How to prevent and handle medical emergencies

A little caution and preparedness can go a long way in saving a life during medical emergencies. Here's guide on how to identify potential health hazards at home.

The term emergency is derived from Latin emergere (e-, “from,” and mergere, “to dip, plunge”) and mean “unforeseen occurrence.” However , it is in our interest to foresee emergencies , be prepared. This consists of : awareness of emergencies likely to occur, in special situations, or in special segments like children and elderly. The dos and don’ts are particularly relevant.

Emergencies may not give sufficient time to reach Doctor/Hospital, and the response of person at scene can make all difference between life and death. You too can save a life.

Emergencies at home can be classified as those arising out of home accidents and those resulting from a medical condition.

Home accidents

  • Fire accidents

  • Electrical accidents

  • Slips and falls,

  • Accidental ingestion of foreign body (in children) or choking.

  • Accidental smothering of new born babies and infants

How to prevent

Prevention of home accidents would require a review of electric appliances and the wirings . Special attention needs to be paid to wires, earthing ,and insulation, especially in bathrooms. The gas connections , tubes and turning cylinder off when not in use prevents fire accidents.

If there are small children at home hot liquids should be out of reach of children. Scalding among children due to spillage of hot milk/ water/or tea is common. Unattended infants may be smothered by turning over on bed,pillows or stuffed toys. Electric sockets and connections if situated low must be capped with dummy plugs. Care needs to be taken for elderly, since they are vulnerable to trips and falls the floors should be dry , the rooms not too cluttered and objects not lying around on which they can stumble.

Medical emergencies

  • Heart attack

  • Bronchial asthma,

  • Insect bites (including snake bite)

  • Accidental or intentional poisoning

  • Allergies and anaphylaxis etc.

What needs to be done , if in spite of prevention, emergencies still occur, shall be covered in the forthcoming columns.

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