Lesson 4.10 – Abdominal Injuries

Abdominal trauma is an injury to the abdomen. It may be blunt or penetrating and may involve damage to the abdominal organs.  Abdominal trauma presents a risk of severe blood loss and infection.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Bruising
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Evidence of wound site
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Onset of shock
  • Pain or tenderness at the site of the injury
  • Possible protruding intestines
  • Swelling or distension

Management of abdominal injuries

  • Follow DRSABCD
  • Place the casualty in a position of comfort
  • Usually lying on side or back with knees drawn and supported
  • Loosen any clothing around the casualty’s neck, chest and waist area
  • Cover any protruding organs with a large non-stick dressing soaked in saline or plastic cling film (e.g. gladwrap)
  • DO NOT attempt to replace or push back protruding organs
  • DO NOT apply direct pressure
  • Nothing to eat or drink
  • Call triple 000 for medical help

Lesson 4.9 – Asphyxia

Asphyxia or asphyxiation is a severely deficient supply of oxygen to the body that arises from abnormal breathing.  There are many circumstances that can induce asphyxia, all of which are characterized by the inability of an individual to acquire sufficient oxygen through breathing for an extended period of time.  Asphyxia can cause coma or death.

Causes of asphyxia may include:

  • An environment where there is a lack of oxygenated air, like smoke
  • Breaking the windpipe
  • Constriction or obstruction of airways such as asthma or laryngospasm
  • Drowning
  • Drug overdose
  • Hanging
  • Prolonged exposure to chlorine gas
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Simple blockage from the presence of a foreign material
  • Sleep apnoea

Signs and symptoms of asphyxia

  • Bluish discolouration of the face (cyanosis)
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Unconsciousness


  • Follow DRSABCD
  • If the asphyxia is caused by:
    • Strangulation: remove the object such as a band or a rope used for the strangulation attempt, immediately from the neck
    • Asthma attack or inflammation in the throat: allow the person to sit upright in an area where there is fresh hair
    • Toxic gas: take the casualty outside where there is fresh air. Ensure that the building is safe from the toxic gas and initiate an evacuation immediately
  • Loosen any tight clothing, especially around the neck including collars, ties and accessories
    • Unconscious:  follow DRSABCD
  • If the causality does not show signs of circulation or is not breathing, begin CPR immediately and make sure help in on its way
  • Call triple 000

Lesson 4.7 – Diabetes

Diabetes is where the pancreas no longer produces the hormone Insulin, which is required throughout the body to convert sugar to energy.

If you are unsure whether the casualty has low or high blood sugar, give them a drink containing sugar (DO NOT use ‘diet’ soft drinks, e.g. Coke Zero, Pepsi Max).  Giving any form of sugar can save a casualty’s life if blood sugar is low and will not cause undue harm if blood sugar is high.


Hypoglycemia sets in when blood sugar levels are too low.


Hyperglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels are too high.

Sings and symptoms of hypo and hyperglycemia

Lesson 4.6 – Seizures

Seizures occur when the electrical activity of the brain is interrupted or becomes irregular. This may be caused by a number of conditions, one of those being epilepsy.

Lesson 4.5 – Basic Wound Care

Basic wound care involves the treatment of external bleeding injuries.

Please complete the 3 lessons below BEFORE marking this unit as complete.

Lesson 4.4 – Concussion and Head Injury

A concussion is caused by a blow to the head and may cause temporary unconsciousness or confusion.  Anybody with a suspected concussion should seek medical help urgently.

Concussion signs and symptoms

  • Altered or abnormal responses to commands and touch
  • Blurred vision, faintness or dizziness
  • Confusion and loss of memory, particularly of the event
  • Persistent headache
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting within a few hours after the head injury
  • Wounds to the scalp or face

Management of Concussion and Head Injury


  • Follow DRSABCD
  • Advise to seek medical attention
  • Call triple 000
  • If no spinal injury, place in a position of comfort

If unconscious with suspected spinal injury, place in the recovery position.

Head Injury

  • Call triple 000
  • Control any bleeding
  • If bleeding from the ear, secure sterile dressing over the ear and place casualty on their injured side
  • Monitor the casualty

Lesson 4.3 – Neck and Spinal Injuries

In providing first aid management the First aider should always be aware of the potential for damage to the spinal cord, which is the nerve centre for controlling movement.  Where a head injury is present, suspect a spinal injury.

Signs and symptoms of spinal injury:

  • Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in hands, fingers, toes and feet.
  • Loss of movement or impaired movement below the site of the injury
  • Pain at or below the site of the injury
  • Tenderness over the site of the injury

Management of neck and spinal injuries

If Conscious

  • Follow DRSABCD
  • Call triple 000
  • Keep the casualty in the position found.  Only move if in danger
  • Minimise head and neck movement
  • Maintain body temperature
  • Control bleeding
  • Reassure
  • Loosen any tight clothing
  • Monitor the casualty

If Unconscious

  • Follow DRSABCD
  • Call triple 000
  • Place in the recovery position.  Avoid twisting and excessive movement of the neck and back.  Obtain assistance if available
  • Monitor the casualty

Lesson 4.2 – Stroke

A stroke is a blockage or a bleed involving the blood circulation to the brain. 

Strokes can be recognised by the following symptoms:

Lesson 4.1 – Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when an artery is blocked or there is a decrease in the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.  Angina may not be so severe; however, it can be a symptom of a life-threatening heart problem.

In cases of sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating or does not beat regularly enough to effectively circulate blood.  Unconsciousness occurs and breathing will cease. 

Recognising chest pain:

  • Sudden onset of tight/heavy or dull pain or ache across the chest
  • Pain can radiate to the neck, jaw, shoulders or arms (usually left arm)
  • May develop nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness or light-headedness

It is vital that DRSABCD and the chain of survival are instigated as soon as possible.

Lesson 3.4 – Triple Zero

When calling emergency services (by dialling 000) let the operator know the following details:

  • Where the emergency is – exact address/location.  The more details you can provide, the easier the emergency services can find you
  • What has happened – car accident, fall, drowning etc.  How many people are involved and the condition of the casualty/s (bleeding, unconscious, chest pain etc)
  • What is being done – details of the first aid that is being/has been provided so far
  • Your name and the number you are calling from in case the call drops out

There are various ways you can contact emergency services. By either dialling the emergency numbers listed below or via the Emergency + app.

Lesson 3.3 – Chain of Survival

The chain of survival is the four steps required to give a person in cardiac arrest the best chance of survival.

Understanding the links in the chain of survival will improve the probability of survival from a cardiac arrest.

The 4 links in the chain of survival are:

Early Acess

Recognise the signs of a cardiac arrest and send for help by dialling triple zero (000/mobile 112).

Early CPR

Do not delay and commence CPR immediately.

Early Defibrillation

Request an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) from a bystander. For every minute defibrillation is delayed, there is approximately 10% reduction in survival.

Early Advanced Care Procedures

The sooner professional emergency medical personnel/workers can attend the casualty, the better the chance of survival. Seek assistance from paramedics as soon as possible.

The chain of survival will improve the probability of survival from a cardiac arrest.

Lesson 3.2 – Basic Life Support

When applying first aid, always remember that a first aiders function is to:

  • Preserve life
  • Prevent illness, injury and condition(s) becoming worse
  • Promote recovery
  • Protect the unconscious casualty

The DRSABCD represent ‘Basic Life Support’ in accordance with the ARC guidelines and it is used to perform CPR.  It is a core part of emergency first aid treatment.

Lesson 3.1 – Visual and Verbal Assessment

Assessing the scene of the emergency

The first step in the initial assessment is to survey the scene of the emergency.  This will determine the type of accident and any immediate risks/hazards to the casualty, bystanders and treating personnel/workers. Ensure you are not placing yourself at risk by attempting to provide first aid.

It is at this point that you might encounter barriers to action. These barriers may be in the form of:

  • Presence of bystanders – You may feel embarrassed performing first aid in front of others or may assume someone else will be doing it;
  • Uncertainty about the person – the injured person may be a stranger, older, younger, different gender or race etc. You should provide assistance regardless of the individual.

If you are unable to provide assistance you can still call for medical assistance on ‘000’.

Primary Survey

If the casualty is conscious, remember to always get their consent first before you start any first aid.

The next step is to assess the casualty to determine the extent and nature of the emergency care required. This is called a primary survey because it is looking for any signs that the casualty is in a life-threatening situation.

During this initial survey, you will check:

  • Is the casualty responding?
  • Does the casualty have a clear airway?
  • Is the casualty breathing?
  • Is there severe bleeding?

Secondary Survey

A secondary survey is conducted if the initial assessment found no life-threatening conditions.

It assesses the casualty more closely for signs such as cuts, burns, bruising, swelling, puncture wounds and anything out of place (misuse of drugs). It involves surveying the casualty from head to toe in a systematic method.

In today’s technological era, it is very likely that the incident may be recorded on someone’s phone.  Ensure that you constantly talk to the casualty explaining what you are doing during your assessments. 

This will ensure that not just your casualty, but bystanders all understand what you are doing.

Lesson 2.5 – Basic Anatomy

You need to be aware of the basic anatomy and physiology of the human body to assess the type of injury, how bad it is and how best to respond.

Circulatory System

This involves the heart, veins and arteries. Bleeding will show you whether a vein or artery has been injured

Respiratory System

This involves the ability to breathe and includes the lungs, mouth, nose and windpipe

Without oxygen, brain damage can result within 4 minutes

Nervous System

The nervous system sends messages through every part of the body. Potential injuries to the spinal column can kill or cause permanent paralysis

Lesson 2.4 – Standard Precautions

The first thing that anyone providing first aid should be aware of when entering a situation is the potential for danger to themselves. This is especially important in first aid, as situations which have been dangerous to others carry an inherent risk of danger to those providing first aid.  First Aiders are less likely to contract infectious diseases if they use standard precautions when attending a casualty.


The main tool of the first aider to avoid this risk is a pair of impermeable gloves.  Gloves protect the key contact point with the victim (i.e. the hands) and allow you to work in increased safety.  They protect not only from bodily fluids and faeces but from any dermatological infections or parasites that the victim may have.

Safety Glasses/Face Mask/Shield

Prevents spurting or pooled fluid which could come in contact with your face.

Sharps Container

These items that can puncture your skin are called ‘sharps’. Used sharps should be put in a strong container that cannot pierce. You must be able to seal the container. This means no one can be hurt by the used sharp. 

Protective Personal Equipment (PPE)

PPE will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment.

Lesson 2.3 – Infection Control

A disease that can be transmitted from person to person is caused by microscopic agents.  First Aiders are less likely to contract infectious diseases if they use standard precautions for every casualty.

If a needle stick occurs, wash the area with soap and water as soon as possible, apply a sterile dressing and see your GP or hospital as soon as practical.

A disease may be passed to First Aiders by contact with:

  • Droplets
  • Blood/other body fluids
  • Infected needles/sharp objects

Practices which help to control the spread of infection include

  • Washing/drying hands before and following patient contact
  • Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Gloves
  • Face mask and/or shield
  • Goggles/safety glasses
  • Appropriate disposal of sharps/clinical waste

Lesson 2.2 – Principles of First Aid

The principles of first aid are reflected in the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) guidelines and refer to: 

  • First aid management of injuries
  • The basic life support system “DRSABCD”
  • First aid training requirements

The four aspects of the Principles of First Aid are: