B is for Burns – The A-Z of First Aid with Optimum First Aid

Last week the British Burns Association held their annual National Burns Awareness Day and on Saturday we celebrate Guy Fawkes Night in the UK, pardon the pun in this week’s blog but it would seem that Burns are a hot topic!

Listed below are just some of the facts and figures recently released from the International Burn Injury Database (iBID):

  • The average cost to the NHS for a major burn is £168,155 but what is the cost to the individual and their family?
  • In 2015, 5,195 children under the age of 5 were so badly burnt that they had to be admitted to a NHS specialist burns service.  That is more than 14 toddlers every day!
  • The majority of injuries, especially to children and the elderly, occur between 3 and 6pm.

These are horrifying statistics. Our aim at Optimum First Aid is to focus on equipping you with the knowledge and skills to handle an emergency situation and respond with appropriate care that could make a huge difference to a casualty’s life or death. 

First of all let’s take a look at some of the most common causes for burns in the home environment.  Below are a list of potential home hazards: 

  • Hair straighteners: They heat up to temperatures of 220 degrees and take as long as 40 mins to cool down.  Make sure they are out of reach when not in use, especially when children are around.  I find myself constantly saying to my daughter to stay away when I am using mine but when they are distracted the message doesn’t always go in!  More than 250 children are treated for burns from them.
  • Hot fat, barbecues, garden fires and bonfires: It is the adult’s fascination in playing with fire and barbecues that causes these.  Ensure children are kept away from fireworks, BBQs or garden chemicals.
  • Sunburn: A notable cause of injury in 5-14 yr olds.  As you escape the winter to find some sun, make sure you take the necessary preventative measures and always check that sunscreens are at least a  minimum factor 50+ for children.
  • Hot drinks: Most common cause of scalds in children.  Do not drink whilst nursing a baby or child.  288 children a month require admission to an NHS Burns Service
  • Central Heating Radiators / Electric Cookers / Irons / Candles: Do not leave children unattended in the kitchen or near fires, heaters and/or irons.  Use fire guards and place candles, lighters & matches out of reach in a clear area.
  • Baths: Fill with cold water and top up with hot water.  Check the temperature before entering the water, taking particular care with children and the elderly.  Babies skin is 15 times thinner than an adult.  

Be Aware:

  • Young children do not know to pull away from heat!  
  • Preventative action is best! If a person is injured they could need repeated surgery for years.
  • If an injured person cannot feel any pain, there is a strong chance that the nerves are damaged resulting in 3rd degree burns.
  • Do not contaminate yourself or other areas of the body if the cause is a chemical burn.

Our first and most important advice in treating a burn is to remember the simple mantra: COOL, CALL & COVER


  • Cool burn with running water for a minimum of 20 mins.
  • Remove all clothing and jewellery unless melted or firmly stuck to the burn.  
  • Call for help 999/112 or local GP service.  Especially, if:
    • Greater than 1% (1% = palm of injured person including fingers)
    • Hands, face, feet, genital areas
    • It’s a Child who has been injured
    • Burn goes all the way around a limb
    • Full thickness burn (unlikely to feel any pain)
    • If not sure


  • Cover with cling film or sterile, non fluffy dressing or cloth but make sure you do not wrap the dressing too tight as the area may continue to swell.  Discard the first 2 turns of the film.

Top Tip: Cooling the burn for an extended amount of time can significantly improve the individual’s recovery from the injury.


  • Cool the burn using ice
  • Burst blisters
  • Touch the burn
  • Apply creams, ointments or fats
  • Apply adhesive dressings
  • Remove clothing that has stuck to the burn

…Finally have fun this Bonfire night and stay safe, Remember, Remember, First Aid for November!

C is for Choking – The A-Z of First Aid with Optimum First Aid

Today’s blog post is dedicated to the memory of Millie Thompson  who tragically died as a result of choking on food at a nursery in Stockport on October 23rd 2012. Her parents, Dan and Joanne Thompson, set up Millie’s Trust in her name and our thoughts are with them today as they mark this anniversary.

We wanted to show Joanne and Dan (Millie’s parents) our support for their campaign to improve first aid standards within nurseries and also, to raise awareness on the importance of learning these essential ‘life skills’ in the home.  

The list of causes for choking is endless but listed below are some of the main foods and items that have led to recent deaths in small children:

  • Grapes
  • Jelly cubes
  • Marbles
  • Lego
  • Beads
  • Button batteries


Giving children the freedom to explore is an essential part of their development but always remember to:

  • Keep a close eye on them.
  • Where possible, keep those small items that may lead to choking out of arm’s reach.
  • Cut up large pieces of hard or semi solid food e.g. grapes into quarters.

Top Tip:  Don’t wait until you find yourself in this situation to watch the video, remember being prepared is the best safety policy you can follow.  We recommend you get the knowledge before you need it, just  5 minutes to watch a video or read our suggestions, could save a person’s life!



At Optimum First Aid, we always teach the following first aid top tips on choking:

  • Drinking may make the situation worse.
  • Only remove an obstruction in the front of the mouth; removing something from the back of the mouth may cause further damage.
  • Encourage the person to cough first.
  • Ensure head is low when laying baby/child across your legs or ask child/adult to lean forwards, head lower than their chest during back slaps.  Note: It is normal for the person to try to stand up.  If this is the case, just treat them in this position.
  • If person becomes unconscious, start CPR.
  • Seek medical assistance if the person has:
    • Received abdominal thrusts (even if airway has been cleared)
    • Difficulty in swallowing
    • A persistent cough
    • Feels like ‘an object is still stuck in the throat’

Top Tip:  Attending a first aid course that uses a choking vest to demonstrate the treatment for choking will give you the opportunity to practice an abdominal thrust safely.  Not all first aiders use this piece of equipment but I believe it is an essential part of the training as the technique can be quite tricky to master.  After all, you would not want to find yourself in a real situation the first time you practice it!  

Remember, before you book a first aid course, check with the training provider that they are using these vests on the course.  

Special notes for Nurseries, Preschools and Early Years Providers regarding changes to Government Legislation:

Full details on the recent changes to government legislation on paediatric first aid in nurseries can be found on https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-gold-standard-in-paediatric-first-aid-launched  but in summary, the changes introduced as a direct result of their campaigning are:

  • From September 2016 all newly qualified staff with a childcare level 2 and 3 qualification must have an emergency paediatric first aid or full paediatric first aid certificate.  
  • Nurseries can also apply to receive a special endorsement, Millie’s Mark, where 100% of staff hold paediatric first aid qualifications and have well-deployed first aid processes in place.

Don’t let someone in your care lose their life unnecessarily.  Book yourself on a first aid course today to learn or refresh these life saving skills.  Millie’s Trust ensures that no one is disadvantaged from attending a course due to low income and so if this applies to you, please get in touch via their website:


A is for Allergic Reaction – The A-Z of First Aid with Optimum First Aid

Hello and welcome back to our blog, this week we’re taking a new look at our own A-Z of first aid, starting with the letter A for allergic reactions. What to do if you find yourself in an emergency situation and empowering you with the knowledge you need to provide first aid.

Allergic reactions are far more common than you may think in fact, between 6–8 % of children have a proven food allergy (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2011) and in the last 20 years there’s been an increase of 615% in hospital admissions for anaphylaxis. (Source; Allergy UK Website).

At Optimum First Aid, we know how important it is to spot the signs of an allergic reaction quickly and take the right steps to providing appropriate care and treatment.

An allergic reaction can happen rapidly and the casualty can become unwell very quickly. Below is a list of some of the key symptoms that a casualty can experience during an allergic reaction:

  • Blotchy skin rash or flushing (not all casualties display these symptoms and they can occur within seconds or over the space of a few hours)
  • Airway – swelling of lips, tongue or throat (a feeling that the airway is ‘closing up’)
  • Breathing – becomes wheezy and difficult, feels tightness in the chest (similar to an asthma attack)
  • Circulation – significant fall in blood pressure causes dizziness, feeling faint and the person may pass out, particularly if sat upright. Skin looks clammy, pale and cold alongside a rapid pulse. May experience nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea

There are many causes of allergic reactions some people aren’t aware of being allergic to anything until the attack occurs.  This is particularly the case for food allergies when people are trying new or unfamiliar foods. If you know you suffer from a food allergy, it’s important to check the list of ingredients carefully.

A very common allergic reaction is an insect bite, in fact with the warmer weather continuing into October we are likely to see more people affected.  People who experience an anaphylactic shock after one sting are 60 – 70% more likely to show the same reaction in the future according to recent research. (guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on anaphylaxis in the UK).

The important thing with an allergic reaction is to act fast and to know what to do to help someone who is experiencing a reaction. It is always important to remember that the first rule of first aid is never to put yourself into danger and call for help.

Not all allergic reactions result in people losing consciousness. One of the most important things to remember is:

  • If the casualty is conscious and having difficulties in breathing ONLY, sit them upright.  
  • However, if they feel light-headed or faint DO NOT sit or stand them up until their blood pressure has been checked by a healthcare professional as this could have life threatening consequences.  Instead, lay them down and raise their legs.

Further treatment includes:

  • Call 999/112.
  • If the casualty carries an auto-injector of adrenaline, this can save life if it’s given promptly. The casualty may be able to inject this on their own but, if necessary, it may require assistance.
  • If the casualty becomes unconscious, check airway and breathing and be ready to resuscitate if required.  
  • The adrenaline (auto-injector) can be repeated every at 5-15 minute intervals if symptoms return.

It is worth noting that someone who suffers from Asthma is more likely to have a more extreme allergic reaction as they are already immunocompromised and find breathing difficult.  Always seek medical attention after an attack has occurred.

Finally, at Optimum First Aid we like to leave you with an interesting fact.

Question: Do you know which fruit has recently led to more frequent severe allergic reactions?

Answer: The mild mannered Kiwi fruit.

Remember, if you are looking after children or planning some kind of sensory activity, probably best to keep a close eye on those in your care and be prepared!

Welcome to our blog – The A-Z of First Aid with Optimum First Aid

“As a general rule, we can survive approximately 3 weeks without food, approximately 3 days without water but only 3 minutes without oxygen, before our major organs such as our brain and heart are affected.”

At Optimum First Aid, we believe First Aid is not just a legal requirement at work or something you must do to tick the health and safety box, it is a “life skill’. We believe First Aid skills can be learnt from a very young age.

A survey by DK Research on behalf of St John’s Ambulance and British Red Cross to mark the launch of the first ever first aid awareness week back in 2011 revealed some interesting figures:

  • 77% of people either don’t know how to administer cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or they are unsure of how to do it.
  • Only one in ten people were willing to do CPR if they found a child on the street lying unresponsive and not breathing.
  • 1 in 3 people wouldn’t know what to do if their toddler was choking.

We all know that we should avoid accidents happening, but having the skills to know what to do are just as important.

In our Blog we will be giving you advice and tips on what to do in the event of an emergency involving small children and adults. We will explore the topics of Allergic reactions, Bleeding, Broken Bones, Burns, Choking, Emergency Life-Saving Resuscitation and Poisoning.

Join us as we share our knowledge with you. Learn more about emergency first aid skills including how to be legal and compliant at work. Feel confident in your ability to perform first aid and be safe. Lastly, remember the first rule of first aid, is never put yourself in danger.

See you next week as we look at the letter A, for Allergic reactions.