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    First Aid Basics: First Aid for Bruises

    Dr. Mary Williams, RN, DC

    About the author

    Dr. Mary Williams, RN, DC

    Dr. Mary Williams, R.N., D.C is a Doctor of Chiropractic with an extensive background as a Registered Nurse and experienced Core Instructor for the American Heart Association. She has over 30 years of hands-on medical and instructional experience.

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    First Aid Basics: First Aid for Bruises

    When a person falls, whether from a chair or while walking, it is likely that the individual will develop a bruise. Additionally, a person who is hit or tightly grasped by another person or is involved in an accident is also likely to bruise. Despite their unsightly appearance, bruises are not often considered to be serious injuries, and people may not seek out any type of care for them. Although they are quite common and generally not a cause for concern, there are times when bruises may be a sign of a more serious problem. For that reason, bruises, like any injury, should receive proper attention and first aid. At CPR Certified, we offer online courses such as Basic First Aid and Adult CPR & First Aid. Our instructors are AHA-certified and qualified to instruct you on how to administer first aid, which includes first aid for bruises.

    A part of learning how to administer first aid for bruises is understanding exactly what a bruise is and how it is formed. When a person receives an injury such as a strike, it can rupture some of the blood vessels that are located near the surface of the skin. This break releases blood that can become trapped under the skin, which results in discoloring, swelling, and tenderness or pain. Also known as contusions, bruises typically turn from red immediately following the incident to dark purple and/or blue within a day or two. Bruises typically undergo several changes in color as they heal, which can normally take as little as two weeks or as long as five.

    Treat Contusions without Confusion

    As a first-responder, it will be your job to tend to a victim’s contusion, or bruise. First aid is given to help the individual feel more comfortable by relieving some of the pain associated with the bruising and helping to reduce swelling. Additionally, immediate first aid can help healing occur faster than if no treatment is provided. In general, this involves applying a cold compress to the injured area, which will slow down inflammation and reduce the pain. If an ice pack is not readily available, improvise by placing clean gauze over the bruised area and then applying ice in a bag. The gauze will help to protect the skin against the extreme cold of the ice. Swelling can further be reduced by elevating the bruised area, particularly if it is on an arm or leg. If the injured individual complains of pain or extreme discomfort due to elevation, do not continue.

    Generally, a person does not need to seek further care when they are being treated for a simple bruise. First aid lessons and our other classes train students to identify what signs may indicate other problems, such as a head injury, that may require immediate medical attention. After your first aid training, you’ll also know how to instruct the injured individual on how to keep the pain and the swelling down as the bruise heals. In addition, you will also need to advise them on what signs are an indication that they need to see their doctor or call 911.

    Regardless of whether you’re an EMT, day-care provider, or lifeguard, you are certain to encounter contusions on a frequent basis. The ability to provide first aid to bruises or worse can be a positive trait that will not only help a person feel better but can also make the difference in getting a job or a promotion. At CPR Certified, we provide you with professional training that you can complete at your own pace from the comfort of your home. Additionally, we offer both certification and recertification. To get started or to learn more about our classes, contact us today.


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