When it comes to medical emergencies, the list of things that can go wrong is long. Most of us are well-versed in how to handle the typical cuts, scrapes, and bruises that happen in everyday life. But when something more serious happens, you want to be sure your training and preparation are up to par.
In this article, we’ll discuss five common medical emergencies and some steps you can take now, so they aren’t as scary later:
If you witness someone break a bone, the first thing to do is determine whether or not it’s broken. A fracture is different from a sprain or strain and requires more medical attention. The signs of a broken bone include:
- Pain and tenderness
- Instability in the position of joint or limb
If you think that someone has sustained a fracture, call hospital transportation services immediately. Don’t move them until they’ve been assessed by emergency personnel. You could increase their pain and worsen their injuries.
After being transported to the hospital, doctors will confirm whether or not the person’s bones are broken. Once this has been determined, they’ll treat any painful areas with ice packs or other forms of cold therapy, as well as prescribe medications such as opioids or anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen if necessary.
As per a report on USA Today, 50 million people in the U.S. were under heat alert this year.
Heat Exhaustion is a medical emergency that can cause serious health problems. Its symptoms include:
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fainting or feeling lightheaded when standing up.
- Cool skin with a moist, pale, or flushed appearance (skin may be red).
If you suspect someone has heat exhaustion, you should call 911 immediately. The first thing to do is remove them from hot conditions and have them sit down in an air-conditioned space. If leaving the area will put them at further risk for injury or harm, then continue to shelter them with shade, cool water, and fans until help arrives. Do not give fluids such as alcohol or sports drinks because these may make the situation worse by making their blood pressure drop even more.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., with about 805,000 people suffering from a heart attack every year.
If someone has a heart attack, your first step is to call 911. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, you can use a defibrillator if available. If not, begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Don’t give the person aspirin or nitroglycerin unless specifically instructed by emergency responders. You should also avoid moving them unless there is immediate danger of further injury, such as lying in water or high voltage power lines.
A stroke is a medical emergency that requires urgent treatment. The CDC estimates that more than 795,000 people suffer from a stroke every year in America, and 610,000 people have a stroke for the first time.
Its symptoms may include:
- Sudden weakness or loss of feeling in the face, arm, or leg on the body’s one side.
- Trouble speaking or comprehending what others are saying. The person may seem to be speaking with a speech impediment. The person may not be able to understand simple questions and instructions.
- Lack of coordination and balance when walking or moving around.
If you suspect someone has had a stroke, call 911 immediately and ask for help. If possible, keep them awake until help arrives. This will increase blood flow to their brain and make it less likely that they’ll have any long-term effects from the stroke, such as paralysis.
Severe Allergic Reaction
A severe allergic reaction can make you feel like the walls are closing on you. If you have an allergy, it’s essential to know the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that causes your body to release chemicals that can cause wheezing, hives, and constriction of airways.
Anaphylaxis may also cause a drop in blood pressure (hypotension), loss of consciousness, and tingling or burning sensations around the mouth and tongue. Symptoms usually develop within minutes after exposure to the allergen but could occur up to two hours later. Anaphylaxis is life-threatening. Call 911 if you think someone is experiencing anaphylaxis symptoms.
If you know the steps to take in the event of any medical emergency, it can help save lives. For example, if you’re able to recognize that your friend has had a heart attack, you can act quickly and call 911. If you don’t know what step to take next, it could mean serious consequences for everyone involved.
The key is knowing what signs to look out for so that you can make sure they receive immediate medical care.