1. Home
  2. First Aid
  3. Introduction

Every day when you take care of a worrisome symptom, tend to a child's wound, or administer emergency care, you are practicing first aid. This manual contains simple instructions and in some cases life-saving health care techniques for you to study and refer to in order to take care of the most common non-serious illnesses and injuries.

You'll also learn how to identify signs and symptoms and how to understand the difference between a minor injury or illness and those that are more serious. When things do get serious, you'll know how to respond so that you can help others until they can get professional medical care. Knowing what steps to take to prevent illness and injury prevention are just as important for your health and safety as caring for the resulting injury or illness; in fact, prevention should be your first step. That's why this manual is packed with tips and suggestions to keep your home, work, and vacations safe.

Emergencies large and small happen fast and there may not be any time to read instructions, so review some of the basic procedures in this book ahead of time. Every section is designed to give you an overview of what symptoms to look for, how to treat symptoms of illness or injury, when to call 911 for life-threatening emergencies, and when to see your doctor or go to an emergency department. And for emergencies that require basic life-support measures, you will learn to identify what may be happening, including signs of a heart attack, an introduction to CPR, using an automated defibrillator, what to do for a choking person, and how to deal with shock. Follow the instructions in this manual carefully and call for help when you need to.

Many people feel uncomfortable or foolish seeking help, particularly calling 911. That is why signs and symptoms are clearly outlined in each section, as well as when it is absolutely necessary to call for help. Although this manual is intended to be a complete guide, it is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. Nor should it be used to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries or to develop a treatment plan for any health problem without consulting your doctor or other qualified medical provider. Nothing takes the place of formal training with hands-on experience, so along with reading and using this manual, you should get certified in basic life support (CPR) and take a formal first-aid class.

Remember, take good care of yourself and of your family, see your doctor for regular checkups, and be prepared for anything in between.

  1. Home
  2. First Aid
  3. Introduction
Visit other About.com sites: