Even if you know what to do in an emergency, you may be concerned about giving first aid to a stranger. Many people become particularly concerned if blood is involved, knowing that HIV and hepatitis B are spread through the blood. However, if first aid precautions are taken, there is a small chance you will become sick from the aid you give to another.
Before giving first aid, it is important to have the proper training. A course from the Red Cross or similar organization should teach you how to protect both yourself and others during an emergency. If you have no first aid training, you should only attempt to offer aid in an extreme emergency. In most cases, calling 911 and listening carefully to the operator’s instructions is the best aid you can give.
If you are compelled to give first aid in an emergency situation, the best thing to do is avoid bodily fluids when possible. If not possible, wear gloves or protective clothing to protect against any accidental exposure. Often disposable gloves are included in emergency first aid kits. Be sure to use them if they are available.
After giving any first aid, wash your hands afterwards. It is also important not to touch your eyes, mouth, and nose while giving first aid. Also, do not drink or eat while giving first aid or before washing your hands.
Be aware that infection can also come from items that have touched the victim, such as soiled gauze or other first aid equipment. If you are helping someone else administer first aid, always take the same precautions as if you were the primary aid giver.
Infection occurs from touching, biting, or breathing. Biting is often the most dangerous, as it often opens a wound on the recipient. Biting seldom happens in an emergency situation involving humans. Breathing or touching can easily pass germs, however. Most diseases or illness you can receive from breathing is minor, as we all are exposed to such germs on a regular basis.
Touching, either soiled objects or bodily fluids, is the most dangerous. This is why precautions for hand washing and gloves are so important. Always pay attention to open areas or skin infections on your own body that may provide an entry point for infection. Also, always avoid touching your face with your hands during any type of emergency.
The best method of helping someone is in a manner that will protect both you as well as the victim from infection. Be aware that you should try to protect the victim from your bodily fluids as well. Many people can be infected with a disease that has not yet been diagnosed. Such diseases can be a great danger to an already hurt person whose immune system is low. Follow these precautions, however, and you will cut your chances of infection.