Medical emergency? Here is how you can save someone's life

 

Medical emergency? Here is how you can save someones life
A woman administering CPR technique to a dummy at a first-aid class.

Knowledge of these simple steps can help you keep a person alive until professional help arrives.

By Staff Report

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Published: Sun 13 Aug 2017, 2:24 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Aug 2017, 7:26 PM

Accidents can happen any time and anywhere. What happens if a loved one is experiencing a medical emergency and needs help ASAP? As you wait for help to arrive, there are some steps you can take too to keep the situation from getting worse.

Training supervisor and senior life support instructor Anna Marie Sy-Boco offers tips on how to identify key emergency situations and basic responses you can follow till help arrives:

a. Heart attack

Common signs: Victim will complain of pain in his chest "as though someone is sitting on it". Pain may also spread to the arm.
What to do: Make the person sit down. Lying down will cause breathing difficulties. Do not let him/her walk. Loosen tight clothing. If the person has medication on hand, assist him/her in taking it. Do not give the victim medication of your own or try to administer CPR.

b. Cardiac arrest

Sometimes a heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest, if not treated immediately.

Common signs: The victim may become unconscious and you may not be able to detect chest movement, indicating the victim has stopped breathing.
What to do: Perform CPR, giving 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths, after checking that the airway is clear. Make sure the chest rises when you give breath, which should take about a second each. Repeat process till help or an Automated External Defibrillator arrives, or if you see signs of life.

c. Choking

Common signs: The victim grabs his throat with both hands, and may or may not be able to speak.

What to do: In case of partial choking, i.e. if he/she can speak, ask him/her to cough vigorously to create pressure and dislodge the object. If he cannot speak, perform the Heimlich manoeuvre by placing your fist over the belly button and giving quick inward and upward thrusts till the object comes out. If he collapses or stops breathing before this can be done, perform CPR.

d. Stroke

Common signs: Severe headache, sweating, slurred speech and numbness.

What to do: Perform three simple tests: ask them to smile (it may not be the best time to ask but still), raise their hands and say a simple sentence. If they fail these tests, make the person lie down, loosen tight clothing and wait till help arrives.

EXTRA TIP: ALWAYS KEEP A FIRST AID KIT AT HOME

You can pick up readymade first aid kits from local pharmacies to keep on hand at home. However, if you wish to put one together yourself, the American Heart Association recommends the following essentials:

· List of local emergency numbers, including those for the police, fire department, poison control centre and medics
· Gauze pad
· Adhesive bandage and tape
· Antiseptic wipe
· Compress bandage
· Burn ointments
· CPR pocket mask
· Cold compress
· Eyewash
· Gloves
· Triangular bandage (to splint an arm/ leg)
· First aid quick reference guide


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