Soap star highlights importance of first aid

Coronation St scene

Coronation Street star Vicky Entwhistle has spoken out in support of first aid training after filming dramatic scenes, airing this Sunday 30 August, where her character uses first aid to save a life.

Earlier this year, longstanding character Janice Battersby became the workplace first aider at Underworld, the Street’s factory, by enrolling on a St John Ambulance course. This weekend she puts her knowledge to the test as her seven year old neighbour Joshua is stung by a bee and becomes dangerously ill, going into anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening. Under pressure, it’s up to Janice to put her first aid training into use to save Joshua’s life.

'Everyone should know the basics'

Actor Vicky Entwhistle said: ‘I was so happy to be part of a storyline that shows how important first aid can be - everyone should know the basics’.

St John Ambulance first aid adviser Jim Earnshaw said: ‘Anyone can make the difference between life and death, like Janice, with some first aid knowledge - we urge everyone to sign up for a course as you never know when you might need it.

‘Bee stings are very common in summer, in fact this year is the second worst on record for stings, but the important thing is not to panic. Although Joshua suffered a very serious reaction, most stings are painful rather than dangerous. If the sting is visible, brush or scrape it off sideways with the edge of a credit card or your fingernail. Do not use tweezers because you could squeeze the sting and inject more poison into the wound. There will be some mild swelling and soreness which can be reduced with the application of an ice pack for 10 minutes. If, like Joshua, the sting is in the mouth or throat, give them some cold water to sip or an ice cube to suck - if swelling starts to develop this could block the airway, so you must call for emergency help.

Dangers of allergic reaction

‘With any sting you should watch for a sign of allergic reaction, such as unusual swelling of the face or hands, red itchy rash and difficulty breathing, which could lead to anaphylactic shock. If this happens, get emergency assistance right away, as Janice did. If you know the individual carries medication for their allergy, help them to take it. If they become unconscious – like Joshua – lie them down, open their airway by tilting their chin upwards and check they are breathing, then turn them onto their side into the recovery position.’

Coronation Street’s researchers were advised on the storyline by St John Ambulance’s first aid experts; the charity trains over half a million people a year in first aid and health and safety.