Injuries and Wounds

An injury is damage to your body. It is a general term that refers to harm caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons, and more. In the U.S., millions of people injure themselves every year. These injuries range from minor to life-threatening. Injuries can happen at work or play, indoors or outdoors, driving a car, or walking across the street.

Wounds are injuries that break the skin or other body tissues. They include cuts, scrapes, scratches, and punctured skin. They often happen because of an accident, but surgery, sutures, and stitches also cause wounds. Minor wounds usually aren’t serious, but it is important to clean them. Serious and infected wounds may require first aid followed by a visit to your doctor. You should also seek attention if the wound is deep, you cannot close it yourself, you cannot stop the bleeding or get the dirt out, or it does not heal.

Other common types of injuries include

  • Bruises
  • Burns
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Sprains and strains

Regardless of the cause, injuries and wounds require the same initial assessment. You must first recognize that an emergency exists. After assessing the potential risk of hazards in the area, you can then look for the cause of the injury or wound.

Most injuries are immediately noticeable. Others are not so evident. You should perform a quick check of the victim for damage to the circulatory, respiratory, and nervous systems. If the wound is strictly external, you can then begin to determine a course of action to perform first aid on the victim.

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM ASSESSMENT: Look for normal breathing, chest movement, or coughing. If there are no signs of circulatory activity, determine if it’s appropriate to begin CPR.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM ASSESSMENT: Lack of oxygen will often result in cardiac arrest. Determine if the person is breathing normally. If there’s no sign of respiration, determine if it’s appropriate to begin CPR.

NERVOUS SYSTEM ASSESSMENT: Check for injuries of the back, head, or neck. If you suspect an injury of the back, head, or neck, do not move the victim. Determine whether the victim can move his or her legs and arms. If not, the victim might be paralyzed and should not be moved.


We also offer a free certificate of completion. To receive the certificate you must pass a 50-question test with a score of 70 or higher. Check our Basic First Aid Certificate of Completion page for more information.

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