First aid

First aid saves lives. It includes immediate life-saving measures as well as the emergency call and securing of the scene of the accident. As a first aider, it is essential to know the basic first aid measures. On the following page, you will learn how to act correctly in an emergency – from the stable lateral position to resuscitation and wound care. You will also know what to consider as a first aider at an accident site and which emergencies often occur.

First Aid: Act correctly in an emergency

Keeping a cool head in an emergency is not always easy. Read here how to act correctly in an emergency situation. The most crucial thing in all emergencies:

  1. Step:  Make an emergency call
    If necessary, use the Rautek handle to remove the person from the danger area.
  2. Step: Is the person conscious?
    Speak and touch! If so, help according to the situation.
  3. Step: Is the person breathing?
    Clear the airway with the Esmarch maneuver !
    With normal breathing: stable lateral position or shock position.
  4. Step: The person is not breathing?
    Resuscitation with 30 x cardiac massage and 2 x ventilation alternating or use of a defibrillator.

The most important first aid measures

It’s been a few years since the first aid course, and you want to refresh your knowledge? In the following section, all essential first aid measures are explained step by step.

Stable lateral position
The recovery position ensures that an unconscious person’s airway remains clear. Read how it works here.
Find out here when and how the device should be used and what you should consider when defibrillating.
A pressure bandage is applied as a first-aid measure to severely bleeding wounds to prevent the patient from losing a dangerous amount of blood. Learn how to use a pressure bandage here!
The life-saving Heimlich grip is used when someone is in danger of choking on a foreign object. Read how it works here!

First aid measures from A to Z

The most common emergencies

Find out here how, as a first aider, you can treat various injuries, wounds, and fractures and how to act correctly in cardiovascular emergencies or poisoning accidents.

Help with respiratory problems

Read how to properly administer first aid for respiratory problems such as asthma attacks or swallowing objects.

If someone swallows a foreign object and finds breathing complex, you must act quickly! Read more about first aid for swallowing!

Anaphylactic shock is a severe allergic shock. It is life-threatening and must be treated immediately by a doctor!
An acute asthma attack is characterized by a sudden shortness of breath, coughing, and tightness in the chest. Learn how to provide first aid here!

First aid for cardiovascular emergencies

Whether it’s a heart attack, cardiac arrest, or heat stroke: problems with the cardiovascular system can quickly become dangerous. In the following articles, you will find out which first aid measures are necessary for cardiovascular emergencies.

Cardiac arrest, also known as sudden cardiac arrest, occurs when your heart suddenly stops beating, often due to a cardiac arrhythmia. It can happen to anyone, anytime. In 2015, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occurred in the United States, and 153,000 were fatal. Cardiac arrest is often caused by heart disease, but a small number of cases are caused by external factors such as exercise, drug use, or sudden trauma.

In case of cardiac (cardiovascular) arrest, you must immediately provide first aid. Otherwise, the patient will die. Read here what to do!

Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, is the sudden stop in blood flow in the heart. This can cause the heart to stop beating, resulting in death unless someone steps in to renew the person. The risk of experiencing a heart attack increases with age, along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and obesity.
A heart attack is an absolute emergency. Here, you can read how to react correctly and provide first aid!
Syncope, or fainting, is a temporary loss of consciousness, often accompanied by other symptoms like lightheadedness, dizziness, collapse, and a sensation of passing out. Although it might not seem like a serious medical event, fainting can put you at risk for serious injury. Syncope affects an estimated 25 million people in the U.S., and it’s on the rise, with more women than men experiencing the condition.
The trigger is a short-term lack of oxygen in the brain. Read here how you can provide and prevent first aid.

Treat broken bones and joint injuries

A broken bone or a dislocated joint is painful – you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Until then, the following first aid measures will help relieve the bone or joint.

A broken leg is a serious injury that requires serious medical attention. The bone may break all the way through the skin. The break may be from the thigh bone, shin bone, kneecap, or elbow. Depending on the severity of the injury, surgery may be required. Broken legs can lead to swelling and gangrene if the break is not treated correctly.

You can usually recognize a broken leg because it can hardly be moved and may crunch. Read more about broken leg first aid!

A broken rib is a painful injury that can be challenging to treat. You might feel severe pain in your chest and back and have trouble breathing, swallowing, and moving your arms and legs. If you have a broken rib, you must see a doctor who can diagnose the extent of the injury and provide treatment. In rare cases where a broken rib becomes infected, an emergency doctor must see you right away. Here are the steps you should take after a rib injury.

Read more about symptoms, first aid, and medical treatment for rib fractures here!

Most people have broken a toe at one time or another. For most, it’s no big deal. But that’s how it should be. You want to be free of pain, so you do what it takes to stop the pain, be it rest, ice, painkillers, or surgery. But a broken toe should also be minor—it shouldn’t mean you can’t function normally, cause severe pain, be otherwise debilitating, or require more than a few days to heal. Read more about symptoms, first aid, and medical treatment for rib fractures here!
Cooling, immobilizing, elevating – this is what first aid for a broken toe looks like. Read more about broken toes and their care here!

Joint injuries

Pain in and about a joint can signify a severe medical condition. While joint pain and fatigue are often a part of everyday life, joint pain that isn’t caused by any medical condition can be dangerous. It is essential to understand the types of common injuries, how they can be caused, and what to do about them.

A shoulder dislocation is an injury in which your upper arm is forced out of place. Often, this is caused by a sudden movement that causes your upper arm bone (humerus) to separate from your shoulder socket (glenoid). Shoulder dislocations, while typically not serious, can cause some significant problems.

The doctor speaks of shoulder dislocation when you have dislocated your shoulder. Read here how to provide first aid in such a case!
The kneecap (also called patella) is a flat, triangular-shaped piece of cartilage that rests between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia). It’s responsible for keeping your knee straight and helps stabilize your knee during movement. Most of the time, the kneecap is round and smooth and won’t cause pain or discomfort. However, there are times when the kneecap is knocked out of its normal resting position or even wholly dislocated.
When the patella is dislocated, the kneecap “jumps” out of the joint. Read here how to provide first aid and what treatment will help!
Finger dislocation is most commonly caused by trauma to the finger, such as a fall, injury, or surgery. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and loss of function. Immediate care for a dislocated finger includes cleaning the wound, applying ice, and elevating the injured finger. If symptoms do not subside within 24 hours or the finger continues to dislocate, seek medical attention. Surgical repair is best for dislocated fingers, while non-surgical treatment principles, including casting, splinting, and resting, may be adequate for less serious injuries.
If someone has dislocated their finger, first aid should be given quickly. How this works and why a doctor’s visit is advisable, read here!

Treat Facial injuries

A facial injury can range in severity from a minor cut or bruise to a traumatic brain injury. Facial fractures, for example, can occur when a blow is delivered to a sensitive area, such as the nose, mouth, or eye. Even more disturbing is that head, face, or neck injuries and concussions are by far the sports-related injuries that result in preventable deaths. Sedentary living, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to facial injuries.

Sand in the eye, a broken tooth, or a Nosebleed: the following section shows you how to properly treat facial injuries.

Earwax is your body’s way of protecting your ears from dirt, dust, and germs. It is a natural byproduct of your body’s ear-cleaning process. However, earwax is also a natural lubricant in your ears, which help protect the eardrums from damage and infection.

Whether you have a lump of lard, a pea, water, or a spider in your ear – read what you can do if you have a foreign body in your ear and when it is advisable to see a doctor!

A foreign body in the eye can be a painful ordeal, mainly if the object is large or lodged deep within the eye. If the object is lodged for more than a week, it could cause permanent damage to the tissue and nerves in the eye. In this article, we will go over how to manage a foreign body in the eye.
A foreign body in the eye is not only painful, but it can also cause permanent damage. Read here about how to provide first aid!

A Nosebleed can happen when blood vessels in your nose bleed. Nosebleeds usually start in the soft, fleshy part of your nostrils, known as a septum. The septum comprises cartilage, skin cells, and blood vessels. When blood vessels in the septum rupture, blood can flow out and cause a nosebleed.

Here’s what you can do right now to stop it.

Assistance with head injuries and neurological emergencies

In a head injury, the first responder must verify that the patient is conscious. The following articles will tell you how to deal with a stroke, shock, or epileptic seizure.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off temporarily or permanently. For people without risk factors, strokes are rare, but for people who already have high blood pressure, cholesterol, or other heart diseases, the risk of stroke is much higher. A stroke is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately.

If you suspect a stroke, you should call the emergency doctor immediately. Read here how to properly administer first aid.
Is your heart racing?
Do you feel dizzy and shaky?
Are your muscles twitching? If you’ve just been in a car accident, your body is in a state of shock. You can take steps now to avoid shock worsening and increase your chances of recovery.
If you suspect shock, please call an ambulance! Read here about how you can help with the shock situation.

People who have epilepsy usually experience seizure attacks. These episodes can be mild, typically resulting in dizziness, tremors, and confusion, but they can also be severe and life-threatening, resulting in tonic-clonic and tonic spasms. Seizures result from a malfunctioning brain, but in most cases, their causes are not entirely known. Epilepsy is not a single disease; it is composed of epileptic seizures and epilepsy syndromes, classified as disorders caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Read here how to help the patient with an epileptic seizure properly.

Act correctly in case of poisoning

Drinking too much: Alcohol poisoning is always an emergency, and the person affected needs first aid. Poisoning also occurs after eating poisonous mushrooms. You can find out what to do then in the following section.

Alcohol poisoning, also known as alcohol toxicity, is a serious medical emergency that must be treated immediately. Alcohol poisoning can happen to anyone, although it is more common among people who drink a lot. Alcohol poisoning can also be deadly. It is a medical emergency, and the sooner medical assistance is sought, the better chance of recovery.
If someone is unconscious due to alcohol poisoning, they should immediately provide first aid.

Mushrooms are an essential part of our diet since they’re rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Unfortunately, some people don’t know that some are poisonous. In 2017, there were 19 mushroom poisoning cases reported to the Poison Control Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The mushrooms most commonly ingested were oyster mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, and maitake mushrooms. People usually ingest them in soups, sautés, and salads. Symptoms of mushroom poisoning include gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

In particularly bad cases, mushroom poisoning can be fatal. Read here how to act correctly.

Treat Wounds properly

Whether it’s an abrasion after a bicycle accident, a laceration during sports, or a burn while cooking, it doesn’t matter. Every skin injury carries a risk of infection and must be treated. Here you will find all the information you need to treat wounds properly.

Open Wounds

Open wounds are one of the most painful injuries a person can suffer, as open wounds are raw and exposed. Open wounds range from minor scrapes to deep cuts or puncture wounds. Cuts and scrapes can heal independently, but puncture wounds and lacerations that break the skin require medical attention.

Wound care is one of the most important aspects of wound treatment. When a patient gets injured, their body begins the healing process. At first, the infection is contained to the wound site, but it can spread throughout the body if not treated. The healing process works best if the wound is cleaned and medicated correctly. Wound care nurses are trained in wound cleaning, dressing changes, and patient education.

Read here how you can treat a wound yourself and when it is advisable to see a doctor.

Treat lacerations at home for minor cuts and scrapes. Clean any dirt and debris from the wound. Rinse the cut with hydrogen peroxide or saline. Bandage the wound with transparent, waterproof tape. Cover the injury with a sterile, non-stick pad. (If you have no wound pads, a clean, dry gauze pad will work fine.) Change the dressing daily. Don’t apply pressure. If the laceration is deep or bleeding, go to the emergency room.

A laceration is caused by blunt force, such as a blow. Read here for how to treat scratches and when a doctor’s visit is advisable!

While bleeding can be a frightening experience for anyone, it’s especially so for someone whose first reaction may be to close their eyes tightly and sink to the floor. But, even if you think it’s just a small cut, you should treat it as an emergency, especially if it won’t stop bleeding. Bleeding can quickly lead to blood loss, which can be life-threatening. If the bleeding is from a cut, apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or tissue.

A pressure bandage is applied as a first-aid measure to severely bleeding wounds to prevent the patient from losing a dangerous amount of blood. Learn how to use a pressure bandage here!

Burns, frostbite and chemical burns

Burns happen when you come in contact with a hot surface or chemical. Whether you’re cooking dinner or taking a spill, burns are one of the most common injuries. Fortunately, burns are usually minor and heal independently, but you must take the proper steps to treat the burn at home. In more severe cases, it’s necessary to seek medical care. Burns caused by contact with fire, hot liquids, or chemicals usually require immediate treatment at the nearest burn center. Frostbite is a more severe burn that affects the soft tissues of the fingers, hands, and feet. It occurs when your skin is exposed to extreme cold. Frostbite causes your skin to become white or grayish, and you may not be able to move the affected part.

In the case of minor burns, the affected area should be cooled immediately. Here you can read how you can provide first aid.

Frostbite happens when body parts are exposed to freezing temperatures, and the blood vessels in the skin are damaged. Temperatures below 32 Fahrenheit, which usually occur during freezing weather, can cause frostbite, and if not treated immediately, it can lead to skin death. The symptoms of frostbite include tingling, numbness, or pain in the affected area and can also present as blue or purple skin. When you feel that cold, seek shelter immediately, and call a health care provider as soon as possible.

Read here how to recognize frostbite and how to properly provide first aid in an emergency.

Chemical burns are painful injuries when your skin comes into contact with something extremely caustic. This can occur through contact with acid, alkali, or specific chemicals. These burns are one of the most common types of burns, and most chemical burns result from trying to remove a corrosive substance from your skin (such as battery acid).

Corrosive substances can be very dangerous. Read here how to provide first aid for an internal chemical burn.

Bite injuries

Apparently, “An estimated 15% of Americans suffer from a dog bite each year,” and this sadly includes children. According to a new study, however, nearly 40 percent of dog bite victims are children between the ages of 5 and 15, making them especially susceptible to bites from dogs they don’t know.

Parents, nannies, caretakers, and caregivers should be careful when looking after children. Children under five and school-aged children are among the groups with the most bites, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A bite injury can be severe and require stitches and medical treatment.

If you have accidentally bitten someone—or they’ve bitten you—and you’re not sure if the bite is infected, here’s how to know. A bite wound can be anything from scrapes to deep gash, but it’s usually not life-threatening. For example, a bite wound from a dog or other domesticated animal usually only requires cleaning and bandaging. On the other hand, a medical professional should check an injury from an animal of any size or breed that is untamed or that you encounter outside of the home. It’s simple: keep your distance if an animal hasn’t had its teeth examined and is wild. Bites from wildlife, including snakes, spiders, insects, or rodents, can be severe; for example, bites from venomous snakes can cause flesh to be eaten away, so no amount of cleaning or bandaging will work.

Whether deep or not – every bite wound can become infected. Read here how to treat bite wounds properly.

Dog biting is a severe problem in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 4.8 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and close to 800,000 are treated in emergency departments for injuries related to dog attacks. In 2016 alone, 4,721 bites required medical attention, with 17 deaths related to the attacks.

A dog bite always carries the risk of wound infection. Read more about dog bites: symptoms, diagnosis, first aid, and prognosis!

A cat bite or scratch is an injury caused by a cat’s teeth or claws. They can range from a minor cut to a puncture, and often the hole can be severe, causing a large abscess or infection. The wound may take longer to heal than the superficial punctures due to tissue loss.

A Cat bite is quite common and should always be treated medically. Read all about risks and first aid after a cat bite.

Snakes are common throughout most of the U.S., so they’re a hazard that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. But, most people never consider that, if bitten by a snake, they may need to seek immediate treatment at a medical facility. Fortunately, snake bites are rare. When a snake bites, the symptoms are often quick and obvious: swelling, redness, and itching. But if you’ve encountered another type of snake, you may have experienced a less dramatic but equally annoying reaction. Most snakes that alarm humans are venomous, meaning they can inject a toxic substance into their prey through their fangs. The venom causes pain, swelling, and other symptoms, but many people only realize they’ve been bitten when they start to feel sick. But do all snakebites have to be painful? If you think a snake may have bitten you, here’s what you should do:

  1. Assess your injury. If you have been injured, you should seek medical care.
  2. Treat your wound. Try to clean the wound with a simple soap and water solution. Once the damage is clean, apply a topical antibiotic ointment to the wound and bandage with gauze.
  3. Call your doctor. Call your doctor as soon as possible. Do not wait to see if you have a fever.

Read more about Snake Bite: Brief Overview symptoms, Prevention, first aid, and treatment.

More on First aid

Whether you’re a first-time parent or a seasoned vet, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared for all of life’s little emergencies. But, since your baby won’t talk, it may be hard to know how to act in an emergency. Luckily, it’s never too late to learn first aid for babies, and life-saving measures can save lives. Though infants and young children may seem to have excellent immune systems, they’re still susceptible to illness and injury—and a first aid kit is one of the most effective ways to be prepared.

Many first aid measures work differently for babies and toddlers than for adults. You can find out how to do it correctly here.

First aid A to Z

Are you looking for First aid for a specific symptom or disease? In the list below, you will find all the signs and symptoms, illnesses, and Treatments that First aid can help with


Scientific standards:

This text corresponds to the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines, and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.