Shaken Baby Syndrome

A large number of child deaths are reported in South Africa each year. A lot of deaths relate to neglect, abuse or murder. Despite this, there's a knowledge gap in relation to understanding the issue....

Amniotic fluid problems

The importance of amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid is essential for pregnancy and foetal development. Amniotic fluid is a watery substances residing inside a casing called the amniotic membrane or sac. ...

Choosing a pre-school

Becoming a parent is a momentous; life-changing event filled with hopes, expectations and naturally some fears. Parents often learn and grow alongside their children, as they face the challenges of pa...

Newborn reflexes

Although newborn babies are physically helpless and vulnerable at birth, they have a number of amazing innate abilities or reflexes. Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions, designed to protect ...

Mastitis

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Pelvic floor exercises

Although your new baby will probably bring you immense emotional satisfaction, physically you may feel uncomfortable and strange in your own skin. After 9 months of pregnancy and hormonal changes, you...

Colic

Babies cry because they need to communicate something and most parents, especially new moms, find it distressing to see or hear an unhappy baby. In time, you will learn to recognize the various causes...

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are informative sessions provided to prepare expecting parents for the birth of their child and the early days of being a parent.Most antenatal classes are run by Midwives and occasi...

Strap-in-the-Future

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on the 11 May 2011. It is a global declaration of war against road crashes and fatalities. According to Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of ...

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

What to do in an Emergency Situation

first_aid_emergencyIt is natural to wonder how we may react in an emergency situation and whether or not we will know what to do. First aiders have the crucial task of treating casualties who are suffering from injury or illness.

In an emergency situation, the first few minutes are vital. In order to ensure that we are able to calmly, safely and effectively deal with a casualty in any emergency situation, it is important to have a step-by-step emergency action plan. Make sure you have gone on a reputable First Aid Course. Access to first aid material make a significant difference in emergencies. Buy a first aid kit or make up your own and put it in an airtight container. Store the kit in an easily accessible, cool, dry place and ensure that it is out of reach of children.

The following serve as a guideline on "what-to-do" in an emergency situation:

Make sure that you and the casualty are safe before acting. If you cannot approach the casualty without putting yourself in danger, leave him or her and call emergency services immediately. This is based on the principle that you cannot help a victim if you are a victim yourself.

Try to establish what has happened, especially if the cause of the illness or injury is uncertain. Detailed information will assist you in helping the casualty. Assess the scene (Where are you? What are the weather conditions like? Has anything here caused the injury?). Look for clues (for example, a bottle of pills or shellfish). Get some history (ask any witnesses what happened and when).

Assess the casualty. Check for any life-threatening injuries. If the casualty has minor injuries, is responsive, alert and talking to you, make sure there are no other less obvious injuries. If the casualty is unresponsive or unconscious, their illness or injury is potentially life threatening. In this situation, ask someone to call an ambulance.

Check that the airway is clear. If there appears to be an obstruction in the airway and the casualty is still conscious, the main aim is to clear the blockage from the casualty's throat as quickly as possible. If the casualty is unconscious - does not respond to loud noises, being shaken, and will not move or make a sound - open the airway. This can be done by placing one hand on their forehead, gently tilting the head back, and lifting the chin with your fingertips. Their mouth will fall open slightly. Continue to look for breathing: look for chest movement, listen for breathing sounds, and feel for breath on your cheek.

Check breathing. If the casualty is conscious, treat any breathing difficulties, such as asthma. During asthma or wheezing attack, it is essential to keep the casualty calm and encourage them to breath slowly. Allow them to sit in a comfortable position, so that their airways are open. If the casualty is unconscious and is not breathing, you need to breath for him or her and maintain blood circulation. Begin performing CPR (chest compressions and rescue breaths) and ask a helper to call for an ambulance. In adults, if you are on your own, call an ambulance before you administer CPR unless the casualty has drowned. When treating a baby, child, or casualty who has drowned, give CPR for 1 minute before calling an ambulance.

Check for bleeding. If the casualty is breathing normally, place him or her in the recovery position and check for any serious injuries, such as bleeding. Severe bleeding can be distressing for both parties. The main priority is to stem the flow of blood by applying firm, direct pressure to the wound, and dressing the wound as quickly as possible. Monitor the casualty's breathing, pulse and level of consciousness while you wait for medical help to arrive. Profuse or profound bleeding can lead to shock. First signs include; rapid pulse, sweating and pale, clammy skin. Elevate the casualty's legs (if they are not injured) above their heart to assist circulation. Stay with the casualty continually and be prepared to perform CPR if the casualty loses consciousness or stops breathing.

Treat other injuries. Once you are certain that the casualty's breathing and circulation are stable, check for and treat other injuries. Treatment depends on the situation and the level of injury. Treatment should always be guided by the 3 P's; namely to Preserve life; Prevent further injury, and Promote Recovery.

References:
Peters M. British Medical Association Home Doctor. London: Dorling Kindersley; 2009.
Stoppard M. Family Health Guide- The essential home reference for a lifetime of good health. London: Dorling Kindersley; 2005.
WikiBooks. First Aid/Emergency First Aid Action Steps. Wikibooks. http://en.wikibooks.org/.../Emergency_First_Aid_%26_Initial_Action_Step... Published April 1, 2011. Accessed April 19, 2012.