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Self Harm If you or someone you know is struggling with self harm and needs advice or alternatives, we're here to help.

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First Aid Information - January 6th 2009, 02:38 PM

NOTE: This thread is NOT a replacement for getting medical help, neither is it encouraging self-harm in any way.

Rather, it’s a collection of first aid information that’s quick and easy to understand if anyone needs it. Hopefully, it will encourage everyone to take care of themselves, and prevent unnecessary infection of wounds and so on. It could be printed out and kept in a safe place, just in case.

In an emergency, you should not hesitate to seek medical attention. Get help and call 999 (or 911) for an ambulance.

Recommended First Aid Kit

* Surgical Tape
* Bandages
* Saline Water
* Antiseptic
* Painkillers

Bleeding - If you lose a great deal of blood, you can go into shock. This can get pretty serious as the brain and heart can be deprived of much needed blood. If you think you may be going into shock, get to a hospital ASAP.

If there is no object embedded in the wound

1. Remove, roll up, or cut clothing so you are able to take care of the wound.
2. Apply pressure to the wound. Do this directly by pressing with your hand (use a sterile dressing, a non-fluffy pad or cloth if you have one).
3. Support and raise the wound if possible to reduce further loss of blood. If the wounded area is particularly large, try to press the edges of the wound together to prevent further injury.
4. If you have a bandage or a clean cloth, secure it around your wound to maintain pressure. Using indirect pressure through use of a tourniquet above the wound can reduce bleeding; this needs to be firm enough to prevent bleeding but not tight enough to prevent circulation.
5. If after approximately 10 minutes the wound is still bleeding, dial for an ambulance.
If there is an object embedded in the wound
Call an ambulance.
Take care not to push the object further in. Do not try to remove the object, as it could be blocking a major artery or a vein, which if pulled out would cause major bleeding.
1. Rinse wound under running water, or use an antiseptic wipe
2. Pat it dry
3. If necessary, apply an adhesive dressing (a plaster).

If blood only trickles or oozes out of a wound, it is not as serious an injury. Hopefully, only blood capillaries have been broken.

Look out for:
- Increasing pain and soreness in wound
- Swelling, redness, or the wound feels “hot”
- Pus inside, or oozing out of the wound
- Swollen glands
- In advanced infection: Fever (sweating, thirst, shivering, etc)

When To Seek Medical Attention:
* If the wound continues to bleed heavily once you have carried out the above steps, including bandaging.
* If the cut is deep and has exposed underlying muscle, this is dark red in colour.
* If you have lost sensation in the area of injury, or more widespread; you may have cut a nerve.
* If after a few hours or several days you can see the wound is infected.

1. Support and raise
2. Apply pressure using a cold compress for at least 5 minutes

If your method of self harm is burning by scalding or using a heated object then the most important thing you can do is lower the temperature of the affected area. The tissue damage that has been caused can progress very rapidly so you must rinse the area in cold water for at least 10 minutes.
First of all, you need to take a look at the burn and decide what depth it is.
The deeper the burn, the higher the chance that it will get infected. The 3 classifications of depth are "superficial", "partial-thickness" and "full-thickness".

Superficial burns
These burns will make the skin look red and there may be swelling. This is when only the top layer of skin has been burnt. If these are larger than five palm areas, you need hospital treatment.
Partial-thickness burns
You will see a blister formed over the skin - this is due to the tissue fluid released from the damaged tissues. The skin around it will be red and raw. If the burn is larger than an area the size of your hand, you must go to hospital.
Full-thickness burns
This is the most severe type of burn, and always requires hospital treatment. The burn affects all layers of the skin, and there may be damage to nerves, muscles, etc.

Treatment for severe burns/scalds

1. Lie down. Prevent the burnt area coming into contact with ground.
2. Douse burn with water for at least 10 minutes. Dial 999/911 for an ambulance.
3. Continue cooling affected area.
4. Gently remove jewellery, belts, shoes, or clothing before it gets stuck to the tissue.
5. Cover area with a sterile dressing to protect from infection. If you don't have one of these, use part of a sheet, kitchen film, etc.
IMPORTANT If there is anything that is already stuck to the burn, DO NOT remove it, this could make the situation worse.

Treatment for minor burns/scalds

1. Flood injured part with cold water for at least 10 minutes to stop burning and relieve pain.
2. Gently remove jewellery, watches, belts, etc before it starts to swell.
3. Cover area with sterile dressing or a clean, non-fluffy pad and bandage losely in place. A plastic bag or kitchen film would also make a temporary covering. This will prevent infection.

If blisters appear, do not burst them. Apply a non-adhesive dressing that extends beyond the edges of the blister and leave in place until it subsides.

The skin can also be burned when it is exposed to certain chemicals. If the chemical you have used is liquid, wash this off with lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes. If the chemical is dry, then brush the chemical off before rinsing the area in water. Please do not try and neutralise the chemical; if you have used an acid DO NOT try and reverse it by adding an alkali.
All chemical burns should be referred to a Doctor.

If in doubt, make a visit to your doctor or your local hospital.

I’d also recommend this website if in doubt about anything: http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/

Last edited by Katrina; January 19th 2009 at 09:01 AM. Reason: Updating information.
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