Finnish Red Cross First Aid Guide

When first aid is needed, there is no time to waste! By learning first aid skills you could save lives!

Small accidents and sudden illnesses are part of our daily lives, and that is when first aid skills are important. The person needing help can be you, your family member, a colleague or a passer-by on the street. First aid skills help you recognise the emergency and initiate assistance. In life-threatening situations or when you think the situation may be dangerous, call the emergency number 112 immediately. If there are many people who can help, divide the duties: one starts assessing the situation and giving first aid while the other can call 112 and warn others of the incident to prevent further damage and injuries.

First aid is part of a chain of assistance, and it is also important to prevent accidents and to recognise early symptoms of illnesses. Anyone can give first aid. We have compiled here the most important skills that will help you start to give first aid in an emergency situation. Learn first aid and practice your skills independently or on a first aid course.

Cerebrovascular disorders

Problems in the blood circulation in the brain usually begin suddenly and present symptoms rapidly. If you suspect that you or someone close to you is having a cerebrovascular episode, call 112 immediately!

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Asthma attack

A typical asthma attack is easy to identify as heavy coughing, difficulty breathing and a wheezing breath. Attacks vary from mild ones that settle with self-care to severe ones that require first aid and hospitalisation.

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Resuscitation (CPR)

It is vital that you recognise an emergency where a person needs resuscitation and that you call 112 immediately! In successful resuscitation, the time between the cardiac arrest and the start of CPR is started is critical.

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Cuts and wounds

Cuts and wounds vary in cause, location, size and depth. Firstly, bleeding should be stopped by applying pressure on the wound, preferably with a clean, dry cloth.

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Clearing the airways and checking breathing

You can prevent an unconscious person from suffocating by clearing their airways. After clearing the airways, check that the patient is breathing normally.

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Mental First Aid

People affected by an accident are often very frightened. Besides physical injuries, an accident or serious illness also affects the patient mentally.

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Seizure

During a seizure, the limbs and muscles of the body convulse. Make sure that the patient’s airways stay open and that they do not hurt themselves during the seizure. If you think it necessary, do not hesitate to call 112.

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Fractures

Injuries to the musculoskeletal system are usually the result of a fall, impact or collision. If the fracture is serious, for example, a bleeding open fracture, a spinal injury or an injury in the head or face, always call 112.

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Nose bleed

Usually nose bleeds are harmless. However, sometimes heavy bleeding from the nose requires treatment by a doctor.

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Sprains

Sprains in the joints causes bleeding in the tissue beneath the skin. The joint will feel painful and due to the fluid collecting in the area it will swell up. Remember the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, elevation.

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Burn

A burn injury is damage caused by heat or a corrosive chemical to the skin and possibly the tissue beneath the skin. By cooling the area, you can stop the burn from spreading to the deeper skin layers.

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Fainting

If the brain does not get enough oxygen, a person faints, i.e., falls unconscious. Lie the person down and make sure that their airways are clear. Usually the patient comes to and wakes up as soon as new oxygen-rich blood flows to the brain.

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Head injuries

Head injuries are usually caused by impact. In head injuries, the tissue in the area of impact is damaged. The severity of the injury depends on the power of the impact. If the person is unconscious and does not wake up, call 112.

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Chest pain

First aid given immediately when chest pain starts, and fast treatment usually helps to prevent further injuries, and the chances of the patient’s survival are much higher than without treatment. Call 112 for help.

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Shock (circulatory)

Shock is a situation where the circulation is insufficient to supply enough oxygen to the cells in the body. Shock is a serious condition and can have many different causes. Help the person lie down and call 112.

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First aid on an unconscious person

The lowering or loss of consciousness can happen suddenly or gradually. Keep a close eye on the patient while waiting for medical assistance for any changes in the patient’s condition. Call 112 for the emergency medical services.

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Traffic accident

Everyone at a scene of an accident has the legal duty to help. The better prepared you are for different accident situations, the easier it is to keep calm and act.

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Severe allergic reaction

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger such as an allergy. The condition can become life-threatening within minutes. Follow the first aid guidelines and call 112 for assistance if necessary.

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Diabetic hypoglycaemia

When the blood sugar of a person with diabetes falls too low it may lead to a life-threatening condition. If the patient is conscious and able to co-operate, given them something sugary to eat or drink. If the patient is uncooperative or unconscious, call 112.

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Stopping bleeding

Cuts and wounds are typical injuries caused by accidents. The best way to treat them depends on how deep, wide and clean they are and where on the body they are located. The first thing to do always is to stop the bleeding.

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Foreign object in the airways

A foreign object may block the airways, for example when a person is eating something. Rapid first aid is necessary to remove the blockage. It is important to identify the situation quickly.

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Updated  5.6.2020