Would you know what to do in a medical emergency? Choking, heart attacks, burns or seizure – whatever the problem, anyone can be faced with a medical emergency. Here are some things you can do that could help save a life:
Heart Attack – One of the first ways you can help a person having a heart attack is to recognise the symptoms so that you can get prompt assistance. Symptoms include central crushing chest pain – people state it feel can like a tight band around their chest, pain / numbness down one or both arms, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, sweating and anxiety.
If anyone has these symptoms, dial 999 even if you aren’t sure.
If the person is still conscious, make sure they don’t move around so that they don’t put too much strain on the heart. If they are an adult, you can get them to swallow a whole aspirin tablet (chewed first) while waiting for the ambulance as this will help to make the clot in their heart less sticky and help maintain the blood supply to the heart.
If the person has collapsed, you should check his airway. If he is not breathing normally and you don’t have an AED device, you should do chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 compressions a minute until help arrives.
Adult Choking – If the person cannot cough effectively, talk or breathe, it is a severe obstruction and you should act quickly. Remove any obvious obstruction. If you can’t, give five back blows, reassess and then five abdominal thrusts to try and dislodge it. Dial 999 early and continue with cycles of five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until help arrives. If the patient collapses, start CPR.
Burns – If someone has a burn, move them away from the heat source and run cold water over the burn for at least ten minutes (this prevents further burning), move clothing away from the burn area and cover it with cling film to protect it. Dial 999 or 111 for further advice.
Seizures – If someone has a seizure, you should remove any harmful objects so they cannot hurt themselves. Place a cushion under their head and stay with them until the seizure is over, then place them in the recovery position to keep their airway open. If the person has never had a seizure before, it lasts longer than a few minutes or you are not sure you should call 999.