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Stick a plaster on a cut, apply some ice to a nasty sprain — there was a time when minor injuries were dealt with at home after a quick rummage through the medicine cabinet.
A trip to the hospital was left to real emergencies such as broken bones, dislocations and suspected heart attacks. But it seems times have changed.
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‘These days, a lack of even basic first aid skills is leading to patients turning up at A&E simply because they are worried,’ says Tracey Taylor, educational development manager at the British Red Cross, which has just published a report on the problem.
It found that most people arrive at A&E with minor injuries such as cuts or sprains.
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And this means everyone is waiting longer to be seen. According to 2016/17 figures, more than 2.5 million people in English A&E units alone had to wait for over four hours to be seen.
‘The vast majority of people presenting at A&E could easily be treated at home with basic first aid and save a huge amount of NHS time, money and resources,’ says Emma Hammett, former A&E nurse and founder of First Aid for Life, a first aid training school.
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Here, with the help of first aid experts, we explain how to deal with common medical mishaps, and help identify when you really should head to hospital.
Usually caused by a burst blood vessel within the nose, this often looks much worse than it is. ‘Serious blood loss is rare and the bleeding is mostly self-limiting,’ says Emma Hammett.
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WHAT NOT TO DO: Don’t tilt your head back as this may cause blood to run down your throat which can irritate your stomach and make you sick.
WHAT TO DO: Tilt your head forward and pinch your nose to compress the bleeding vessel. ‘Applying pressure, allow the blood vessel...
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