When Rajesh was travelling to Shimla with his wife, he thought all he will bring back from Shimla will be memories and photographs. Little did he know that he would also bring one broken leg and several wounds on his hands from the holidays.
So how did that happen? While trying to capture the scenic beauty on his digital camera; Rajesh tripped over a small rock and literally came tumbling down on a hill, until he held on the small tree and was pulled by others. Rajesh knew he his leg was broken by the excruciating pain that he felt but there was nothing he could do to until he was seen by a doctor 30 kms away after 2 long hours later. Doctor fixed his leg but the condition would have been less serious if Rajesh and his wife knew some first aid tips.
First aid is not a substitute for medical help but it surely keeps the injury in control and helps in minimizing the risks. Here are some of the common medical emergencies and some first aid techniques that will minimize the damage until you get proper medical treatment.
Severity of the burns determines if they can be treated at home or need medical assistance. First degree burns are those in which only the external skin is burnt. The skin is red with swelling and may pain. In the second degree burns, the second layer of the skin is also burnt. There are blisters and the skin looks intensely red, there is severe pain and swelling. Burns caused by hot liquid, steam, holding something hot are mostly of the first and second degree types.
For such minor burns:
1) Cool the wound under the stream of cold water for at least 5 minutes until the pain subsides. If this is not possible then immerse the burnt area or apply a cold compress on it.
2) Avoid applying cotton on the wound, wrap gauze over the burn loosely and do not put pressure on the wound. Bandages help to keep the air out and protect the skin.
3) Take over the counter pain killers in like brufen and aspirin.
4) Remember: Do not put ice on the wound, also do not put ointment on the burn. Also do not try to use Toothpaste, ice or butter on the area. Only cold water provides the necessary first aid for burns.
5) In case that the burn is larger and if the burn is on the hands, feet, face, groin or buttocks, or over a major joint, treat it as a major burn and get medical help immediately. Also in case of any sign of infection like increase in pain, redness and swelling, ask for medical help.
Fainting is common due to dehydration, stress, mental shock or weakness. It occurs when blood supply to the brain is momentarily reduced. It does not generally require treatment. Here are some ways that make someone feel all right after a spell of dizziness.
1) Make the person lie on the back and elevate his legs so that the blood supply is directed towards the brain.
2) To make sure that the person doesn’t faint again, don’t let him get up very soon after fainting.
3) You can sprinkle cold water on the face and apply it on the neck to help the person cool down.
4) Make sure the airway of the person is clear. Turn the person sideway if he is vomiting. If the signs of movement like breathing are missing, call the ambulance and rush to the hospital.
It can be a precursor to heart attack and may even be due to gastro esophageal reflux syndrome but since there is no stark difference between the pains, you should rush the person to hospital than waiting for the pain to subside. Do not wait if the pain lasts for more than 5 minutes.
1) Take the person to the doctor or call an ambulance.
2) You should make sure that the person chews half an aspirin. Aspirin can clear blood clotting and chewing it increases the rate of the drug’s action. However, taking too many aspirins can be bad, so take only one.
Spinal injury may be caused due to a fall, vehicle accident, or during physical assault. Spinal injury can lead to partial or complete paralysis, so it is essential to be careful while dealing with a spinal injury.
1) The most important thing to remember while dealing with spinal injury is to keep the position of the neck intact.
2) Keep two heavy towels around the shoulder or hold the affected person’s head gently.
3) Provide as much first aid to the wounds as possible without moving the neck.
Be it the playground injury, or the cuts in the kitchen, bleeds are a common occurrence but one must know the proper first aid techniques, in case of a major cut or bruise.
1) Make the person lie down. Elevate the height of the lower part of the body so that the brain receives more blood.
2) Place sterile gauze or clean cloth over the wound; maintain pressure by tying adhesive band or use your hands to maintain pressure.
3) Apply pressure by placing your palm on the wound for 20 minutes continuously. If the blood soaks the gauze, place another one without removing the previous one and apply pressure.
4) If the bleeding continues, apply pressure on the artery that provides blood to the area of the wound.
Please consult doctor in case the bleeding doesn’t stop or if the size of the wound is more than half an inch and deep.
Some of the symptoms of broken bone are extreme pain, apparent deformation of limb when the bone has pierced the skin and the extremity of the limb looks bluish. Broken bones or fractures need medical attention but use these techniques to minimize the damage.
1) The first thing you do is stop the bleeding of the area, by applying pressure on the sterile bandage placed over the wound.
2) Do not try to realign the bone yourself; if there is time for medical help to arrive then you can attach a splint or a strip of support material to the bone.
3) You can use- boards, rolled up newspapers as support material or splint. Add a soft padding inside the splint and then attach with an adhesive tape. Fix it to the broken bone from the joint to the injured part to provide adequate support.
4) Apply ice pack to the area to control the swelling. Do not apple ice directly on the swelling. Wrap ice in a towel before applying.
5) Give anti-inflammatory drugs like brufen to lessen pain.
If Rajesh had known any of these techniques he would have had a less severe injury and the recovery process could have quickened. So make sure you remember these and do not find yourself helpless in case of an emergency.