Medical Emergencies

In an Emergency, call 911

There are a wide variety of medical conditions that might affect a person. These include animal bites, insect stings, allergic reactions, falls, heat and cold emergencies, and heart attacks.

If someone is in need of medical assistance, always start with calling 911 in order to get emergency medical services responding as quickly as possible. These professionals will bring the appropriate equipment and medications that can be used to help the person and get them as quickly as possible to a hospital.

In addition, the emergency dispatcher can provide callers with directions over the phone on what can be done until responders arrive. This includes the gathering of critical information. Instructions on how to assess the patient, and information on how to perform life – saving techniques like CPR.

Before something happens, consider taking a First Aid and CPR course. These courses provide the opportunity to learn and practice emergency techniques. In the event of an emergency, you will then be more confident in you abilities.

Drug Overdose

Drug emergencies are not always easy to identify. If you suspect someone has overdosed, or if you suspect someone is experiencing withdrawal, give first aid and call 911 for immediate medical assistance.

If possible, try to determine which drug(s) were taken and when. Save any available pill bottles or other drug containers. Provide this information to emergency medical personnel.

  • Do NOT jeopardize your own safety. Some drugs can cause violent and unpredictable behavior. Call for professional assistance.
  • Do NOT try to reason with someone who is on drugs. Do not expect them to behave reasonably.
  • Do NOT offer your opinions when giving help. You do not need to know why drugs were taken in order to give effective first aid.

Check the person’s airway, breathing, and pulse. If necessary, begin CPR. If the person is unconscious but breathing, carefully place him or her in the recovery position. If the person is conscious, loosen the clothing, keep the person warm, and provide reassurance. Try to keep the person calm. If an overdose is suspected, try to prevent them from taking more drugs.

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Alcohol Poisoning

Call 911 immediately if person is:

  • Unconscious, cannot be woken up or can only be awakened for a short time.
  • Poorly aware of surroundings.
  • Exhibits respiratory difficulties, including slow, labored breathing – 10 breaths per minute or less is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.
  • Blue under the fingernails or at gums.
  • Cold, clammy, and has bluish skin
  • Vomiting while semiconscious or unconscious.

If you know someone who has had too much to drink:

DO NOT LEAVE THE PERSON ALONE. Blood alcohol levels can continue to rise even after a person has passed out. Check on him/her often!
Place the person in fetal position with pillow at the back to prevent rolling. A person can either drown in or choke on his/her own vomit.
Do not put a person in a cold shower – it can cause the person to go into shock.
Coffee will not sober a person up – the only thing that can sober someone up is TIME.
When in doubt, call 911.

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Seizures can be caused by a variety of conditions and disorders. While some people have had seizure conditions for a number of years and take medication to control them, others may have their first seizure on campus, even for those patients taking medication, they may still have seizures occasionally.

Someone having conclusive seizures can be terrifying to someone nearby who has not seen them before. They can also be very embarrassing to the person, who is often unaware of what is going on around them and what is said as they are recovering for several minutes before they are able to speak.

Contrary to television shows and movies, you should never put something in the mouth of a person who is having a seizure. A person having convulsions is not choking. However, putting something in their mouth can cause them to choke.

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Cuts can be small and present no immediate danger, or they can be large and an immediate threat to a person’s life. Regardless of the size of the cut, however, there is always a potential for infection. Whenever possible cuts should be bandaged with sterile dressings and the person should be encouraged to see their physician to determine whether or not the cut may have become infected.

Cuts to the face and head can bleed large amounts, even if the cut itself is small. They can also present a special danger if on or near the eyes, nose, or mouth. Any cuts in area should be referred to medical professionals.

If there is an object still inside the wound (such as a stick, knife, or piece of glass), It should be left there where it is and not moved. Bandage around the object as best as possible to keep it from shifting and seek immediate treatment.

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Broken Bones

A broken bone requires medical attention. Call 911.

  • If an open fracture is present, apply sterile dressing around the open fracture as would for an embedded object. Bandage the dressing in place around the fracture.
  • Monitor and watch for signs of shock.

Fractures, Dislocations, Sprains or Strains: General care includes following R.I.C.E.

  • Rest-Do not move or straighten the injured area.
  • Immobilize-Stabilize the injured area in the position found. Splint the injured part ONLY if the person must be moved
  • Cold-Apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes. Place a thin barrier between the ice and bare skin if it does not cause more pain.
  • Elevate-Do not elevate the injured part if it causes more pain.

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