Reporting a motor vehicle accident is the single most important step in providing first aid. However, if you are the first person to
respond, you should be able to provide the appropriate and complete information to help the emergency medical services.
When calling 911 to report a motor vehicle accident, you should provide the operator with essential information to hasten the delivery of emergency services. Some helpful information you can provide include:
1.The exact location of the accident
If the motor vehicle accident has happened in a built-up area, you should be able to give the exact street address or at least the names of the nearest two streets that intersect. However, if the accident occurred in a rural area, you may have a difficult time learning the exact location. If possible, provide the operator with the nearest crossroads or nearby stores or landmarks. Avoid giving vague directions such as “about four miles south of town…” If you are not familiar with the place either, you can report the nearest landmark from your point of view.
Given today’s advance technology, it is not difficult to locate accidents. Usually, the operator can track you by just checking the GPRS position of your mobile phone. Most mobile phones are able to provide the location.
2.The phone number you are calling from
The operator may need to call you back so you should be able to give your phone number.
3.The name of the caller
State if you are among the victims or a first aider. Do not hang up the phone until you are told to do so. Usually, the operator gives instructions on how you can manage the situation.
4.The types of vehicles involved
The operator needs to know the types of vehicles involved because certain vehicles require special attention from the emergency service personnel. For instance, passenger vehicles such as buses, cars, and vans would normally have passengers thus requiring an ample amount of medical supplies. If there is a truck involved in the accident, you should also provide information about the type of truck and its load. A dump truck or a chemical container would require the emergency service personnel to wear special protection devices.
5.The number of persons injured
It is important for the emergency service personnel to know the number of victims requiring emergency care. If there are more than five victims, the operator may need to send out several ambulances and rescuers. Time can be saved if you are able to provide an accurate number of people injured in the accident.
Lastly, you should be able to give description of the type of injuries sustained by the victims. This will help the operator formulate a decision on the initial response.
Emergency medical personnel recommend adding “I.C.E.” entries into your mobile phone contacts list. I.C.E. stands for “In Case of Emergency” and it is a quick way of accessing and notifying a person’s emergency contacts in case of medical emergencies or accidents. Every second counts in emergency situations. It is important for the first aider, EMTs and other emergency personnel to obtain critical medical information about the patient, in case he or she is unconscious or unable to give coherent information.
Most people neglect the possibility of an emergency occurring to them. Others assume that they will be able to communicate their medical history when they need emergency medical attention. For the first aiders or emergency personnel, knowing whom to contact during an emergency can greatly help in gathering vital information. This information can help the first aider provide efficient and accurate medical care for medical emergencies.
Emergency medical personnel are increasingly aware and looking for such entries in mobile phone address books. By adding ICE entries, they can immediately identify and call the right person. Experts recommend adding at least 2 ICE numbers so that there is a backup in case the other one is not reachable. Make sure that the designated person is familiar with your medical history. To designate a contact in your current phone address book, simply add ICE before the name of the person; for example, ICE – Mom or ICE – Dad.
Mobile phones can play a critical role
providing valuable information in cases of medical emergencies. Alongside having ICE entries, experts also advise carrying a summary of medical histories in wallets. Usually, mobile phones have security features that do not allow unauthorized use. Having a record in your pocket is a good idea.
There are three important things that you should include in your medical history and is summarized as MAD (Medicines, Allergies, and Doctors).
- Medicines – list all your current medications, prescription and non-prescription including organic supplements or herbal products.
- Allergies – list all known allergies such as medication allergies, food allergies and others.
- Doctors – list the name and contact numbers of your medical providers, especially those responsible for your regular care.
Finally, it is important to note that neither ICE nor pocket-card information can substitute for medical alert devices, such as necklaces and bracelets. These items are usually standardized thus are easily recognizable to any medical personnel.
In medical emergencies, the more information the first aider, EMT or medical responder gathers about a person’s medical background; the more efficient the emergency medical care is.
Cuts, lacerations, wounds, and scrapes are some of the most common emergencies at home. Learning first aid for bleeding is essential for first aid situations.
Beneath the skin is a rich network of blood vessels, when the skin is scraped or cut, you begin to bleed. While bleeding serves the purpose of cleansing out the wound, too much bleeding poses health risks. Massive blood loss can cause shock. First aid for bleeding prevents potential complications arising from wounds, cuts and scrapes.
The amount of bleeding does not always indicate the severity of injury. In fact, some serious injuries can bleed very little. On the other hand, even minor cuts such as those on the face, head, and mouth may bleed a lot because of the rich network of blood vessels in these areas.
First aid for bleeding
For cuts and wounds:
- For small cuts, flush it under running water and wash with soap. Do not do this for large wounds.
- For cuts that are large or bleeding heavily, place the person on his back. Keep the person calm. If the wound is on an extremity (arm or leg), elevate the injured limb slightly above the level of the heart.
- Remove foreign objects, such as grass or sticks. If the debris is embedded in the body, do not remove it.
- For cuts with severe bleeding, wear gloves (if available) apply firm pressure to the wound with dressing/folded cloth/bandage for 5-10 minutes. Do not lift your hand to look at the wound, as it may bleed again. If the dressing becomes soaked with blood, apply another dressing and continue firm pressure on the wound.
- Once bleeding is controlled, tape a clean bandage over the wound.
- Seek medical care if: the wound is deep or jagged, the cut is on the face or head, the bleeding won’t stop, there is embedded debris or dirt, or the cut is a result of an animal bite.
Chest and abdominal wounds that result in damage to vital organs can be life-threatening. Usually, injuries to the chest and abdominal cavity do not have obvious bleeding. However, it can cause internal bleeding and shock. As such, chest and abdominal wounds are considered an emergency and requires immediate emergency care.
Bleeding accompanied by weakness, dizziness, cold and pale skin, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath indicate shock. While waiting for emergency services, give first aid for bleeding and shock. Place the person on his back and elevate the feet about 12 inches. Keep the body warm and continue to provide reassurance.
Take basic first aid training course and learn how to manage bleeding. Contact your local Red Cross chapter to inquire about their training schedules.
There are a lot of mishaps that can happen while you’re on the road. While prevention is king, there are a lot of uncontrollable factors that may increase the risk of accidents. Be prepared for these unwanted events with a well-stocked emergency car kit.
A well-stocked emergency kit can help ensure prompt and efficient first aid, whether at home or on the road. And while good car maintenance can help prevent breakdowns, there are still a lot of factors along the way that can cause trouble to your car – bad weather, poor road conditions, and irresponsible motorists to name some. Be prepared for these unforeseen with an emergency car kit, either commercial pre-packaged or self-customized.
What supplies to include in your emergency car kit:
Water – Water is essential to life. You won’t survive for very long without clean water. Choose emergency water pouches instead of bottled water to save on space. Regularly check water for expiry.
Food – Include high calorie energy bars, with long shelf life and ability to withstand temperature extremes. Avoid salty foods that will increase your thirst and quickly diminish your water supply. Keep food supplies in a hard plastic container.
Extra clothing – Pack in rain jacket, as well as seasonal clothing such as gloves, scarf, and hat.
Blankets – Wool blankets can help provide warmth if you are stranded along the road and need to spend the night in your vehicle. A space bag or blanket is best for cold weather conditions. It is made of reflective material that can absorb as much as 80 percent of body heat, even in the winter.
Flashlights – Durable flashlight with extra batteries will provide illumination through the night. They will also serve as hazard lights. Choose high power LED flashlights with longer battery life.
Tools – Make sure you have necessary equipment to troubleshoot your car should it encounter problems on the road. Aside from basic car repair tools, it is recommended to include a knife, a basic tool kit, and a collapsible shovel for shoveling your way out of mud or snow in emergency car kit.
Cellphone and charger – Cell phones provide an easy way of communicating and asking for help. Moreover, modern cellular phones today are GPS ready and can help rescuers locate you easily.
Medications and medical supplies – Make sure you have enough supply of prescription medications especially if you are on a long trip. If you use medical supplies such as blood pressure apparatus or glucose meter, bring it with you.
First aid kit – An emergency car kit is not complete without a first aid kit. Your first aid kit should include first aid instruction manual or chart to help you manage minor injuries. Better yet, consider enrolling in first aid training course offered by the Red Cross or its accredited training providers.
Be sure to regularly check your emergency car kit, replace any expired or near-expiration medications, and restock it at least once each season.
The importance of having a car first aid kit can never be discounted. Read on to learn more about why you need to pack your car with appropriate first aid and emergency supplies.
So you got the key for your new car and you want to test it for road worthiness. Before you even think of driving your new car, make sure it has a well-stocked car first aid kit. Having a first aid kit in your car is very important. You might find yourself stuck in a heavy traffic or in a bad weather or in an automobile emergency. You will be grateful if you have packed some extra water and food, emergency medical supplies, warning devices, flashlight, and roadside flares, if you find yourself in such situations. If you did not stock emergency supplies in your trunk, you will definitely feel guilt.
Your car emergency kit should contain basic first aid supplies that include bandage, dressings, gloves, cloth tape, antibiotic ointment packets, antiseptic wipes, common OTC medicines (aspirin, acetaminophen, mefenamic acid), and a simple first aid manual. However, if you do not have time to make your own car first aid kit, you can choose to buy pre-packed car emergency kits. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with its contents so that you know what supplies you can use in specific emergency situations.
New drivers, especially teenagers, definitely need to have a car first aid kit in the trunk. Before you allow your teenager to drive the car, make sure he knows where to find the emergency kit. Go over some ground rules to prevent possible accidents. Besides following traffic rules and driving safely, the teenager should know how to respond in emergencies.
Introduce your child to the contents of the car emergency kit. Discuss and demonstrate to them how each item in the kit is used, and when they can be used. Given them pointers as to what needs to be done in case of emergencies on the road. Make sure your teenager knows where to find the first aid kit. It can certainly add to your peace of mind knowing that your teenager has first aid kit ready in his car.
Meanwhile, if you have young children and you allow a nanny to drive your children in places, you need to make sure that the automobile is well prepared for the unwanted events. Show to your nanny where the emergency kit is located. Be sure to place it in a place that is accessible to her in case of an emergency.
Regularly check your car first aid kit and emergency supplies. Food and water should be checked for possible expiration. Storing several bottled water is a must. Have signaling devices, and perhaps a disposable cellphone that can be used to activate emergency medical services. The first aid kit should have medical supplies that are adapted to the child’s age. Moreover, these supplies should allow your nanny to tender to minor injuries such as wounds, scratches or bruises. Of course, it would be helpful if you get a nanny who has completed first aid training course or a babysitting course.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is a critical basic life support measure. When done properly and effectively, CPR can mean the life of the victim. Let’s take a look at the difference between an effective and an ineffective CPR.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR is a basic life support measure that is applied if the victim’s heart and lungs have suddenly stopped working (no pulse and no breathing). This technique involves maintaining an open airway, breathing for the patient, and pushing the victim’s blood towards the body parts. It is concerned with the ABCs of first aid: Airway, Breathing, and Circulation.
CPRinvolves all of the three components of first aid – ABC. The victim should have an open airway otherwise artificial breathing is not effective. Artificial breathing is useless unless it is circulated to the vital organs of the body. Circulating blood is not effective if it is not oxygenated.
CPR is effective if the victim’s chest rises and falls in response to artificial breathing. The pulse (especially carotid pulse) can be felt every time a compression is delivered. In addition, you should also notice any of the following:
- Skin color improves
- Pupils constrict
- Heartbeat returns spontaneously
- Gasping respirations
- Movement of limbs
- Attempts to swallow
- Return of consciousness
Take note that you can provide effective CPR but the victim does not spontaneously restore breathing and pulse. In most cases, the victim requires advanced life support measures to restore heart and lung function. Always remember that effective CPR does not mean that the victim lives. Even the best and most effective CPR does not guarantee life.
CPR is thought to be ineffective if resuscitative techniques are improperly applied. If CPR is ineffective, the chances of the victim at survival are grim too. Ineffective CPR can be due to a number of problems that include:
- head not in proper head-tilt position,
- mouth is not fully opened for adequate oxygen exchange,
- not effective seal made against the victim’s mouth,
- the nose is not pinched shut while providing artificial breathing,
- victim not lying in flat, firm surface,
- incorrect positioning of the hands of the rescuer,
- prolonged interruptions in CPR (more than 7 seconds),
- improper chest compressions,
- compression rate either too fast or too slow,
Errors in providing CPRcan alter the effective ventilation of the lungs and blood circulation. It can render the basic life support measure useless as it does not address the ABCs of first aid. Moreover, providing improper CPR can lead to complications, with injury to the rib cage being the most common.
Taking basic life support or advanced life support courses from the Red Cross can teach you with the appropriate skills. These training courses are available year-round so you can always find a course that fits your schedule. Contact your local Red Cross chapter or their training partners for available schedules.
Water on the knees is also known as knee effusion and swelling of the knee.
Water on the knees is a condition where there is an excess amount of fluid accumulation in the knee joint, which includes areas around it. Some people suffer from water on the knee problems due which to over usage, injuries, traumas and other underlying diseases or medical conditions.
Causes of Water on the Knees
Water on the knees is usually caused by arthritis. Patients with knee arthritis commonly have fluid accumulated within the joint of their knees. The removal of the fluid helps relief the pain, but this procedure is not permanent as the fluid often re-accumulates.
Serious injuries to the knee can cause accumulation of fluids including blood within the knees. For an instance, ligament injuries can cause fluid accumulation. Furthermore, small torn blood vessels can cause fluid to accumulate within the joints.
Excessive amounts of fluid around the joint can also accumulate in the bursa. This condition is known as prepatellar bursitis. Even though the fluid is not within the knee joint itself, it can still cause water on knees.
Water on the knees symptoms
Here are some signs and symptoms of water on the knees.
Knee pain often occurs when the joint is put under a lot of pressure. The pain usually subsides with sufficient rest. Though some patients may suffer from severe pain, most report no discomfort. Even if one knee appears larger than the other, pain is not guaranteed.
One knee may appear larger than the other. Puffiness around the bony parts of the knee appear prominent when compared with the other knee.
Knee joints with excessive fluid may cause difficulty in bending or straightening the knee. Fluids may even show under the knee when it is straightened.
How to handle Water on the Knees
Here are some tips on how to handle water on the knees.
Rest the knee whenever possible. Walk as little as possible to reduce stress on the knees.
Turn to a pair of crutches if it hurts when straightening your leg.
Place an ice pack directly on the swollen part of your knee for around half an hour. Then remove the ice for another half an hour. Do these 3 times a day, two times each time. This will help to reduce the swelling and the pain.
Use a suitably warm, moist towel or take a warm bath to relief the pain after the swelling subsides.
Apply pressure by wrapping your knee in an elastic bandage or similar.
When lying down, try to keep the knee elevated higher than the heart. Use pillows or the couch to prop the knee and foot.
The usage of arch supports in your shoes can help shift the pressure from parts of the knee that is being affected by water on the knee. By reducing the pressure on the knees, you’ll feel less pain and speed up the recovery process.
If the pain continues or if symptoms of water on the Knees get unbearable, consult your doctor immediately for further actions.
Tularemia is a serious disease of animals and human caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. It is susceptible in humans, rabbits, hares and rodents.
Ticks and deer flies are the primary vectors of tularemia. But it can cause infection through skin contact with infected animals, ingestion of contaminated water, laboratory exposure or inhalation of contaminated dusts or aerosols. Humans can also be exposed in effect of bioterrorism. It is also known as Pahvant Valley plague, rabbit fever, deer fly fever or Ohara’s fever.
Tularemia attacks the skin, eyes, lymph nodes, lungs and other internal organs. It is highly contagious and has a potential to cause death, but it can be treated when diagnosed early.
The bacterium Francisella tularensis can cause serious infection to the human body. The usual sources of infection are:
- Tick or deer fly bites which transmit tularemia to humans
- Transmission to humans through the skin when handling infected animal tissue.
- Inhalation of dust or aerosols contaminated with the bacterium and can occur during farming, landscaping activities or machineries run over animals.
Tularemia Signs and Symptoms
The period of incubation is one to 14 days for tularemia. Usually, human infections become evident after three to five days. Tularemia can cause various symptoms depending upon the route of infection. It can range from mild to life-threatening. It has sic characteristic clinical symptoms:
- Ulceroglandular is the most common form of tularemia. A skin ulcer develops following a tick or deer fly bite. It is accompanied by inflammation of regional lymph nodes in the armpit or groin. It can also cause fever, chills, and exhaustion.
- Glandular is similar to ulceroglandular but it has no ulcer. It is through a tick or deer fly bite or from handling sick or dead animals.
- Oropharyngeal is manifested through eating and drinking contaminated food or water. They may suffer sore throat, mouth ulcers, tonsillitis, vomiting, diarrhea and swelling of lymph nodes in the neck
- Pneumonic is the most serious form of tularemia which is manifested through cough, chest pain and difficulty of breathing.
- Oculoglandular occurs when the bacteria enters through the eye. Symptoms include eye inflammation, eye pain and swelling of lymph nodes near the ear.
- Typhoidal are rare and serious and causes high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, extreme exhaustion, enlarged spleen and liver and pneumonia.
Tularemia Tests and Diagnosis
Since tularemia is difficult to diagnose, you may want to share symptoms you are experiencing and any exposure you had. Blood tests and cultures can be performed to help confirm the diagnosis. Sputum sample can also be tested for the presence of F. tularensis.
The most common drug treatment for tularemia includes, streptomycin, gentamicin, doxycycline, and ciprofloxacin. The treatment may last from 10 to 21 days depending on the stage of illness. You may also have treatment for the complications like meningitis or pneumonia.
If tularemia is left untreated it may lead to different complications or even death. Possible complications include:
- Pericarditis or irritation around the heart
- Osteomyelitis or bone infection
- Use insect repellent
- When handling sick or dead animals, wear gloves
- Avoid mowing over dead animals
- During camping, wear long pants, long sleeves and long socks
- Do not drink untreated surface water
- Use dust masks to reduce risk of inhaling bacteria
- Cook meat thoroughly before eating
- Check your clothing or skin for ticks
In general, numbness in the hands means a loss of feeling in the region of the hands.
Often, numbness in hands is accompanied by other changes, such as tingling hands is extremely common and bothersome at the same time. Such sensations are mostly harmless and only temporary. For an instance, it could be a result from the pressure on the nerves when you place your arm under your head as you sleep. In this case, the tingling commonly known as “pins and needles” effect is relieved as soon as removing the pressure that caused it.
Causes of Hand Numbness
Diabetes is among the most common causes of nerve damage, making out for about 30% of all cases. In diabetic neuropathy, numbness and other symptoms often first develop in the feet and go up the legs, followed by numbness and other symptoms that the both hands, then goes up the arms. About 60% of people who suffer diabetes have nerve damages ranging from mild to severe. In most cases, these are the first signs of diabetes.
Numbness in hands can sometimes be caused by compression of the nerve, also known as a pinched nerve. The compression of the nerve usually occurs around the areas where the nerve passes through tight passages such as the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is located by the wrist bones and a ligament in which the nerve passes with nine tendons.
Not to be left out, some systemic diseases may play a role in the numbness. These include kidney disorders, liver disease, vascular damage and blood diseases, hormonal imbalances and even cancers.
Vitamin deficiencies can also end up with bad nerve functions. Vitamins E, B1, B6, B12, and niacin are vital for a healthy nervous system. For example, a B12 deficiency may cause pernicious anemia, one of the causes of peripheral neuropathy.
Other Symptoms of Numbness in Hands
Numbness in hands may be accompanied by other symptoms or a combination of symptoms. For example, numbness, tingling and itchiness may sometimes be symptoms of sclerosis, which is the thickening of the tissues. Numbness due to a bulging cervical disk located around your neck can cause extreme pain that extends down to certain fingers. Do take note of the symptoms as they can help your doctor make a better diagnosis.
Treatment for Numbness in the Hands from Home
The usage of anti-inflammatory product can help reduce pressure on the nerves. Some products can even help to heal damaged nerves, such as magnesium phosphate. Read the instructions and labels carefully before applying the appropriate doses as recommended. It would be wise to consult your doctor before using them to treat symptoms of numbness in hands.
Placing a splint on your wrist will help to keep the hand in position. This helps relieve the pressure put on the nerves. This method is quite effective, especially if you suspect that you are suffering early signs of carpal tunnel syndrome. If this is indeed the case, check that your workplace is in the right conditions. Try to take more frequent breaks while working, especially on the computer to give your hands a nice rest.
Place ice packs on your wrist and hand twice a day. Exercise your arms, wrists and hands by doing curls and stretches as often as possible.
If numbness in hands persists or gets worser in any way, consult your doctor immediately.
Radiation sickness is a term used to describe damage caused by large, acute dose of radiation. It is also called as Acute Radiation Syndrome. Some also call it as radiation poisoning.
The radiation causes cellular degradation since the cell walls and other key molecular structures in the body are destroyed, thus causing radiation sickness. The destruction then causes symptoms and can begin in one to two hours and can last up to several months. The amount of radiation you get, how long you were exposed and which part of the body determine how sick you will be.
Exposure to low-dose radiation such as X-ray and CT examination do not cause radiation sickness. Most types of radiation are considered harmless. Any type of emitted energy is radiation. It is found everywhere, like radio waves on your car stereo, heat given by your toaster or even the light from the sun.
Ionizing radiation is the one kind of radiation that causes radiation sickness. It has a higher energy and frequency and it includes ultraviolet, x-ray and gamma ray energy. From the word ion, it means to destroy any atom that it hits.
Radiation sickness Causes
Radiation sickness may be due to various circumstances and may include:
- Nuclear explosion or accident
- Criticality accident
- Radiotherapy accident
- Solar flare
- Ingestion of radioactive material
- Excessive radiation for medical treatments
- Detonation of a standard nuclear weapon
Radiation sickness Signs and Symptoms
The onset and type of symptoms depend on the exposure you have. Smaller doses may result in gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting and lowering blood counts due to bleeding and infection. Larger doses may result in neurological effects and may be fatal.
There are three main presentations wherein radiation sickness may be classified:
- Hematopoietic is marked by a reduction of blood cells and can be detected through blood tests. It may also cause poor wound healing.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms are described through nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and abdominal pain.
- Neurological/vascular presents symptoms like dizziness, headache, or decreased level of consciousness
Other symptoms may include:
- Bleeding from nose, mouth, gums and rectum
- Hair loss
- Inflammation of exposed areas
- Vomiting of blood
The greater the radiation exposure, the faster and more fatal the symptom will be.
Radiation sickness First Aid
If you have family members who are exposed with radiation, you should do the following:
- Check the person’s breathing and pulse
- Start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, if necessary
- Remove the person’s clothing and place the items in a sealed container.
- Wash the body with soap and water
- Dry the body and wrap with soft, clean blanket
- Ask for medical help and report exposure
- Do not remain in area where exposure is possible
- Do not apply ointments to burned areas
Radiation sickness Tests and Diagnosis
In case of radiation sickness, there are ways to determine absorbed doses which include:
- Details about distance from source of radiation and duration of exposure
- Time between radiation exposure and onset of symptoms is manifested.
- Blood tests results in decreasing white blood cells and changes in DNA of blood cells
- Use of dosimeter to measure the absorbed dose of radiation
- Survey meter is used to determine the body location of radioactive particles.
- Identifying the type of radiation exposure.
Radiation sickness Treatment
Treatment is given with the use of antibiotics, blood products, stem cell transplant and colony stimulating factors. Medications are also given to reduce presenting symptoms. The goal of the treatment is to reduce further contamination of radiation, decrease further injuries, lessen symptoms and manage pain. Some treatments for radiation sickness can lessen damage to internal organs such as potassium iodide, Prussian blue, and diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA).
Radiation sickness Complications
Exposure to radiation may lead to significantly developing complications like leukemia or cancer later in life. Short-term and long-term mental health problems may also develop due to grief, fear, and anxiety about the accident, the loss of a loved one, fear of the unknown and worries to future exposure to radiation.
Radiation sickness Prevention
There are certain precautions you can do when there is an event of radiation emergency. You should:
- Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation
- Wear badges to measure exposure levels
- Use protective shields to cover parts of the body
- Close and lock doors and windows
- Turn off fans, air conditioners and heating units
- Bring pets indoors
- Move to basement
During a radiation emergency, be sure you are equipped with the following things:
- Portable radio
- First aid kit
- Sealed foods
- Cash and credit cards
- Extra clothes
To avoid radiation sickness, be sure to follow instructions from your local authorities. Stay calm and move quickly.