You never know when a health issue that requires immediate action will arise, but you can equip yourself with adequate information to handle a health emergency before seeking professional medical care.
When emergencies occur, the usual reaction is panic, but keeping calm and rendering first aid proves helpful. Here are some common health emergencies and how you can handle them while awaiting an emergency response.
Chest Pain or Heart attack
A heart attack is the body ’ s response to a loss of blood supply to the heart. It often occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the heart are blocked. Common heart attack symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, stomach pain, discomfort, and pain in the chest region and left arm .
Getting treatment in the first 90 minutes of a heart attack increases the chances of survival. However, while s eek ing emergency care, assist the affected person in sitting up in a comfortable position.
If the person is unresponsive or their breathing is not stable, apply hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to increase the ir chance of survival.
Burns and Scalds
Burns result from contact with hot metal, fire, or an object with a high electric current. Chemical burns can also occur from contact with alkalis and acids, whil e a scald results from contact with moist heat like boiling water or steam.
Both scalds and burns have the same effect, forming blisters and destroying the top layer of skin or deeper tissues.
Following a burn or scald, the affected area is sterile, and y ou need to keep the area clean until treatment.
The general rule for treating a burn or scald include:
Cover the affected area using a dry sterile dressing.
Do not apply lotion.
Do not break blisters or remove burned clothing.
Avoid touching the affec ted area.
If it is a significant burn, ensure the patient gets to the hospital immediately. Avoid administering oral medicine because the patient may need an anesthetic before treatment at the hospital.
For burns from corrosive chemicals:
Flood the area with water.
Submerge in an alka line solution with two teaspoons of baking soda in a pint of warm water.
For burn from alkalis:
Brush off the residues if burn results from quicklime.
Submerge the area in a weak acid solution containing lemon juice or vinegar diluted in an equal amount o f warm water.
The symptoms of a seizure include muscle contractions, convulsions, confusion, clouded awareness, loss of sensation, fidgeting, and unconsciousness. The best help for someone experiencing a seizure is ensuring the patient ’ s safety until the attack ceases.
You can loosen any tight clothing around the neck, but avoid inserting objects in the person ’ s mouth or applying restraint. Be sure to clear the area around the person and turn them on their side if possible.
Cho king occurs due to an obstruction in the windpipe, resulting in severe shortness of breath. Try dislodging the object blocking the respiratory tract by bending the person ’ s head and keeping the shoulders forward while using the Heimlich maneuver.
If the p atient is a small child, hold them upside down and pat the back hard or try inducing vomiting to remove the item in the respiratory tract. You can also lay a child across your knees on their stomach and push firmly down and forward along their back.
Insects stings cause pain but may not result in serious harm with proper immediate care. For bee, hornet, or wasp stings:
Apply pressure around the sting and use tweezers to pry the stinger out
Wash the area thoroughly with water and soap, then apply a n antihistamine lotion or ointment to relieve the itching
Avoid scratching the affected area
If an intense allergic reaction occurs, ensure you visit the doctor for testing and treatment such as epinephrine, IV cortisones, and anti histamines.
Timely intervention following a health emergency can make a life-saving difference. You can administer first aid, but ensure you or the affected person visit a doctor afterward for a proper health assessment and treatment.