Covid-19 first aid guidance

Covid-19 and first aid

During this difficult time people may be more unsure about stepping forward and helping others, mostly as they are concerned about physical contact. Here are some helpful tips on how to make it as safe as possible.

First Aid out in the community

Most first aid is very simple and the steps to take in an emergency can be described or explained to an injured or ill person so they can help themselves. For example, if they are bleeding heavily, you can ask them to apply pressure to the wound while you call 999. If the person can help themselves then it is important to maintain social distancing.

If you do need to help an individual who you are concerned may have an infection, wherever possible encourage others who are not involved in helping to maintain social distance from the individual. 

If someone is so badly injured or ill that they are unable to help themselves, it is even more important we step in and try to help if safe to do so. For example, not helping someone who is not responsive or not breathing will dramatically reduce their chance of survival and the risks to the first aider are low, especially if good hygiene practices are followed.

Wear a face mask if available, plus gloves and an apron if these are available too.

Wash your hands after any contact with someone.

Following current government advice around handwashing is known to reduce the risk of infection. Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser gel if water is not available.

Checking for breathing during Covid-19

When checking if a person is breathing do not listen or feel for breathing by placing your ear and cheek close to the person's mouth. Look for a rise and fall of their chest or stomach and normal breathing. If you are unsure, assume they are not breathing. Continue with first aid key actions.

Up to date information from the Resuscitation Council UK can be found here

Up to date information for first aiders from Public Health England can be found here.

*If you fall into one of the identified Covid-19 risk groups additional caution should be taken.