing that won’t stick.
  • Tip – use cling film or new unused plastic bag. Don’t wrap too tight.
  • For large second degree and all third degree burns seek medical attention
  • Monitor breathing as swelling of the airways can occur up to 24 hours after the initial burn
  • Break any blisters. Intact blisters serve as an excellent burn dressing.
  • Touch the burn.
  • Apply lotions, ointments or fats.
  • Apply adhesive tape or dressings.
  • Remove clothing that has stuck to the burn

If you would like to like to read about our range of First Aid Courses in Dublin please click here.