Emergencies have no preference for place and time. They can happen in the most familiar of places, such as your home or office, or even during a vacation in a spot in Queensland that you’ve never visited before. The best way to prepare for an emergency situation is to attend a first aid course in Brisbane or any place near you. Learning basic first aid will ensure that you’re mentally prepared and armed with the skills and knowledge needed to adequately and quickly respond to issues that can severely affect one’s health.
In addition, it’s a great idea to acquaint yourself with some of the more common health issues that require immediate medical attention. This way, you can quickly recognise the symptoms of these health conditions, call for assistance, and administer first aid while waiting for professional medical attention. Some of the most common urgent medical conditions people experience include:
- Allergic Reaction – Anaphylaxis is typically triggered by medication, insect bites, and common food allergens like peanuts and shellfish. Acute allergic reactions may lead to anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. Its symptoms can include breathing difficulties, hives, facial swelling or flushing, throat tightness, and loss of consciousness.
- Collapse or Unconsciousness – Strictly speaking, collapse refers to the loss of postural tone or what is often described as sudden weakness. It does not necessarily mean that the person has fainted or lost consciousness. It can be triggered by cardiac issues, seizures, shock, or other serious conditions. A collapse can be preceded by anxiety, blurred vision, paleness, nausea, numbness, stomach ache, tingling sensations, weakness, sweating, or vomiting.
- Convulsions – Seizures can take on various forms, from staring blankly into space (petit mal) to the stiffening and jerking of the body (grand mal). Seizures are frightening to witness, and an episode may last for a long time or stop the patient from breathing, both of which can cause lasting damages. A seizure can be caused by an existing condition or high fever. While waiting for help to arrive, the first aider should keep the patient safe from their surroundings and prevent them from choking.
- Heart Attack – Heart attacks are typically characterised by chest pain and the feeling of immense pressure in the chest, arms, jaw, or back. These sensations can also be accompanied by shortness of breath, fatigue, light headedness, nausea, cold sweat, and heartburn. In women, the condition can be accompanied by abdominal pain, while the elderly may be more conscious to the feeling of fatigue than pain.
- Moderate to Severe Burns – Second-degree burns affect the outer and lower layer of the skin and are characterised with pain, swelling, redness, and blistering. Third-degree burns, on the other hand, have a white or blackened appearance. These affect the deeper tissues and may feel numb. While first-degree burns can be treated with skincare products and over-the counter pain medications, moderate to severe burns may require antibiotic creams and intensive treatments to replenish fluids in the affected area and to prevent infection.
- Poisoning – Poisoning can be caused by chemicals, drugs, or even gases, and its symptoms may seem similar to other conditions such as alcohol intoxication or stroke. Among the common signs of poisoning are confusion, drowsiness, vomiting, redness or burns around the mouth, difficulty breathing, and chemical scent in one’s breath. Children, in particular, can be prone to poisoning cases.
- Severe Headache – Severe and sudden or rapidly worsening headache can be a symptom of bleeding in the brain. Most people who have experienced this condition describe it as the worst pain they’ve ever felt in their life. Brain bleeds can be caused by chronic and untreated hypertension or even taking anti-clotting medication. Severe headache can be accompanied by nausea or vomiting, weakness in the arms or legs, lethargy, changes in one’s vision, and seizure.
- Stroke – The FAST acronym can help people identify stroke cases. This refers to Face, or one-sided facial drooping that can result in a crooked smile; Arm, or arm weakness that prevents the person from raising up one or both arms; Speech, or slurred or strange-sounding speech; and Time to call for immediate help, such as Australia’s Triple Zero emergency number.
- Trauma or Heavy Bleeding – Severe trauma, such as the loss of a limb or injury that results to the spurting of blood, requires immediate medical attention. Call for help and stop the bleeding by applying pressure on the affected area.
Time is of the essence when dealing with a medical emergency, and immediately identifying symptoms of medical conditions can go a long way in preserving the patient’s life and preventing the injury or condition from worsening. If you know anyone who are prone to or at risk for these medical emergencies, it’s best to familiarise yourself with these symptoms and go over the best course of action should something trigger the condition.
*This article is for informational purposes only and does constitute, replace, or qualify as RPL for our first aid training courses.