First Aid: The Do's and the Don'ts
The below provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. Any treatment protocol should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner ... Please refer to: Medical & Legal Disclaimer.
Dr. Tom Scaletta, the president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, and Denise King, president of the Emergency Nurses Association, provided his recommendations pertaining to common emergency situations:
Call 911/ Emergency Services
First of all, they point out the importance of immediatelly calling 911 / emergency services when seeing or experiencing any of the below symptoms or situations:
- chest pain
- uncontrollable bleeding
- shortness of breath
- suffered electric burns - even if no damage is evident. An electrical burn can cause invisible, yet serious, injuries deeper inside the body.
Handling Emergency Situations:
Cut off finger / part of finger
Wrap the severed part in damp gauze (saline would be ideal for wetting the cloth), place it in a watertight bag and place the bag on ice. Be sure to bring the bag and ice to the emergency room. As for the wound on the hand or body, apply ice to reduce swelling and cover it with a clean, dry cloth.
- Common Mistake: Don't try to preserve the loose part by placing it directly on ice.
Put the tooth in milk and go straight to the ER, as there is a good chance that the tooth could be reimplanted.
- Don't scrub the tooth hard even if it's dirty (a gentle rinse is OK)
Wash and apply antibiotic ointment to mild burns. Head to the hospital for any burns to the eyes, mouth, or genital areas, even if mild; any burn that covers an area larger than your hand; and any burn that causes blisters or is followed by a fever.
- Don't apply ice or butter or any other type of grease to burns. Also, don't cover a burn with a towel or blanket, because loose fibers might stick to the skin. When dealing with a serious burn, be careful not to break any blisters or pull off clothing stuck to the skin.
Treat a sprain with ice. Go to the ER if it is very painful to bear weight; you might have a fracture.
- Don't use a heating pad.
Sit upright and lean forward and pinch your nose steadily (just below the nasal bone) for five to 10 minutes. If the bleeding persists for 15 minutes (or if you think you are swallowing a lot of blood) go to the ER.
- Don't lean back. And after the bleeding has stopped, don't blow your nose or bend over.
Apply steady pressure to the wound with a clean towel or gauze pack and wrap the wound securely. Go to the ER if the bleeding doesn't stop, or if the wound is gaping or caused by an animal bite. To help prevent shock, keep the victim warm.
- Don't use tourniquets as they could cause permanent tissue damage.
Ingestion of poison
Contact a poison control center (such as: http://www.aapcc.org/DNN/) and bring the ingested substance together with its container to the ER.
- Don't induce vomiting or use Ipecac syrup (unless instructed to do so by emergency personnel).
If possible, stabilize the object and go to the ER.
- Don't remove the object; you could cause further damage or increase the risk of bleeding.
Lay the patient on the ground - if possible in an open space. Roll the victim onto his or her side. Call 911.
- Don't put anything in the victim's mouth.
- Newsweek April 14, 2008
Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.
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