Summertime is nearly here, and many of us are becoming more active outdoors. This post has some basic first aid tips to help you with common injuries and emergencies that might occur during a sporting or recreational activity.
Shock can result from a variety of injuries and circumstances. Common symptoms include the following:
Skin is cool and clammy to the touch; may appear pale or gray.
Weak and rapid heartbeat, slow and shallow breathing, and reduced blood pressure.
Eyes lack shine and seem to stare; pupils may be dilated.
Individual may feel nauseated and may vomit.
Individual may be unconscious; if conscious, individual may faint, be very weak or be confused.
Individual may become overly excited or anxious.
If you suspect an injured person is experiencing or may begin to experience shock, do the following:
Seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Have the victim lie down on his or her back and elevate the victim’s feet higher than his or her head. Keep the victim from moving unnecessarily.
Keep the victim warm and comfortable. Loosen tight clothing and cover him or her with a blanket.
Do not give the victim anything to drink.
If he or she is vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, place the victim on his or her side to prevent choking.
Treat any injuries appropriately.
Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if the victim is not breathing.
Cuts and Scrapes
Most small cuts and scrapes can be treated at home; however, it is important to take steps to prevent infection or other complications from occurring:
Stop bleeding by applying continuous pressure with a sterile cloth. If bleeding persists after several minutes of applying pressure, seek medical attention.
Clean the wound with water and remove any debris with a sterilized tweezers. Use mild soap to clean around the cut, but avoid getting soap in the wound. Dry the area gently with a clean cloth, apply an antibiotic cream and cover the wound with a protective bandage. Change the bandage at least once a day. If the wound becomes red or oozes fluid, see a doctor.
If a cut is more serious (large, deep, rough around the edges, persistently bleeding), seek immediate medical attention.
To stop a nosebleed, try the following:
Have the victim sit or stand upright to slow the flow of blood in the nose. Do NOT tip the head back.
Gently pinch the nose with your thumb and forefinger for 10 minutes, maintaining pressure. Have the victim breathe through his or her mouth during this time.
Seek medical care if bleeding lasts for more than 20 minutes or if the nosebleed resulted from a broken nose or head trauma.
CPR is a lifesaving technique used to help a victim who is not breathing or whose heart has stopped beating. Traditionally, CPR has involved chest compressions combined with mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing.
However, recent studies suggest that mouth-to-mouth may not actually help in the efforts to save the victim; chest compressions alone may be more effective in many situations.
The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross suggest that if an adult collapses and is unconscious, untrained bystanders should call 911 and begin administering chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute.
If you are well-trained in CPR and feel confident in your abilities, you may alternate two rescue breaths for each set of 30 chest compressions (unless otherwise instructed by medical personnel over the phone).
How to Administer Chest Compressions
Place the victim on his or her back on a flat surface. Make sure the person’s airway is clear.
Place the heel of one hand over the center of the victim’s chest, and your other hand on top of the first. Using your upper body weight, forcefully push straight down on the chest at a fast pace. Continue compressions until paramedics arrive (unless instructed differently by medical personnel over the phone).
Repeat this procedure until the object is expelled from the airway.
The above guidance is appropriate for adult victims. Children should be given the traditional CPR combination of rescue breathing and chest compressions. If you are unsure how to do this, the 911 operator should be able to give you instructions over the phone.