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Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet

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Published by shabina921
Cornell tips
Cornell tips

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Published by: shabina921 on Feb 06, 2013
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07/14/2013

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Medical Emergencies: You can help!
Medical emergencies happen on a daily basis. It is important for all adults, whether or not theyhave medical training, to be able to recognize the symptoms of an emergency, know when andhow to call for medical help, and be aware of the basic first-aid measures that can be taken tohelp the patient before medical help is availableWhen faced with a medical emergency, your first step should be to call Emergency MedicalServices (EMS) by dialing 999 so an ambulance can come get the patient. If you are unsure of whether or not the patient is having a medical emergency, err on the side of caution by callingEMS. It is better to call EMS than drive the patient to the hospital yourself because EMS is ableto treat the patient while they are being transported, and also drive faster and more safelythrough traffic.Tell EMS your location, the patients complaint, and any other medical information you mightknow of the patient, including the symptoms the patient is experiencing, their past medicalhistory, medication list and allergies.Some common medical emergencies include:
 
All
skin wounds
should be cleaned gently under clean tap water. Deep wounds greaterthan 1cm should be evaluated by a physician for suturing within 18-24 hours. Watch out andseek medical care for signs of infection such as yellow discharge, redness, warmth or fever.
 
Burn
severity is based on the depth of the skin involved. Minor (1
st
degree) burns causeonly skin redness and can be treated at home. Deeper burns cause blistering (2
nd
degree) orleathery/painless skin (3
rd
degree). A large 2
nd
degree burn, including those involving sensitiveparts of the body (hands, face, genitalia) or any 3
rd
degree burn requires evaluation by aphysician. Keep burns clean and dry and do not intentionally break any blisters.
 
Strokes
are caused by sudden loss of blood supply to a region of the brain causingsymptoms such as weakness or numbness to one side of the body or face, sensation of worldspinning, difficulty speaking or swallowing, or blackening of vision in one eye. EMS should becalled immediately as the main treatment for a stroke needs to be given within 4.5 hours of symptom onset.
 
 
 
Seizures
are caused by irregular electrical excitation of the brain. People with a historyof regular seizures can be on chronic medications to control the seizures. Seizures can be due tononcompliance with these medications, or other problems including a stroke, electrolyte orglucose abnormalities, or infection. Call EMS for any first-time seizure, seizure lasting more than1-2 minutes or more than 1 seizure in a day.
 
Medication overdoses
can be accidental (in children or demented patients) orintentional (in patients with suicidality or other psychiatric problems). The effect on the patientdepends on the type of medication taken and can lead to seizures, confusion/lethargy, andheart and liver failure. You should speak to a physician or call EMS in all cases of medicationoverdose and inform them of all medications/empty pill bottles the patient has access to. Donot force the patient to vomit.
 
Choking
can occur if food or saliva obstructs the breathing tract. Usually patients cancough up the particle themselves. If the patient stops coughing and continues to clutch theirthroat, you should call EMS and do the Heimlich maneuver. If the patient faints while choking,chest compressions should be done until the patient coughs up the food item, regainsconsciousness, or EMS arrives.
 
Difficulty breathing
can be due to multiple causes, including problems with the lung,heart, neurological system or an allergic reaction. If the difficulty breathing continues for morethan a few minutes, EMS should be called.
 
An
allergic reaction
is an abnormal response of the immune system to an environmentaltrigger, such as dust, animal hair, insect bite or food particle. Minor allergic reactions cause ared, bumpy and itchy rash that can be treated at home with oral medications (you shoulddiscuss the treatment with your physician). Severe allergic reactions can cause dizziness,weakness, difficulty breathing, throat tightening and swelling of the lips and tongue and shouldbe treated with an EpiPen, if available. EMS should be immediately called.
 
Chest pain
can also be due to multiple causes, including a heart attack (loss of bloodsupply to a portion of the heart), collapsed lung, or rupture of the aorta (one of the main bloodvessels of the body). Call EMS for any new onset chest pain lasting longer than 5 minutes. If thepatient is taking aspirin for heart problems, have them chew the aspirin while waiting for EMS.

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