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English Wikibooks September 19, 2007

English Wikibooks September 19, 2007

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While waiting for professional help to arrive with a patient who is sick or injured,
you can check a number of things which may indicate the cause of an illness.
This information should then be given to the ambulance crew or doctor to
speed up their diagnosis. If you spot any of these signs, it is imperative to seek
professional medical assistance, if you have not already done so. The key things



to look for can be summarized in the mnemonic JACCOL, which stands for:
J aundice

Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin, and is most obvious
under the eyelids in adults. To check, ask permission,
and then gently peel back the patient’s eyelid to observe
the colour.

A nemia

Anemia is the lack of iron in the blood, and it causes
pallor also under the eyelids, but possible also around
the gums. Look for this at the same time as jaundice.

C yanosis

Cyanosis (cyan=blue) is the blue tinge that comes with
lack of oxygen reaching the body tissues. This can be
seen best on the lips and gums, and sometimes on ex-
tremities such as fingers.

C lubbing

Clubbing is an indicator of an underlying body chem-
istry problem. The test for this is simple. Ask the pa-
tient to place the fingernails of their right and left index
fingers together (flat against each other, facing the same
direction). If you can see a gap (diamond shaped) be-
tween the fingers where the cuticle is, then everything
is normal. If their fingernails and fingers form a flat
interface, then medical advice should be sought.

O edema

Oedema is a swelling, usually seen in the lower legs. You
can tell oedaema from other types of swelling by gently
pushing it with a finger. If your finger leaves a dent,
then the swelling is likely oedaema.
L ymph nodes The lymph nodes are in your neck, and quite often be-
come ’puffy’ when a patient is ill. Look at the patient
to see if they seem to be swelled up around the sides of
the neck.

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