What Does Acronym DOTS Stand For in First AID?

Based on my medical carrier, I can relate all those fuzziness and confusion with remembering the vast crunch of information in that small corner of a brain. It is usual to forget as human nature but under the medical pressure, there’s no option other than to remember the assessment procedure to deal with the upfront issue in a low time frame.

That’s where acronym falls in, if you aren’t already familiar with the definition of acronym here its is to guide you with.


So, what is an acronym? What does DOTS stand for in First Aid?

An acronym is a collection of the first letter from the beginning of each word and collectively forms a new word known as an acronym.

Word or acronym so formed may or may not have the meaning of its own but it sure does helps to remember the big data into a small package.

Again, what does DOTS stand for in First Aid?

In First Aid, DOTS is an acronym often used by the medical professional to remember what particularly to look for while conducting a physical examination of a fatality.

In First Aid, DOTS stands for:

D: Deformation

O: Open wounds

T: Tenderness

S: Swelling

These are some of the most common signs or indicators that are taken into consideration by the med professional while physical assessment of the casualty for bodily injury.

1. Deformation

So, what does Deformity means in medical terms?

Deformity by medical definition is a conformational change or alteration of the normal body parts caused by either mechanical stress which may include either tensile stress, fracture, etc.

Following are the types of Deformation in medical:

1. Elastic deformation.

2. True stress and strain.

3. Plastic deformation.

4. Fracture.

Deformity can either be differentiated by comparing with the normal body parts, a basic time-efficient way of confirmation in case of a mild fatality.

2. Open wounds

During Emergency, it is obvious for the work pressure to build up therefore, the entire body needs to be examined carefully for open wounds. Hence, such an intricate part of the assessment must be performed carefully with the casualty.

Physical Assessment becomes even more difficult in the case of an unresponsive patient due to unconsciousness. And it further increases the workload and makes it more challenging.

Therefore, what is an Open wound?

An open wound is a type of injury where casualty may have gone through either torn, cut, or puncturing of skin dermis depending upon the type of object involved in the cause, as a result exposing the underlying skin tissues.

Just in case if you are wondering, there are four types of Open wounds. Following are its types:

1. Laceration

2. Puncture

3. Avulsion

4. Abrasion

3. Tenderness

So, Does your skin hurt when you touch it?

It might be due to tenderness.

Here’s an effort that might help you understand the underlying artifacts.

Tenderness is an advanced physical assessment result which is observed by the clinician before the underlying damage is physically visible. E.g. Bruising, it is no wonder we all once had it, as Young during action time!!

Matter of fact, with time it transforms into a characteristically observable sign commonly known as a bruise.

Ok then. What is tenderness?

Tenderness by definition is a pain of discomfort usually felt after the physical force or compression is applied over the area underlying the tissue injury.

Note: Pain is the patient’s perception (i.e. felt natural), while tenderness is physical assessment (i.e. requires external force).

4. Swelling

About 99% of the fractures result in a swelling.

Mainly due to the fluid buildup, leading to the enlargement of the affected area.

If you had ever gone through it, you may also have realized, swelling does not occur immediately it is an aftermath result of the body self-defense mechanism which results in an observable swollen area.

It may be generalized swelling or localized swelling based on the external force of impact and internal defense action of the body.