First Aid: Every minute counts

Everyone is afraid of accidents and injuries. And everyone is also afraid of having to help - and not being able to. The projections of a 2002 survey showed that 35 million are concerned about providing first aid; 25 million would wait for another to help. This attitude can cost some people their lives.

Help is required

In traffic accidents in Germany, an average of 9 people are killed every day, said the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden. A total of 3, 377 people were killed on Germany's roads in 2014. Even higher is the number of fatal accidents in the house and garden: around 9, 000 people died in 2014 in their own home. The legislature in Germany has clearly regulated it (§ 323 c StGB): Every person is obliged to provide first aid.

However, the assistance must be reasonable. No first responder has to put himself in danger by the help or hurt other important duties. Those who do not help people in distress, fulfill the facts of the failure to help. Failure to provide assistance is a criminal offense: it is punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

First aid in a traffic accident

Anyone can help, even if they initially feel overwhelmed. First aid means assessing the situation correctly: securing the scene of the accident, dialing the emergency number (in Germany: 110 or 112, in Austria: 122, 133, 144) and mentioning the number of injured and the location of the accident.

First aid also means taking care of the injured, calming them, and finally taking immediate action at the scene of the accident. In the event of a traffic accident, it is particularly important to switch on the hazard warning lights, not drive too close to the scene of the accident (maintain a safety distance of 10 to 20 meters) and use the driver's own driving lights to illuminate the scene of the accident.

You also help by setting up a warning triangle, warning vehicles and oncoming traffic and distributing tasks to several helpers. You have to get wounded out of the so-called danger zone: get out of the car, bring them to the side of the road, then supply the wounds. Rescue services usually take about 15 minutes to arrive at the scene of the accident. Here are some common injuries and assistance that anyone can afford.

head injuries

One of the common head injuries in falls - parents know this from their children - is the concussion. The injured person is sometimes unconscious for a very short time. The characteristic signs of concussion: dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. The vomiting can also occur a little later. The injured should lie down and watch. It is important to inform the ambulance.

Numerous falls can also lead to skull fracture or skull base fracture. This can be recognized by slight bleeding from the nose, mouth or ear, which often looks watery. Often the person is unconscious. Sometimes cramps occur. In the area of ​​the skull, an open wound is often seen. Sometimes brain mass escapes from the wound. The wound must be covered under sterile conditions. Unconsciousness is always serious - there is danger to your life.

The force on the head can cause blood vessels to burst under the skull and form a bruise in the skull. This puts pressure on the brain and causes unconsciousness. The rescue service must be called immediately. Bleeding injuries must be covered germ-free.

bone fractures

A broken bone (the doctors say: fracture) is usually caused by a fall or a twist.

When closed, the skin in the fracture area is unharmed. In open fracture, however, there is a wound in the fracture area. There is a considerable risk of infection for the wound and bones. Not every closed break is immediately recognized.

But if the joints are unusually twisted, it is almost always a break. And almost always a swelling develops in the area of ​​the breakage due to the injury of blood vessels. Those affected are in great pain there. If there is even a suspicion of a fracture, the injured person must not be moved much. Open fractures must be covered germ-free, otherwise you should softly cushion the injured joints and keep quiet: rolled up blankets, pillows or clothes are their own, then the ambulance should be called.

An injured person with a rib fracture will breathe flat because of his severe pain and try to raise his upper body. Torso-backed storage brings relief, but there is a risk that the lungs may be injured, which means mortal danger.

Spinal fractures happen when falling from a high altitude or often in two-wheeler accidents. In the vertebral canal of the spinal column is the spinal cord with the important nerve connections from the brain to the various body regions and organs. If the spinal cord is also damaged due to the fracture of the spinal column, paraplegia can occur. In the process, signs of paralysis appear from the point of breakage downwards - but not necessarily.

If an injured person has severe back pain and can barely move his body, there may be a vertebral fracture. If the spinal cord is affected, it usually has paralysis with numbness and mobility on the arms and / or legs. In case of suspected vertebral fractures, one should not move the injured person, as any changes in position may result in further injuries.

Bleeding wounds

Wounds are always pulled back to: the statistics call around 3.15 million accidents that happen in the household - falls are the most common.

In addition to minor abrasions, there are sometimes bleeding cuts that need to be taken care of. In a deeper injury, a pressure bandage made of a sterile compress and bandage will stop the bleeding. If no suitable wound covering is available, the bleeding can be stopped by pressing on a cloth that is as clean as possible. The affected body area should be stored elevated.

If the bleeding does not stop after five minutes despite firm pressure, if it is a gaping wound that can not be closed, or if muscle or fat tissue is visible, the injury must be treated by a doctor.

If an adult loses around one liter of blood, his life is in danger. If a wound is bleeding heavily, the blood is pulsating, a blood vessel can be affected. A compression bandage - not the ligating of the joint - is the right measure here. Lacerations can also bleed very badly. There is an increased risk of infection because the wound edges are irregular. Heavily soiled smaller wounds can be cleaned under running water, but then they should always be disinfected and put on a sterile bandage.

For larger wounds in any case consult a doctor. When lacerations on the skull you should press several sterile compresses on the wound and connect. Such wounds almost always need to be surgically treated. Bite wounds require immediate medical examination.

What should also not be forgotten: Is the tetanus protection still adequate?


The most painful external injuries include burns and scalds. The assessment of the severity of combustion depends on the degree of combustion and the size of the burned body surface.

Redness and blistering occur in first and second degree burns. In 3rd degree burns, the tissue is burned gray-white or black. Burns cause the greatest pain and usually lead to shock.

In the worst case, when people burn, you have to roll the victim immediately on the floor, smother the flames with a blanket or your own garment. Cold water helps with scalding. All other home remedies are taboo. Pour cold water over the burned parts of the body until the pain subsides - 10 to 15 minutes. Then the wounds must be covered sterile, since the risk of infection is very large.

With large burns you have to expect a shock, so you should store the legs higher.


Children are particularly likely to be affected by poisoning: around 90 percent of all poisoning accidents affect toddlers aged between ten months and 4.5 years. The most important immediate help is to give the child liquid (water, tea, juice), which must be drunk in small sips. So the substances are diluted.

Milk should not be given - it is harmful because it accelerates absorption of the substance into the intestine. One should keep the toxic substance - tablets, chemicals, plants for the ambulance.

One should not try to induce vomiting, for example through salt water - it is more important to call the ambulance. If toxic fumes are inhaled, fresh air helps to keep the person warm and calm. If the eyes have been in contact with corrosive liquids or lime, rinse under cold running water.

First aid kit and first aid courses

Every driving license applicant must take a first aid course. And that's it. According to DRC surveys, first-aid courses are 15 years behind for most motorists.

Refresher courses are useful: The Red Cross costs the courses for life-saving immediate measures 15 to 25 euros.

The right tool includes the right tool. For motorists, this is usually the first-aid kit. One should only use first aid kits according to DIN standard. These have an expiration date, so they should be checked from time to time. In this context, the review of disposable gloves is recommended, as their own safety may depend on their functionality.

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