Sprains

A sprain is a stretch and tear of one or more ligament that connects two or more bones at a joint in our body. The seriousness of the injury depends directly on the extent of an injury and the number of ligaments affected.

The causes of Sprain

The sprain can happen due to –

  • A fall when the person falls with an outstretched arm or slides into something with force and land on side of the foot
  • A sudden twist, for example, a sudden twist in the knee with the foot placed firmly on the ground
  • A blow to the body making the joint getting out of the normal position. It tears or stretches the ligament backing up the joint.

Where Do Sprains Happen Generally?

The sprains can happen in both upper and lower parts of the body. The ankle is the most common area to be stricken by sprain. On an average, more than 25 thousand people have a sprain in ankle daily in the United States.

The ankle joint is rendered support by many lateral and medial ligaments. Most of the ankle sprains occur as the foot twists inside as a person falls, runs, turns or lands on ankle following a jump. It is called an inversion injury. The other common site for sprain injury is knee. Sprains normally happen at the wrist, generally when the people fall on the outstretched hand. In sports like skiing, the sprain on thumb is common.

Signs and Symptoms

The general signs and symptoms of sprain are pain, bruising, swelling, instability and loss of ability to move and to make the joint function properly. The signs and symptoms can differ in intensity as per the seriousness of the sprain. At times people feel a pop when the harm happens. The doctor closely observes the injured body part and inquires to get information to diagnose the seriousness and extent of the sprain.

Grade I – Mild Sprain

Mild sprain happens due to overstretching or tearing of ligaments with no instability in joint. The patient generally experiences less pain, swelling and little or no loss in functional ability.

Grade II – Moderate Sprain

It is incomplete tearing of ligament identified by bruising, temperate pain and swelling. The patient thus gets unable to put weight on the affected joint and feels the loss of function. X-ray is required to help the healthcare supplier makes out whether the fracture has caused the swelling and pain.

Grade III – Severe Sprain

A severe sprain is the tear or rupture of the ligament causing severe pain, swelling and bruising. X ray helps to make out where the broken bone is. As you diagnose the sprain, the doctor may ask the patient about how the injury has happened.

Treatment

  • After the injury, protect the limb from further injury.
  • Make the injured limb rest but don’t be extremely cut off from all activities.
  • After the injury, make the affected area rubbed with a cold pack as soon as possible.
  • Make the area compact with the bandage or elastic wrap.
  • Lift the injured limb as possible to help prevent or reduce the swelling.

Choking

Choking is the inability of a person to breathe. It is mainly due to the blocking of the trachea as it becomes constricted and shut due to swelling. Choking is dangerous as it cuts off the air supply to lungs and as a result, the victim can die. If not death, it can result in unconsciousness and cardio-respiratory arrest.

Causes

The causes behind choking can be many. It can be caused by some foreign body lodged in the throat. It can even be due to some grave obstruction in the respiratory process. Though anyone can choke, the chances are more in children than adults. There are mainly three important reasons why people choke-

  • Mechanical blockage
  • Swelling of tissues
  • Crushing of trachea

Symptoms

  • Inability to speak or cry out
  • Patient’s face turning blue die to the lack of oxygen
  • Patient becoming desperate and clutching his or her throat
  • Patient having weak cough and heavy breathing with loud noise
  • Unconsciousness
  • While sleeping, the person having the sequences of gasping, breathing pauses and abrupt awakenings in between

Treatment

The treatment of choking depends upon its different situations-

Conscious Victim

  • First of all, ask the patient, “Are you feeling choked?”
  • If the patient can speak, can cough or take a breath, things are normal.
  • If the victim is not able to speak or breathe or cough, you can give him subdiaphragmatic abdominal thrusts till the foreign body is discharged or the victim becomes lifeless.
  • To the extreme obese or heavily pregnant ladies, the best treatment is to give chest thrusts. Stand behind them and keep the thumb of the left fist in the middle of the breastbone. Grab the fist using your right hand. Press the chest about four times speedily.
  • You should be persistent.
  • Carry on being uninterrupted till the obstruction is eased out.
  • The victim must be examined by the physician as quickly it is possible.
  • You should reach around to the waist of the victim. You can position one clench fist higher than navel and under the rib cage.
  • You should hold the fist with the other hand. Pull out the clasped fist acutely and straight away upwards and backward, under the rib cage about six to ten times.
  • Continue giving the help till the patient feels relieved or he or she gets the advanced life support.

Unconscious Victim

  • Place the patient on the support of his or her back with arms lying side by side.
  • Call loud asking for help or call 911.
  • Perform the tongue-jaw lift and sweep the finger to make attempt to take off the foreign body.
  • Open the air duct by tilting the head or lifting the chin and try to save breathing.
  • If you are not successful in the first attempt, give six to ten sub-diaphragmatic abdominal thrusts.
  • Repeat the whole above-mentioned sequence. Perform the finger swing and open the airway. Give abdominal thrusts to save breathing till you become successful.
  • Be calm, determinant and persistent. Get the victim thoroughly examined by the doctor quickly.

Broken Bones

A broken bone is a common state of emergency but has to be dealt with great care. If a broken bone is not dealt with properly, it can lead to further problems. Though bones are made tough, they can snap by falling or getting bumped into something and more.

Types of broken bones

  • A full fracture, when the bone gets broken in two pieces.
  • A single fracture, when the bone gets broken in one point.
  • A greenstick fracture, when bone cracks only on one side, not through the whole bone.
  • A comminuted fracture, when the bone breaks in above two pieces. It may even be crushed.
  • An open fracture is when bone is clinging by the skin.
  • A bowing fracture, when the bone bends but does not break.

Symptoms of broken bones

  • There can be a sound or a feeling of a bone break. The sound can, in fact, be heard by you or people around you.
  • The area with broken bones on the body will be tender to touch.
  • There can be a pain in a spot and noticeable swelling around the fracture
  • The limb placed in an unnatural position
  • Painful movement
  • Abnormal motion
  • Loss of function
  • Rasping sensation
  • Discoloration or bruising of the affected area

What to do in the case of a broken bone?

  • Stay calm and do not panic.
  • Make very sure that the person who is hurt is made as comfy as possible
  • Take medical help. If there is no medical help around, call 911 or any emergency help number of your area
  • Do not move a broken bone. It can hurt the person and can make your injury even worse. Make the person have a cushion around the injured bone or make support on the surrounding area with pillows and towels.
  • If there is bleeding, make attempt to stop it. Wrap the wound with a sterile bandage and apply pressure to it. You can also make use of a clean cloth.
  • Do not make attempt to realign the bone yourself unless you are trained in how to do splinting.
  • Employ ice cubes to control swelling. Ice should not be applied to the skin directly. You can wrap ice in a towel or a piece of cloth.
  • Try your best to relieve the patient’s pain till the emergency authorities reach.
  • Make treatment for shock and give him or her psychological first aid too. If the patient is scared or feels faint or short in breath, you can make the person face down and the head should be a little lower than the body. You can also possibly elevate the patient’s legs.

Treatment

The bones are natural healers. To rebuild, the bone produces lots of new cells and small blood vessels in that place. First of all, the doctor makes out what kind of fracture it is actually. X-rays are the handy treatment that tells the doctor the actual state of the fracture. In case of major broken bones, the doctor can put metal pins to put together all the pieces. The broken bones have to be set and put in a cast. The casts are made of fiberglass, plastic or bandages soaked in plaster. They are even made waterproof.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a status where the body temperature of the patient drops significantly low than normal. It happens due to inadequate protection against exposure to cold temperatures. The youngest and old are the people are more prone to develop hypothermia as they get exposed to the cold temperatures.

The risk and degree of hypothermia are influenced directly with the presence of wet clothes, link with metals, chill with wind and degree of temperature between the body and its environment surrounding.

Symptoms of Hypothermia

  • Continuous shivering
  • Slow or uncertain speech
  • Feeling very tired
  • Faltering when trying to walk
  • Confusion and blurred thinking
  • Unconsciousness / Semi consciousness

Phases of Hypothermia

    • Hypothermia: Owing to medical, physiological, environmental and other similar factors, the patient’s main temperature of the body decreases to 36 degrees Celsius. The skin may show pale color with numbness and waxy. Muscles become tense and shivering may start. There will be visible signs of fatigue and signs of weakness.
    • Mild Hypothermia:

In this phase, the person is sure victim of hypothermia. The core temperature of his or her body drops to 34 or 35 degrees Celcius. Unrestrained and forceful shivering begins. The patient has to be alert and be able to help himself. There are fewer movements and coldness creates pain and uneasiness.

    • Moderate Hypothermia:

The core temperature of a victim’s body drops to 31 to 33 degrees Celcius. Shivering becomes slow or intercepts, muscles start to be stiff and confusion and numbness come in. Speech gets vague, slow and blurred and breathing becomes slow. The patient may also feel drowsiness and behave strangely.

    • Severe Hypothermia:

In this phase of Hypothermia, the core temperature of the body goes below 31 degrees Celcius. The skin looks cold and bluish or gray in color. Eyes can be dilated. The patient feels very weak and reveals a noticeable lack of synchronization, inaudible speech, and an exhausted appearance. The patient may look drunk and may even deny taking help. There is a slow loss of awareness. With little or no visible breathing, the patient can be very inflexible, unconscious and even seem to be dead.

Treatment for Hypothermia

If the patient becomes unconscious, it is important to have medical help at once. In case, they suffer from cardiac arrest, it is very important to have medical assistance. Call 911 immediately.

  • Get the patient indoors, preferably a dry place that is protected from the wind.
  • Take off wet clothing and cover the patient with dry blankets. Cover the head, hands, and feet of the patient.
  • Do not make the patient too warm.
  • Make the patient lay in bed or cot. A warm heater has to be nearby.
  • You can lie under the bed covers close to the patient so that you can transfer your own body heat. Any other person can lie on the other side too.
  • Provide the patient with some warm soup.

Burns

The burns can upset just anyone and it is very important for the person to understand the symptoms and types of burns and how to deal with them.

The Symptoms of Burns

  • Blisters
  • Pain (However, the most serious burns can be without pain)
  • Cracking skin
  • Red skin
  • Shock (pale skin, weakness, blue lips)
  • Swelling
  • White skin

Classification of burns

Burns are classified as per the depth and intensity of the injury. These are the factors that help to make out how the burn injury can be treated further. They are described as first, second and third degree-

  • First degree burns are the superficial burns and affect just the top layer of skin. The results are general redness of the skin, swelling, and extreme soreness. Such burns generally heal well but are painful in the early healing stages.
  • Second-degree burns or the partial thickness burns go beyond the middle layer of skin. It causes the creation of blisters that are either intact or broken with the bordering skin getting red and soft. There are high chances for these burns to be infected; therefore the patients must seek due medical help and care.
  • Third degree or full thick burns include the three layers of skin. It destroys the hair follicles, sweat glands, and endings of nerve. Such burns look quite pale, wax-like and at times scorched. As nerve ends get damaged, they become comparatively painless. Medical attention is required immediately.

Chemical Burns

  • Chemical burns can happen when the strong acids come in contact with the skin or eyes particularly. For due care:
  • Rinse the affected area with running water for about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the contaminated clothing with care. Do not touch the unaffected skin.
  • Rinsing the affected eye at once and carry on doing till the patient gets medical help.
  • Cover the burned area broadly with a clean and dry cloth.
  • Dial 911 for emergency medical help.

Thermal Burns

A heat caused burns can happen when skin comes in touch with a heat source. They are caused by flames from gas, kerosene stoves, lighted cigarettes and lighters and the flameless elements such as hot electrical appliances, irons, motors, and engines. For due care:

  • Treat the affected area with cold water till there is less pain.
  • In case blister forms, do not touch it or try to break it.
  • Cover the burn with dry and sterile bandage or cloth.
  • Do not treat the burn with oils, ointments or sprays.
  • Dial 911 for emergency medical attention.

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns can happen when skin comes in contact with electricity, Alternating Current or Direct Current. Electric shock can make an impact on respiration and heart activities.

  • Unplug the electric appliance that caused the injury.
  • Make sure that the patient is breathing still. If not, try cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR.
  • Cover the burnt area with a sterile bandage.
  • Dial 911 for emergency medical help.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common problem in which loose and watery stools occurring more than three timesĀ a day. It generally lasts a day or two and goes off all by its own. There is no special treatment required. It is gain in the rate of bowel movements and a reduction in the form of stool. Diarrhea in adults is normal but in infants and children under age three, it can cause dehydration comparatively quick.

Diarrhea can further stimulate dehydration that means that the body lacks fluid that could make it function properly. Extended diarrhea is indeed a sign of some other problems. Patient of diarrhea can pass over a quart of stool in a day. People of all ages can get diarrhea.

Causes of Diarrhea

Some of the most common causes of diarrhea are-

  • Bacterial infections-Different types of bacteria can cause diarrhea that may enter in your body through contaminated food or water. The examples are Campylobacter, Shigella, Salmonella, and Escherichia coli.
  • Viral infections-There are several viruses that can cause diarrhea, such as, Norwalk virus, rotavirus cytomegalovirus, viral hepatitis and herpes simplex virus. Viral gastroenteritis is a mild viral infection that gets alright on its own in some days.
  • Food intolerances-In this case, the patients are not able to digest the food components, just like lactose.
  • Parasites-Parasites can enter your body by water or food and affect your digestive system. Parasites cause diarrhea such as Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia.

Some people acquire diarrhea following the stomach surgery or taking away of the gallbladder. It can even be due to frequent changes in how fast food moves in your digestive system after surgery of stomach.

Signs and Symptoms of Diarrhea

The general signs of dehydration are thirst, less urination, dry skin, fatigue, lightheadedness, and dark color urine. Diarrhea may be followed by cramps, nausea, abdominal pain, bloating and a serious need to go to the bathroom. As per the cause, the patient can have fever or blood in stools.

Diarrhea can be acute that is, short-term or chronic, that is long-term. The acute form of Diarrhea may last less than four weeks. Chronic diarrhea lives on more than four weeks and is related to disorders such as bowel syndrome or celiac disease. As long as diarrhea leaves on its own, a wide search for the cause is not essential typically.

Tests and treatments

There are diagnostic tests that tell the cause of diarrhea:

Patient’s medical history and physical examination tell the doctor about patient’s eating habits and the use of medication to examine the signs of illness. With stool culture, the lab technicians examine a sample of stool and check for virus, bacteria, parasites or other infection or disease. Blood tests tell about diseases in the body. Fasting tests when the patient does not take in lactose, carbohydrates or other foods to observe the diarrhea infection. In Sigmoidoscopy, the doctor uses a particular tool to look inside the rectum and the lower part of the colon.

Medicines that treat diarrhea are helpful. But doctors do not recommend it for patients with bacterial infection or parasite diarrhea. Generally, in this case, doctors advice antibiotics.

Poison

To handle a poison emergency is a serious situation. But, if you know what to do to deal with poison and when you can handle the situation in a better way. Read here to know what to do first in a poison emergency.

Here are the different cases in which one can be affected with poison.

Inhaled Poison

  • The patient should immediately get in fresh air
  • The helping person should avoid breathing in the fumes while helping
  • Open all doors and windows while indoor
  • If the patient is not breathing, the helping person should start artificial respiration
  • Call 911 for professional medical aid

Poison in skin

  • Take off all the contaminated clothing
  • Avoid getting in touch with the contaminated things while helping
  • Wash off the skin thoroughly with water for more than 10 minutes
  • Wash your skin softly with soap and water and rinse completely

Poison in eye

  • Wash the eyes of the patient with lukewarm water. Pour from the big glass kept about two to three inches higher up the eye
  • Give confidence to the patient to blink as the eyes are washed off
  • Do not use the eyecup or eye drops except when the professional or poison center authorities tell you to

Swallowed poison

  • Stay calm and gather the medical information important to make the poison get out of the patient’s body.
  • Never eat something stale, expired or from the open container if you are caught in the situation of swallowed poison, keep your calm and act fast.
  • Clean the patient’s mouth and if there is still something, make them spit out. Keep the sample of poisonous material with you that will help you to make out what the child has swallowed.
  • Keep the poison container to show to the doctor who will make out what was swallowed.
  • If the child has become unconscious and is not breathing, or is suffering from seizures, call 911 or any local emergency number immediately.

Poisonous fumes

In your home, poisonous fumes are possible. They can come from-

  • Running car engine in a closed garage
  • Leaking gas ventilators
  • Stoves running with wood, coal, kerosene that have some working problems
  • Ovens, space heaters, stoves, hot water heaters etc that run with gas

Make your home poison proof

  • Store the medicines, lye, cleaners, dishwasher soap, polish, and other poisonous products safely in a locked cabinet. They should be away from the range of children.
  • Discard all expired and leftover prescript medicines by destroying them or flushing them down.
  • Keep drain, toilet and surface cleaners locked.
  • Keep paints, thinners, varnishes, fertilizers, and pesticides in their original containers in the locked cabinet. Never keep them in containers that you earlier used for food.
  • Before you start your car, open the garage door first.
  • Make sure that the wood, coal or kerosene stoves and appliances are in working order.
  • Install detectors for smoke and carbon monoxide in your home.

Psychological First Aid

Psychological first aid helps the people to improve their mental or physical performance at the time of normal activities. Particularly during the extremely hazardous conditions and in the hostile situations, this type of first aid is of great help.

The psychological first aid is almost as normal and fair as the physical first aid. The natural feelings and understanding attitude is very important to help the injured person. It offers a helping hand and support to the one who is in distress. In fact, the concept of psychological first aid is nothing but to assist the people with emotional crisis resulting from disease, physical injury or undue stress. To deal with the emotional distress is not that easy as it is not visible just like a wound or a broken hand is.

Psychological first aid is something that is most required at the first sign when the person has a lot of distress and a blurred self-concept and self-reliance. The case becomes grave in civilian disasters, such as terrorist attacks, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes etc. Most of the emotional reactions to these situations are temporary. The person can carry on in life with support and encouragement.

Psychological first aid v/s physical first aid

Psychological first aid and physical first aid are actually complementary to each other. The case of a physical injury brings in the possibility of the psychological injury. The physical injury and the circumstances that follow it can actually make a severe emotional crisis that can be probably graver than the physical injury.

Objectives of Psychological First Aid

  • Be supportive and help the person in coping with his stress.
  • Prevent and necessary control the harmful behavior to him and others.
  • Return the person to his or her normal routine after dealing with a stress reaction.

How to give Psychological First Aid

  • Take immediate action and be direct and authoritative to help the person in dealing with the crisis situation. The sooner you act, the better are the chances to restore the equilibrium.
  • Keep the focus of the interference on an impulsive situation to accept that there is a crisis situation. It helps the person to express the facts of the situation and also his or her feelings.
  • Give the most realistic and accurate information about the situation as to what has happened and what are the expected results.
  • Do not give delusive assurance to the patient. It is better to be realistic and honest. It is indeed important to give them a sense of hope and expectation that he or she will get over the crisis ultimately.
  • Identify the importance of taking action and a final outcome that the person may take.
  • Give emotional support to the patient and make a complete group of supporters that may offer support and temporary aid at the time of the crisis.

Electric Shock

The electric shock happens when the person comes in contact with the source of electrical energy. The electrical energy passes by the tissues of a part of the body causing shock. It can cause the person devastating damage and even death.

Depending on the time and seriousness of the shock, the injuries due to electric shock may include-

  • Skin burns
  • Burns to internal tissues
  • Electrical damage to the heart that may cause the heart to stop or beat randomly.

What causes electric shock?

Causes of electric shock can be many. Some of them are:

  • Defective electric appliances
  • Damaged or chafed cords or extension leads
  • Electrical appliances in contact with or immersed in water
  • Wrong or deteriorated household wiring
  • Knocked down power lines
  • Striking lightning

Symptoms of Electric Shock

The victim of electric shock can have a little external evident injury or may have some obvious grave burns. The typical symptoms of the electric shock can be-

  • Unconsciousness
  • Difficulty to breathe or having no breathing at all
  • Weak and inconsistent pulse or having no pulse
  • Burns or the entrance and exit burns, where the electricity entered and left the body

Burns are generally the harshest effects that happen particularly at the contact areas with the electrical source. The hands, head, and heels are the common areas of contact. More than the burns, there are other injuries possible if the person throws a clear electrical source with muscular contraction with force. There can also be a case of spine injury. The patient can also have some internal injury particularly when they experience shortness of breath, pain in chest and pain in the abdomen. Pain in hand or foot or can also indicate a possible broken bone due to electric shock.

The children can have a typical electrical mouth burn because of biting the electric cord appearing as the burn on the lip. This area gets a red or dark and charred appearance.

Care and Treatment

In case of a high voltage shock (500 volts or more), the patient must be taken at the Emergency Department of the hospital. In the low voltage shock case, you must call the doctor for the following purpose-

If it is more than five years time since your had your last tetanus booster Burns not healing fast and well Burns with mounting redness, pain or bleeding Electric shock to a pregnant woman

Exams and Tests

The basic concern is to make out if there is any evident hidden injury subsists. Injury can happen to muscles, heart, or brain or to bones or organs from being thrown from the electric source. The doctor can ask to have different tests as per the case and physical examination.

The tests for electric check are:

  • ECG
  • Blood count
  • Urine test
  • X Rays to look for fractures or dislocations
  • CT scan

Respiratory Emergencies

Oxygen is the utmost need of the human body. The respiratory emergencies arise when someone tries desperately to have a breath of air or they feel that they may not be able to have the next breath. This emergency situation includes conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. The respiratory emergency can also be caused by the great number of medical problems aggravated by psychological or physiological stress.

Symptoms of respiratory emergencies

The recognition of the signs and symptoms of respiratory problems allows quick action that may help the patient to solve or ease the problem. The common symptoms for respiratory emergencies are-

  • The obvious abnormal noises, like wheezing or gasping
  • Breathing much fast or more slowly than the normal pace
  • Breathing deeper and shallower
  • Moist or pale or ashen or cyanotic skin that feels cool to touch.
  • Person’s feeling verbally expressed lightheadedness, pain or tightness in chest, paresthesia of hands, feet, and lips.
  • The difficulty to experience with the feelings of suffocation that understandably causes fear and apprehension or stress that may, in turn, cause the problem to get worse

Causes of respiratory emergencies

Hyperventilation and airway obstruction are the two most common causes of respiratory difficulty. They may happen with vasodepressor syncope. There are also some other causes such as asthma, obstructed airway, myocardial infarction, heart failure, allergic reactions, ingesting or inhaling toxic substances, cerebrovascular accident, and reaction due to a drug overdose. In children, Croup viral infection and epiglottitis bacterial illness may cause respiratory problems in children.

Treatment of respiratory emergencies

Management of respiratory emergency includes many effective treatments that may relieve the patient gradually. Here are some of the treatments to control these problems-

  • Making the patient to sit in the upright position to give them comfort
  • You should remove the obstructing materials from the mouth
  • Loosen the binding clothing, such as a tight collar, belt or tie to give them comfort.
  • Keep on making the patient calm by offering them reassurance to regain control of breathing.
  • Ask the respiratory patient to not to be panic. Tell them to breathe slowly that can be about four to six breaths in a minute. This is the most effective treatment that can correct the overall problem.
  • If the above-mentioned treatments do not work and the patient cannot even slow down the breathing process, they should be treated with other methods. Make them bre-reath with exhaled air little by little in the cupped hands or in a small bag of paper. A full face mask with the unit of oxygen delivery can also be of great help. Why this treatment is more effective is mainly because as the patient rebreathes the exhaled air, carbon dioxide important to checto breatheng gets filled again.
  • As another effective treatment for respiratory problems, EMS can be called at once. The airway can be left open and breathing should be monitored. Call the EMS personnel for professional care.