First aid emergencies happen every day. They burst into our lives and threaten people we love. Sometimes we’re just in the right place at the right time and witness a first aid emergency ambushing a stranger. Do YOU know what to do when a first aid emergency erupts into your life?
CHECK YOUR READINESS: First Aid at the Family Reunion
Your family is gathered for the annual family reunion. Some folks are setting up the pot-luck serving tables. Others are gathered in lawn chairs, sitting in the shade and reminiscing. Everyone’s favorite, Great-Aunt Tillie, is on the lawn playing a game with the children. A warm breeze wafts gently across the crowd. You close your eyes and breathe in the fresh summer air. Family reunions are the best, you say to yourself. A child’s scream slashes into your reverie. You open your eyes and see Great-Aunt Tillie lying on the ground. You join the adults running toward the scene. When you reach her, you see that Aunt Tillie is breathing. She opens her eyes and smiles weakly at you when you touch her arm. She says one word. “Juice.” What do you do next?
- Call 911
- Help her sit up in one of the lawn chairs & give her some juice
- Keep her on her back and elevate her feet on a lawn chair
- None of the above
Meanwhile, little Brittany Anne is still screaming. She’s also clutching her ankle. Cousin Jackson sweeps her up and carries her over to you. You notice her foot is puffy and red. Perhaps a croquet ball accidentally struck her. Suddenly, Brittany Anne is struggling to breathe and her lips are turning a little blue. What do you do next?
- Call 911
- Administer CPR
- Put ice on the swelling and elevate her foot
- None of the above
TYPES OF FIRST AID EMERGENCIES
First aid emergencies fall into two primary categories: health-related (medical) emergencies — as in Aunt Tillie’s case and injury-related (trauma) emergencies — as in the case of poor little Brittany Anne who was stung by a bee.. These emergencies also impact two different groups of people: adults and children. Here’s the breakdown.
Medical First Aid Emergencies
Medical first aid emergencies result from some kind of health problem rather than an accident or trauma. Often these emergencies represent an exacerbation of a chronic health problem such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, or diabetes. Adverse reactions to environment also fall into this category. For example, a child with allergies may experience an asthma attack when surrounded by a lot of triggers. Likewise, anyone, child or adult, may experience heatstroke or heat exhaustion if exposed to extreme conditions for a long period of time.
Trauma or Injury First Aid Emergencies
An injury or trauma emergency develops as the result of something being done to the affected individual. Automobile accidents, bicycle accidents, skiing accidents, animal bites, insect stings, choking, and sports-related accidents all come under this category.
Regardless of the nature of the first aid emergency, a first responder or bystander who steps in to offer help needs to keep three things in mind:
- Stay calm
- Call for help
- Render assistance appropriate to the event
Numbers one and two require self-control and presence of mind. Number three, however, requires some level of knowledge regarding first aid emergencies and proper treatment procedures. Join us in our next installment to learn more about recognizing and treating medical first aid emergencies.
Do you know what to do to help someone if you come across a medical adult or pediatric emergency? How about a trauma? Do you have the knowledge and supplies need to provide first aid? Check back next week for our next installment — Medical Emergencies: Adults for tips on dealing with some of the most common adult medical emergencies. Or, better yet, give us a call or go online to register for one of our upcoming classes! Make sure you are prepared!