When someone is sick or injured, they often need help. First aid is the immediate medical attention that can save a person’s life, prevent a situation from getting worse, or help someone recover more quickly. Medical professionals are thoroughly trained in first aid, but other careers recommend or require employees to know basic first aid. Teachers are a good example. Even if it isn’t required for your job, knowing first aid can be extremely beneficial. Why? Here are ten reasons:
#1. It can save a person’s life
First aid is important because it can save someone’s life. There are many medical emergencies where time is of the essence. A sick or injured person may not be able to hang on long enough until professionals arrive, especially if it’s difficult for personnel to reach them. If there’s someone there who knows first aid, they can save the person’s life by providing aid like CPR.
#2. It relieves pain
Most medical emergencies involve pain. Even non-life-threatening events can be traumatizing because of the pain they cause. Someone who knows first aid can provide that immediate pain relief. That can include giving the person pain medication from a first aid kit, preparing an instant-activating cold pack, pouring cold water over a burn, and so on. Someone trained in first aid will know the proper pain relief methods for specific situations.
#3. It can prevent infection
When someone is injured, what they do to treat that injury can increase or decrease the likelihood of infection. Without the proper training, it’s easy to make things worse. As an example, many people think it’s acceptable to use hydrogen peroxide to sterilize a cut. The reality is that this strong chemical does damage to the cells trying to heal the wound. With the right training and supplies (clean bandages, clean water, soap, petroleum jelly, etc), you can promote healing and avoid infection.
#4. You can better communicate to professionals what happened
If you know first aid and a person suffers an emergency, you can stay with them and provide help right away. When the professionals arrive, you are also better equipped to explain what happened. The person suffering the emergency may not be in a state to communicate, but you can provide essential information about what led to the emergency and what it looked like. This communication helps the professionals make the right decisions for their patient.
#5. It makes workplaces safer
The more people who know first aid in the workplace, the safer it is. Medical emergencies can happen at any time and if only one person knows first aid, what happens if they’re the ones suffering the emergency? Many workplaces also work with the public, so knowing first aid helps a business keep their customers safe, too. You can customize your first aid training based on the emergencies most likely to happen. As an example, if you work in a restaurant, someone could burn themselves, cut themselves, or choke. If you work outside in construction, dehydration and heatstroke are more likely, especially in hot climates.
#6. It keeps children safe
Children are often victims of medical emergencies. They run around a lot, aren’t as coordinated, and like to experiment with the world around them. It doesn’t take much time for an accident to occur even if a person is a very attentive parent. Infants are also very vulnerable and can suffer from things like seizures. Seizures in babies are actually quite common and there’s often no clear cause. Knowing basic first aid helps parents deal with everything from minor scrapes and bruises (no hydrogen peroxide!) to more scary situations like seizures.
#7. It helps your peace of mind
Knowing first aid can significantly reduce your fear of medical emergencies. Life is full of unexpected events completely out of your control. For many people, their biggest fear is something happening to themselves or their loved ones. First aid can reduce a bit of that anxiety by preparing you for a variety of frightening scenarios.
#8. It opens up more job opportunities
Knowing first aid expands the number of jobs you can apply for. As mentioned earlier, certain jobs require that you know first aid, so if you want to work as a lifeguard, flight attendant, social worker, or childcare provider, you will likely need to know first aid. Having up-to-date training in first aid also looks good if you’re applying to jobs where you work with the public, like in retail.
#9. It reduces recovery time
Not giving someone first aid can lead to death, but even if they live, they could deal with a longer recovery time. As an example, if someone is bleeding from a wound and no one can stop it before emergency services show up, the person will have more substantial blood loss, lowered blood pressure, and the beginnings of organ failure. Knowing how to stop the bleeding and dress the wound makes recovery easier and faster.
#10. It saves money
First aid doesn’t only save lives – it saves money. How? If you know how to properly deal with a wound or minor burn, you won’t accidentally make it worse, get an infection, and need to go to the doctor. First aid also prevents more serious situations from escalating, so while a trip to the hospital may still be necessary, treatment won’t cost as much. Proper first aid training also saves businesses money because the workplace is a safer place.