Tag Archives: First Aid

  • When Should You Move an Injured Person?

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    When Should You Move an Injured Person?

    One of the most dangerous threats to an injured person is unnecessary movement. Moving an injured person can cause additional injury and pain, and may complicate the victim’s recovery. Generally, you shouldn’t move an injured person while treating them. If at all possible, wait for trained first responders so you don’t cause the victim more harm.

    However, there are certain circumstances where it becomes absolutely necessary to move an injured person away from the scene. If you witnessed or were involved in an accident where someone was injured, would you know whether it’s safe to move that person for immediate treatment or if it’s better to leave them where they are until emergency responders arrive?

    In this article, I will help you learn what to do if you find yourself in a situation where you have to move an injured person to safety.

     

    What should you do first?

    Anytime you see an accident or an injured person, dialing 911 immediately is the key to getting help there as soon as possible. As you wait for help to arrive, there are some things you can do to help the injured person remain calm, while also keeping yourself safe.

    Before you go towards an accident or an injured person, make sure the area is safe to enter. You don’t want to get injured or killed by rushing into an unsafe environment to help someone else.

    If the area is safe, proceed to the injured person and try to keep him or her calm and still:

    • Talk to them and explain what has happened.
    • Let them know that they need to stay still so they don’t cause further harm or injury to themselves.
    • Tell them that you will be with them until help arrives.
    •  Always be on the lookout for safety hazards. If things change and the situation becomes unsafe, you may need to move yourself and the injured person to a safe location and wait for help to arrive.

    When to move someone

    If someone has minor injuries or seems like they’re not hurt at all, they could most likely move themselves to safety.  But if they seem confused, complain of back or neck pain, have severe abdominal pain, or are bleeding, it’s best to wait for first responders.

    However, there are definitely times when the injured person needs to be moved to prevent further harm. These could include:

    • When they are faced with immediate danger, such as an unsafe accident scene or traffic hazards, fire, lack of oxygen, risk of explosion, or a collapsing structure.
    • When you have to get to another person who may have more serious injuries. You may have to move a person with minor injuries to reach someone needing immediate care.
    • When it’s necessary to give proper care. For example, if someone needed CPR, they need to be moved from a bed or couch because CPR needs to be performed on a firm, flat surface.

    How to move them

    If someone needs to be moved, try not to bend or twist them if possible. When they are lying on the ground, grab their shirt at the top of the shoulders, and using your forearms to cradle their head, pull their shirt to drag them in a straight line to a safe location.

     

    When Should you move an injured person? Photo courtesy of wikihow.com

     You can also drag them by their feet—make sure you drag them in a straight line.  If they have back or neck pain, you need to keep them flat and straight. Make sure their neck and spine are as straight as possible, so you can move them to safety without further injury.

    If there happens to be something hard, like a piece of wood, you can log roll the patient onto the object to carry them to safety. A log roll is a move used to turn an injured patient from back to side without flexing the spinal column. The trick is to keep the person’s spine straight while placing them on the wood. This technique requires 3 to 4 people—one person to hold the head and neck straight, while the other two to three people roll the body onto the wood.

     

    When Should you move an injured person?

    Photo courtesy of wikihow.com

    The person at the head will count to three, and all individuals will roll the patient on their side towards them at the same time as the person at the head turns the head to maintain the alignment with the body. Once the person is placed on something hard, the person at the head will again count and roll the person onto their back.

     

    Human Nature

    Most people are equipped with an internal need to give compassion and help others when they are sad, don’t feel good, or are hurt.  Even though these are great emotions to have, there are times when they could cause more harm than good to an injured person.

    A mother’s first instinct when a child is hurt is to run to them and pick them up to offer comfort. But what if that child had been hit by a car, or fell from a tree or window and is seriously hurt? Picking up a child up or moving them could cause severe damage or unfortunate outcomes.  Many of us don’t think about the consequences that moving an injured person could have if an accident happens. In the moment, we just want to offer comfort and make them feel secure.

    I would never fault a mother or any family member for running to an injured child and picking them up after something like this happens. But I hope that after reading this article, it will always be in the back of your mind, and that it might trigger something in you, so that if you are ever put into this type of situation you will remember not to move a person unless it’s absolutely necessary. The best thing you can do is remain composed and try to keep them as still and calm as possible. If you do this until emergency personnel arrive, you won’t risk further injury.

    Unfortunately, good outcomes don’t always happen despite the most professional care and all the advances of medicine. But we don’t want to complicate an injury by doing the wrong thing and moving someone when it isn’t necessary.

    We hope you never have to use this skill, but it’s worth thinking about (and even practicing), just in case.

     

    Have you ever had to move an injured person? What was your experience?

    -Rick

    Posted In: First Aid and Sanitation, Insight, Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid

  • Natural Treatments for Blisters and Itching

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     Natural Treatments for Blisters and Itches

    It’s that time of year again: you’re enjoying the great outdoors when you notice a “hot spot” on your foot (it’s a blister), and then you realize that your arm is itchy—likely from contact with an unidentified plant. This isn’t going to happen every time you go out, and you probably don’t get, say, blisters and poison ivy rashes in the same outing, but wouldn’t you like to know how to treat them using items you have at home?

    Blisters

    Obviously, the best “treatment” for a blister is prevention. To prevent blisters, wear shoes that fit and moisture-wicking sock liners, and use gloves for yard work and other heavy lifting. But even when we take the best precautions, we can still sometimes get those irritating sores. Here are some natural and herbal remedies for blisters:

    Natural Treatments

    • Pure Aloe Vera Gel: This seems to be the balm of all balms (it can be used for itchy skin as well, see below). The University of Maryland Medical Center’s website says that aloe is a natural anti-inflammatory that is superior to hydrocortisone cream! This means that it will help relieve swelling and redness. Plus, it’s also a great hydrator and will help keep the skin moist, which helps with healing. The great news is that you can easily grow Aloe Vera in your home or garden. This would also be a great addition to your preparedness supplies (although you would probably use the less-potent bottled version for storage).
    • Baking Soda: Mix with water to make a paste and allow it to dry on the blister (you can also add salt to the mix). This paste will dry out the blisters, reduce inflammation and pain, and kill bacteria.
    • Turmeric and Honey: Both of these items are antibacterial and healing agents. Mix the two together and apply on the blister.
    • Apple Cider Vinegar: Raw, organic, unfiltered works the best. Apply to new blisters (not broken ones—ouch!).

    Herbal Remedies

    • Marigold: This helps open blisters to heal (infuse a teaspoon of flowers to a glass of water and wet the affected area).
    • Chamomile: This is an antiseptic and can aid in healing (infuse dried flowers in four cups of water for 15 minutes. Apply wet compress to affected area).
    • Garlic: a natural disinfectant! (rub affected area with garlic juice).

     

    Itchy Skin

    Itchy and irritated skin can be, well… irritating. You can use Aloe Vera Gel and Apple Cider Vinegar for irritated skin as well as blisters! But if you don’t have those on hand, here are some ways to relieve the itch.

    • Bentonite Clay: Not only is this clay great for skin irritation, but it can also help heal wounds from venomous stings and bites (this would be a great addition to your preparedness kit). You should use virgin, untreated clay and then mix with water until creamy (like peanut butter). Dab onto affected areas and then rinse or peel off. You can also do a clay pack by spreading the clay on a clean, porous fabric (wool, muslin, cotton, flannel), placing the side with the clay on the affected area, and bandage it up (this makes it last about 4 hours until the clay dries). You can also substitute apple cider vinegar for water when preparing your clay to use both at the same time!
    • Peppermint Leaves: This is another plant you can grow at home.  Peppermint leaves are great for itching (and bug bites) because they provide a cooling sensation for relief. Just crush up the leaves and rub the peppermint directly on the skin (or freeze the leaves and then use them later for an extra cooling rush!).
    • Basil Leaves: Basil actually contains anti-itch compounds called camphor and thymol. Plus, it’s delicious, so you should definitely grow some. Just crush up the leaves and rub on the skin.
    • Fruit Peels: You can take a banana peel or watermelon rind (or any other fruit with a peel) and rub it on the affected area. Just don’t use this remedy if you’re going to be outdoors because it can attract bugs. (And remember to wash the banana peel or rind before applying it to your skin—check out this post to see why. Yuck.)
    • Oatmeal: Oatmeal is an anti-inflammatory and can be used as a poultice or bath. Just add plain, uncooked oatmeal to a bath or add a bit of water to some oatmeal and wait until it reaches a paste-like consistency, then apply to the affected area.

    These are just a few suggestions for treating your skin, and the best part is that you can grow many of them yourself.

     

    Do you have any natural remedies that have worked on your blisters or skin irritation?

    --Michelle

     

    Sources:

    Find Home Remedy

    Botanical Online

    Gerson Institute

     

    Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. Always consult a medical professional for treatment, especially if any of the above treatments fail to work or cause the condition to worsen.

    Posted In: First Aid and Sanitation, Insight, Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid

  • How to Tell If You're Having a Heart Attack

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    How to Tell if you're having a heart attack

    Would you know how to recognize the signs of a heart attack if you or someone you know was having one?

    Over a million people have a heart attack every year. About half of those will die, and many more will suffer permanent heart muscle damage. The reason? They don't recognize the symptoms and they don't call 9-1-1.

    Many times we think a heart attack is like what is seen on TV, a "Hollywood heart attack,” which happens when a middle-aged man suddenly clutches his chest, grimaces, and breaks into a cold sweat. Although this happens occasionally in real life, most heart attacks start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. The pain may become more pronounced when the victim is active, and may disappear when they're at rest.

    Victims may not know what's happening, so they'll wait too long to get treatment. They could have these symptoms for days or even weeks. About two-thirds of victims are warned well in advance by episodes of chest pain, shortness of breath or fatigue before the "big" episode itself happens.

    If you experience these symptoms, it's crucial that you call 9-1-1. Many times Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers are able to recognize a heart attack and their knowledge allows them to start treatments immediately. EMS providers can get you the care you need much faster than if you had someone drive you to the hospital. You may have to wait much longer for the treatment you need if you drive yourself instead of calling 9-1-1.

    The medical term for a heart attack is "Myocardial Infarction" or "MI", which means death of the heart muscle. Heart muscle begins to die when the arteries get blocked by a clot. If blood isn't restored quickly tissue death can become permanent, so it's important to get treatment right away.

     

    Symptoms

    The most common symptom that both men and women will experience is chest discomfort. In women it may not be the most obvious symptom, as it is for men.

    Men's symptoms might include:

    • A prolonged crushing pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest. Symptoms might range from mild to severe and may come and go

    • Often the pain radiates to the neck, arms, jaw, back or stomach

    • Shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea, cold sweat/chills, or cold clammy skin

    Women are more likely to have these symptoms:

    • Unusual fatigue

    • Nausea

    • Dizziness or lightheadedness

    • Abdominal discomfort that may feel like indigestion

    • Discomfort described as pressure/tightness or ache in the neck, shoulder, or upper back

    You may even have some of these signs in the weeks before an actual heart attack. If you develop any of these, call your doctor so that he or she can perform tests to determine if you're likely to have a heart attack. Doctors can perform non-invasive tests, such as blood work, EKG, and a stress test of the heart before invasive tests are needed.

     

    Prevention

    There are several things you can do to improve your heart's health. Ask your doctor, nurse, and family or friends for help. Together you can set goals to reduce the things that raise your risk of a heart attack.

    • Don't smoke and avoid other people's tobacco smoke

    • Treat high blood pressure, if you have it

    • Eat a healthy diet that's low in fat, cholesterol, and salt

    • Exercise at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week

    • Keep your weight in the normal range

    • See your doctor for regular check-ups

    • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed

    • Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes

    • Reduce your cholesterol

    Unfortunately, there are some risk factors that you can't change. Age is one. More than 80% of those who die from a heart attack are over the age of 65. Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women. Heredity, including race, is a big one. African Americans have a higher risk of severe high blood pressure than Caucasians, and, therefore, a higher risk of heart attacks. Children of parents with heart disease are more likely to develop it themselves.  If you have these risk factors that you can't control, it becomes more important to control the ones you can.

    Learn to recognize these symptoms, and call 9-1-1 immediately when they happen.

    To learn more about treatment for those having a heart attack or cardiac arrhythmias, check out our article, “Using an AED Machine.”

    -Rick

     

    Sources

    www.heart.org

    Author Bio: Rick  became an EMT Basic in 1996, and currently works as an Advanced EMT. He spent several years as an EMT/Firefighter and CERT instructor in Pleasant Grove, UT. He is also a First Aid and BLS instructor. He’s worked at Timpanogos hospital for 16 years, spending several years working in the Emergency Room. He currently works in the ICU as a Telemetry Technician. He loves sharing his experience and knowledge of first and emergency preparedness with others. 

    Posted In: First Aid and Sanitation, Insight, Uncategorized Tagged With: First Aid

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