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First Aid: A Helpful Reference for Anyone

These pages hold instructions on how to do some common first aid proceedures as well as others that may include long-term care.

NOTE - This page is meant to be a reference during role-play. It is not meant to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any real medical condition. Any risk or liability is your own.

Bandages and Dressings | Burns and Scalds | Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation | Controlling Bleeding | Delivering a Baby | Miscellaneous Procedures | Shock | Sprains, Strains, and Fractures | Treating Wounds


Sprains, Strains, and Fractures

Sprains | Strains | Fractures

Human Skeleton
-- Human skeleton


Sprains are injuries due to stretching or tearing ligaments or other tissues at a joint. They are caused by a sudden twist or stretch of a joint beyond its normal range of motion.
Sprains may be minor, causing discomfort for only a few hours. In severe cases, however, they may require many weeks of medical care.


Sprains present basically the same signs as a closed fracture. If you cannot determine whether the injury is a fracture or a sprain, treat it as a fracture.

First aid for sprains:

The ankle is the part of the body most commonly affected by sprains. When the ankle has been sprained and the person must use the foot temporarily to reach a place for further treatment, the following care should be given:


A strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon caused by overexertion. In severe cases muscles or tendons are torn and the muscle fibers are stretched. Strains are caused by sudden movements or overexertion.


First aid for strains:


Splints | Areas of Fracture

A fracture is a broken or cracked bone. For first aid purposes fractures can be divided into two classifications: Broken bones, especially the long bones of the upper and lower extremities, often have sharp, sawtooth edges; even slight movement may cause the sharp edges to cut into blood vessels, nerves, or muscles, and perhaps even through the skin. Careless or improper handling can convert a closed fracture into an open fracture, causing damage to surrounding blood vessels or nerves which can make the injury much more serious. A person handling a fracture should always keep that in mind.
If the broken ends of the bone extend through an open wound, there is little doubt that the victim has suffered a fracture. However, the bone does not always extend through the skin, so the person administering first aid must be able to recognize other signs that a fracture exists.
The general signs and symptoms of a fracture are as follows: Be careful when examining injured persons, particularly those apparently suffering from fractures. For all fractures the first aider must remember to maintain an open airway, control bleeding, and treat for shock. Do not attempt to change the position of an injured person until he or she has been examined and it has been determined that movement will not complicate the injuries. If the victim is lying down, it is far better to attend to the injuries with the victim in that position and with as little movement as possible. If fractures are present, make any necessary movement in such a manner as to protect the injured part against further injury.


Use splints to support, immobilize, and protect parts with injuries such as known or suspected fractures, dislocations, or severe sprains. When in doubt, treat the injury as a fracture and splint it. Splints prevent movement at the area of the injury and at the nearest joints. Splints should immobilize and support the joint or bones above and below the break.
Improvised splints can be made from pieces of wood, broom handles, boards, or similar firm materials.
Certain guidelines should be followed when splinting:

Areas of Fracture

Nose | Upper Arm | Lower Arm, Elbow, Forearm, or Wrist | Finger | Rib | Thigh or Knee | Leg or Ankle

A fracture may occur to any bone in the body, but we will only discuss the most common ones here.

A broken nose is a very common type of fracture and may result from any hard blow. The symptoms of a broken nose are as follows:

Treat any blow to the nose that causes bleeding as a fracture. The first aid care for a broken nose is as follows: Upper Arm
Fracture of the upper portion of the arm is recognized by the following symptoms: In order to immobilize a fracture of the upper third of the arm, proceed as follows: Do not pull the forearm up too high because this will increase pain.

Lower Arm, Elbow, Forearm, or Wrist
Take extreme care when dealing with a fractured elbow, as the fracture may cause extensive damage to surrounding tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. Improper care and handling of a fractured elbow could result in a permanent disability.
The symptoms of a fractured elbow are as follows:

The first aid for a fractured elbow in a straight position is as follows: If the arm is bent, immobilize in a bent position by making an L-shaped splint for the forearm and wrist from two pieces of board one half-inch thick and four inches wide. Once piece should be long enough to extend from one inch below the armpit to the point of the elbow and the other long enough to extend from the point of the elbow to one inch beyond the end of the middle finger. Immobilize the limb to the splint in the following manner: Fractures of the forearm and wrist are usually less painful than fractures of the arm, shoulder blade, or elbow. The symptoms of a fractured forearm and wrist are as follows: Finger
The symptoms of a fracture of the finger are as follows: The first aid for a fractured finger is as follows:
Fracture of a rib usually is caused by a direct blow or a severe squeeze. A fracture can occur at any point along the rib. The symptoms of a fractured rib are as follows: Cravat bandages will immobilize fractured ribs. Place the bandages in the following order: Wrap the chest gently when the ribs are depressed or frothy blood comes from the victim's mouth. These may be indications of a punctured lung. Place the victim in a semi-prone position (if no neck or spine injury exists) with the injured side down. This will allow more room for expansion of the uninjured lung.

Thigh or Knee
If a fracture of the thigh or knee is open, dress the wound. If the fracture is at the knee joint and the limb is not in a straight position, make no attempt to straighten the limb. Splint in line of deformity. Attempts to straighten the limb may increase the possibility of permanent damage. Improvise a way to immobilize the knee as it is found, using padding to fill any space. Use the utility splint stretcher or a similar support to immobilize fractures of the knee or thigh. Before placing the victim on the stretcher, it should be well padded and tested. Additional padding will also be necessary for the natural arches of the body. Raise the victim carefully for placement on the stretcher while the fracture is supported from the underside on both sides of the break.
Apply the splint with bandages. All bandages should be tied on the injured side near the splint. Detailed instructions follow: When using a stretcher board, it should be well padded and the bandages applied in normal order. On some type of stretcher boards it may be necessary to tie both lower limbs together with each of the last four cravat bandages. To prevent movement of the legs, pad well between the legs before applying the cravats.
Any improvised splint for the thigh or knee should be long enough to immobilize the hip and ankle.

Leg or Ankle
If the fracture is open, dress the wound before splinting. When it is necessary to remove a shoe or boot because of pain from swelling of the ankle or for any other reason, the removal must be carefully done by unlacing or cutting the boot to prevent damage to the ankle. In the absence of severe swelling or bleeding it may be wise to leave the boot on for additional support.
The splint for a fracture of the leg or ankle should reach from against the buttocks to beyond the heel. Place a well-padded splint under the victim while the leg is supported on both sides of the fracture. Tie the bandages on the outer side, near the splint as follows:

For more detail relating to the healing of humans, here is a neat site that might help you. The golden fire lizard will show you the way!

Sources for these pages were:

Radcliffe, J. The New International Webster's Pocket Medical & First Aid Dictionary of the English Language. USA: Trident Press International, 1997.

Yahoo! Yahoo! Health Encyclopedia. June 2004.

All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyright
Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2001, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.

Special thanks to Nerissa and Avonelle, who helped in the compilation of this resource.