First aid questions Ask a first aid question - Q&A

Welcome to our new first aid questions area. This page has been created to allow you submit your own first aid questions. Our team will then review your question and post the answer here (after debating amongst ourselves!) .Question mark

You can submit a new first aid question by using the comment feature at the bottom of this page. Questions can be anything to do with first aid or related topics such as first aid training. Our editorial team as a combined experience of nearly 30 years of working as first aid trainers and instructors.

Your first aid questions

 What would one do if someone collapses in the gym?

Strenuous exercise can cause a number of medical conditions and problems. These include cardiac arrests (where the heart stops beating), faints, diabetic emergencies and seizures.

Whenever you find someone collapsed you should assess the casualty using the mnemonic DR ABC. Firstly check for Danger, then check for a Response. If you don’t get a response from the casualty then they are unconscious and this is a medical emergency. You should then open the Airway and check to see if they are Breathing normally. You can find out how to do this in module two of ourfree online first aid course.

If they are breathing, you should place the casualty on their side with their head tilted back. This is known as the recovery position and helps protect the airway against vomiting. If they are not breathing you should call an ambulance immediately and then start performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). It is important to complete all the links in the Chain of Survival as quickly as possible.

I’ve always wondered what would be the course of action if a person started having a seizure. I’ve heard so many advices – some of them even contradictory – that I’m overwhelmed with information and would not know what to do. What is the correct way to help someone in a situation like that?

I know what you mean! Take a look at our page ‘How to deal with a seizure’ – http://www.firstaidforfree.com/first-aid-tip-how-to-deal-with-a-seizure-convulsion/ – this should cover all the first aid information you need to know! You main priorities are to keep the person safe and protect the airway after the seizure stops.

What if the victim is breathing ,but became unconscious because of D.M? then how to differentiate?

If someone is unconscious but breathing then they should be placed into the recovery position.  This helps protect the airway from the tongue and any vomit. You can learn how to place someone in the recovery position by taking our free online first aid course. The priority is to manage the airway rather than worry about the diabetes mellitus, however you should pass any information you have onto the ambulance crew.

Is it ok/recommended to rub the inside of an uncooked potato on a burn?

Unfortunately this is definitely a first aid myth! The priority with a burn is to cool the area to prevent further damage to the tissues. This is best achieved by using cool running water for at least 10 minutes. After cooling a burn the next step is to prevent infection by covering the burn with a non-fluffy dressing. Clingfilm is an ideal dressing to use as long as its clean!

i have heard that chewing an aspirin tablet is effective during a heart attack. would it be recommended to have an aspirin in my first aid bag? also if i think someone is having a heart attack, can i give that person an aspirin?

Yes! Chewing an aspirin can reduce the chances of death from a heart attack by over 20%! You should encourage the person to chew a 300mg aspirin (not swallow). However, don’t give someone an aspirin if they have a serious allergy to it.

In the case of burns, it says if there is no running water then improvise. If the only source of water was a lake, which would be the priority- cooling the burn or preventing infection from the dirty water?

The priority is definitely cooling the burn as this will reduce the tissue damage and slow the burning process. Infection is a longer term complication which can be managed by health care professionals later in the healing process. So yes – improvise with any water available!

On coming upon a casualty, we are advised to get the person into the recovery position ..is there any danger if there is a possible spinal injury?

The priority with any casualty who is unconscious is to manage their airway and keep them breathing. All unconscious casualties should be placed into the recovery position to protect their airway. There is always a risk of causing further injury, however this is far outweighed by the benefit of keeping them breathing!

Which is the recovery position? Right side or left? The first image shows a female lying on her left side, while the short British Red Cross video shows a man lying on the right side. Considering the ease at which the stomach content may come out from the mouth, on which side should the victim be positioned? Please, Help clarify

It doesn’t matter – you can place someone into the recovery position on either side. The priority is to get them on their side with their head tilted back to protect the airway. If you suspect the patient has injuries then a general rule is always to place the injured side down however this might not always be possible (for example, in a confined space)

104 Responses

  1. Kerry says:

    Hi,

    What would one do if someone colapses in the gym?

  2. Inna says:

    hi:)
    I require to have a FETAC Level 5 First Aid Course. Would this online course be the one?
    Thanks

  3. maripereira says:

    I’ve always wondered what would be the course of action if a person started having a seizure. I’ve heard so many advices – some of them even contradictory – that I’m overwhelmed with information and would not know what to do. What is the correct way to help someone in a situation like that?

  4. kholbrook says:

    Hello, how long is the Fist Aid certification valid?

    • John Furst says:

      Hello,

      As we don’t have a formal skills assessment the certificate does not have an expiry date. However we would recommend you revist the materials every year or so

      Thanks
      John

  5. mickb123 says:

    It wont let me open my certificate

  6. manolo says:

    Hi there, I have done all the modules and they are all in green.But I haven’t received a e-mail to download the certificate.Could you help me please.Thank you.

    • John Furst says:

      Hello,

      Have you marked all the modules as completed? They should all have a green tick next to them on the course homepage. If not you will need to mark them as completed before you can download your certificate. If you continue to have problems then please use the contact form to get in touch

      Thanks,
      John

  7. brokensword says:

    then what if the victim is breathing ,but became unconscious because of D.M? then how to differentiate?

    • John Furst says:

      Hi there,

      If someone is unconscious but breathing then they should be placed into the recovery position 🙂 This helps protect the airway from the tongue and any vomit. You can learn how to place someone in the recovery position by taking our free online first aid course

      Hope this helps,
      Thanks
      John

  8. Mrs.Iman says:

    what does it mean when you twitching in arm, leg ,and neck. what does it mean when you can’t sleep on belly.

  9. Vivian says:

    Hello,
    I was wondering why the certification does not come with an expiration date.

  10. chrischaz08 says:

    I’m done how do I download

    • John Furst says:

      Hi there, you need to mark all the modules as completed (so that they have a green tick next to them) before you are emailed your first aid certificate. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      John

  11. Danica Mae L. Dela Cruz says:

    I already finished all the modules but I didn’t receive my certificate… How can I receive my certificate?

    • John Furst says:

      Hi there, you need to mark all the modules as completed (so that they have a green tick next to them) before you are emailed your first aid certificate. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      John

  12. sumaia says:

    Hi
    I am doing a child care course & they need a current First Aid Certificate (HLTFA311A or
    HLTAID004). Is your course code is the same. i mean when i complete the course, is the course code will be printed in my certificate. Please advise.

  13. Michelle Birks says:

    Hi,

    This was interesting and helpful. I have downloaded certificate – thank you. Do you do any more levels? Would be interested.

  14. begum says:

    Hi how do i start

  15. PAUL MICHELO says:

    hi john
    i was wondering,how many modules does this course have and how do i know that i have completed all of them?
    thank you.

    • John Furst says:

      Hi Paul,

      Each unit should appear with a green tick next to it once you’ve marked it as completed. once you’ve completed all the units you will be emailed a link to your certificate.

      Thanks,
      John

  16. Tania Dey says:

    Hi John,

    I completed your online first aid course and got my certificate. Your course covers the basics in an easily understandable manner. Really liked it! As a scientist, I have always seen a first aid kit in the lab. What are the essential items that should be included in the kit? And can it be refilled?

    Cheers,
    Tania

  17. Tania Dey says:

    Hi John,

    I completed your online first aid course and got my certificate. Thanks! Your course covers the basics in an easily understandable manner. Really liked it! As a scientist, I have always seen a first aid kit in the lab. What are the essential items that should be included in the kit? And can it be refilled? Also is it possible to display the % score in the certificate? I answered 20 questions correct out of 21, so it will be 95%.

    Cheers,
    Tania

    PS. The only one that I answered wrong is: A major burn can cause a casualty to go into shock: True or False. The system said it is true. From your course I know, a major burn (third degree) means destruction of deep tissues and shock means non-availability of oxygen and other nutrients in the tissues due to major blood loss. Then how can these two things be related? Am I missing anything?

  18. aamina says:

    I, as a 12 year old completed the first aid course and I’m now doing the advanced. It was simple and easy to understand. I found it hard opening my certificate. I downloaded twice… wouldn’t work. Then I emailed it to myself as an attachment and when I opened it it worked. Also I have got a Question. Is it ok/recommended to rub the inside of an uncooked potato on a burn?

  19. choco280587 says:

    i have heard that chewing an aspirin tablet is effective during a heart attack. would it be recommended to have an aspirin in my first aid bag? also if i think someone is having a heart attack, can i give that person an aspirin?

  20. keria says:

    I completed the first aid course thank you Keria

  21. laura bankhead says:

    In the case of burns, it says if there is no running water then improvise. If the only source of water was a lake, which would be the priority- cooling the burn or preventing infection from the dirty water?

  22. aamina says:

    Hi John. Now that I’ve completed both of the first aid courses is there anything else that I can do.

    • John Furst says:

      Hi aamina,

      Not at the moment, we’re working on adding some more content soon. I’d recommend looking up any first aid training providers (such as the Red Cross) in your area and see what courses they offer

      Thanks,
      John

  23. Kathleen says:

    On coming upon a casualty, we are advised to get the person into the recovery position ..is there any danger if there is a possible spinal injury?

    • John Furst says:

      Hi Kathleen,

      Good question! Have answered it above for you

      Kind regards,
      John

      • windblew says:

        I have just read that comment in the post above, in cadets (army cadets) we are told that if a casualty is unconscious – breathing and has a potential spinal injury from a fall, you do not put them in the recovery position as their air way is currently open and you regularly check every couple of minutes rather than causing more damage by moving them.

        I appreciate you have already answered this but to clarify you are saying no matter how big the fall and potential danger to the casualty, as long as they are breathing you put them in the recovery position

  24. Fiddlesticks says:

    Thank you for the course. It was very good. I cannot print the certificate as I have run out of ink. I need to save the certificate on my computer and go to the library tomorrow to print it, is this possible?

  25. Ann-Marie says:

    Hi,

    Just a quick question regarding Diabetes. The signs are very similar for both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. If I give someone with hyperglycemia something sugary thinking they are hypoglycemic surely that would cause a problem? Will I need to rely on what they can tell me in order to differentiate between the two?

    Cheers.

  26. sammyhands says:

    Hello John,

    Thanks for making this vital training available online also for free! I have just completed the first training and downloaded my certificate. Am about to commence the advance training. just wondering do you have demonstration video or youtube link that could be helpful??

    • John Furst says:

      Hey Sammy,

      We’ve included videos on some of the modules. However generally YouTube has lots of good first aid videos if you just search for the topic. We’re hoping to update our first aid training with more videos soon

      Thanks,
      John

  27. janet mahay says:

    Hi I have enjoyed doing both your online and advanced first aid courses thank you and thanks for making these courses available to all
    As i am a member of a charity group and we deal a lot with the elderly are you doing any first aid for specific groups – elderly, children , and as many of us have pets are you going to do a first aid pets?

  28. janet mahay says:

    I forgot to mention have you first aid course for carers

  29. Rashid says:

    Hi All, please read the medical disclaimer on this website – This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Our online first aid course is not a substitute for hands on first aid training by an accredited training provider and should not be used as such.

  30. Quirah says:

    Hi,
    I just want to know what will i do if someone collapses during a zumba workout? thanks.

    • John Furst says:

      Hey Quirah! The best method to assess someone who collapses is ‘DR ABC’. If you read the page above, someone else has asked what to do if someone collapses in the gym. The advice can also be applied to a zumba workout 🙂

      Hope this helps,
      Thanks
      John & the team

  31. Ylenia says:

    Hi. I’d like to ask if there is a difference between someone fainting and someone being unconscious. Thanks in advance.

  32. Sanele Hadebe says:

    I want to ask that lets say a girl become and the is only a boy who knows first aid ,will the boy have permission to do CPR on the girl

    • Jon says:

      If its lifesaving and not sexual I can’t see a problem. It all depends on how grateful the casualty is to be alive – I know I wouldn’t hesitate to administer first aid to ANYONE regardless of age, sex, race, colour, creed, sexual orientation, etc and to hell with the consequences.

  33. Gilbert Kipkoech says:

    Hello
    I have completed all the modules and i have marked them as completed, how do i get my certificate?
    reply through kipkoech_gilbert@yahoo.com

    • John Furst says:

      Hi there,

      Once you’ve marked all the modules as completed then your certificate should be emailed to the email address you used to register with. If you haven’t received an email then check your ‘spam’ or ‘junk’ folder as the emails occasionally end up there.

      Hope this helps,
      Thanks
      John & the team

  34. Latoya Shepeard says:

    I need to talk to someone bout my courses I took last nite..please inform me please…

  35. heelaje says:

    Hello,
    After looking over your website I was trying to find if your courses meet the ECC/ILCOR and the American Heart Association guidelines as well is this recognized by States. Is this a true certification or more of a infomrational course and you receive a class completion certification? I want to make that if you take the course you will be covered by the Good Samaritan Law.
    Thanks
    Jeff

  36. mworrall says:

    Would this training certify me for 1 or 2 years?

    • John Furst says:

      Hi there,

      As there is no skills assessment our certificate does not have an expiry date. We would suggest reviewing the material every year.

      Thanks,
      John & the team

  37. mushyCTP says:

    A Casualty has taken fall from height and is wearing a climbing helmet (expanded foam helmet similar to bicycle helmet with hard outer shell) suspected spine damage. Do you remove helmet or keep the helmet on the casualty? [there is no damage from falling debris] I’m curious as motorcycle helmets should not be removed.

  38. qcstyro says:

    Hi, may I ask what would be the right thing to do, is it the CAB(Circulation,Airway,Breathing) or still the ABC (airway,breathing & circulation)

    • windblew says:

      At cadets we are taught the following, sorry if its too complicated

      you treat using AMEGR

      First you assess the situation, which includes you stopping looking & listening before thinking (am I qualified enough/am i confident in my ability’s to deal with the situation) then acting

      M is make safe – you do this by SAFE 123, S stands for stop A stands for assess for danger F stands for Free from danger E stands for evaluate – which continues on to 1 – which is you making sure you are safe – PPE (personal protective equipment) – things like gloves/face Shields (things that protect you) 2 stands for environment – (these are dangers like fires and electrical hazards ) 3 is the casualty making sure they are safe (in that order because if you are un safe you become a casualty and more work for a professional helper – paramedic)

      E is emergency aid – this is where you provide any aid that is essential that absolutely cant wait (telling a bleeding casualty to put pressure on the injury and raise their arm/ or check a casualty conscious level so you know if you need an ambulance or the person on the floor is just sleeping ) at this stage you dont dress wounds or do any further care as you do not have an ambulance on the way yet.

      G is get help, this is where you shout for help (or call if you have a phone) (using ETHANE to ensure the ambulance has all the correct details ) – E stands for exact location T – stands for Type of incident (basically what happened …… drowning/electric shock) H – is hazards which paramedics need to take into account, A – is access to the scene (ie how do the paramedics get to the scene, do they need to enter though a rear fire escape) N – is numbers (how many casualty’s are there – so they know how many ambulances to send ) E is which emergency service you require (it does not matter which order you tell the person on the phone)

      after you have done this you have done the equivalent of DRS, so now you finish your ABCDE for A – you open their airways (described in this website) B check for breathing (with your face just above the casualty’s face so you can feel the breath while looking down their body watching for the chest to rise/fall) after you have done this you will either put the casualty in the recovery position and do a wound sweep/wet check after they have been put in the recovery position or if the casualty is not breathing you should start CPR, supplementing it with AED usage if available this is where the normal DRS ABC ends, but you can continue to gather information which will help the ambulance when it arrives. D stands for disability’s this involves checking response levels, you do this using AVPU, checking to see if they are alert/responds to voice/ responds to pain or unresponsive if the ambulance know this they will know which casualty’s need to be addressed first. the next part is E – evaluation, you do this using AMPLE – A stands for Allergies – if you can note down what casualty’s are allergic to then the ambulance will be able to avoid giving the casualty medication/aid that would cause an allergic reaction. next is M – Medication (for the same reason as allergies – you don’t want the ambulance issuing conflicting medication) P – stands for previous medical history (anything that the first aider/ambulance needs to know with regards to past injuries that may impede treatment ) L – stands for last meal (the ambulance needs to know this so they can dose the right amount of anesthetic if applicable) lastly E- is event history which is important in case you need to contact other services such as police if you discover that the injury to the leg was a weapon wound meaning that you need professionals to find the owner and deal with any weapons (which is a big danger in DRS ABC)

      The final part is R – Report which is split down into CAR – clean up the incident of medical waste, write the accident book if you are doing first aid as the designated first aider in a public organisation or workplace,. finally R is replenish your first aid kit

      This is a bit more advanced than DRS ABC, but I hope it helps in some way 🙂

  39. tmohney19 says:

    Hello I need hlp with test I didn’t mean to push the done with unit quiz button and I still need to take the course and I don’t know how to get back to the beginning I was trying to do just that when it posted my score as a 16% wasn’t even at that point yet I.m very confused

  40. Edwarg says:

    Is this course done in association with an awarding organisation or a first aid organisation? Or is it in any way Ofqual regulated?

    • John Furst says:

      Hi there,

      I’m afraid our certificate is not accredited by any external body. Please read our Medical Disclaimer for more information.

      Kind regards,
      John

  41. Serena says:

    Should I provide first aid for an employee that has injured themselves outside of work, e.g on the weekend and they come in seeking first aid when the work week starts?

  42. kdfarrier says:

    One of the modules said to always put a breathing unresponsive person in the recovery position. Another module says to check for shock and then treat them, the video showing the person flat on his back with his legs raised. How can I determine which directive to follow?

  43. mphillis says:

    John, I am going on a mission trip in india and I came across your site. I was wondering if you had any advice of certain “must haves” in a first aid kit? Thank you

  44. Dman423 says:

    Hi im new to your site and i seen it said cpr and first aid courses for free is it rally for free, and when you log in and scroll down it shows your progress is that the classes. Im only asking because the last site i went to tried to charge me for it when i was half way done.

  45. Dman423 says:

    I would just like to now if it is free or not so i know when or if i have to pay something.

  46. Dman423 says:

    Ok thank you vary much

  47. Firemom13 says:

    Hi I got my certificate but I’m looking for my expire date !? Where would that be ?

    • John Furst says:

      Hi there,

      As there is no skills assessment our first aid & CPR certificate does not have an expiry date. We would suggest reviewing the material every year.

      Thanks,
      John & the team

  48. pjnagi says:

    i.cant.download.my.certificate.all.completed

    • John Furst says:

      Hi there,

      Take a look at our help pages. They provide lots of information and troubleshooting help. If you are still experiencing problems then please use our contact form to get in touch with a member of our support team.

      Kind regards,
      John

  49. Leohall2001 says:

    Wow, I’m so surprised of how great this website is. I come from a Health Care Professional background and I was looking online for some resources and I bumped into this website, I can’t believe how useful this could be for people who don’t know First Aid!

  50. chloeemslie2002 says:

    How do you make fake blood and skin

  51. dk53011 says:

    Module 1 QUIZ Basic First Aid

    Question: TRUE/FALSE – You should always put on gloves before approaching a casualty? Your Answer is FALSE, you only need to wear gloves when there is a risk of you being exposed to blood or bodily fluids.

    I believe this is incorrect, and I answered TRUE. While I believe your explanation is correct, I also believe that a First Aider should be proactive rather than reactive in protecting themselves. PPE should be put on before danger of exposure is present, especially in high stress circumstances, because even the most experienced can make mistakes or not see potential dangers when assessing a casualty. Putting on your gloves protects yourself, which is “rule number one.” This is part of GO DR SHAVPU… I feel that this question and answer may mislead individuals who may not have any previous training and/or experience. Do you feel that this should be changed in Module 1 Quiz Basic First Aid?

  52. 159874236159874236 says:

    In The Heart Attack Section, You Guys Said To Take 300 mg of Asprin But It’s only 81 mg

  53. Sara York says:

    I updated my profile with my first and last name instead of my username can you resend it to me possibly yorksara7822@gmail.com I would like the certificate to show that instead of my username thank you so much.

  54. DelaneyS says:

    Hi John,

    I have just passed the Paediatrics First Aid Course thank you, however the certificate has spelt Paediatrics incorrectly with just an E and no A. Can you please advise??

  55. chuckman says:

    What does 911/112? mean

  56. shirleyv says:

    when does the cpr and first aide expire

    • John Furst says:

      Hi there,

      As there is no skills assessment our certificate does not have an expiry date. We would suggest reviewing the material every year.

      Thanks,
      John & the team

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