Emergency care begins here!
First aid skills that everybody should know
We cannot predict what is in store for someone to happen, what type of disease and when it will afflict someone due to the changing food habits and eventual modifications in one’s lifestyle. Besides, someone living alone suddenly dies due to unanticipated heart attack, paralysis and stroke. Then there are incidences of blood loss or bleeding, fire burns, bone fractures and electrocution affecting one’s life. We are given details about how to handle such emergency situations, what kind of first aid procedures to be followed during those critical instances, by Doctor Thavapazhani Azhagappan, a trauma care expert.
In the past, it happened only to the aged. But it happens now to even a person of thirty years. Heart attack can happen to those who have high blood pressure, having heart diseases, smokers, those who lack physical work or activities, and also who suffer from mental stress, anytime.
There is a feeling of compression on the chest
Radiating pain from chest, moving to shoulders, back, jaws and spreading to left hand
Chest will be tight
Sudden palpitation, shakiness and excessive sweating
Unusual feeling in the chest
As soon as one gets the symptoms of chest pain as described above immediately drop whatever work one is doing and take rest immediately. One can take aspirin tablet dissolved in water. One can withstand only for a couple of hours immediately after the symptoms set in, it is better to seek medical help within that period. Ignoring those symptoms of gastritis will worsen the condition of the one who experiences those symptoms of heart attack. Life can be saved if medical care is sought at the earliest.
There are two types of it: ischaemic stroke caused by blockage in the blood vessels and hemorrhagic stroke caused by bursting of blood vessels and blood leakage. Eighty percent of the stroke is caused mostly by blockade in the blood vessels. It is much essential to learn about the symptoms that precede incidence of stroke and if medical support is sought immediately, there is a chance of minimizing its impact.
One side of the body becoming inactive (hand, leg, face)
Numbness of hands and legs
Sudden slurring of speech
Unable to fold or stretch legs and hands
Skewing of one’s face
The victim affected by stroke should be taken to hospital at the earliest. There is more chance of curing its impact by the doctors if the victim is taken to hospital within four and half hours after being afflicted. If there is any delay, the victim may have to suffer for life due to its impact.
The epileptic seizure will continue shortly, only for about five minutes. One should ensure that the victim is not injured while the seizure is happening and it will subside on its own. The victim may die due to the saliva getting entry into the respiratory tract, as tongue is withdrawn due to the seizure. In order to avoid that the victim should be laid down on his or her left side. One should not provide iron items at the time of seizure as the victim may be self-injured by them. If the seizure continues for more than five or ten minutes the victim should be immediately taken to a hospital.
One should exercise utmost caution when trying to save the person being electrocuted. One might get caught while saving the electrocuted. The electrocuted person should be saved only by using non-conducting materials. If the electrocuted person loses consciousness one can try cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). As it is only a first aid to give CPR, the victim should be immediately taken to hospital to have complete medical check-up, ensuring everything is fine.
When one is injured and there is profuse bleeding, the first thing is not to panic about it. A clean cloth soaked in clean water should be used to press the injured part for about ten minutes so as to stop bleeding. Then one can take the victim to a doctor. Half the problem can be averted when one avoids anxiety at the time of injury and bleeding.
When one’s hand is fractured it can be kept inside the victim’s shirt, unlocking two or three buttons of his shirt or a sling can be provided to hold the fractured hand undisturbed. Then the victim can be taken to a hospital. If other part of the body is fractured, the victim should be taken to a hospital without moving that affected part as much as possible. At any point of time, the victim should try not to try to tie the fractured part on his or her own. As recommended by the doctor the victim can take painkillers as the pain due to fracture will be severe.
As soon as one gets burn injury due to exposure to hot water or any other hot material the affected part should immediately be washed with cold water. This will reduce the pain and irritation due to the burns. The burned part can be covered with a clean cloth or cling film and the victim should be taken immediately to a hospital without wasting much time.
Choking of windpipe while ingesting food materials
When food particles choke the windpipe the victim will struggle to breathe and therefore suffer. The victim should be made to stand, and a helper should stand at his or her back. Then the helper should surround the victim with his hands compressing tightly the upper part of the victim’s stomach, below the ribs, and raising the hands upwards quickly. This method is called Heimlich Manoeuver. When the stomach is compressed and the hands are raised upwards the food material blocking the throat will come out through the mouth. In spite of the effort if the victim continues to suffer and unrelieved, it is better to seek medical care at the earliest.
During emergency situations, one should not stop giving only first aid to the victims but rather take the victim to a hospital for appropriate medical care. By doing so one can be assured of protecting the victim’s life and also prevent the victims from the impact of those incidents, minimizing it to the extent possible.
(This article written in Tamil by C Vetrivel has been transcreated in English by V Amalan Stanley)