Medical emergencies come knocking on the door when you least expect them. They don’t just put yours or your loved one’s health in danger, but also drain you of all your financial resources. However, with emergency preparedness, you can prevent yourself and your loved ones from facing the aftermath of medical emergencies.
While government-run healthcare insurance programs, like Medicare, Medicaid, and Emergency Medicaid (if you are an immigrant) cover all your medical expenses, including doctor’s visits, nursing home care, hospital expenses, home healthcare, etc, facing the emergency at the very moment gets quite frightening. But, if you are familiar with the basic first aid, you can deal with the situation calmly.
Listed below are the most common medical emergencies that you may encounter in your life and the right way of dealing with them.
- Chest Pain / Heart Attack
Lack of blood supply to the heart leads to a heart attack. It causes severe discomfort and pain in the chest spreading to the neck and shoulder: shortness of breath, sweating, fainting, discomfort in the stomach, and pain in the jaws. The symptoms are different in men and women.
If someone suffers from a heart attack, immediately call 911. Give them aspirin as it lowers the risk of clot formation. If the person is unconscious, begin CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) until emergency medical services arrive.
If the person is given proper treatment within 90 minutes of the heart attack, the chances of survival increase considerably.
- Burns and scalds
Dry heat, like fire, a hot meal, contact with high tension electric current, etc, can cause severe burns, whereas moist heat, like steam, boiling water, tar, or hot oil causes scald.
Here is how to deal with burns and scalds:
- Do not disturb the affected area. Avoid applying lotion (if it’s minor burn, apply moisturizer, such as aloe vera), removing burned clothing, and breaking blisters.
- Cover the affected area with a dry sterile dressing or clean cloth.
- Bandage the area.
- Give ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief.
If it’s a major burn, quickly take the person to the hospital.
The first aid for heatstroke involves bringing down the body temperature of the sufferer.
- Place the person under the cold shower or a tub of cold water.
- Spray water on their body.
- Sponge with chilled water.
- Cover with cool, damp top sheets.
- Place cool and wet towels or ice packs on the neck, armpits, as well as groin.
- Rehydrate the person by making them drink water.
Electrocution is caused when someone touches live and naked cable, wire, or rail. It can cause severe burns.
- Cut off the supply by breaking the cable or removing the plug. Don’t try to cut the cable with scissors or a knife.
- With dry insulating materials, carefully pull the person away from the current source.
- Lay them down comfortably on their back. Make sure their head is low and turned on one side.
- Loosen clothing around the chest, neck, and waist.
- Wrap them in a rug or blanket.
- Let them sip coffee or water.
- Eye injury
Even the smallest foreign object can cause severe discomfort in the eye. Here’s how to deal with it:
- Do not let the person rub their eye.
- Retract the lower lid down. If the object is visible and isn’t embedded, carefully remove it using a damp, clean cloth (preferable white).
- If the object is embedded, don’t try to remove it. Make the person close their eyes and apply a pad of cotton. Take them to the doctor.
- If you suspect the object to be under the upper lid, make the person blink their eye under running water. Or, lift the upper eyelid and push the lower eyelid beneath it. The lower lashes will brush the inner surface dislodging the foreign object.
The bottom line
Medical emergencies can occur anytime. If you happen to encounter a medical emergency, keep your cool and administer first aid until help arrives.