Complete First Aid Guide

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by resistance, Jun 13, 2006.

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  1. resistance

    resistance Staff Alumni

    I just found this and thought it would be helpful.


    First aid is very important especially if you don't want anyone to find out. This section is not aimed to be pro SI but to protect those who do SI from getting an infection or coming to any great danger. This is to keep people as safe as possible whilst SIing until they want to/are able to stop.

    As there are many different forms of SI and so there are different areas of first aid to look at, the treatment for burns is different to that of abrasions (cuts and scratches). A more serious form of SI is breaking bones. This does need to be seen professionally but the treatment of it by first aid may help lessen swelling and make the situation less dangerous and more comfortable.

    There are different degrees of burns and these each need to be treated in their own way. They also each have their own characteristics as to how they look and feel. However there are some things that are valid for all types of burns:
    Never put butter or any greasy ointments or creams onto a burn. These seal the heat into the wound and may cause infection to occur.

    If the burn covers more than one part of the body seek medical attention.

    Also seek medical attention if...
    The burn is on a sensitive area of the body (e.g. hands, face, and feet.)

    The burn is a third degree burn (see further on in this section for characteristics of third degree burns)

    The burn is cause by chemicals (also further on in this section.)
    First Degree Burns
    First-degree burns damage the outer layer of the skin. The characteristics of first-degree burns are as follows...
    Redness on the area burned.

    A mild pain on the area.

    Swelling around and on the area affected.

    To treat first-degree burns...

    Immediately cover the whole of the affected area in cold water.
    Keep it under cold running water


    Place cold, wet, clean, clothes on it until the pain goes down.

    Cover the burn with a clean, dry gauze dressing to protect it.

    Do remember to change the dressing to keep the wound clean and free of infection.

    Second Degree Burns

    Second-degree burns are burns, which go through the second layer of skin. The characteristics of second-degree burns are as follows...

    Rough, red skin
    It is also extremely painful.

    To treat second-degree burns...

    Immediately cover the whole of the affected area in cold water


    Place cold, wet, clean, clothes on it.

    Gently blot the area dry. Do not rub it dry as rubbing may break the blisters increasing the danger of infection.

    Cover the wound with a dry, sterile bandage.

    If the burn is on an arm or leg, keep it elevated as much as is possible.

    Second-degree burns should heal within a few weeks. If there are any complications - Seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

    Third Degree Burns

    Third-degree burns are less painful that second-degree burns because the nerve cells in the affected area are destroyed. Although it is less painful it causes more damage. This burn goes through the third layer of skin.
    The characteristics of a third-degree burn is as follows...

    A whitish or charred appearance.

    To treat third-degree burns...

    remove any clothing near or on the burn

    DON'T apply cold water or medication to the burn.

    Cover the affected area with clean, dry cloths (e.g. strips of a clean sheet.)

    If burns are on arms or legs, keep the limbs elevated above the level of the heart.
    If the burn is on the face, there is a danger of difficulty with breathing.

    * Go to a hospital at once *
    Don't worry about questions as their main concern is getting the burn treated properly. They will have seen burns similar before and they know how to treat it correctly, which is very important with such burns so that infection does not occur. If it is left untreated serious problems WILL occur, which will in turn cause more problems.

    Chemical Burns

    If you are burnt by a chemical take the following steps...

    Remove clothing on/near the burn. DON'T pull the clothing over the head. You might have to cut the clothing off.

    Wash the area thoroughly with LOW pressure water for at least 20 minutes.

    Bandage the area with a clean, dry dressing.

    Go to get medical attention as soon as is possible.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2006
  2. resistance

    resistance Staff Alumni

    Cuts and Abrasions (scratches)

    Cutting and scratching are also very common forms of Self Injury and taking care of them so that they don't become infected is important.

    To treat cuts...

    Clean the area thoroughly with warm water and soap. Carefully wash away any dirt that could be present.

    Apply pressure directly onto the wound until it stops bleeding. (more information on external bleeding is in this first aid section)

    Bandage up the wound using clean, dry bandages.

    If the cut is very deep professional medical advice may be needed and so get it seen to as quickly as possible. Your health is more important than keeping your SI a secret and if it doesn't get seen to and problems occur you will be worse off in the long run.

    To treat abrasions (scratches)...

    Wash the area thoroughly with soap and warm water, washing away any dirt present.

    If it bleeds or oozes, bandage it. This is to protect it from infection.

    Signs of an Infected Wound

    If the wound appears infected medical assistance is required as soon as possible. The signs of an infected wound are as follows:

    It may cause a fever
    Presence of pus

    External Bleeding
    It is important to stop the bleeding. Although some people SI for the sight of the blood, too much blood loss can be dangerous and so it should be stopped as soon possible. To stop the bleeding take the following steps...


    Apply pressure directly onto where the blood is coming from.

    Place a clean cloth folded up over the wound continuing to apply direct pressure.

    If blood soaks through the cloth do not remove it, but add another cloth on top of it.

    Continue to apply pressure for 7-10 minutes.


    Elevate the injury so that it is above heart level, whilst still applying pressure.


    If steps 1 and 2 do not work then apply pressure to the pressure points nearest the injury.

    Arm: it is located on the upper part of the arm.

    Leg: it is located in the creases in the upper leg.

    Apply pressure to the artery between the bone directly behind it and your finger (or the palm of your hand if it is on the leg).
  3. resistance

    resistance Staff Alumni

    A more extreme form of SI involves the breaking of bones, however the Bone is not always broken and a dislocation of a joint can occur instead. The more common dislocations involve the shoulder, elbow thumb or finger. The signs for a dislocation are as follows...

    A "deformed" look

    Pain and tenderness on and around the area

    A slight discolouration may also occur

    If you do suspect it is dislocated then it needs to be adjusted back into place by a doctor. However the following steps should be taken...

    Apply a split to the join to prevent it from being moved further

    If able, keep the joint elevated to slow blood-flow to the area

    After these steps have been performed then contact a doctor to have the joint put back into its socket.


    Fractures occur during a more extreme form of SI where bones are broken.

    There are two types of fracture:

    A simple fracture. This doesn't piece through the skin although it could become a compound fracture if it isn't cared for.

    A compound fracture. This does pierce through the skin and serious bleeding can occur. Do not apply pressure to the wound when it is a result of a compound fracture.

    Signs for a fracture are as follows...

    There will be a swelling around the area

    The skin may be discoloured

    A crack or snap may have been heard

    Fractures must be treated by a doctor. However first aid can help the situation.

    Here is how to care for a fracture...

    Cover the injury with a sterile pad

    Apply a splint (if able) to prevent further injury being caused to the surrounding tissue by the fracture.

    Taken from here..
  4. meagainstme

    meagainstme Well-Known Member

    how can you tell if a scar is infected?
  5. if it has suddenly become more raised or changed colour or is very red around the scar :)
  6. whynotme?

    whynotme? Well-Known Member

    what does it mean if very old (very bad) burn scars become slightly filled with "water" again for no reason?
  7. andyc68

    andyc68 Guest

    with the subject matter of this site most ppl just need to know that a deep free flowing cut needs direct pressure applied asap, then proffessional medical help.
  8. monkeypunchluff

    monkeypunchluff Well-Known Member

    Adding a few things.

    To control bleeding:

    1. Apply direct pressure, with sterile gauze or cloth.
    2. Elevate the wound in relation to the heart.
    3. Call EMS (emergency medical services).
    4. Apply pressure to the nearest pressure point.

    For the step four, the two major places on your arm and leg are as follows:

    Arm pressure point:
    Inside of the arm, about 2/3 of the way from your elbow to your armpit. You will have to move the biceps up and out of the way to reach it.

    Leg pressure point:
    This is harder to find, it's on the top inside part of the leg, fairly near to the groin.

    If the limb feels cold, or is a pale-color, it indicates a lack of proper circulation. You will need to go to the hospital for this.

    If a person undergoes shock from blood loss, after you have stopped the bleed, you need to make sure they lie down. Raise their feet up about 1/2 to 1 foot off the group (use pillows or something handy to prop their feet in this position). You must also maintain their core temperature (blood loss will drop their temperature); to solve this, wrap the person gently in something warm, such as a blanket, towel, or clothes. Shock requires a visit to the hospital.

    When in doubt, call the ambulance.
  9. AnonymousOne

    AnonymousOne Member

    What about internal bleeding? Like, is it possible to seriously injure yourself by hitting yourself in the stomach area?
  10. Eric

    Eric Well-Known Member

    Extremely useful guide, thank you.

    @AnonymousOne: I think it is. You'd need professional help though.
  11. toffeekitten

    toffeekitten Well-Known Member

    What are the signs that someone has gone into shock from blood loss?
  12. Perfect Melancholy

    Perfect Melancholy SF Friend

    There are different kinds of shock related to blood loss:
    Hypovolemic shock
    Direct loss of effective circulating blood volume leading to:

    * Anxiety, restlessness, altered mental state due to decreased cerebral perfusion and subsequent hypoxia
    * Hypotension due to decrease in circulatory volume
    * A rapid, weak, thready pulse due to decreased blood flow combined with tachycardia
    * Cool, clammy skin due to vasoconstriction and stimulation of vasoconstriction
    * Rapid and shallow respirations due to sympathetic nervous system stimulation and acidosis
    * Hypothermia due to decreased perfusion and evaporation of sweat
    * Thirst and dry mouth, due to fluid depletion
    * Fatigue due to inadequate oxygenation
    * Cold and mottled skin (cutis marmorata), especially extremities, due to insufficient perfusion of the skin
    * Distracted look in the eyes or staring into space, often with pupils dilated

    Cardiogenic shock
    Similar to hypovolemic shock but in addition:

    * Distended jugular veins due to increased jugular venous pressure
    * Weak or absent pulse
    * Arrhythmia, often tachycardic

    Obstructive shock
    Similar to hypovolemic shock but in addition:

    * Distended jugular veins due to increased jugular venous pressure
    * Pulsus paradoxus in case of tamponade

    Septic shock
    Similar to hypovolemic shock except in the first stages:

    * Pyrexia (fever), due to increased level of cytokines
    * Systemic vasodilation resulting in hypotension (low blood pressure)
    * Warm and sweaty skin due to vasodilation
    * Systemic leukocyte adhesion to endothelial tissue
    * Reduced contractility of the heart
    * Activation of the coagulation pathways, resulting in disseminated intravascular coagulation
    * Increased levels of neutrophils

    Neurogenic shock

    * As with hypovolemic shock but in high spinal injuries may also be accompanied by profound bradycardia due to loss of the cardiac accelerating nerve fibres from the sympathetic nervous system at T1-T4.
    * The skin is warm and dry or a clear sweat line exists, above which the skin is diaphoretic.
    * Priapism due to Peripheral nervous system stimulation

    Anaphylactic shock

    * Skin eruptions and large bumps

    * Localised oedema, especially around the face
    * Weak and rapid pulse
    * Breathlessness and cough due to narrowing of airways and swelling of the throat
  13. toffeekitten

    toffeekitten Well-Known Member

    Ok thanks, lots of complicated medical terms there but I think I get the picture!! xx
  14. barto

    barto Well-Known Member

    Not to be gross, but what if your cut is kind of purple-ish and puffy? Is it infected? Should medical help be sought?

    Edit: Never mind the first part. Kind of a dumb question, of course it is infected. I guess I should be asking if there are any alternative options to full-on medical attention.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2011
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