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First aid: Dealing with Broken Bones

If you suspect someone has a broken bone, check to see if the person shows any of these signs:

  • Swelling
  • Difficulty moving
  • Unnatural movement
  • A twisted or bent limb
  • Grating noise or feeling when the limb is moved
  • Loss of strength in the limb
  • Shock

If one or all of these is present, follow the steps below:

  1. For an open fracture, cover the wound and apply pressure to control the bleeding.
  2. Support the injured area to ease the pain and prevent further damage.
  3. Call 999 or get someone to do it.
  4. While waiting for help to arrive, secure the wounded area to stop it from moving. Arms can be put in a sling, and legs can be tied to uninjured legs.
  5. Check for signs of shock, which include:
  • Rapid or weak pulse
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Cool, clammy skin
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  1. If the person loses consciousness, open their airway, check their breathing and prepare to give CPR as you would to someone who’s become unconscious.
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