Dealing with any medical emergency situation promptly, efficiently and accordingly is the most crucial thing any person can do to minimize the losses due to that emergency.
We all know that health professionals are trained to handle any medical emergency, but there many times when a Doctor is not close by. How many times have you heard of people having to wait for help in a city setting? Then there are those times when people are in an isolated location and it could be hours before a medical professional would show up.
It is helpful to understand these facts as well as the reality that a prompt and timely intervention can make all the difference for the person who has had something happen to them. As I said " A minute can make all the difference"
Learning first aid is not the same as being a doctor and what I am sharing with you are simple things a person can do until a doctor arrives.
Today I want to share with you some of the medical emergencies you migh encounter in your home, at your work or anywhere a medical emergency can occur.
Here are some of the medical emergencies that a person might encounter:
- Heart attack
- Electrical shock
- Heat exhaustion and heat stroke
- Shock or sudden unconscious
- Eye injury
- Allergic reactions
- Bite and stings (bee, animals, snake etc)
- Exposure to hazardous material
- Broken bones
- Epileptic seizure
Before I talk about the indidual medical emergencies you might encounter, there are important rules you need to follow and they are
Medical Emergency Rules
When you come across a medical emergency and if there are a group of you, make sure that someone calls for help on their cell phone or any phone. If you are alone, shout out for help before trying to do anything on your own. Remember you are not a doctor. Regardless of how help is sent for, you will need to give the proper aid until help arrives.
Next I want to share with you A-B-C. This is the simple and common way to remember what you need to do. ABC, which stands for Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. Lets go through them..
Airway – the first thing you need to do is o make sure that the persons airway is clear. Choking can be fatal.
Breathing – when you can see that there are no obstructions in the person, then see if they are breathing adequately
Circulation – if the person is not breathing you need to go straight for chest compression and rescue breathing.
The simple steps of rescue breathing and heart compression is call CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) Here is the way to do this life saving act.
- Lay the person on his or her back
- Give chest compressions
- Tilt head slightly
- Breathe into the person's mouth. You may give with the ratio of 5:1( 5 chest compression, then 1 mouth breathe…………….repeat this)
- Continue until emergency medical services or personnel arrive.
When you encounter people who are breathing then you need to check that persons pulse.
It is important to remember this motto "Do no further harm" If you are not confident that you can do any of these task, then it is better that you stay close to the person and make them as comfortable as possible. A word to the wise if you encounter a person collapsed due to choking Don't give water (with the sense that obstruction will be cleared), rather it can cause further harm and even aspiration.
Are you ready to learn how to hand different medical emergencies? GOOD! Remember one thing. You are the rescuer! you need to be strong ! If you faint seeing a bleeding victim or run away seeing a convulsive victim, then that victim will be in real trouble.
You are having a delicious dinner in a restaurant, gossiping, laughing and enjoying time. But suddenly like bolt from the blue, you younger brother started coughing violently and suddenly collapsed! Or sometime collapsed without any fuss! Your enjoyment turn into big trouble within minutes…………… Yes! Your younger brother is having "choking". A bolus of food has suddenly entered in the wrong route (in airway, rather than esophagus) while eating and laughing.
What to do?
- Ask the person to speak or cough
- Deliver 5 back blows
- Perform abdominal thrusts by Heimlich Maneuver
- Repeat sequence of back blows and abdominal thrusts
If a person suddenly start having severe chest pain (most of the time while on exertion or running or doing heavy work), breathing difficulty, sweating or sometime faint, maybe he or she is having heart attack. If you know about her previous history of heart problem or can see this characteristic hand gestures or come to know the nature and radiation of pain, you can also be sure about ongoing heart attack of the victim.
What to do?
- Call for help immediately.
- Make victim comfortable, ensure proper air entry in that place
- Loosen tight clothings from the victim
- Check if he is taking any medication( ask him if conscious)
- Keep victim still and assure him that help is coming
- Don't give stimulants
It is one of the quite common and if not severe, can easily be managed locally and minor bleeding points are stopped spontaneously. But if severe and no one attend the victim, it may be fatal. This is the event where the helper may be faint seeing bleeding!!
So what to do?
- Keep victim lying down but Raise bleeding part higher than rest of body( if it is any limbs)
- Place pad directly over wound and apply direct pressure firmly with both hands
- If a body part has been amputated, put it on ice
Electric shock is not uncommon in the area where electricity available. Circumstantial evidence is enough for coming into decision what happened. So prompt action can save the victim.
What to do?
- Don't touch victim with bare hand
- Turn power off ASAP
- Remove the person from live wire
- Check for breathing
- Call for help
These two are quite common in hot temperature country particularly among them who used to work under sun or in closed place devoid of adequate ventilation. Heat exhaustion victim may have pale and clammy skin, profuse perspiration, rapid pulse, weakness, headache, nausea, cramps in abdomen and limbs. And heat stroke person may have flushed hot and dry skin, rapid, weak pulse, confusion and unconscious.
What can you do?
- Move to cool place or under shade
- Lay victim down
- Elevate feet
- Loosen clothing
- Give fluids; particularly diluted salt water, no alcohol
- Cool the victim's body by spraying or sponging with cool water
- Call for help if heat stroke
Frost bite: It is limited to extreme cold environment country. The pink skin will be changed into white or grayish-yellow, initial pain, numbness and cold extremities.
What you have to do?
- Cover area with warm hand of woolen material. If hands are affected, hold them in armpit
- Bring victim inside and place in warm water (101®-103® F)
- Don't use hot water, water bottle, or heat lamp
- Don't rub frostbitten area
- Let circulation reestablish naturally, exercise
- Give them something warm to drink
This is not electrical shock. It is shock due to failure of maintaining circulation by either failure of heart, or diminishes of blood from body by profuse bleeding. Sometimes observer can see the heavy bleeding and come to know that victim is in shock. But sometimes may not be possible to know what exactly happening. But if you keep these points in mind (cold, clammy skin with beads of perspiration on forehead and palms, pale skin color, a cold feeling, shaking chills, nausea, vomiting, shallow, rapid breathing) you can predict that he is in shock.
What to do?
- Get medical help ASAP and send to hospital because intravenous fluid management is required.
- Correct/prevent the cause of the shock e.g. stop bleeding points
- Keep victim's airway open
- If victim vomits, prevent choking or aspiration
- Elevate victims legs
- Keep victim comfortable and warm
- Reassure victim( if not unconscious)
Bite and stings (bee, animals, snake etc): Sometimes while you are working in garden, you may have snake or bee or animal bites on you or to your co-workers. Don't be panic. Especially snake bite. Most of the snakes are not venomous. But excess panic will create a bad scenario!
What to do?
- Lie victim down and immobilize limb
- Cold application on all bites except snakes
- Flush snakebite with water. Apply 2" wide cloth to provide a band near bite. Band should not be too restricting
- In bee sting case do not remove stinger with tweezers. Remove stinger with a flicking motion
- If there is skin break ( in dog bite), wash with soap and water
- Transport victim to hospital
- Provide non-alcoholic liquid to victim
Eyes are among those vital organs which once damaged completely; it brings un-repairable loss in our life. So protecting eyes are very important. As is it exposed to outer environment, its injury is also quite common. Foreign body in eyes, penetrating objects, cut near eyes, splashes, blow to eyes etc are the ways to injury to eyes.
What to do?
- First and foremost part is try to reach in any eye specialist ASAP.
- If any foreign body, don't rub eyes. Try to clean with clear water only
- If any chemicals enter, clean with normal water before reaching to specialist.
- If any penetrating injury and it seems that inner portion may come out, try to close the eyes with clean pad or gauze (if available)
Allergic reactions: Some people are allergic to some specific objects or materials. It may be food materials or any surface agents after coming in contact with the skins or someone to some medications given intravenously or orally. The features of such allergic reactions are quite familiar. Suddenly developed breathing difficulty with wheeze, new appearance of rashes or hives, severely itching in some parts of body, swollen eyes, lips, tongue etc are the features of allergic reactions.
What to do?
- First thing is to try to sort out for what this reaction started. If identified, then stop the process (drug infusion) or remove the agents (surface agents).
- Try to send to health center ASAP as victim may needs life saving medications or oxygen inhalation.
- If breathing stopped, then start CPR.
Image Source: PositiveMed
Burn: Burn patients needs meticulous attention because depending upon on degree, burn patient may go in shock and ultimately death if steps are not taken timely and effectively. Chemical burn, thermal burn, electricity burn etc are ways of burn.
What to do?
- All burns should be attended by an experienced physician
- Do not apply ointments, grease, or baking soda without permission of attending doctor
- If thermal burn, then cool the area with cold water. Place head and chest lower than rest of body
- If chemical burn, then flush the area with plenty of water for at least 5 min
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A Minute can make all the difference