Hernia is used to describe a strain in the abdominal muscles but it often starts due to trauma to the groin muscle group. Inguinal hernia is the most common type which develops in the groin. Take note that the condition is not considered dangerous, but it would require medical care since life-threatening complications can develop if left untreated. Surgical intervention might be required to repair a hernia but it is a safe and minor procedure that does not need a long time of recovery.
How does a hernia develop?
A hernia occurs once part of an internal organ, usually a segment of the intestine thrusts through a weakened abdominal wall. The increased pressure can start the event, particular if there is already a weak point in the muscle wall. Engaging in strenuous exercise can cause a hernia but it is rare. Weakened muscles caused by the normal aging process can also cause hernia.
Who are at risk for hernia?
Always bear in mind that the injury commonly occurs among athletes who play soccer and hockey due to the repetitive action of the hip joint. In the general population, individuals who have a single inguinal hernia are more likely to have another as well as those who have a family history are at higher risk. Lastly, men are more likely to get hernias than women.
What are the symptoms?
- Bulge in the groin area
- Pain or pulling sensation
- Vague feeling of being full
- Pain or swelling around the testicles in cases in which the intestine protrudes into the scrotum
- In rare cases, severe pain when the hernia could not move back into the abdomen and blocks the blood supply
Treatment for hernia
The treatment for hernia is not needed unless the symptoms are present, but it is still best to consult with your doctor. You can perform basic first aid measures to minimize the pain. On the other hand, if the hernia starts to interfere with daily activities or sports, it is best to have the condition treated. If there is significant pain, it is best to seek immediate medical care in order to prevent the condition from worsening.
Always remember that a hernia will not get better over time, but it can worsen or require treatment for months or even years.
How to prevent hernias
Hernias can be prevented by taking into consideration the following measures. Initially, the individual must maintain a weight that is appropriate for his/her height and frame. The individual must observe how to properly lift objects by bending using the hips and knees instead of rounding the back at the waist in order to prevent straining.
Additionally, the individual must include foods in their diet that are rich in fiber in order to prevent constipation that can cause straining as well as increase the risk for a hernia.
It is a known fact that athletes who exercise on hard surfaces often suffer from lower leg pain. Most assume that it is shin splints which involve the inflammation of the tissues that covers a large part of the two bones in the lower leg. On the other hand, doctors call lower leg pain as tibial pain syndrome which refers to several likely leg problems such as chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS).
Take note that CECS becomes a painful and dangerous condition when pressure inside the muscles accumulates to very high levels. As a result, this prevents nutrients and oxygen from reaching the nerve and muscle cells. The condition can be acute which is considered as a medical emergency and must be treated by a doctor right away. It can also be chronic which is not a medical emergency but still requires medical care.
Development of compartment syndrome
Chronic compartment syndrome starts when excessive training or swelling makes the muscles temporarily large in size for the compartments that they are contained in. These compartments are made out of inflexible membrane that does not expand. The pressure produced compresses the nerves and disrupts circulation, thus causing pain.
The symptoms of the condition only manifest when the individual is exercising. A good example in which compartment syndrome can occur is during a football game when a player sustains a heavy blow to the thigh from the helmet of the opponent or when a motorcycle crushes the leg of the rider.
Who are at risk?
Always bear in mind that compartment syndrome commonly affects the legs of soccer players, runners and other athletes who put a lot of pressure on their leg muscles. The condition can even affect the muscles in the forearm and legs of individuals who engage in kayaking, cycling, canoeing, gymnastics and body building.
Symptoms of acute compartment syndrome
- Acute muscle pain or cramping sensation
- Bleeding inside the muscle compartment
- Shiny, swollen skin over the compartment
- Tingling, burning sensation in the muscle
Symptoms of chronic compartment syndrome
- Pain that manifest during exercise
- Pain usually in the leg that diminishes during rest
- Symptoms can manifest is both legs
What is the initial treatment?
It is important to consult a doctor in order to measure the pressure in the affected muscle or muscles. Understandably, this will help rule out other underlying conditions and provide the appropriate treatment.
For the non-surgical approach, you can apply ice for 15-20 minute. You can learn the proper way on how to apply ice on injuries and conditions by enrolling in a first aid course. You can also administer over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen or acetaminophen to minimize the inflammation and pain.
Instruct the individual to stop the activity that triggers the discomfort. Preventing the condition is not be possible, but being aware of the symptoms as well as getting early treatment can help prevent complications from arising.
Dry drowning is a condition in which the lungs of an individual could not extract oxygen from the air due to various reasons including intake of water, paralysis of the muscles, breathing in gas other than oxygen for an extended period or even a puncture wound on the torso. In cases of dry drowning where the individual was exposed to water, little water is present in the lungs during an autopsy.
It is important to be familiar with the basic safety measures when engaged in water activities in order to prevent dry drowning. If you want to learn basic safety and first aid while engaged in water activities, click here.
How it happens
Always bear in mind that dry drowning can occur due to the spasm of the larynx which is caused by an involuntary contraction of the laryngeal cords. These cords contract once they detect the entry of water or other types of liquid, which results to the temporary blockage of oxygen from entering the lungs. Understandably, even a near drowning incident can lead to dry drowning and death since the laryngeal cords contract when even a minimal amount of water threatens to enter the lungs.
Once the larynx closes itself, the entrance of oxygen into the lungs is impeded. Nevertheless, the heart continues to pump blood into the lungs and some of the blood enters the airspace. As a result, the individual can drown in his/her own fluids or dies from hypoxia.
Is it possible to prevent dry drowning?
The initial step in order to prevent dry drowning is to watch out for the signs and symptoms that might manifest. Some of the indicative symptoms of dry drowning include persistent coughing, ingestion of small amounts of water while swimming or engaging in water activities, shortness of breath, shallow breathing, confusion, chest pain, anxiety, sudden lack of energy and unexplained fatigue.
In case any of these signs and symptoms persists after swimming or any water activity, it is important to seek medical care. Additionally, always bear in mind that the symptoms of the condition will not disappear over time. Obviously, it will ultimately lead to death and the best way to treat the condition is to take the individual to the emergency department at the nearest hospital so that the healthcare professionals will remove the water from the lungs and provide appropriate treatment measures.
Apparently, prevention is always the best way to avoid the condition. With this in mind, it is important to observe safety measures when close to water or in the water. When engaged in swimming or other water activities, it is vital to keep both the nose and mouth closed while underwater to prevent entry. You can even use nose plugs since it can help minimize the risk.
Epilepsy is a common neurological condition in which an individual has the tendency to experience recurring seizures. Proper management of the seizure is vital in order to minimize the risks associated with epilepsy. Take note that a seizure is not considered hazardous, but the individual is at risk if he/she is in an unsafe environment and is unconscious or the awareness is diminished. Injuries can occur at home, workplace, school or even in public venues.
Those who experience seizures are more prone to the potential risks particularly when they occur without warning. The type, cause and occurrence of seizures tend to vary from one individual to another. It is important to assess potential risks and manage them appropriately. When people witness a tonic-clonic seizure, they fear that the individual can be harmed. Nevertheless, the risk of brain damage or death from a seizure is low. An individual is at risk if he/she is doing something dangerous when the seizure occurs, especially if the awareness is compromised.
First aid for an epileptic seizure
If an individual who has epilepsy suffered a tonic-clonic seizure, there are steps to follow that you can learn in a first aid class.
- Stay calm and remain with the individual.
- Take note when the seizure started and until it ended.
- Always protect the individual from injury by removing hard objects nearby.
- Position a soft pillow beneath the head of the individual and tight clothing must be loosened, especially in the neck area.
- Roll gently the individual on the side as soon as possible and firmly push the angle of the jaw forward to help with breathing. Take note that the individual cannot swallow their tongue but it can move back, causing blockage to the breathing. Try to establish communication with the individual to determine if the consciousness is restored.
- Assure the individual and stay with him/her until fully recovered which can range from 5-20 minutes or even longer.
When to call for help
It is important to call for emergency assistance right away for the following:
- The seizure lasts for five minutes or more or followed by a second seizure
- Individual is unconscious within five minutes after the seizure stopped
- Individual does not completely recover after the seizure or experiences breathing difficulty
- Injured individual
- Seizure occurs while the individual is in water
- Individual is pregnant
Epilepsy occurs while individual is in a wheelchair
In case epilepsy occurs while the individual is in a wheelchair, he/she must stay seated as long as he/she is secure and strapped in safely. Provide support to the head until the seizure stops. Oftentimes, the individual must be taken out of the chair once the seizure stops.
If there is water, food or vomit in the mouth, remove the individual from the wheelchair and roll on his/her side right away. If it is not possible to move the individual, continue to provide support to the head to ensure that it does not tilt backward. Remove the contents from the mouth once the seizure is over.
Once an individual is injured, it is important to avoid moving him/her to prevent further injuries. Nevertheless, there are cases which would require moving the individual. If moving the individual is required, it is vital to move him/her in a gentle manner and minimally as possible. Abrupt movement can worsen shock or even move the bones that will puncture the blood vessels.
When moving injured individuals, it is important that you know how to perform the appropriate lifting procedures. You can learn these procedures in any first aid class.
Prevent further injury
If you are going to move an injured individual, you have to initially check for any wounds or broken bones. If bleeding is present, always control it first before doing anything else as long as the individual can breathe. Determine the site of the injury and assess the damage. You have to apply pressure on the wound or on the artery above the wound. Avoid using a tourniquet right away since it is only reserved as the last resort. If one of the limbs has a wound, it should be elevated above the level of the heart in order to minimize the loss of blood. Examine for any broken bones. The common signs of a fracture include localized swelling, disfigured limbs, and pain during movement and numbness at the site of injury. If there is a broken bone, do not attempt to reset it. Always take note that the ends of the broken bone can be sharp. As a first aid measure, you can utilize a stick or any straight object and then tie a splint to the bone on both sides to provide it with support as well as preventing the bone from moving further.
How to move the injured individual
There are various methods when moving an injured individual and it depends on the severity of the injury, surroundings as well as the distance that will be travelled. With the fireman’s carry, you have to carry the individual balanced across your shoulders so that you can travel longer distances. The weight is distributed evenly and commonly used if the individual is suspected with bone fractures. Nevertheless, since it involves the manipulation of the wrist and arms, it should not be used if there are fractures on the upper body. Do not forget not to move someone if you suspect a broken neck or spine. In case there are no fractures, you can perform the fireman’s carry by turning the individual on his/her stomach. Wrap one arm around the waist and lift him/her into standing position. You can use your leg muscles, not the back muscles. You have to hold the wrist closest to you using your free hand, lift it and then loop the arm over your shoulders. The next step is to bend down and reach between his/her legs. Wrap your arm under his/her thigh but do not attempt to carry by supporting the knees. Heave the individual onto your shoulders. One of the arms and legs will freely dangle. Do not forget to balance his/her torso evenly across your back as possible.
Asthma is basically a condition in which the bronchial tubes of the airway shudders and close, thus making breathing difficult. Millions have been diagnosed with some form of asthma that can range from mild to severe.
The commonly used management for asthma is a rescue inhaler. It will deliver one dosage of an aerosol medication that will promote the relaxation of the smooth muscles of the airway in order to facilitate easy breathing.
If a family member has asthma, enrolling in a first aid class is useful since you will be prepared to handle emergencies related to the condition.
Steps on using a rescue inhaler
- Check the label of the rescue inhaler. Always make sure that the expiration date has not yet passed. In most cases, these inhalers are good for nine months. Take note that this is related to the average number of puffs available as well as the time span that the medication is most effective.
- Determine the symptoms that triggered an asthma attack. If the individual experiences chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. All of these are indications that the airways are swelling and an asthma attack is occurring.
- Get the rescue inhaler and remove the caps from both the top and end part. Most of the inhalers in the market include caps in order to prevent the build-up of bacteria and debris in the medication delivery tube as well as around the medication cylinder.
- Hold the rescue inhaler so that the medication cylinder is pointed upwards. Make sure that you will shake the inhaler thoroughly to distribute evenly the medication through the solution.
- Instruct the individual to exhale fully so that more medication will enter the airways. The individual must hold the inhaler in his/her hand so that the thumb supports the base of the cylinder while the middle and index factor are on top of the medication cylinder.
- The individual must place the mouthpiece of the rescue inhaler between the teeth. The lips must close firmly around the end of the mouthpiece. It is important to create a tight seal around the mouthpiece so that the medication will not escape during the administration.
- Instruct the individual to inhale at a slow pace and press the top part of the medication chamber. Continue to inhale as the medication goes into the mouth. A complete breath usually takes 5-7 seconds. Hold the breath for 10 seconds so that the medication will completely permeate all the parts of the airway. The lips must be pursed as if whistling or blowing out candles while exhaling slowly. The individual must continue breathing normally. The medication will take effect instantly where the individual can feel excited since the receptors within the body that are triggered to open the airway can also increase the heart rate once stimulated.
- Continue the procedure as instructed by a healthcare professional. Make sure that you will instruct the individual to replace the caps once finished using the inhaler.
A pacemaker is a small-sized electronic device that is implanted surgically under the skin in the chest close to the heart. The device is used in order to treat arrhythmias which are abnormalities in the heart rate. Take note that these abnormalities can be due to a heart attack, genetic diseases, old age and other damages to the heart muscles. An average pacemaker has a battery life range of 5-10 years. Individuals who have pacemakers must take certain precautions in order to prevent the device from malfunctioning or getting damaged.
Symptoms of a malfunctioning pacemaker
If a pacemaker is malfunctioning, it includes the following symptoms.
- Abdominal muscle twitching
- Chest pain
- Frequent hiccups
- Shortness of breath
If possible, the individual must be removed from the vicinity where an electromagnetic field is present once these symptoms manifest. Once the individual is at a safe distance, check the heart rate and consult a doctor. For severe cases, it would require emergency assistance right away.
Medical procedures in the hospital
Individuals who have pacemakers must be careful when underdoing medical procedures that utilizes electromagnetic energy such as MRI as well as radiation treatments. If the individual is exposed to strong magnetic fields, it can cause damage to the pacemaker, thus resulting to malfunction. Even X-rays can affect how pacemakers work.
If these medical procedures are required, surgery might be required in order to temporarily turn off the device. Procedures that are used in physical rehabilitation such as diathermy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) can also interfere with the functioning of the pacemaker.
Mobile phone use
If an individual has a pacemaker installed, it is important to take certain precautions when using mobile phones. Always remember that mobile phones must be at least six inches away from the device at all times, whether on or off. The individual must use the mobile phone using the right hand and always listen on the right ear. This is the opposite side from the pacemaker. The interference caused by mobile phones is temporary and goes away once the phone is moved away from the body.
Individuals who have pacemakers are advised not to go through metal detectors whether they are free standing or hand-held since it involves the use of strong magnetic fields. On the other hand, the negative effect of metal detectors on the functionality of pacemakers has not yet been proven yet. Individuals must be issued with medical identification cards to be used in such cases.
Other sources of electromagnetic fields
There are also other sources of electromagnetic fields that put individuals at risk for exposure. It includes anti-theft devices used in stores, radio and TV transmitters, electric welders, power lines, power-generating facilities, gas-powered devices with electrical starters and satellite dishes.
Even household appliances such as microwaves can also generate current that can interfere with the function of the pacemaker. A microwave oven can still be used but the individual must not stand too close when using it.
Any injury to the brain is considered serious especially to the frontal lobe which is responsible several essential speech and cognitive functions. In case of a traumatic event, recovery from a frontal lobe brain injury is conceivable. On the other hand, if you fully understand the nature of the injury and the available treatment options, full recovery is possible.
Proper diagnosis of the brain injury
There are certain tests performed by the doctor in order to fully diagnose the frontal lobe brain injury. You have to consult a doctor if an MRI and CT scan are required. With a CT scan, it involves the creation of cross sectional images of the brain in order to detect blood clots and tissue damage. An MRI is not used during emergency cases since it takes a long time to create a detailed image of the brain.
Symptoms of a frontal lobe brain injury
Depending on the part of the frontal lobe that is damaged and the severity of the injury, there are various possible symptoms.
- Loss of inhibitions
- Speaking problems
- Partial paralysis
- Delay in understanding questions or complex actions
In any first aid course, you can learn what to watch out for in case an individual is suspected with a head injury.
Causes of frontal lobe brain injury
The common cause of damage to the frontal lobe is due to either a mild or major trauma in which the head collides against another object in extreme force. Once an individual suffers a major head injury, the brain actually bangs against the interior walls of the skull in case of accidents.
The damages are usually severe that can lead to the development of mental problems right after an accident. In case the individual sustains a mild head injury, it is categorized as a brief loss of consciousness or loss of memory before and after the injury. The individual often appear unharmed, but later on experiences inexplicable undesirable actions, personality and thought changes. The damage to the frontal lobe can also be due to the lack of oxygen to the brain especially in cases of suffocation or stroke.
Effects of damage to the frontal lobe
Even though it is true that other parts of the brain will compensate for the non-functional parts, areas that are severely damaged often do not recover anymore. Based on studies, once an individual suffers from a severe brain damage particularly children, the effects often are not likely to manifest until several years after.
In some cases, the effects of trauma to the head will continue to progress in severity as time passes. Since the frontal lobe is large in size and comprised of several sections, the effects that the individual can experience is significant.
Measures to hasten the recovery process
Minimize the swelling
Once the frontal lobe is injured, the tissues are likely to swell, thus limiting the flow of blood to the area. The loss of blood will increase the damage to the frontal lobe. The doctor will discuss the monitoring of the inter-cranial pressure to keep track of the swelling and the administration of medications such as diuretics that minimize the swelling through the reduction of fluids.
Therapy for the frontal lobe brain injury
The doctor will refer the individual to a therapist who is experienced with brain injury. Individuals who sustained frontal lobe damage might be required to learn again basic skills such as talking or walking. The therapist will create a plan to help manage any permanent symptoms caused by the brain injury as well.
A minor ankle sprain can lead to micro tears in the tissues around the ankle joint, resulting to the discoloration and swelling of the skin. Ankle sprains can likely occur from muscle imbalances in the leg and foot, accidents in which the foot and ankle turn in an unnatural manner and wearing shoes that poorly fit. A sprain can be painful but if the pain is severe, it might be a broken bone. The RICE method stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. If you will enroll in a first aid course, the RICE method is the traditional way used in treating minor sprains and can be easily done at home.
Steps of the RICE method
- Initially, instruct the individual to take the weight off the affected foot immediately. The individual should sit down and remove the shoe and sock from the injured foot.
- Apply an ice pack over the swollen ankle. Make sure that the ice pack should be wrapped in a clean cloth or towel to protect the skin from direct contact to the ice or you can utilize an instant ice pack. You should apply the ice for 10 minutes and remove it for 5 minutes and then reapply again. This must be done for the initial hour, if possible.
- The affected ankle must be compressed in order to create a boundary so that the swelling will not increase. You can utilize a clean Ace bandage to wrap once around the instep and over the ankle bone and then crossing over the ice pack and on the top of the foot. This must be repeated only 2-3 times and secure the bandage in place.
- The minor ankle sprain must be elevated at least to the level of the hip and slightly higher if possible. The individual can sit in one chair and prop up the affected foot on a pillow placed on a second chair. The ice pack should be replaced as needed to minimize the swelling.
- Instruct the individual to rest for the initial five days and continue to apply ice on daily basis in the morning and at night before going to be. Always keep the foot elevated and compress lightly in an Ace bandage each time.
- Always keep the ankle protected by wearing an ankle brace if it is recommended by the doctor. Take note that some braces are made out of thick elastic while others are thinner, thus can be easily worn when using shoes.
It is best to consult a doctor if the swelling persists every day or if the individual experiences any sharp pain surrounding the ankle joint in the leg or foot. It will take 7-10 days before the individual can fully bear weight on the foot. In case the swollen ankle feels weak, it is recommended to consult a physical therapist so that the ankle can be carefully assessed and specific physical therapy exercises can be started to help regain strength.
Important considerations to bear in mind
In a minor ankle sprain, supination and pronation can occur. During supination, it involves the rolling of the ankle bone in an outward manner. As for pronation, it occurs once the ankle rolls inwards. The doctor can provide information on how to prevent both in order to prevent the development of weak ankles.
Once the individual experiences sharp, shooting pain and could not bear weight on the ankle, it is best to take him/her directly to the emergency department at the nearest hospital to rule out hairline fractures in the bone.
Ankle tendonitis is considered painful and commonly occurs among runners. It is also difficult to get rid of the condition, thus it is best to avoid it as much as possible. Take note that any form of tendonitis whether in the ankle or shoulder usually comes and go. The pain is usually off and on, thus some might think that they are already free from the condition.
What is Achilles tendonitis?
The injury is due to the overuse of the Achilles tendon which is the band of tissue that connects the calf muscles at the rear part of the lower leg to the heel bone. Aside from runners, the condition can also affect middle-aged individuals who engage in basketball or tennis.
The pain linked with Achilles tendonitis usually starts as a mild ache at the rear of the leg or above the heel after engaging in sports. It can be accompanied by stiffness or tenderness, especially in the morning which typically improves with mild activity.
When to consult a doctor?
If the individual experiences constant pain around the Achilles tendon, it is best to consult a doctor. If there is pain or the disability is serious, there is a possibility that the individual has a torn Achilles tendon.
How to prevent ankle tendonitis
In order to prevent ankle tendonitis, it is important to understand how it works. You should always include exercise that is properly balanced in the daily routine. If the individual will over train, the individual is at risk for tendonitis. Individuals who are pushing beyond their limits are at high risk for getting the condition.
Proper gear during workout or exercise
Strenuous exercise or working out can eventually cause ankle tendonitis. It simply means that individuals who are eager to resume exercising and want to get into shape are at risk for the condition. Initially, they do not know what they are doing and they are also pushing their body beyond their limits.
If the individual does not use proper shoes during exercise, it can also cause ankle tendonitis. It is important to look for the suitable type of shoes to wear. Even though the selection process can take some time, it is still worth the wait.
Stretching before and after exercise
Not warming up or stretching can lead to ankle tendonitis. Always prepare the muscles and tendons for exercise or the individual is at risk for injury. A 10-15 stretching or warming up routine can help prevent pain caused by tendonitis.
The individual must perform strengthening exercises for the calves. It is important that the calves are strong and flexible enough to prevent ankle tendonitis from developing. Even cross training exercises are beneficial since the leg muscles are worked differently in order to increase the strength and intensity.
A customized foot orthotic can be even considered which is inserted on shoes in order to minimize pain and discomfort. Orthotics is specifically designed to modify and treat any imbalance in the fit of a particular shoe.