Illness Assessment

Important Information

Use this skill to determine what first aid may be needed in the event that Emergency Medical Services is either delayed or unavailable and should only be performed on conscious and responsive patients.

When giving information to the EMS personnel, avoid using the word 'normal'; Try to give measured rates per minute and descriptive terminology.

Normal Signs and Symptoms

A sign is 'something that you see, hear or feel' such as a wound, bleeding, discolourations, or deformities. Whereas a symptom is 'something that the patient tells you is wrong' which may be nausea, thirst, dizziness, or pain.

During assessment first aid it is difficult to determine if the patient's signs and symptoms are normal unless you know what normal is, although what may be normal for one person may not be so for another. There are accepted normal ranges for breathing rate, pulse and skin temperature and the following is meant as a general guide;

Assessment first aid is the treatment of conditions that are not immediately life threatening uncovered during either an illness assessment or an injury assessment. For example, applying a bandage to a wounded patient is assessment first aid and lay rescuers can greatly reduce suffering and long term disabilities by applying their first aid skills.

SAMPLE; Performing Illness Assessment

STOP - Assess and observe the scene
THINK - Consider your safety and form action plan
ACT - Check responsiveness

Write down or have someone else record the illness assessment information

Put on your protective gloves and barriers and use the mnemonic SAMPLE to help during your illness first aid assessment

Signs and Symptoms



Pre-existing Medical Conditions

Last Meal


More About Illnesses

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DisclaimerDisclaimer: Information and guidelines given in this website does not intended to replace or substitute professional advice, medical diagnosis, treatment, or sanctioned first aid training. Always seek assistance from trained professionals for any medical situation.