How much do you know about first aid?

Maria Trimarchi

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Do you know what to do in an emergency? Despite our best efforts, no one can avoid accidents and injuries. First aid is the first care that's given to someone who's injured or has become suddenly ill -- and often it's done with little to no equipment. Quick action can save a person if you know what you're doing. Find out your first aid IQ.

How should you stop a cut from bleeding?

Before cleaning and bandaging, you need to stop a cut from bleeding. Using a clean cloth, press firmly on the wound until the bleeding stops. Direct pressure won't immediately stop the bleeding -- expect it could take between one to 10 minutes. If bleeding doesn't stop after about 15 minutes, this is an emergency out of your hands.

Two in 5 Americans have been unable to perform first aid because they lacked supplies. In addition to an assortment of adhesive bandages, what should be in your first aid kit?

Well-stocked first aid kits include items such as: wound cleaning products; various creams and sprays for stings and rashes; assorted tools such as tweezers and scissors; as well as a blanket, non-latex gloves, a breathing barrier for resuscitation, painkillers and, depending on how big your kit is, even more.

Why is it important to bandage a wound?

Evidence is growing that wounds that are left uncovered typically take longer to heal: expect uncovered wounds to fully heal in about 25 to 30 days, whereas those that are protected can take only 12 to 15 days. Plus, covering the area means less risk of reinjury.

Maybe you got caught without sunscreen, or just forgot to reapply it, and now you're sunburned. What can you do to soothe it?

The stinging, swollen red skin of a sunburn is caused by inflammation. Applying a cool compress or Noxzema will cool things down and popping a few ibuprofen can help reduce the pain and swelling.

Is it true that butter will help treat a burn?

First-degree burns, those where the skin is red but still has feeling, are called superficial burns and can be treated at home. Applying butter to the burn, though, won't do anything but introduce germs and worsen the wound. Instead, run cool water over the area.

When should you get medical attention for a burn?

If a burn looks deep, is larger than a silver dollar (or a quarter, if it's a child), is located on the hands, feet, head, neck, or genitals, or appears brown or black, call 9-1-1 -- this is beyond simple first aid.

What's the best way to stop a nosebleed?

Things about nosebleeds have changed over the years. You may remember being told to tip your head back or put your head between your knees -- don't. The right way to stop a nosebleed is to pinch the fleshy part of your nose, just below where your glasses would sit, and keep pinching for a full 10 minutes.

What's the best way to remove the stinger from an insect bite?

The safest way to remove a stinger from an insect bite without releasing (more) venom is to scrape it out with the edge of a credit card (or the dull side of a knife).

For what type of injury should you not use RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compress, elevate?

RICE is the best method for treating an injured joint, muscle or ligament, like a sprained ankle. It works like this: Rest and ice the injured area in the first 24 hours after the injury happens, lightly compress the area with a bandage to keep down the swelling and elevate the area to be level or above their heart.

When you perform CPR on someone in cardiac arrest, you push the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Sing which song to get the tempo right?

The easiest way to know you're performing chest compression correctly? Sing "Stayin' Alive," by The Bee Gees, which has 104 beats per minute, and you'll be in the right zone.

All of these are an important part of keeping a person safe during a seizure, except which?

Never place anything in a person's mouth during a seizure. It's a myth that we will swallow our own tongue and block the airway. Instead, turning the person onto one side can help.

Which of the following should you avoid using to clean a wound?

Although they all seem like a good wound-cleaning solution, peroxide, iodine and rubbing alcohol are actually too harsh. Using them will disinfect a wound, but can damage healthy tissue while doing it.

Is it true you shouldn't let a person with a head injury fall asleep?

It's a long-held belief that people shouldn't be allowed to go to sleep after a bump to the head. Generally, it's fine -- let them sleep. But if their symptoms worry you enough to worry about sleep, then take them to the ER.

What's the first thing you should do when a person faints?

First, move the person onto the floor, and onto their back, and then raise their legs about 12 inches (above their heart). (But if they're not breathing, call 911and begin CPR compressions.)

Which is a medical emergency where should you call 911?

All of these are serious medical emergencies that will need professional medical attention. In addition, anyone having chest pains should go to the ER or call 911.

How can you stop the itch of a mosquito bite, without an antihistamine?

Applying pressure to the bite for 10 seconds can help stop the itch of a fresh mosquito bite. Additionally, applying ice, a wet cloth or a baking soda or hydrocortisone cream can provide relieve.

What do you tell the 911 operator when you call with a medical emergency?

Recognizing when to call 911 is an important part of good first aid. In addition to basic what/when/where information, the 911 operator will also want to know the details about the emergency and the person's condition.

All broken bones, from toes to tibia, need medical care. Which is not a sign that you might have broken a bone?

You have have a broken bone if you heard a "snap" or grinding noise during the injury, if there's bruising and swelling, if it hurts to move or be touched, and if you can't even fathom putting weight on it.

Time is sensitive when someone is having a stroke. The sooner the treatment, the better the outcome. Which of the following is a sign of a stroke?

The acronym FAST is used to help us remember how to respond to a stroke. First, is there any weakness or drooping on one side of the face? Second, can they raise their arms above their head? Third, can you understand their speech? And can they understand you? And lastly, with any of these signs, it's time to call 911.

What's a sign someone's going into shock?

When too little blood circulates to the brain, the brain doesn't receive enough oxygen. Blood pressure drops, and the person may become anxious, pale and clammy, dizzy and have a weak but fast pulse. Shock may cause loss of consciousness, as well.

What's the first thing you should do if someone's choking?

The idea of giving a choking person a drink of water or something to eat is based on the idea that it will force the stuck object down -- except it doesn't. It only makes things worse. Instead, before jumping in to perform the Heimlich maneuver, encourage the person to cough. If that doesn't work, try giving five blows to their back, between the shoulder blades. And then, if even that doesn't dislodge the blockage, try giving the Heimlich maneuver.

What's the first thing you should do if a chemical, including a common household cleaner such as bleach, splashes into your eye?

As many as 90 percent of eye injuries in the workplace are preventable with safety glasses. But what about accidents at home? A chemical splash to the eye needs to be flushed immediately, with clean, running water for 15 to 20 minutes. If your first aid kit has an eye-rinse, use it. Then see an eye care specialist for an emergency evaluation.

What's the best thing to use to clean a cut?

The best way to clean a cut is to rinse it with cool running water, for a few minutes. If it's dirty, it's best to use mild soap and water.

Bacteria, parasites and viruses, among others -- introduced through improper handling, cooking and food storage -- can cause food poisoning. Which is a symptom?

Although different types of food poisoning will have different symptoms, most will cause abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, vomiting and watery diarrhea.

How should you help someone with symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)?

When a person's blood sugar level goes too low, get them to eat or drink 15 grams of carbohydrates, asap. That could be four glucose tablets, or food, including 1/2 cup of fruit juice, 1/2 can of soda or 2 tablespoons of raisins.

Anaphylaxis may begin with mild symptoms such as a skin rash or a runny nose, but it worsens quickly. What's not a serious symptom?

This life-threatening allergic reaction can begin with mild symptoms that you may not notice but quickly progresses. Among the serious symptoms are hives, tightness of the throat and swelling, low blood pressure and a fast heartbeat, fainting, dizziness and a strange feeling or feeling of doom. Anaphylaxis can be deadly if it's not promptly treated.

If you're not trained in CPR, what should you do if you see a person collapse in cardiac arrest?

First, call 911. And then, if you're not trained in how to do mouth-to-mouth ventilations, perform hands-only CPR -- fast, hard pushes in the center of the chest -- until medical care arrives.

Sickness from food poisoning usually lasts from just a few hours to several days. What can you do to treat the symptoms?

Although the symptoms will vary based on what it was that was contaminated, most are managed best with rest, lots of fluids and staying away from anti-diarrheals, which can make things worse.

If a piece of shattered glass is sticking out of a puncture wound, should you remove it?

If you're trying to help a person who has a piece of shattered glass sticking out of a puncture wound, it's best not to remove it. In addition to accidentally making the injury worse, removing it could also cause severe bleeding.

What is the best way to stabilize a bleeding thigh wound until help arrives?

Using an emergency tourniquet should be the last resort in stopping the bleeding. After just two hours, it can cause permanent nerve, muscle and blood vessel damage. Padding the wound with sterile gauze, applying direct pressure and wrapping it is the best option.

It's best to keep a blister intact. But if one's causing you pain, what tool should you use to drain it?

Puncturing the blister near its edge with a clean, sharp needle -- that's been sterilized with rubbing alcohol -- will allow the fluid to drain. But be sure to leave the overlying skin alone. It's protecting the blister.

After a loss of blood or fluids, a serious allergic reaction, serious burn or other serious injury, a person may go into shock. What is the first aid first step?

Anyone who is in shock needs medical care, but there are a few things you can do to make them comfortable until then, starting by positioning them on their back with their feet raised.

What does ABC stand for, in first aid lingo?

The first aid acronym ABC stands for airway, breathing and circulation, and is used to assess unconscious or unresponsive patients in CPR.

When might you move a person who's been injured in a car accident away from the accident scene?

Generally you want to do what you can without moving the person, in case of spinal cord injury, but sometimes you might need to. If the accident scene is or becomes unsafe, move the victims. If you can't but need to perform first aid, such as CPR, again, move the victim. And if an injured person is blocking others from being rescued, you might move that person.

What should you use to remove an insect from inside a person's ear?

Let's not worry about why the insect is in this person's ear. Let's worry about how to get it out of there! The very best thing, and it's only good for removing insects, is a bit of warm olive oil or baby oil poured into the ear canal. This suffocates the ear intruder, and it floats out with the oil flush. Skip the tweezers -- you may just push it deeper inside.

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