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To Your Health: A Few Tips For Emergency Situations That Can Save Lives

A few tips for emergency situations that can save lives

Student Olivia Frierson presses contact pads from an AED machine onto a CPR mannequin during a CPR training class at Shaker Heights High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in 2011. External defibrillators (AEDs) can be found in many public places.

One of my standard quips at charity events, gatherings of extended family and even parties, is that Mary is always welcome because she’s just so darn delightful, and I’m tolerated because, in a pinch, I know CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.

Luckily skills I’ve only required out of the hospital a handful of times over the years.

But, seriously, if someone near you started choking on a piece of food, would you know what to do? What if someone was suffering a heart attack? You may have learned some first aid or emergency preparedness skills when you were younger, but it’s easy to forget what to do when someone needs help fast.

If there’s an emergency and your first aid skills are a little rusty, it might take you a little longer to spring into action, and acting fast can mean the difference between life and death.

Knowing the basics of first-aid can help you treat simple injuries and even keep your loved ones safe and stable during more serious emergencies.

The ABCs of AEDs

Knowing how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) is critical when it comes to treating sudden cardiac arrest. A sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping effectively, which is different than a heart attack. You have only a few minutes to react and provide aid during a cardiac arrest, and an AED can make all the difference.

AEDs should only be used on an unconscious person without a pulse. After checking for a pulse and confirming its absence, follow the instructions included with the device carefully.

An AED should not be used near water, body piercings, or any implanted medical devices. Once the person’s chest is wiped dry, apply the AED’s sticky pads, which contain electrodes, to the person’s chest as pictured on the device. Press the “analyze” button, wait for the voice prompt, and then press the “shock” button if so directed. Don’t hesitate, the machine is very sophisticated but very easy to use. Trust it.

AED devices, which are portable, can be found in many public places. These include shopping malls, golf courses, businesses, airports, airplanes, casinos, convention centers, hotels, sports venues and schools. Take notice as you pass through the community.

Handling the Heimlich

What’s the difference between a little cough and throat-clearing and choking on a piece of food? It can be hard to tell.

If someone is choking and is able to cough, encourage them to continue coughing to dislodge whatever is caught in their throat. If they stop coughing, grasp at their throat and it’s obvious they can’t breathe, it’s appropriate to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

Don’t hesitate if the person cannot talk, cough, or breathe, or turns gray or blue. Stand behind them and wrap your arms around their waist. Make a fist with one hand, placing the thumb side on the upper part of the person’s belly, just under the lowest part of the breastbone. Then, grasp your other hand over the fist and give upward thrusts until the object is dislodged.

Don’t get burned

While burns from too much sun exposure, campfires and grilling are more prevalent during the summer, it’s certainly possible to burn yourself any time — especially if you’re not paying attention.

There are different types of burns, categorized by the level of damage they do to your skin, tissues, and even bones. Although minor burns can be quite painful, these are temporary and may only result in some redness and swelling that you can treat at home with cool compresses and over-the-counter remedies.

When it comes to second and third degree burns, though, the skin may go from a painful red to a white or charred look, and includes damage to deeper layers of skin, bone and nerves. It is important to seek emergency medical attention if you have a third degree burn, suffer from an electrical burn, or have a blistered burn larger than two to three inches or over multiple parts of the body.

Visit timesleader.com for more health tips from Dr. Casale.

Too hot to handle

When it comes to the summer heat, our first line of defense is usually to wear a hat or stay in the shade. I addition though, when facing extreme summer heat and humidity, it’s critical to keep yourself well hydrated. The catch? Sometimes water isn’t the best solution.

Water is always a good option, but beverages with electrolytes can be more helpful if you’re sweating profusely and nearing dehydration. However, you should keep in mind that many of these drinks also contain a lot of sugar, so monitor your intake and look for those with limited amounts of carbohydrates.

When your body temperature rises significantly above normal, you’re dealing with the very dangerous condition heatstroke. This occurs when your body can no longer regulate its inner temperature. Early signs of heatstroke include red and dry skin — lack of sweat, dizziness, a rapid pulse, and possible confusion. Heatstroke requires immediate emergency medical attention, since it can damage your brain and other organs quickly. Call 911.

See you around town … look for the AEDs, drink more water, chew your food well.

Story Credit: http://timesleader.com/features/670856/to-your-health-a-few-tips-for-emergency-situations-that-can-save-lives