International Journal of Health & Allied Sciences

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25--28

Safety First: Awareness and attitude regarding first aid among college students – A Cross-sectional study in Urban Bangalore


Sakthi Arasu, Savan Sara Mathew, Naveen Ramesh, Farah Naaz Fathima, Avita Rose Johnson 
 Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Naveen Ramesh
Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru - 560 034, Karnataka
India

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: First aid training is an important community survival skill necessary for all individuals as injuries and accidents have become the major epidemic of noncommunicable disease in India. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to assess the awareness and attitude regarding first aid among the college students in Urban Bangalore. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was done in a private general degree college in Urban Bangalore. This tool included questions on awareness of first aid measures for various situations as well as questions to capture the attitude of students toward learning first aid. RESULTS: Of the total 370 students, the mean age was 18.42 (standard deviation [SD]: 1.23) years with equal number of boys and girls. The mean knowledge score was 7.86 (SD: 2.17) and was significantly correlated with age (Pearson correlation coefficient: 0.149). Only 192 (52%) had attended a lecture related to first aid before, and 48 (13%) had been shown how to perform first aid. About 188 (51%) reported learning about first aid by reading newspapers or magazines. The mean attitude score was 7.95 (SD: 1.67) which shows a general positive attitude toward learning first aid. CONCLUSION: Even though they have good attitude and perceptions toward learning first aid, there are not enough opportunities for them to learn about first aid. Teaching the students about first aid and training them on basic first aid skills will go a great way in making first responders available at all places.



How to cite this article:
Arasu S, Mathew SS, Ramesh N, Fathima FN, Johnson AR. Safety First: Awareness and attitude regarding first aid among college students – A Cross-sectional study in Urban Bangalore.Int J Health Allied Sci 2020;9:25-28


How to cite this URL:
Arasu S, Mathew SS, Ramesh N, Fathima FN, Johnson AR. Safety First: Awareness and attitude regarding first aid among college students – A Cross-sectional study in Urban Bangalore. Int J Health Allied Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Jul 10 ];9:25-28
Available from: http://www.ijhas.in/text.asp?2020/9/1/25/275643


Full Text



 Introduction



Henry Sigerist, the medical historian, stated that “the people's health ought to be the concern of the people themselves. They must struggle for it and plan for it. The war against disease and for health cannot be fought by physicians alone. It is the people's war in which the entire population must be mobilized permanently.[1]”First aid is the providing of first and early care for an illness or injury, by a nonexpert but trained person, till medical treatment can be accessed. A basic knowledge and understanding of first aid can be invaluable for individuals to be able to provide emergency care in the event of an accident, possibly saving lives, and minimizing injury. Immediate first aid when provided to patients who require emergency care makes a huge difference in the outcome. In certain self-limiting medical conditions, correct first aid measures are sufficient to avoid a medical consultation.[2]

First aid training is an important community survival skill necessary for all individuals as injuries and accidents have become the major epidemic of noncommunicable disease in India. Glendon suggested that the teaching of first aid to students is probably cost-effective in terms of saving lives.[3] They also recommended that teaching first aid to the students is a good long-term investment. The art of first aid is what to do and what not to do in any emergency, and trained young people will gain confidence as their experience grows.

Among the few studies which look at the knowledge of first aid among the student population, there is much to be researched in terms of knowledge on specific injuries and also the attitude of college students toward first aid. The current study was done with the objective of assessing the awareness and attitude regarding first aid among the college students in Urban Bangalore.

 Materials and Methods



A cross-sectional study was done in a private general degree college in Urban Bangalore. Institutional ethical committee clearance was obtained. All the students in the college present on the day of visit were invited to participate in the study. After obtaining written informed consent, a face validated structured questionnaire was administered to the participants. This tool included questions on awareness of first aid measures for various situations as well as questions to capture attitude of students regarding first aid. The questions to document awareness included first aid measures for injuries such as bleeding, epistaxis, burns, fractures, dog bites, unconsciousness, sprains, and choking. The perception questions included the need for first aid, whether students should know first aid, their confidence to perform first aid, and the rationale for first aid when ambulances are available. Every correct answer was scored as 1 and added to the total knowledge score (maximum score – 15), and every positive attitude about learning first aid was scored 1 and added to the total attitude scores (maximum score – 10).

All the students in the college were given an interactive health education session on first aid. The data were entered in Microsoft Excel and analyzed using Standard Statistical Package. Data were described using proportions, mean, and standard deviation (SD). Associations between the knowledge/attitude scores and categorical socio-demographic variables were done with independent samples t test and ANOVA when there were 3 groups. The total scores and age were correlated for significance.

 Results



Of the total 370 students, the mean age was 18.42 (1.23) years with equal number of boys and girls. Among them, 292 (78.9%) of the students were pursuing Bachelor of Commerce degree and the remaining were studying Bachelor of Arts.

Knowledge of first aid

Regarding first aid, 358 (96.8%) knew what it means, and 335 (90.5%) thought it will save lives. In case of nosebleed, 313 (84.6%) erroneously believed that it is correct to make the person lookup, and whereas in case of low blood sugar in diabetics, only 183 (49.5%) said that sugar or something sweet should be given. When there is bleeding from a cut or wound, 164 (44.3%) rightly said that direct pressure should be applied over it. In case of a broken limb, 185 (50%) did not know what to do and only 92 (25%) said that the limb should be immobilized for easy healing. In case of an open wound, only 169 (45.7%) said that it should be washed and cleaned of all dirt and debris before bandaging.

Regarding dog bite, only 166 (44.9%) knew that the bite area should be washed with running water and soap. In case of pet dog bites, 277 (75%) knew that it is still mandatory for anti-rabies vaccine. For sprain, 196 (53%) wrongly thought that massage and exercise are the required first aid. In cases of snakebite, 324 (87.6%) wrongly thought that squeezing out the blood and tying a tourniquet is still the recommended practice. For choking, 173 (46.8%) did not know what to do.

When someone falls unconscious, 339 (91.6%) erroneously believed that giving water to drink was the right thing to do and 326 (88.1%) correctly said that it was important to check for breathing and pulse. Among the students, only 192 (52%) had attended a lecture related to first aid before and only 48 (13%) had been shown how to perform first aid. Regarding the source of information, 188 (51%) reported learning about first aid by reading newspapers or magazines.

The mean knowledge score was 7.84 (SD: 2.06), and it ranged from 3 to 13. The knowledge scores were positively correlated with age at correlation coefficient of 0.14. [Table 1] shows that there was no other significant difference in the mean knowledge scores between different courses, academic years, or gender.{Table 1}

Attitude

Among the students, 355 (96%) agreed that they need to know first aid even when there are hospitals nearby, and 274 (74%) agreed that they need to know first aid even though ambulances are easily available in urban areas. Two hundred and ninety-six (80%) perceived the need for first aid training for those who are not from medical profession. Two hundred and eighty-five (77%) disagreed with the notion that only teachers should help a student in case of an accident. Three hundred and three (82%) agreed that it was necessary for students to learn first aid even if there was someone else to do it. However, when challenged with a statement that “life is decided by fate and whatever I do won't make a difference,” 174 (47%) students agreed. On hundred and eighty-five (50%) said that they would be scared to perform first aid even if they were trained in first aid, and 288 (78%) wished the college had included it in the curriculum. Given the option of attending a first aid training program, 296 (80%) strongly agreed that they would like to attend such a program. Three hundred and twenty-six (88.1%) said that they would call for help if a person was unconscious and the heart was not beating, and 222 (60%) of the students felt that they were not equipped enough to perform even simple first aid.

The mean attitude score toward learning first aid was 7.90 (SD: 1.49) with a range between 3 and 10. There was no significant correlation with age and no difference in the mean attitude scores between different courses, academic years, or gender [Table 2].{Table 2}

 Discussion



In our study, 96.8% have heard about first aid and 90.5% knew that it will save lives. This is comparable with a study done on knowledge and attitudes to first aid among schoolchildren of Dehradun by Semwal et al.[4] in which 91.1% of the students have heard about first aid. In the study on Knowledge and Attitude ofFirst Aid Skills among Health Science students in Saudi Arabia by Alhejaili and Alsubhi,[5] only 69.1% of students said that first aid can save lives and in a study done on Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices onFirst Aid Measures among Senior School Prefects in Sri Lanka by Priyangika and Hettiarachchi,[6] only 15.2% of the students knew the correct definition of the term first aid. The current generation of students know what a first aid is because the term is commonly used both print and visual media, but they were not familiar with the practical aspect of first aid.

Only 50% said that giving sugar for hypoglycemia is the right thing to do and 47% did not know what to do in choking. In Alhejaili and Alsubhi[ 5] study, 95% gave right answer for hypoglycemia and 75% knew what to do in choking. Visual media plays an important role in showing how the first aid is done and whether right or wrong, and these information stay with people for longer times.

For a broken limb, 50% of students did not know what to do as first aid and only 25% said about immobilization. In the study by Alhejaili and Alsubhi,[5] 89.1% gave the correct answer. Regarding nosebleed, 85% of our study participants gave the common misconception of looking up is the best thing to do, and in the study by Alhejaili and Alsubhi,[5] 55% gave the right answer. Among the students, 87.6% agreed on squeezing out the blood and tying a tourniquet is the right thing to do. In a study done on knowledge of first aid methods and perceptions about snakebite among medical students in Nepal by Subedi et al.,[7] 77.8% of the medical students believed that tight bands like tourniquets should be applied.

Among the students in our study, 13% had some sort of training in first aid. In a study done on knowledge of first aid skills among students of a medical college in Mangalore by Joseph et al.,[8] 11.2% of the medical students had previous exposure to first aid training, and in the study on first aid knowledge among university students in Jordan by Khatatbeh,[9] 29% had prior experience in giving first aid.

In a study done on effectiveness of first-aid training on school students in West Bengal by Bandyopadhyay et al.,[10] 38.7% knew about first aid from TV/radio, whereas in our study, 51% learnt from first aid from the television. This shows that the current generation of students are highly reliant on the television for health information because even though Internet is available in their fingertips, no one is searching for the essential health information.

Overall, we found that most of the right and wrong information regarding first aid are received from the newspapers and magazines. The importance and rationale of learning first aid is well established among the students, and this was reflected in our sessions following the questionnaire. The students were enthusiastic and were sharing their real-life experiences with first aid.

The main question which rises is does incorrect first aid do more harm than good. The answer is people who are not sure of what first aid measure to take in a particular situation usually do not venture to do it. Second, we found that the popular knowledge regarding first aid among the students is full of misconceptions and wrong information. This may be attributed to the fact that quality and accuracy of the content on first aid in mass media and internet is left wanting more.[11],[12] In a study done on the quality of information regarding first aid on various websites by Burgess et al.,[12] it was found that the mean accuracy score was 5.6 out of 10.

Even though the attitude toward learning first aid among students is better, their knowledge on the same is inadequate. This pleads for the addition of first aid training in the curriculum and also directs the students on where to search for knowledge on first aid.

 Conclusion



The knowledge of first aid in students was good for cuts, dog bites, and wounds but inadequate regarding snakebite and unconsciousness. The knowledge scores are positively correlated to age. Even though they have good attitude and perceptions toward learning first aid, there are not enough opportunities for them to learn about first aid. Teaching the students about first aid and training them on basic first aid skills will go a great way in making first responders available at all places.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1Sigerist HE. Medical care for all the people. Am J Public Health 2003;93:57-60.
2Eldosoky RS. Home-related injuries among children: Knowledge, attitudes and practice about first aid among rural mothers. East Mediterr Health J 2012;18:1021-7.
3Glendon I. Evaluating mass training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation causes of blindness in schoolchildren. Br Med J 1987;294:1182-3.
4Semwal J, Bakshi RK, Juyal R, Vyas SK, Pal SD. Study of knowledge and attitudes to first aid among school children of Doiwalablock, Dehradun. Int J Community Med Public Health 2017;4:2934-8.
5Alhejaili AS, Alsubhi SA. Knowledge and attitude of first aid skills among health science students at Taibah University. J Gen Pract 2016;4:1-5.
6Priyangika KG, Hettiarachchi M. Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices onFirst aid Measures among Senior School Prefects in Galle Education Division, Sri Lanka. In Proceedings of 8th International Research Conference; 2015. p. 36-41.
7Subedi N, Paudel IS, Khadka A, Shrestha U, Mallik VB, Ankur KC. Knowledge of first aid methods and attitude about snake bite among medical students: A cross sectional observational study. J Occup Med Toxicol 2018;13:26.
8Joseph N, Kumar G, Babu Y, Nelliyanil M, Bhaskaran U. Knowledge of first aid skills among students of a medical college in mangalore city of South India. Ann Med Health Sci Res 2014;4:162-6.
9Khatatbeh M. First aid knowledge among university students in Jordan. Int J Prev Med 2016;7:24.
10Bandyopadhyay L, Manjula M, Paul B, Dasgupta A. Effectiveness of first-aid training on school students in Singur block of Hooghly district, West Bengal. J Family Med Prim Care 2017;6:39-42.
11Tiller G, Rea S, Silla R, Wood F. Burns first aid information on the internet. Burns 2006;32:897-901.
12Burgess JD, Cameron CM, Cuttle L, Tyack Z, Kimble RM. Inaccurate, inadequate and inconsistent: A content analysis of burn first aid information online. Burns 2016;42:1671-7.