Do’s and Don'ts in an Emergency

Medical emergencies may arise anytime anywhere, at home, at work or even on the road. When an emergency arises, you can deal with it most effectively by following these three principles:

  • Stay calm and do not panic
  • Call for medical help.
  • Take appropriate action while waiting for help to arrive.

01 Stroke

Stroke is caused by interruption of blood supply to the brain. The interruption can be caused by bursting of a blood vessel (haemorrhage) or a clot that can eventually result in brain damage leading to Stroke.

Things to look out for: FAST

F - Does the FACE droop on one side while trying to smile?
A - Is one ARM weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Is SPEECH slurred? Is the person unable to speak or difficult to understand?
T - TIME is critical. Every minute counts. Call the ambulance
Do's Don'ts
  • Call emergency medical help and reassure the person
  • Make the person lay down with his/her head and shoulders slightly elevated
  • Place the person on his/her left side if breathing is shallow
  • Do not give the person anything to eat/drink
  • Do not permit the person to move
  • Do not try and lift a person in case of suspected injury to the neck or back

02 Heart Attack

A Heart Attack occurs when there is an interruption in blood flow to the heart, possibly due to deposits of fat in the blood vessel. The interruption of blood supply results in damage to the heart muscle causing functional abnormality of the heart leading to a heart attack.

Symptoms of Heart Attack:​

  • Symptoms of Heart Attack:​
  • Shortness of breath
  • Upper body discomfort
  • Fainting and excessive cold sweat
Do's Don'ts
  • Make the person sit down and try to keep calm
  • Loosen tight clothing around the neck, especially ties or collars
  • Ask if the person takes any medicine for a known heart condition and help him/her take it
  • Call the ambulance
  • Don't leave the person alone except to call for help
  • Don't allow the person to deny the symptoms
  • Don't wait for the symptoms to go away
  • Don’t allow crowding, ensure sufficient ventilation around the person

03 Seizures / Fits

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which nerve signal transmission in the brain is disturbed, causing recurrent seizures. Convulsions/fits/seizures are the common terms used to describe Epilepsy.

Seizure signs and symptoms may include:

  • Involuntary movement of the arms and legs
  • Unconsciousness and unusual eye movements
  • Teeth clenching and Temporary loss of sensation
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control
Do's Don'ts
  • Turn the person on to his/her side to keep the airway clear
  • Clear any hard or sharp objects from the vicinity to avoid injury from a severe fit
  • Loosen tight clothing around the neck, especially ties or collars
  • Call the ambulance
  • Don’t place anything (food, water, medicine, other metal objects) in the person’s mouth
  • Do not try to hold the person down or restrain him or her, this can result in injury to you as well as to the person
  • Don’t allow crowding, ensure sufficient ventilation around the person

04 Choking

Choking is a blockage in the throat or windpipe caused because of lodging of any food particles or small objects interrupting normal breathing. Choking prevents oxygen supply to the lungs and if prolonged for more than 4 minutes can cause brain damage.

Things to look out for:​

  • The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat
  • Difficulty in breathing or noisy breathing
  • Inability to talk or Inability to cough forcefully
  • Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky
  • Loss of consciousness
Do's Don'ts
  • GIVE 5 BACK BLOWS. First, deliver five back blows between the person's shoulder blades with the heel of your hand
  • PERFORM 5 ABDOMINAL THRUSTS. Only if you are trained to perform abdominal thrust
  • ALTERNATE BETWEEN 5 BLOWS AND 5 THRUSTS until the foreign body is dislodged
  • Call the ambulance immediately
  • Caution, abdominal thrust should be perfomed only by a trained person

05 Trauma

Trauma refers to any major or minor injuries on the human body. Minor injuries do not require specialized treatment.

Things to look out for:​

  • Severe bleeding
  • Severe pain
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Black and blue discoloration that increase in size
  • Seizures
Do's Don'ts
Suspected broken arm
  • Ask the person to support the injured arm with the other hand
  • Be sure to immobilize the injured joint/ bone with a sling
  • Place ice on the injured joint/ bone to reduce swelling
Suspected broken leg
  • Help the person lie down and support the leg at ankle and knee joints
  • Steady the injured leg with padding
  • Place rolled-up blankets on either side of the injured limb and between the legs to act as splints
  • Call the ambulance
  • Do not try to move or straighten a broken arm or leg or change its position. This can cause further damage to blood vessels, nerves and soft tissues
  • Don't let the patient put pressure on the injured limb

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