Life as we know it is unpredictable. We never really know when a medical emergency will strike, in short, we must ‘expect the unexpected’. We should, therefore, be ready and prepared to deal with it. Sometimes things happen so quickly that we do not have the time to process all of it. Knowing what to do in case of a medical emergency will enable us to think more clearly and help us manage the situation rather than just fret and worry over it.
The following tips will help aid your preparation for a medical emergency:
- Have a well-equipped first aid box both at home and at your workplace: “Prevention is better than cure”. Make sure your first aid box contains antiseptic solution/cream, sterile cotton, gauze, adhesive plasters, roller bandage, scissors, basic pain killers and thermometer. Check for their expiry dates. Keep it at a place that’s accessible and safe.
- Always have your personal details on you: Have a card enlisting some of the important information like your name, contact number, address, blood group, any diseases you are suffering from, list of medications that you’re on, your doctor’s name, person to contact in case of an emergency, etc.
- Save important contacts: Put down a list of people you can contact in case of an emergency. These should include numbers of nearby hospitals, doctors, neighbours, friends, and relatives.
- Be aware of the medical services and medical professionals near you: There are several websites that provide you with a complete database of doctors along with their specialties, clinic/hospital address, contact numbers, and timings.
- Maintain a file for your medical records: Do not discard any reports or prescriptions. File all of it X-rays, CT scans, MRI, etc.
- Invest in Medical Insurance: A lot of people are skeptical about buying medical insurance. However, given the current cost of healthcare, it is highly advisable that you invest in medical insurance. There are several health insurances available and you can always ask an agent to suggest the right one for you. Make sure to read the terms and conditions of the insurance.
- Get some basic training: Take the time out to undertake some basic life support courses. There are conducted by hospitals all over. CPR can mean life and death when dealing with an unresponsive person or someone who’s heart has stopped working.
- Common knowledge can save lives: Knowing the symptoms of some of the common medical emergencies can go a long way in saving someone’s life. The 6 common medical emergencies include heart attack, breathing difficulties, seizures, traumatic head injuries, stroke, and burns.
Heart Attack: Treatment within the first 90 minutes dramatically increases the chances of survival. Get the person to chew and swallow an Aspirin if he/she is not allergic to it. Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is not needed unless the heart attack victim goes into cardiac arrest, which means they are unconscious and have stopped breathing. If this happens, CPR will keep the blood circulating while you wait for the ambulance or for someone to get a defibrillator.
Breathing Difficulties: Ensure that the person is in an open space. Loosen all tight clothing. Check for airway and pulse to determine if CPR can be administered.
Seizures: Move all dangerous objects away from the person. Cushion their head on a soft object and check for their breathing.
Traumatic Head Injury: Immediately call for medical help. Check for the person’s airway and breathing. If there is bleeding, firmly compress the area. Apply ice packs if there is swelling.
Stroke: Call for medical aid if you notice symptoms like slurred speech, facial and arm weakness, dizziness, severe headache, and blurring of vision. The treatment has to be administered within 3-4 hours to ensure the survival of the victim.
Burns: First aid for burns varies depending on the cause of the burn. If the burn is because of heat, pour cold water over it, until there is relief from pain. Cover with a sterile dressing. If the burn is caused by electrical shock, make sure to turn off the power before you rescue the victim. Assess the need to provide CPR. If the burns are due to spillage of chemicals, clean the skin with a cloth or gloved hands.
- Keep your medicine cabinet well-stocked: Stock up basic medicines enough to last a week
Things to do in an Emergency Situation:
- Remain calm and focused: If you find yourself panicking, stop and take a few deep breaths. If you are accompanying an injured person who is agitated or confused, reassure him/her if possible.
Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients, and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.