Because of the fact that other chronic diseases such as diabetes and chronic heart disease are more common and popular in Canada, not a lot of people are aware that pneumococcal infections are on the rise in certain cities such as Vancouver. This is why it is important for both residents and non-residents in the area to recognize the importance of taking Vancouver first aid classes for these types of lung infections. Here are some of the reasons why it is important to take Vancouver classes for pneumococcal infections.
It is the leading cause of respiratory problems
According to the data that was released by the Vancouver Coastal Health for December 2013, Pneumococcal infections are in the lead for causing the most number of lung infections through direct contact. The number of people who contracted pneumococcal infections is even higher than the number of people who contracted Tuberculosis through direct contact which is one of the most common lung diseases not just in British Columbia, but in other Canadian provinces and territories as well. Pneumococcal disease also has the highest monthly rate for lung diseases that are acquired through direct contact. This means that the rise in the cases of Pneumococcal infections happen throughout the year and not just in December.
It encompasses a wide range of diseases
One of the main reasons why Pneumococcal infections are so common is because it encompasses a wide variety of diseases from acute conditions such as acute ear infections to more serious medical problems such as meningitis. Other forms of sinus infections and Pneumonia are also categorized as Pneumococcal infections as they are all caused by the same strain of bacteria known as Streptococcus bacteria. Other people are also at a higher risk for developing these types of infections such as the elderly and those who have autoimmune diseases since their immune system are much weaker than a healthy person.
How does Vancouver first aid classes help?
By taking Vancouver first aid classes, rescuers can learn how to identify life -threatening complications and apply the necessary medical interventions to prevent mortality. These medical conditions include shock and problems in the bloodstream or circulation. Taking first aid classes also teaches ordinary bystanders to immediately call emergency services if they observe these types of life-threatening medical conditions on a complete stranger. This helps minimize the number of mortality that is caused by Pneumococcal infections since the patients are immediately given the medical treatment that they need in order to survive.
The bodily injuries on the upper extremity are considered the most painful and debilitating. If a shoulder injury is incurred after a fall, pain often radiates not only within the shoulder but also to the neck and down to the hands and fingers. If an individual sustained a shoulder injury after a fall, it is important to provide the appropriate first aid measures to prevent further injury.
Always bear in mind that the shoulder joint is comprised of three bones – scapula, clavicle and humerus. As one of the most movable joints in the body, it is the site for many injuries such as sprains, strains, dislocations, fractures and torn rotator cuffs. During falls, shoulders are prone to fractures and dislocations. The extent of the damage depends on how the individual fell and other contributing factors such as the surface.
What you need to know about shoulder injuries
Shoulder injuries that result to pain in the neck as well as the arms, hands and fingers are due to the impingement of the nerves after a fall. Due to this, it is important to provide first aid within 24 hours after the injury was sustained to prevent nerve complications that can affect the entire upper body. Even though these first aid measures could not completely deal with other conditions such as rotator cuff tendinitis, it can be used on simple injuries that resulted to nerve impingement.
Application of ice
Right after the injury to the shoulder is sustained from a fall, it is vital to apply ice to the affected shoulder in order to minimize the swelling as well as prevent the rush of blood flow to the extremity. By diminishing the swelling in the nerves, the synovial fluid in the shoulder joint is kept at a normal balance and to help decrease the stiffness in the shoulder. If ice is not applied, the swelling will lead to a stiff shoulder. Take note that the stiffness can put pressure on the nerves and results to pain that radiates to the neck and down to the arms.
Aside from the cold packs that are applied right after the injury, you can also provide anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to minimize the swelling. Take note that these medications will not only diminish the swelling, but can also control the pain and allow the individual to move the arm as well as preventing stiffness from developing.
Always bear in mind that any shoulder injuries from a fall must be properly evaluated by a doctor to ensure that there is no ligament or bone that is damaged. If there are damaged tissues and bone, it would surely require advanced medical care. In most cases, individuals typically recover from a shoulder injury as long as the simple first aid measures are delivered right away after the incident.
Individuals who have diabetes must emphasize the importance of proper wound care since even minor wounds can become severe which is often due to a weakened immune system linked with the condition. Take note that diabetes can lead to a compromised sensation of pain and inability to fight off infection, treating diabetic wounds would require special care and monitoring to ensure proper healing.
Majority of diabetics suffer from neuropathy in which they have nerve damage that keeps them from feeling scrapes, cuts or blisters until they become infected. These diabetic wounds can become infected due to the compromised immune system. In addition, individuals who have diabetes have constricted arteries in the legs, making the flow of blood difficult. If there is no adequate blood flow to an injury, it cannot heal properly. Even a simple wound can become badly infected and will not heal normally.
Increased risk for diabetic ulcer
A skin ulcer is basically an area in the skin that has broken down in which the underlying tissues can be seen. Majority of skin ulcers occur on the feet or lower legs. The skin typically heals quickly if it is cut. Nevertheless, in some individuals with diabetes, the skin on the feet does not heal properly if there are wounds and they are prone to developing an ulcer. Even though foot ulcers due to wounds on the feet can be treated, they can become worse and take a long a time to heal among those who have diabetes. In severe cases, it can even lead to gangrene.
How to deal with diabetic wounds
When it comes to diabetic wounds, they must be treated as a major injury with appropriate first aid measures even if it is a small scrape or cut. The wound must be thoroughly cleaned right away and checked for swelling and pus that are indications of an infection. For severe cases of diabetes, wounds must be examined by a doctor to ensure that proper care is given.
Wounds must be treated with antibiotic ointments and closely monitored to ensure that they heal. For small wounds, they must be covered with a clean bandage that is changed regularly to promote proper healing. As for major wounds, it must be handled by the healthcare professionals since it can be life-threatening for diabetics.
It is important to keep pressure off the wound as it starts to heal. Always make sure that the skin surrounding the wound is clean all the time while the bandages are changed on a daily basis. Do not forget to check if there are blisters and calluses that cannot be felt on the feet and provide the appropriate measures for wounds if there are any. In case of infection or wounds that do not heal, it is best to consult your doctor.
During emergency situations and disasters, it is important to have a supply of medications, first aid supplies and back-up power for medical equipment if used. It is important to consult your doctor and insurance company regarding the process of acquiring extra medications and supplies in case of emergencies. It is also important to create several copies of your prescriptions in case you require refills after an emergency or disaster.
Always check your first aid kit
Your first aid kit for emergencies and disasters must be checked regularly to ensure that the supplies are enough. It is best to create an inventory of your supplies that you have on hand and add more if needed. Do not forget that you should also include supplies for daily use.
During emergencies or disasters, it is comforting to know that you have planned ahead of time and have all the items that you need. When stocking up on your first aid kit, makes sure that all the essentials are present since it will surely come in handy when you need it the most.
When supplying your first aid kit, there are several medications that you have to include. Initially, you have to review your medications needs as well as those required by other family members. You can use a separate container for the medications to keep them organized. Make sure that these medications are kept dry, cool and away from direct exposure to light. It is best to rotate the medications in your kit with your medication refills to ensure that the medications will not go past beyond their expiration date.
Medications to include in your first aid kit:
- High blood pressure medications
- Heart medications
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Denture supplies
- Other special needs and prescription medications
First aid supplies
These commonly used items must be included in your first aid kit. Depending on your needs, you can add other items as well. Make sure that these items are stored in a portable, accessible and waterproof container or bag. It is best to include a first aid manual but it is even better if you have enrolled in a first aid course to ensure that you are familiar with all the basics.
- Alcohol wipe or disinfectant wipes
- Bandages in different sizes and shapes
- Gauze pads in assorted sizes
- Latex gloves
- Roller bandages
- Safety pins
- Rubbing alcohol
- Over-the-counter medications for pain relief
Always remember that your first aid kit must be personalized based on the needs of your family. It is important to take into consider the personal needs of every individual and the commonly used non-prescription medications. When storing these items, it is best to use a waterproof container and store in a dry and cool place. All family members must be informed regarding the location of the kit. Do not forget to put a date on the kit and check the available supplies on a regular basis and replace when needed.
The Heimlich maneuver is a first aid technique that is performed to save a life of a choking individual. Aside from this maneuver, another first aid technique that can be performed during a choking emergency is the finger probe maneuver.
Always bear in mind that choking can occur once an individual tries to swallow food that is too large to pass through the esophagus or when accidentally drawing food into the air passages that leads to the lungs. If any of these instances occur, it will lead to choking and the individual will have difficulty breathing and could not speak. The head of the individual is thrown back while the face becomes bluish-red in color with the eyes protruding.
What to do in a choking emergency
In a choking emergency, it is vital to determine if the victim is passing any air in and out of his/her lungs. If the air passages are obstructed partially, some air movement continues through the narrowed windpipe and there is time to call for emergency assistance before the individual will collapse. In case the air passages are completely closed, the individual will soon collapse and die within minutes due to lack of air unless an emergency action is taken. This is where the finger probe maneuver will come in handy.
What is the finger probe maneuver?
The finger probe maneuver is the ideal first aid maneuver in a choking situation in which a lump of food or firm object is lodged in the throat. With this first aid technique, your initial move is to open the mouth widely and then grasp the tip of his/her tongue through the fold of a handkerchief and then pull the tongue forward.
The next step is to pass the forefinger of your other hand over the tongue of the individual and along the side of the throat far enough to reach the edge of the food or object causing the obstruction. Make sure that you will take care not to push the forefinger into the midline of the individual’s throat since it will push the obstructing object deeper into the air passages.
The sweeping motion of the finger will bring the obstructing food or object forward into the mouth. This is the last step in a successful finger probe maneuver. Even if the individual is breathing normally again, it is best to take him/her to a doctor to determine whether the obstructing object or food has been taken out completely. It is vital for the doctor to figure out if there are any damages to the tissues when the finger probe maneuver was performed in order to restore his/her normal breathing.
As part of a first aid and CPR course, this technique is also taught along with the Heimlich maneuver that is very useful on choking individuals.
For those who are going away to college, it involves a lot of packing. When packing, there is one important thing that you should also bring along – a first aid kit. Always remember that a first aid kit will surely come in handy especially if you are away from home and face minor cuts or health problems.
Initially, you should look for a container that will serve as your first aid kit. You can look for a plastic box that can accommodate all the essentials. Make sure that the container can be easily stored and you might want to use a container that is not see-through if you do not want to contents to be easily seen.
- Aspirin is the ideal remedy for headaches, toothaches, backaches and fever as well as hangovers. Even though parents do not want to admit that their children drink at school, aspirin will surely come in handy when it comes to hangovers.
- Ibuprofen is a pain reliever that is quite similar to aspirin. It is commonly used for sports-related injuries such as a sprained ankle. This medication can also be used for menstrual cramps.
- Naproxen is also used for menstrual cramps and similar to ibuprofen but can deliver a stronger effect.
- Eye drops are useful for dry eyes during the winter months. The eyes can also get irritated since some students smoke. With the help of eye drops, it can add lubrication to dry eyes.
- Migraine relief medications are very useful for college students. Due to the pressure and stressful environment in college, it will surely trigger migraines.
- Stomach relief medications will surely come in handy during emergencies such as constipation or indigestion.
- Medications for sinus and allergies can greatly help out for individuals who have certain allergies. Living in the dormitories will put you at risk for acquiring cold, thus it is important to have these medications on hand.
- Sore throat is useful in case the throat hurts especially lozenges for a soothing effect.
First aid products for your kit
- Antiseptic is used for cleaning wounds. For minor cuts or wounds, you can initially apply rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Finish off by applying an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin.
- Band aids are readily available in all sizes. These are must-have items in your first aid kit and make sure you have a lot on hand.
- Bug bite medications are useful especially for mosquito bites and others.
- Medication for athlete’s foot
Even though you might not use all of these items in your first aid kit, it is better that you are prepared since you never know when you will get wounds or allergies. Understandably, you do not want to worry about buying medications when you need it the most. With your first aid kit on hand, you have everything that you need.
Onchomycosis is a chronic fungal infection of the fingernails and toenails causing the nails to thicken, discolor, disfigure, and split. It commonly occurs after oncholysis and accounts for half of all nail disorders, affecting up to three percent of the population. Generally, most cases of onchomycosis are caused by dermatophytes, common fungi that causes skin, hair and nail infection. Although it affects both fingernails and toenails, it more commonly occurs in the toenails. In general, it may be difficult to treat, albeit curable, and reinfection is not uncommon. If left untreated, toenails can become very thick causing pressure and pain inside the shoes. Fingernail infections may lead to psychological and social troubles.
Subtypes of Onchomycosis
There are five subtypes of onchomycosis, which can occur individually but may also occur in combination. The following are the subtypes of onchomycosis:
- Distal lateral subungual onchomycosis (DLSO or DSO) – occurs underneath the nail
- White superficial onchomycosis (WSO) – occurs in the surface of the nail plate
- Proximal subungual onchomycosis (PSO) – fungus invades the cuticle
- Endonyx onchomycosis (EO) – fungus invades the nail plate
- Candida onchomycosis – separation of nail from the nail bed
Causes of Onchomycosis
There are three main causes of onchomycosis, all of which produce a similar signs and symptoms, thus making it difficult to diagnose the primary cause.
- Dermatophytes (90% of all cases) – Epidermophyton, Microsporum, Trichophyton species
- Yeasts (8% of all cases) – Candida albicans
- Nondermatophyte mols (2% of all cases)
Signs and Symptoms of Onchomycosis
Upon infection, signs and symptoms may not manifest instantaneously. Initial sign of onchomycosis is the thickening of the nail. The other signs and symptoms of onchomycosis include:
- Nail discoloration, disfiguration and splitting
- Pain, discomfort, irritation, and pressure, especially in toenails (severe cases)
- May interfere with standing, walking, and exercising
- Self-esteem issues
First Aid Management of Onchomycosis
Treatment for onchomycosis was difficult as medications were not effective. However, modern advances have given better option treatments to people inflicted with onchomycosis. Although treatments have significantly improved, it is expensive and the rate of recurrence remains high. In case of any signs and symptoms of infection in the nails, seek medical attention, as it is easier to treat at its earlier stages. Treatment for onchomycosis include the following:
Topical Antifungal Medications
- Applied to the nail and skin to eliminate the fungi-causing disorder and other pathogens
- Used only if half the nail is involved or patient cannot take oral medications
- Amorolfine, sodium pyrithione, bifonazole/ urea, etc.
- Generally more effective as it can penetrate the nail plate
- Terbinafine, itraconazole
- Removal of the nail through surgery or use of chemicals
- Capable of penetrating nail tissue and disrupting fungal to kill them through laser therapy
Although onchomycosis is not generally considered a medical emergency, it is necessary to find early treatment for easier prognosis. To learn more about how to recognize signs and symptoms of infections such as onchomycosis, enroll in First Aid Courses.
Hearing loss is defined as being unable to hear sounds in one or both ears, whether partially or completely. It is a common ageing problem may also occur to younger people, usually from different causes, ranging from exposure to loud noises to diseases and hereditary. Hearing loss is an increasing problem all over the world. Loss of hearing may affect the quality of life.
To understand hearing loss, it is helpful to learn how sound waves are transmitted from the ear to the brain. When sound waves reach the structures inside the ear, the vibrations produced by the sound waves are transformed into nerve signals that the brain will eventually recognize as sound. The ear has three main regions, the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. It is in the outer ear where sound waves pass and cause vibrations at the eardrum. The vibrations are amplified as they are transmitted to the inner ear by the eardrum and the three tiny bones found in the middle ear, namely the hammer, anvil and stirrup. Inside the inner ear, the vibrations pass through the fluid in the cochlea, a structure that contains nerve cells where tiny hairs are attached. These tiny hairs will help convert sound vibrations into electrical signals that will eventually be transmitted to the brain.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are two different types of hearing loss, differing in the particular area of the ear that it affects. In some cases, it can be a combination of both types.
- Conductive Hearing Loss (CHL)
- Sound is not conducted efficiently from the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the three tiny bones in the middle ear
- Typically results to decline in sound level
- Can be treated
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL)
- Damaged inner ear or nerve pathway from inner ear to the brain
- Commonly causes permanent hearing loss
Causes of Hearing Loss
The causes of hearing loss will also depend on the particular area affected. Some of the most common causes of hearing loss include:
- Conductive Hearing Loss
- Ear infection (otitis media)
- Ear canal infection (external otitis)
- Presence of fluid in the middle ear, e.g. from colds
- Impacted earwax
- Presence of foreign body
- Swimmer’s ear
- Benign tumours
- Sensorineural Hearing Loss
- Exposure to loud noise
- Certain drugs
- Hereditary hearing loss
- Head trauma
- Skull fractures
- Increased pressure difference between inside and outside the ear
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
It may sometimes be difficult to determine if one is experiencing hearing loss. The following are the common symptoms of hearing loss:
- Difficulty understanding words in noisy areas or when there is background noise
- Difficulty hearing conversations when conversing with more than 2 persons
- Hearing sounds too loud
- Having a hard time hearing women’s voices than men’s voices
- Mumbled or slurred-sounding sounds
- Unusually need for increase television volumes
- Buzzing sound in the ears
- Feeling dizzy
Treatment for Hearing Loss
Treatment for hearing loss will be tailored according to underlying cause. Minor hearing loss can be effectively managed at home with sufficient home care. If cause is unknown, schedule a visit to the doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- In cases of impactedearwax, follow first aid for earwax blockage.
- In cases of allergies, treat accordingly. Follow protocol for allergies to avoid complications.
- If foreign objects are present, do not attempt to remove the object unless it is easy to get.
- In some cases, hearing aids may be necessary to enhance hearing. In other cases, implants may be necessary.
Although hearing loss is not a medical emergency, it should be immediately treated at first signs to avoid permanent or even complete hearing loss. Enrol in First Aid Courses to learn more about ear problems and hearing loss.
Causes of Hearing Loss (2011). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hearing-loss/DS00172/DSECTION=causes
Laryngitis is the inflammation and swelling of the larynx, also called the voice box. This usually results to hoarseness or loss of voice. This is because the vocal cords are contained in the larynx, thus damage to the larynx may affect the voice because of the possible inflammation of the vocal cords. The vocal cords open and close smoothly, creating sounds through their movement and vibration. In some cases, airway becomes blocked due to the trachea’s location, which is below the larynx.
Laryngitis is either classified as acute or chronic. Acute laryngitis is only short-term and lasts only for two weeks or less.Most cases of laryngitis are consideredacute and caused by a vocal strain or viral infections that are not serious. Viral infections are contagious. On the other hand, chronic laryngitis lasts for more than two weeks, typically due to more severe underlying conditions. Chronic laryngitis may lead to nodule or polyp formation on the vocal cords.Although not common, laryngitis may progress to complications such as pneumonia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), chronic bronchitis and vocal cord paralysis.
Causes of Laryngitis
Laryngitis is often associated with upper respiratory infection. These are typically acute infections. Chronic infections are often due to excessive use or trauma.The following can lead to the irritation and swelling of the larynx.
- Acute infection:
- Viral infection, such as in cases of flus and colds (most common)
- Bacterial infection
- Overuse, misuse or abuse of voice, such as in singing, shouting and cheering
- Chronic infection:
- Acid reflux or GERD
- Inhalation or swallowing irritants and chemicals
- Habitual overuse of voice
- Excessive alcohol and/ or smoking
- Injury to the throat
- Vocal cord paralysis
- Bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection
Symptoms of Laryngitis
Symptoms may slightly vary in children and in adults. The following are the most common associated symptoms of laryngitis:
- Most common symptoms:
- Hoarseness or loss of voice
- Painful throat
- In adults:
- Sore throat
- Painful when swallowing
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Dry cough
- Fullness feeling in the throat or neck
- In children:
- Hoarse barky cough
First Aid Treatment and Management for Laryngitis
First aid treatment and management for laryngitis will depend on the underlying cause and the symptoms that manifest. However, the following steps are generally recommended:
- Rest voice as much as possible and avoid talking or any activity that may add strain to the vocal cords. Use voice only when necessary.
- Keep the airways moist by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid dehydrating agents such as caffeine and alcohol.
- Keep the throat moist by gargling salt water, chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on lozenges.
- Avoid decongestants to avoid drying the throat.
- Use a humidifier to keep the air moist.
- Avoid whispering as it may strain the voice.
- For cases of bacterial infections, antibiotics should be taken.
Laryngitis is not typically considered a call for alarm. It can be effectively managed at home with sufficient home care. To learn how to treat and manage laryngitis and other every day medical scenarios, enrol in First Aid Courses with Red Cross Training.
Laryngitis. (ND). MedicineNet.com. Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://www.medicinenet.com/laryngitis/article.htm
Insomnia is a fairly common sleep disorder characterized by individuals with insomnia having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. This often results to poor-quality sleep or little sleep. The insomniac, a person with insomnia, may wake up feeling not refreshed and affect the person’s daily functions. Moreover, it may also affect mood, energy level, performance and overall quality of life.
There is no standard number of hours for all persons. Sleep hours will depend from person to person, however, most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Insomnia will vary depending on how often it occurs or how long it lasts.It is normal for people to experience acute insomnia at one point in their lives, although some cases are also known to be chronic (long-term). Majority of all cases of chronic insomnia are due to secondary insomnia.
Types of Insomnia
There are two types of insomnia, which is differentiated based on its underlying cause.
- Primary insomnia
- Not due to medical conditions, medicines and other substances
- Secondary insomnia
- Caused by different health conditions, certain medications and substances, wherein insomnia is a side effect
Causes of Insomnia
There are many different causes of insomnia ranging from mental problems to environmental factors and sleep schedule.
- Acute insomnia
- Stressful major life event such as, death of a loved one, change or loss of job, divorce, or moving houses
- Emotional or physical upset
- Environmental factors such as, light, extreme temperatures, and light
- Certain medications such as, hypertension, asthma, allergies, colds, and antibiotics drugs
- Certain substances such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine
- Chronic insomnia
- Chronic stress
- Nightly pain or discomfort
- Medical conditions such as cancer, arthritis, overactive thyroid, stroke, etc.
- Learned insomnia
Symptoms of Insomnia
Symptoms of insomnia are quite obvious, which can include the following, usually in combination:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Trouble staying asleep, such as often waking up in the middle of the night and incapable of falling asleep again
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Upon waking, feeling tired
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Increased errors
- Memory or concentration problems
- Impaired daytime functioning
Treatment for Insomnia
Insomnia can usually be treated, often involving lifestyle and home remedies. In some cases, insomnia will resolve themselves. The following is generally recommended in cases of insomnia:
- Improve sleep hygiene by maintaining a regular sleep schedule. Do not over or under sleep and avoid forcing sleep.
- Control sleep stimulus. Avoid going to bed unless one is going to sleep. Avoid doing other activities in bed such as reading, watching TV and eating.
- Relaxation techniques before bedtime may be useful such as, muscle relaxation and meditation. Massages may also help.
- In some cases, prescription sleeping pills are recommended. Other medical treatments that are used to treat insomnia include antihistamines, melatonin, antidepressants and over-the-counter sleep aids.
Insomnia is not generally considered a medical emergency. With sufficient home care, it can be effectively managed. To learn more about insomnia and other health conditions that can be treated at home, enrol in First Aid Courses.
An Overview of Insomnia (2013). WebMD Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/insomnia-symptoms-and-causes