Person consulting a general practitioner asking about her diabetic analysis


In this article we are going to look at Diabetes, what it is, how to recognise the signs and symptoms of Hypoglycaemic and hyperglycaemic conditions, and how to manage them and assist the casualty.

Here’s a few quick facts about diabetes.

According to Diabetes Australia

  • More than 300 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes
  • Almost 1.9 million Australians have diabetes. This includes all types of diagnosed diabetes (almost 1.5 million known and registered) as well as silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes (up to 500,000 estimated)
  • Almost 120,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year
  • For every person diagnosed with diabetes, there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role. This means that an estimated 2.4 million Australians are affected by diabetes every day
  • The total annual cost impact of diabetes in Australia is estimated at $17.6 billion (inflation-adjusted)

In fact, diabetes is the fastest-growing chronic condition in Australia, increasing at a faster rate than other chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

All types of diabetes are increasing in prevalence.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic, lifelong medical condition which occurs when the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin, or the body develops a resistance to the action of its own insulin. Untreated, the absolute or relative lack of insulin will lead to a high blood glucose level.

When the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin, glucose stays in your blood and does not reach the cells. This prevents the cells from functioning normally.

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that often develops in childhood and requires lifelong treatment with insulin.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is more commonly recognised in adulthood and requires a treatment combination of diet, exercise, oral medication, and sometimes insulin.

A third type of diabetes is Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a relatively common condition specific to pregnancy.

Diabetes can also occur because of another disease or as a side effect of medication.

Blood Sugar levels

When blood glucose levels become too high or too low, people with diabetes may become unwell and need first aid or treatment at a medical facility.

The normal range of glucose concentration in the blood of a healthy person ranges from 4.0 – 7.8 mmol/L.

As a result, if someone has abnormal levels of blood sugar, they can either be HYPOglycaemic – LOW blood sugar, or HYPERglycaemic – High blood sugar.

You can use a blood glucose meter to determine a person’s blood glucose level. There are different types of blood glucose meters and for more info click here.


Hypoglycaemia – Hypo for short, can occur because of:

• Too much insulin or other blood glucose-lowering medication.

• Inadequate or delayed carbohydrate intake after their usual insulin or oral medication dose.

• Exercise without adequate carbohydrate intake.

• Possibly delayed for up to 12 hours or more after exercise.

• In the setting of other illnesses; or excessive alcohol intake.

If the person injects too much insulin, doesn’t eat, or undertakes exercise without replenishing sugar levels they can go into a Hypo.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycaemia

Some or all of the following are signs and symptoms of a Hypo.

• Weakness, shaking

• Sweating

• Faintness, dizziness

• Teariness or crying

• Hunger

• Numbness around the lips and fingers

• Sweating,

• Pallor (pale skin), especially in young children

• A rapid pulse; and a headache.

• Mood or behavioural changes, with confusion, inability to concentrate, and slurred speech.

• Inability to follow instructions.

• Unresponsive; or seizure, can lead to coma and possibly be fatal

Hypo management

The recommended way to manage a person with Hypoglycaemia is:

• Stop any exercise, make them comfortable, reassure them, and follow the person’s diabetes management plan if they have one.

• If the casualty is fully conscious and able to swallow give them some sweets such as jellybeans or a sugary drink. This will raise their glucose level and you should see some positive results within a few minutes.

• Do not give them diet beverages or sugar-free sweets.

• If their condition improves give them a meal or something to eat and monitor their condition.

If the person does not improve with this treatment, is seizing or is unconscious, call for an ambulance. I

If they are unresponsive and not breathing normally, commence resuscitation.

For an unconscious breathing person, place them into the recovery position and ensure the airway is clear.

Monitor their condition until the ambulance arrives.


Hyperglycaemia, Hyper for short, or high blood sugar level can occur because of

• Inadequate levels of insulin

• Incorrect doses of diabetes oral medications, infections,

• Excess carbohydrate intake,

• Stressful situations.

Hyperglycaemia can develop over hours or days, and many people do not experience symptoms from hyperglycaemia until their blood glucose levels are extremely high.

Hyperglycaemia can also occur at the time of initial diagnosis of diabetes and may go unrecognised until the person is clearly unwell.

If untreated, the person gradually deteriorates and can go into a coma.

Signs and symptoms of Hyperglycaemia

These may include:

• Excessive thirst with frequent urination/

• Dry skin and mouth, with sunken eyes (signs of dehydration)

• Recent weight loss

• Rapid pulse

• Nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain

• Rapid breathing

• Fruity sweet smell of acetone on the breath (like paint thinner or nail polish remover)

• Confusion and a deteriorating level of consciousness

• or unresponsiveness

Hyper management

The recommended way to manage a person with Hyperglycaemia is:

Follow the person’s diabetes management plan. If the person does not have a management plan, call 000 as they should be assessed by a health care professional.

• For unresponsive casualties with abnormal breathing, proceed with resuscitation.

• For unconscious casualties who are breathing normally, lay them down on their side in the recovery position and check to see that the airway is clear of any obstruction.

• Call 000


If you are unsure if the person has a high or low blood glucose level, the safest option is to treat hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose level).

Giving the casualty sweets may lead to a marked improvement if their blood glucose level is low. Indicating low blood sugar.

No improvement after giving sweets would indicate high blood sugar levels, and, if that’s the case, the small amount of sugar given would have little effect on blood sugar levels.

Let’s recap the main points:

• Hypoglycaemia is LOW blood sugar caused by too much insulin

• Hyperglycaemia is HIGH blood sugar. Not enough insulin.

• For a Hypo if conscious and able to swallow give the casualty sweets or a sweet drink

• If this does not improve their condition or they go unconscious call 000 Place in recovery  position or CPR as required

Remember, If in doubt about their condition, Hypo or Hyper, treat as Hypo

If you liked this article click here for more First Aid-related info

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.

Needle stick injury


What is a needle stick injury?

If the skin is punctured by a sharp medical tool like a scalpel or needle on a syringe, it is called a ‘needlestick injury’.

Exposure to hypodermic syringes is a risk faced by First Aiders so an understanding of the procedures to deal with a needle stick injury is important.

How does needle stick injury happen?

Needlesticks don’t just happen in hospitals – stepping on a needle in park or on the beach is the same thing. Fortunately, infection by HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C in these situations is  rare.

According to the National Centre For Farmer Health, even farmers and agricultural workers experience preventable needlestick injuries. Every year, across Australia, 80% of livestock farmers reporting a needlestick injury at some time. This means the farmer may be injected with harmful chemicals.

Signs and Symptoms of needle stick injury

Victims of a needle stick injury usually feel a small, sharp pain at the needle stick point. The needle may stay in the finger, foot or wherever the injury occurred. A small drop of blood may appear.


The recommended action to take is:

  1. Wash the area gently with soap and running tap water as soon as possible. – If not, available you can use hand sanitiser

2. Apply an antiseptic and a clean dressing to the injury area

4. Seek prompt medical advice from your local doctor or hospital emergency department, preferably within 24 hours.

5. Dispose of the needle safely.- In an identified sharps container, or you could put the needle in an empty plastic water bottle for later disposal in a sharp’s container.


While it is unlikely that you will encounter a needle stick injury, it is possible.

If you do, remember:

•            Wash, clean and cover the injury

•            Seek medical aid within 24hrs

•            Dispose of the needle safely and correctly.

This was a very short Article Post. If you found this one interesting, you can check out more here –https://lifesavingfirstaid.com.au/blog/

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.

First Aid for Bites and Stings

Bee’s, Wasps, & Ant bites and stings


Australia is crawling with insects of one kind or another. In this article, we will look at first aid for bites and stings from various insects and spiders.

Recognising the Signs, Symptoms and knowing first aid management of insect bites and stings is important.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, over 3,500 Australians were hospitalised due to contact with a venomous animal or plants in 2017–18. More than a 26% of these hospitalisations were caused by bee stings, almost 19% were caused by spider bites with redbacks the most common spider involved.

In Australia deaths from venomous plants, animals or insects is rare. The National Coronial Information System records 19 deaths in 2017–18 due to contact with venomous animals – 7 with venomous snakes, 12 with bees and wasps.

Bees, Wasp and Ant bites and stings

Lets’ have a look at bee, wasp and ant stings. Single stings from a bee, wasp or ant, can be painful but rarely cause serious problems except for persons who have a severe allergy to the venom.

However, multiple insect stings can cause severe pain and widespread skin reaction. Multiple stings around the face can cause severe local swelling and difficulty breathing even if the person is not allergic to that insect.


Here in Australia, there are over 1,500 native bee species in a range of shapes and sizes. Bees are critical to the sustainability of our food supply. An astonishing one-third of Australian food is dependent on honey bee pollination.

Australian native bees can be either solitary or social bees. On the other hand, honey bees will live together in a nest or hive. Honey bees are generally stronger pollinators, but the smaller native bees can access smaller flowers and also play an important role in pollination. 

It is important to remember that bee stings leave behind the venom sac and sting which continues to inject venom into the skin, whilst a wasp or ant may sting multiple times without leaving a venom sac attached.

To remove the bee sting scrape sting out of the skin. Do no try to pull it out as you may squeeze more venom into the casualty.


Wasps in Australia include European Wasps, English wasps and paper wasps all of which can sting and inject venom. Unlike a bee, the wasp does not lose its sting and therefore can sting you many times.

Stings from wasps can be immediately extremely painful with some redness around the bite area.

There can also be airway obstruction from swelling of the face and tongue due to anaphylaxis, or from many stings in or around the mouth.

Bull Ants

Bull ants are large, alert ants that can grow up to 40 mm They have characteristic large eyes and long, slender mandibles and a potent venom-loaded sting.

There are about 90 species of bull ants in Australia. Jumper ants are some of the smaller species. They have a habit of aggressively jumping toward intruders.

Ants deliver painful stings by gripping the intruder with their mandibles (jaws), curling their abdomen to reveal the sting, and injecting the victim with venom. Often the ant can deliver multiple stings. 

Signs and Symptoms

Stings from bees, wasps and ants all show similar signs and symptoms

Minor reactions are usually immediate and intense local pain with some local redness and swelling.

On the other hand, more severe reactions can be airway obstruction from swelling of the face and tongue due to anaphylaxis, or from bee stings in or around the mouth. This may occur immediately or over several hours.


THE major immediate risk to the health of persons bitten or stung by insects is severe allergic reaction, Anaphylaxis.

Prevention, recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis should be the focus of First aid for bites and stings.

For all bites and stings, except in the case of tick bites, apply a cold compress to the sting area. You may be use an icepack to relieve the pain of the sting and help reduce swelling

CALL 000 if multiple stings to the face or tongue have occurred or there is evidence of a severe allergic reaction anaphylaxis.

For anaphylaxis use an Epipen or other adrenaline injector to administer adrenaline (epinephrine) via intramuscular injection preferably into lateral thigh which is the outside part of the upper leg.

Monitor the casualty for any signs of allergic or other reaction


Most tick bites cause few or no symptoms. Sometimes ticks may cause local skin irritation or a mild allergic reaction by injecting a toxin.

In susceptible people, a tick bite may cause a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.

It may also occur in people with no previous exposure or known susceptibility.

To prevent it from injecting more allergen-containing saliva, do not forcibly remove or touch the tick

This will prevent allergic reactions due to allergen-containing saliva injected by the tick.

The safest way to remove a tick is to Freeze the tick, using a product that rapidly freezes and kills the tick, and allows it to drop off.

Alternatively, leave it in place and seek medical assistance to remove the tick as soon as possible.

If you must remove the tick, use fine tweezers, and grasp the head of the tick as close to the persons skin as possible and lever the tick out by the head. Do not squeeze the tick.

Monitor the casualty for any signs of allergic or other reaction.


The main points for first aid for bites and stings are:

•            There are many insects in Australia that can bite and sting but generally they cause only minor problems

•            Be aware of possible severe allergic reactions and manage accordingly

•            Remove bee stings by scraping them out as soon as possible

•            Apply cold pack to insect bite site for pain management – except for ticks

•            Remove ticks, if possible, by freezing or tweezers applied to the tick’s head. Seek medical attention if you cannot remove the tick.

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.

Bleeding, Blood loss and Shock

Bleeding, blood loss and shock

What is bleeding?

Bleeding is when blood discharges from the circulatory system. Blood loss can occur due to small cuts, abrasions, or deep cuts and amputations.

Injuries to the body can also result in internal bleeding, which can range from minor to massive bleeds. Bleeding and blood loss can result in haemorrhagic shock.

There are around 5 litres of blood in the average person. With too much blood loss, the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen to support life. People who experience major injury and trauma may rapidly lose blood.

A loss of only 1.5ltr can result in

  • a rapid heart rate higher than 120 beats per minute.
  • A drop in blood pressure.
  • Increased breathing rate.

You will die if you lose more than 2ltr or about 40 per cent of your blood. Check out this chart- “How much blood can you lose?

There are three main types of Bleeding. Minor, Severe and Internal. It is quite possible you could experience all three types on one casualty.  

Minor Bleeding

For example:

  • from a small surface cut or nosebleed.
  • Capillary bleeding occurs when the skin’s surface layer breaks due to abrasion or a graze. As a result, it will slowly ooze blood and may contain particles.
  • Venous bleeding (a minor wound) is a laceration, cut or slice into the skin bleeding freely. The application of pressure or a bandage will control the bleeding.
  • Minor pain, small cuts, weeping fluid

Severe Bleeding

Severe bleeding:

  • a severe wound due to cut or laceration to an artery. Blood will spurt vigorously with every heartbeat. Requires immediate action as the casualty can lose a large amount of blood quickly.
  • As a result of an embedded object such as a knife, piece of wood or steel.
  • An amputation, that is, a completely severed body part.
  • Severe pain, cold clammy skin, rapid shallow breathing, or other signs of shock.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is bleeding inside the body. You should always suspect internal bleeding when symptoms of shock are present.

Signs and Symptoms include:

  • Coughing up blood, vomiting blood, bleeding from ears, anus, or blood in the urine.
  • Bruising, pain, tenderness and swelling at the site
  • Swollen, tight abdomen
  • unconsciousness


As with all our First Aid incidents we need to check for danger first to ensure it is safe for us to provide First Aid.

Carry out DRSABCD

Determine the type of bleeding so you can give the appropriate first aid.

Wash your hands and wear personal protective equipment if available.


Sit casualty upright and tilt their head forward, ask them to squeeze and apply dissect pressure over the soft part of the of the nostrils below the bridge of the nose.

Place a cold pack on the back of their neck.

Hold for at least 10 minutes and if bleeding does not stop within 20 minutes seek medical help.

Minor BleedingManagement

Using pressure on or around the wound is usually the fastest, easiest, and most effective way to stop external bleeding.

The aim is to stop further bleeding while waiting for help to arrive. There is no evidence that elevating a bleeding part will help control bleeding and there is the potential to cause more pain or injury.

If the wound is a graze there may be particles present in the wound. You should remove loose particles with tweezers or by flushing the wound with clean water or sterile saline solution. Do not rub or scrub the wound. If particles are still in the wound apply a bandage which is not too tight and call for medical help.

For a minor or small cut apply firm pressure to the wound using your hand, the casualties’ hand, or a bandage to stop the bleeding. The preferred dressing would be sterile, non-stick, and non-allergenic, . However, use what you have.

Monitor the casualty and seek medical help if needed.

Severe bleedingManagement

If the bleeding is severe or life-threatening, controlling it should take priority over airway and breathing interventions.

You should lie the casualty down, apply pressure on the wound, and send for an ambulance.

Wash your hands and wear PPE if available.

  • Do not remove any embedded object as it may be stopping some bleeding but Bandage around embedded objects to apply indirect pressure to the wound.
  • If there is blood spurting from wound, apply firm direct pressure to the wound with hand or dressing.
  • Apply dressing firmly to the wound, preferably sterile and non-stick
  • In cases where the wound still bleeds through the pad and bandage, remove the bandage, keep the first pad, apply a second pad and rebandage.

If the wound still bleeds through the bandage, remove all bandages and pads, reassess the wound if a bleeding point has been missed, then apply a fresh set of pads and bandages.

If you find the following or similar:

  • An amputated or partially amputated limb above wrist or ankle
  • A victim of a shark attack, propeller cuts or similar major trauma to any part of the body
  • Or bleeding not controlled by local pressure

Call 000 immediately and you should consider the use of a tourniquet. 


If you cannot control the bleeding by direct pressure or it is life-threatening bleeding from a limb, use an arterial tourniquet.

Do not be apply a tourniquet over a joint or wound.

The following guidelines apply if you need to use a tourniquet:

  • When applying all arterial tourniquets, follow the manufacturer’s instructions (or 5 cm above the wound if no instructions) and tighten until the bleeding stops.
  • If the bleeding does not stop, check the position and application of the tourniquet. If possible, you should not apply the tourniquet over clothing or wetsuits. Apply the tourniquet tightly, even if it causes local discomfort
  • If bleeding continues, a second tourniquet (if available) should be applied to the limb, preferably above the first.
  • Note the time of the tourniquet application, and communicate to emergency/paramedic personnel. the victim will require urgent transfer to the hospital. Until the victim receives specialist care, the tourniquet should not be removed

You can improvise a tourniquet if there is no tourniquet available. Although an improvised tourniquet is unlikely to stop the bleeding and poses the risk of increased bleeding and tissue damage, an improvised tourniquet is better than none at all in life-threatening bleeding.

For example, using materials found in a first aid kit, clothing, or other similarly available items you can improvise a tourniquet. Tighten your Improvised tourniquet by twisting a rod or stick under the improvised tourniquet, similar to the windlass in commercial tourniquets.

You must ensure there is a record of the time your tourniquet was applied. Also, ensure you do not cover the tourniquet with clothing.

Haemostatic Dressing

Another method to help stop severe bleeding is the use of a Haemostatic Dressing.

Haemostatic dressings are filled with agents that help stop bleeding, such as kaolin and chitosan. While commonly used in surgical and military settings, their use in the civilian, non-surgical setting (such as first aid) is becoming more common.

Lie the person down and check for signs of shock and treat.

Internal Bleeding

This occurs when blood escapes from the arteries, veins, or capillaries into tissues or cavities in the body.

Remember, an injured person may be bleeding internally even if you can’t see any blood. An internal injury may cause bleeding that remains contained within the body; for example, within the skull or abdominal cavity.

It is important to ask the right questions to collect the relevant information. Listen carefully to what the person tells you about their injury. Watch for the signs and symptoms of shock. In the case of a head injury, the signs and symptoms of concussion.

The signs and symptoms of internal bleeding depend on where the bleeding is inside the body, but may include:

  • pain at the injured site
  • swollen, tight abdomen
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pale, clammy, sweaty skin
  • breathlessness
  • extreme thirst
  • unconsciousness.

For signs and symptoms specific to concussion (caused by trauma to the head) check out our blog – “Head Injuries”

Management of internal bleeding

First aid cannot realistically manage or treat any kind of internal bleeding. Therefore, seeking prompt medical help is vital.

Above all, severe internal bleeding is life-threatening and requires urgent treatment in hospital so CALL 000

Lie the person down, make them as comfortable as possible and check for signs of shock.

If there is bruising to a limb and no external bleeding, use pressure and a cold pack if available. Above all, make the casualty as comfortable as possible keeping them warm and monitoring their condition till the arrival of the ambulance.

Some things you can do are:

  • Check for danger before approaching the person.
  • If possible, send someone else to call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
  • Check that the person is conscious.
  • Lie the person down.
  • Cover them with a blanket or something to keep them warm.
  • If possible, raise the person’s legs above the level of their heart.
  • Don’t give the person anything to eat or drink.
  • Offer reassurance. Manage any other injuries, if possible.
  • If the person becomes unconscious, place them on their side. Check for breathing frequently. Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if necessary.


  • There are three types of bleeding, Minor, Severe and Internal
  • Use PPE if available and apply DRSABCD
  • Call an Ambulance ASAP if needed
  • Apply direct pressure to stop bleeding and use sterile non-stick dressings if available
  • Do not remove embedded objects
  • Be aware of and look for signs of shock
  • Only use a tourniquet as a last resort
  •  For a nosebleed, tilt the head forward, and apply pressure to the bridge of the nose for 10 minutes. If not stopped within 20 min. Call an ambulance.

And always monitor and reassure the casualty.

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.


Risk Assessment

cover image saying first aid risk assessment


The ability to conduct a risk assessment for First Aid is critical. DRSABCD is our initial action plan and the first letter is D. D for DANGER.

If you can:

      A. Identify any HAZARDS,

      B. Recognise the RISKS,


     C. Implement control measures,

you can make First Aid, and the spaces you work, live and play in, a lot safer for everyone.

In this article, I am going to explain the difference between a hazard and a risk, discuss how to conduct a risk assessment for first aid and, talk about control measures.

Risk assessment – a step by step process

To help manage risks in the workplace there is a step-by-step process you can follow.

By thinking about what could go wrong and what the consequences could be, you can then do whatever is ‘reasonably practicable ‘ to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks.

What is a hazard?

A hazard is something that poses a threat to life, health, property, or even the environment.

For example, you have a beautiful, inviting, swimming pool in your backyard. It’s a hot day and you want to go for a swim. You stand on the edge of the pool, ready to dive in. There’s just one problem. In the pool is a whopping Great White shark!

However, it’s so hot, you really, REALLY… need to dive in.

In this scenario, the shark is the hazard. A hazard that, should you dive in, poses a threat to your health or even your life.

What is a risk?

A risk is a chance (big or small) that a hazard could hurt or damage someone or something.

In our shark in the pool scenario, it is obvious that if you dived in there is a huge likelihood the shark will attack you and cause major damage to your body.

These are the risks – Torn off limbs. Chunks bitten from your torso. Severe blood loss. Death. ( Maybe it’s not that hot after all? ) Not to mention all that flesh and bone clogging up the pool filter.

So, it follows, understanding the difference between a hazard and a risk is important so you can properly plan your risk management strategy.

Step by step process

This process is known as risk management and involves four steps

1. Identify hazards—find out what could cause harm.

2. Assess risks – if necessary—understand the nature of the harm that could be caused by the hazard, how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening.

3. Control risks – implement the most effective control measure that is reasonably practicable in the circumstances and ensure it is still effective over time.

4. Review – hazards and control measures to ensure they are working as planned

Step 1 – Identify the hazard

By walking around your home or workplace, with a checklist, you can identify any hazards. Don’t forget, A hazard is anything that could cause harm or have a negative impact.

Things like broken or dangerous equipment, a poorly written procedures or bad practices. Staff not well trained for the workplace or equipment. Clutter and rubbish around the home or office, restricting movement and creating a fire hazard. A shark in the pool.

Step 2 – Assess the risks

Now that you have identified the hazard you need to assess the risk of harm or potential harm and also,

•  How likely is it to happen?

•  How serious is the outcome? What are the consequences?

Let’s look at our shark in the pool. What is the potential harm? I listed them above. What’s the probability of it happening? That is, how likely is that to happen? Could be almost certain if you dive in.

Therefore, when you are assessing the risks, you can rate the Probability Question By using:

Unlikely, Possible, Likely and Almost Certain.

Next, how serious are the consequences? These will fall into three categories.

  1. MINOR RISK – unlikely to cause long-term problems so you accept the risk and continue.
  2. MODERATE RISK – where you complete a risk assessment and go ahead if risk is worth  accepting
  3. SIGNIFICANT RISK – this is a risk that needs careful planning and consideration before going ahead. Involving others in decision-making, following policy guidance and practice, and identifying roles and responsibilities.

You can now evaluate the risks even further by combining the PROBABILITY results, with the SEVERITY of the risk.

For example, with our Shark (Hazard) in the pool, you find that it is Unlikely (Probability) you will go for a swim, then it would be of minor consequences (Seriousness), therefore the risk is a Low Priority for management – which is the lowest priority.

On the other end of the scale, if you found that the probability of you diving in is Almost Certain then that is a Significant Risk, with extreme consequences, requiring urgent priority for management.

Consequences for risk management are rated – Low, Moderate, High and Significant.

Step 3 – Control the Risks

Once you have identified the Severity of the risk and the consequences, you need to implement some control measure.

Controls are actions you can take to manage and reduce the risk.

There is a Hierarchy of Control, made up of different levels and control methods for us to follow.

They are

Level 1 – Elimination.

  • That is, remove the hazard.

Level 2 – Substitution,

  • Replace the hazardous item or process.
  • Isolation, separate people from the hazard.
  • Engineering, replace equipment with a more ergonomic style.

Level 3 – Administrative

  • Change procedures or rosters.
  • Use PPE to minimise risk.

Step 4 – Review

Reviewing and ongoing monitoring of the risk or potential harm is needed to ensure it continues to be managed as a low risk.

Throughout this process, you need to be vigilant in scanning and assessing any risk.

This can be done with safety checks, regular WHS inspections, and making it a regular topic at team meetings.

We can put these all together using our example of the shark in the pool.  You found that it was a significant risk with extreme consequences. But, you can use the top level of control here which is the elimination of the risk by removing the shark.  This reduces the risk to low priority, minor consequences, unlikely to happen.

While it sounds like a complicated process it’s not. When you think about it, keeping your first aid activities or workplace safe is just a matter of being vigilant and acting if you see something unsafe or likely to cause harm.

Most businesses and organisations will have a risk assessment matrix which simplifies the risk assessment process to make it easier for you.


The main points to remember are:

• A hazard is something that poses a threat to life, health, property, or even the environment

• A risk is the chance – big or small – that a hazard could hurt or damage someone or something.

• Use a Risk Assessment Matrix to determine the likelihood and consequence of hazards and risks. You can find a free Risk Assessment Matrix here. (Thanks to the Dept. of Education and Training)

Don’t forget to keep your First Aid Certificate current. ( Blog ” How long does a First Aid Certificate last”) This will eliminate the risk of your being an untrained workplace first aider.

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.


First Aid Training in Hawthorn East.

First Aid Training in Hawthorn East

In the words of my very good friend, Publilius Syrus, the Roman philosopher –  “It is hard to recover the lost opportunity.” Hence First Aid Training in Hawthorn East.

We at Life Saving First Aid recognised what a great opportunity has been presented to us due to the unprecedented demand for first aid training in Melbourne’s east.  

We acted quickly and opened a new First Aid training facility at 771 Toorak Rd Hawthorn East.

First Aid training in CPR, Provide First Aid (which includes CPR), Provide First Aid in an Educational and Care Setting ( also includes CPR), and Conduct Manual Tasks Safely is now available at this venue 7 days a week!

Life Saving First Aids’ new training facility falls in step with our mission statement:

What’s in it for you?

We have recruited new trainers, sourced new equipment, and bought new furniture to provide the best facilities possible.

The spacious First Aid training area allows ample room to comfortably accommodate up to 15 students at a time.

The building has a small waiting area and a café nearby for those who arrive early.

There is ample parking across the road in the Woolies car park, all-day parking on Toorak road, and 2 hr roadside parking in nearby side streets.

Our Community

And there are plenty of local businesses that will be able to access and benefit from our new facility.

Centres such as Guardian, Noahs Ark, Auburn Preschool, Samantha’s Child Care, Camberwell Family Day-care and Montessori Beginnings, to name just a few, are all within 6 minutes.

Bounce Glen Iris, Harold Holt Swim Centre, Kooyong Lawn Tennis club and other sporting clubs are also nearby.

We are committed to serving our community and making a positive impact. That’s why we are proud to partner with local organizations and offer group discounts and customised training programs to fit the needs of businesses and organizations in the area.

I hope you are picking up that we here at Life Saving First Aid are extremely excited about our new training facility! 

We are looking forward to providing our “best reviewed” (according to Google) First Aid training to our public clients as well as local businesses.

What makes us a great first Aid training provider?

I think it is a number of things.

  • We are Melbourne based. We’re Local!
  • We provide a personalised business and sales manager.  Should you need to contact us you will speak to the same person every time.
  • There’s a dedicated student support representative and a full-time office and sales assistant.  
  • We offer courses seven days a week. Very convenient for you.
  • Simple to use online booking system…Choose a day and time and course that suits you.
  • Blended learning. Online First Aid training theory to complete in your own time. In-classroom practical assessment.
  • We also communicate regularly with our clients.

What more could you ask for regarding First Aid Training?


If you live or work in Melbourne’s East and need first aid training it’s all there for you at 771 Toorak Rd Hawthorn East!

Well, that’s that. Until next time…. Stay safe



Different strokes for different folks

Different strokes for different folks.

While that statement is a bit tongue-in-cheek, when it comes to people who suffer from a stroke, it is accurate. Read on and you will see there are different types of stroke and they can affect the casualty in different ways. Different strokes for different folks


Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a broad term for many conditions which affect the heart and blood vessels.  Coronary heart disease,  heart failure, and stroke are the most common.

In this blog, we are going to talk about strokes. What they are, what you can do to help someone who is experiencing a stroke, and some actions you can take to help prevent a stroke – maybe even help with preventing CVD.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare ( AIHW ) in 2019, there was an estimated 67,000 hospitalisations for stroke of those, sadly 8,382 died as a result.

Many were left with permanent physical damage.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare ( AIHW ) in 2019, there was an estimated 67,000 hospitalisations for stroke of those, sadly 8,382 died as a result.

And the cost to the community? Once again from the AIHW:

 “ In 2018–19, the estimated health system expenditure on stroke was more than $660 million. The greatest cost was for public hospital-admitted patient services ($364.2 million) followed by private hospital services”

More than 660 million dollars…

The Brain

You are probably aware that the brain is divided in half and each half is divided into other areas.

The left half of the brain – the left hemisphere –  controls most functions on the right side of the body, while the right half of the brain  -the right hemisphere –  controls most functions on the left side.

The different areas control different functions of your body. How you move – walking, standing, holding etc, your senses – touch, sight or smell etc., speech and how you think.

Because different arteries supply different areas of the brain, where the brain is damaged will determine which functions are affected.

So, you can see how a stroke impacts the person will depend on how much, and what part of the brain is damaged.

Different strokes for……you get the picture.

As I have said many times before, prevention is better than cure, and strokes could be prevented. We’ll talk about risk factors as well.

So, what is a stroke?

What is a stroke? In simple terms, a stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain either suddenly becomes blocked, or bursts and begins to bleed.

As a result, the flow of blood downstream from the blockage or bleed stops and brain cells die due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients.

And they die at the rate of around 1.9 million brain cells per minute. In 2018, an estimated 387,000 Australians aged 15 and over (1.3% of the population) had experienced a stroke at some time in their lives, based on self-reported data from the ABS

Different types of strokes

There are two types of strokes and both types stop blood flow to areas of the brain.

One type of stroke is called an ISCHAEMIC (is..key..mick) stroke.

The other is a HAEMORRHAGIC (hem..or..ragic) stroke.

Ischaemic Stroke

This occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked by a clot. There are two ways a blockage in these blood vessels can occur.


When a blood clot forms in another part of the body and travels around the body in the bloodstream until it reaches the brain.

The clot will then move around the brain until it gets stuck in a blood vessel which is too small for the clot to pass through.

This blocks the blood vessel and prevents blood from getting through. And brain cells begin to die.


If the blood contains cholesterol-laden plaques, these can stick to the inner walls of the blood vessels as the blood moves through them.

Over time, these plaques can increase in size and narrow or block the artery and stop blood from getting through.

If the blocked blood vessel is in the brain, then no blood will get through and brain cells will begin to die.

In the case of stroke, the plaques most often affect the major arteries in the neck taking blood to the brain.

Haemorrhagic stroke

Once again there are two types. Where they occur in the victims’ brain determines what they are called.

An Intracerebral Haemorrhage (ICH) occurs when an artery inside the brain bursts and bleeds into the brain.

This results in blood flow to part of the brain being reduced or stopped and brain cells begin to die.

Also, as the amount of blood flow into the brain increases, the build-up of pressure can lead to brain damage, unconsciousness or even death.

Then there’s bleeding on the surface of the brain. This can result in Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (SAH). There are 3 layers of membrane (or meninges) that cover the brain.

A subarachnoid haemorrhage is a bleed that happens underneath any of these layers.

Now, there are quite a few medical terms in there but as I said in the introduction – in simple terms a stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain stops, for whatever reason, and brain cells die.

Types of strokes. Ischaemic stroke.
When a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked by a clot. Haemorrhagic stroke.
When an artery inside the brain bursts and bleeds into the brain.

Recognising a Stroke

The Stroke Foundation Australia endorses the F.A.S.T. test when you suspect someone has had a stroke.

F – Face look closely at the victim’s face. Has their mouth drooped?

A – Ask them to lift both arms. Can they lift them both?

S – Speech. Ask them something. Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

T – Time Is critical. If any of these signs are present call 000 straight away.

Recognising a stroke. FAST.  F – Face. Look closely at the victim’s face. Has their mouth drooped?
A – Ask. Ask them to lift both arms. Can they lift them both?
S – Speech. Ask them something. Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
T - Time Is critical. If any of these signs are present call 000 straight away.

This simple test provides an accurate stroke assessment. There are of course other possible signs of stroke.

  • weakness or paralysis elsewhere in the body, on one or both sides
  • loss of sensation, usually on one side
  • loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • a sudden and severe headache
  • dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall
  • difficulty swallowing

A stroke is a medical emergency and the longer it takes to get proper treatment, the more likely there will be long-term stroke-related damage to the brain afterwards. Don’t faff around. Act Fast. Get medical help immediately.

So, what causes a stroke?

What are some of the risk factors? I bet you can guess.

All the usual suspects:

  • smoking,
  • not enough physical activity,
  • unhealthy eating,
  • high blood pressure,
  • type2 diabetes,
  • high cholesterol

The risk factor of some of those can be reduced.

Of course, some risk factors cannot be reduced:

  • Your age — Most people who have a stroke (7 out of 10) are 65 years or older.
  • Your family history — If one of your parents had a stroke before they were 65, your risk of getting one is 3 times greater than average.
  • Your gender — Stroke is more common in men, especially between 65 and 84 years of age.
What causes a stroke?
Smoking, Type 2 diabetes, High cholesterol, Unhealthy eating, High blood pressure and Not enough physical activity.

Head Trauma

According to experts, trauma to the brain through a head injury can contribute to stroke later in life.

There is an association between head trauma and an increased incidence of haemorrhagic strokes in the years that follow as well as an increased lifetime risk of ischemic strokes in the years after head trauma.

Check out our blog on head trauma


As with many things in life, there are some things we can change and others we cannot escape.

As my old friend Publilius always said, “The defect which one period of life fastens upon us, another will remove.”

We could all make changes which may go a long way to remove the defect(s) one period of life has fastened upon us.

All the usual suspects. (see above)

If we wanted to…

But hey, YOLO, right?

Well, that’s that. Until next time….. stay safe


Eye Injuries

First aid for eye Injuries


Because our eyes are two of the body’s most delicate and complex organs we need to avoid eye injuries as best we can.

And here’s an… eye-opener for you, our eyes do not actually see anything!

As the great Roman writer, Publilius Syrus once said “The eyes are not responsible when the mind does the seeing.” Obviously, a man of great…insight. A man of….vision.

As you can… see, in this blog I am talking about our eyes. I am going to…. focus on eye injuries, (and bad puns apparently!).

We are going to look at the many different factors that can cause Injury to the eyes including some of the common causes in our everyday environments such as stones, sporting balls, dirt, and chemicals.

It seems that around a whopping 70 to perhaps 80% per cent of all the sensory receptors in your whole body are in our eyes.

Also, in order for us to see, recognize, and understand something—nearly half of our entire cerebral cortex has to get involved. That’s a lot of brain power.

How do your eyes work?

Your eyes iris will change in size to allow more or less light in. This depends on the amount of light getting reflected into the eye.

We have all stepped outside during a bright day and felt blinded at first before our eyes adjust. This is the process of our iris adapting to lighting conditions.

Depending on how far away the object being viewed is, the lenses will change shape.

To focus your eyes ligaments surrounding your eye pull or release the lenses.  This is called accommodation.

When light enters the eye through the pupil, it strikes photoreceptor cells in the retina called rods and cones.

Rod cells are responsible for peripheral vision and night vision, while cone cells react to brighter light, colour, and fine details.

When light hits its corresponding rod or cone, this activates the cell, causing nerve impulses to fire through the optic nerve — the middleman between the eye and the brain.

The impulses travel from the optic nerve to the visual cortex and then to other parts of the brain.

These image impulses arrive at the brain upside down. The brain must then transform the image to right side up for us to comprehend it.

So, while your eyes do a really good job of capturing light from objects around you, transforming that into information, and sending that information to your brain, your eyes don’t actually “see” anything.

That part is done by your visual cortex and your brain. Neurons in your brain work simultaneously to rebuild the image passed to the brain from the optic nerve.

Your brain actually responds better to shapes and edges first. Colour and shading are used to further differentiate objects from one another. Your eyes are also set slightly apart. This gives you the ability to see in stereo and interpret 3D images. Unfortunately, this also creates an image that needs to be corrected by you guessed it, your brain.

More than meets the eye

As you can see, there is more going on with your visual system than you imagine. Complex parts of your brain that have evolved over aeons to produce a crisp, sharp image are constantly being used to help you see and understand the world around you.

This means that the brain will also fill in the gaps to make sense of the image received. This is why we can be tricked by optical illusions, or people can “see” the same thing but understand it differently.

It also means that any permanent damage to your eyes will have a profound effect on how you perceive your environment.

Eye injuries

An eye injury can be caused by many different factors, but some common causes exist in our everyday environment such as stones, sporting balls, dirt, residue, sand, and wooden splinters. Other common causes include body parts, chemicals,  welder’s flash, ultraviolet light, and smoke.

Eye Injuries caused by foreign bodies

A foreign body is defined as “an object in your eye that shouldn’t be there”. This includes a speck of dust, a wood chip, a metal shaving, an insect, or a piece of glass. The common places to find a foreign body are under the eyelid or on the surface of your eye.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • sharp pain in their eye followed by burning and irritation
  • feeling that there is something in their eye
  • watery and red eye
  • scratchy feeling when blinking
  • blurred vision or loss of vision in the affected eye
  • sensitivity to bright lights
  • bleeding into the white of the eye

Most injuries from a foreign body in the eye are minor and usually heal without further problems given the right care. However, possible complications from eye injuries include:

  • infection and scarring – if the foreign body is not removed from your eye, it may lead to infection and scarring.
  • corneal scratches or abrasions – a foreign body may scratch the cornea, which is the clear membrane on the front of the eye. Commonly, the foreign body is trapped under the upper eyelid.
  • ulcer – sometimes a scratch on the cornea doesn’t heal. A defect on the surface of your eye (ulcer) may form in its place.
  • penetration of the eye – sometimes a projectile object can pierce the eye and enter the eyeball, causing serious injury and even blindness
  • corneal scarring – this can cause some degree of permanent visual impairment.


As with all First Aid incidents you should apply the initial action plan of DRSABCD and use proper PPE if available.

For eye injuries, if First Aid is applied immediately when irritation or injury occurs you decrease the possibility of infection or loss of sight enormously.

If the eye injury involves foreign irritants such as dust getting in the eye, you may follow these general procedures for flushing out irritants

  • Keep the casualty calm and reassured.
  • Use clean running water to flush out irritants in the eye.
  • Make sure the eye is open throughout the procedure.
  • Allow the casualty to blink.
  • Avoid rubbing or otherwise disturbing the affected eye, and it is recommended to see an eye doctor

In cases where there is a penetrating wound in the eye and the object is still embedded in the injury, you must follow the following procedures:

  • Do not remove the penetrating object
  • Reassure the casualty and advise them to minimise eye movement. Placing a patch over both eyes, if the casualty is willing, can reduce the injured eye movement
  • Wrap a bandage around the protruding object or form doughnut-shaped dressing to place over and support the protruding object when dressing and bandaging the injury. This will avoid putting pressure on the object with the bandage
  • Be sure to immobilise the object.
  • Seek medical assistance Call 000

Eye injuries due to burns

Burns to the eye are serious as they can cause partial or complete loss of sight. The worst type of eye injury

They can be caused by chemicals, heat (flames or radiant heat), a welding flash, ultraviolet lights, glues, and solvents. If chemicals contact the eye, you must apply First Aid as soon as possible

Signs and Symptoms

Burns to the eye will cause

  • immediate pain and swelling
  • become red and watery
  • your casualty may be more sensitive to light.

However, if the burn is caused by a welder’s flash it will not be until several hours afterwards that they will start to feel the effects and realise they have an eye injury


  • Calm and reassure the casualty
  • Open their eyelids carefully
  • Carefully wash the eye or eyes with cold flowing water for 20 minutes
  • Place an eye pad or soft, clean dressing over the injured eye
  • Call 000

Wounds causing eye injuries

Fighting or playing sport can cause direct impact to the eye and serious eye injuries such as cuts and bruising around the eye.

Cuts to the eyelid can bleed freely so you will need to apply a dressing to the eyelid to halt the bleeding as soon as possible.

It’s important you apply the dressing with extreme care to avoid additional pressure on the eye which may cause more damage.

Don’t forget to reassure the patient and advise them not to move their eyes. Make them as comfortable as possible even lie them on their back.

And, of course, use DRSABCD and CALL 000


If you lose a sense, such as eyesight, do your other senses get stronger to compensate for the loss?

What I found really interesting while I was researching for this blog was just that.

While I figured that would be the case, there is a lot of scientific evidence now which indicates that due to a serious eye injury you no longer need to use that part of the brain to process images, more energy and processing power is shifted to the other senses especially hearing.

Improved hearing enhances the ability to move through the world. For example, visually impaired either through eye injuries or from birth, individuals often use a technique called “clicking.”

By making small clicking sounds and then interpreting the echo they hear they can make sense of the environment around them.

Using this echolocation technique can even allow people to determine individual objects and walk normally without bumping into walls or obstacles.

The heightened sense of hearing allows the brain to differentiate the echoes that return after these clicks. For those of us who typically rely on our eyes, this seems impossible.

But get this, even more remarkable, brain scans of visually impaired individuals “clicking” reveals that the sounds are not only processed by the auditory cortex, but also in the visual cortex, despite not being able to “see.”

Truly, the human brain is incredible!

You can see some more quotes from Publilius here: https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/publilius-syrus-quotes

“It is folly to punish your neighbour by fire when you live next door.” Publilius, the wise.

Well, that’s that. Until next time….. Stay safe