First Aid is often the first and most immediate care that is given to an injured or ill person. Some injuries and illnesses are critical, which makes prompt care important to save the person’s life. This means time is of the essence.
The more quickly you start First Aid, the better it is to increase the person’s survival. It is essential for everyone to know about first aid and the importance of time when it comes to administering it.
The Importance of Time in First Aid
A lot of studies have shown just how essential time is when giving care to someone in need. There are different terms in emergency medicine that illustrate just how essential every minute is in an emergency situation.
1. Platinum Ten Minutes
Platinum ten minutes is a term that is familiar to all emergency crew and team members. It is the first 10 minutes after the trauma or injury.
It is crucial to start first aid within these 10 minutes to greatly reduce the chances of death. In case of a severe accident, this time is crucial for an ambulance and medical staff to coordinate with all the people at the scene and to remove the injured people without causing any further injury.
2. Golden Hour
The term Golden Hour is also an essential term in emergency care and was first introduced by R Adams Cowley in 1961. Cowley worked as a military surgeon and coined the term to refer to the first hour after a traumatic injury where prompt medical and surgical treatment is likely to prevent death.
Many injuries can cause the injured to deteriorate rapidly, which is why the time between the injury and the treatment should be kept as minimal as possible.
While the time period was stated as an hour initially, this duration can be less or more depending on the person’s injury.
Situations that require immediate care
While it is important to administer every emergency situation with care, here are three common situations and why time is essential in these situations. We’ve also included some pointers on what are some things you can do while help is on the way.
1. Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac Arrest is a medical condition that is caused by some types of arrhythmias. This is when your heart either stops beating or it beats so fast that it stops pumping blood.
Time is essential when administering care to someone having a cardiac arrest. A defibrillator is the best option in this case. It is a device that sends a shock to the heart to try to restore it to its normal rhythm.
However, this device is only available to medical staff and is not as commonly found. While help is on the way, doing CPR is the next best option. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is one of the common techniques used as First Aid when someone’s heartbeat has stopped.
In cases where CPR is administered within 3 to 5 minutes, the rate of survival in cardiac arrest is around 50%. However, this rate keeps decreasing drastically every minute that defibrillation is delayed.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted, and this prevents the brain from getting essential nutrients and oxygen supply. Lack of oxygen damages the brain cells, and they begin to die out within minutes. This makes strokes a medical emergency where receiving immediate care is crucial.
Some of the signs of a stroke include paralysis, slurred speech, vision problems, seizures, and vomiting. Stroke symptoms usually happen suddenly, and the best thing to do when someone you know is experiencing a stroke is to call emergency services or 911.
If you’re not sure what the symptoms of a stroke are, then use the FAST test from the National Stroke Association.
F- Face- Ask them to smile and notice if one side looks like it’s drooping.
A - Arm - Ask them to raise both arms. Notice if one arm is drifting downwards.
S - Speech - Ask them to talk. Notice if it sounds strange.
T - Time - Call emergency services immediately if you observe any symptoms.
3. Excessive Bleeding and Hemorrhage
Severe Bleeding can result from injury and is a critical situation requiring immediate care.
To slow down or stop bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound using bandages. Also, raise the injured area above the heart if it is possible to do so.
Bleeding is the loss of blood from the body. It has a range of causes, from deep cuts and abrasions to sometimes even as severe as amputations. Some injuries also cause internal bleeding, which can be both minor to severe.
To administer First Aid for internal bleeding, lay the injured person down and raise their legs above the level of the heart. They should not be given anything to eat or drink.
First Aid in the case of both internal and external bleeding is crucial to limit the blood loss till emergency medical care arrives. The more blood a person loses, the more critical the situation becomes.
How prior training helps in response time
Everyone should be familiar with basic proper first aid in case of emergencies. Having prior knowledge will help you administer care immediately and can be the difference between saving someone’s life or not.
Giving the appropriate first aid will also cut down the patient's recovery time and make the difference between them having a long-term disability to something that the patient can recover from relatively quickly.
All emergency situations require immediate care, and every situation has varying time periods where care is necessary. Knowing what to do in these situations is essential to save the life of the injured or ill person.
Learning basic first aid also ensures you can stay calm in critical situations and ensure the safety of those closest to you.