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PRESENTER: Faced with a life-or-death situation, would you take charge or would you panic? How many of us know what we'd do? But knowing what constitutes an emergency, where to get help and what to do while you're waiting for it could save a life. And since studies show that one third of all accidental deaths occur in the home, the possibility that it could happen to you is not as remote as you may think. Wendy Craig, a community healthcare worker, is here to give us a few tips on how to act in the unlucky event that it should.
WENDY: The reason that more accidents occur in the home than anywhere else is partly because people spend most of their time at home, so the chances oi having an accident there are obviously that much greater. Also, although we think of home as a nice, safe environment, it's surprising how many seemingly innocent things can in fact be hazardous in the wrong hands or in the wrong situation, or simply because children don't understand the difference between what's safe and what's dangerous. As ever, prevention is always better than cure. Get routine medical and preventive care, such as inoculations and check-ups, and get any minor illnesses treated before they get serious. This will reduce visits to the casualty department. If an emergency does occur, with a little preparation you will be able to minimise its impact.
Keep a list of emergency numbers by the phone. The police, fire station, local hospital and your family practitioner should all be included. Make a list of all the medications you and your family take, and their dosages, and carry it with you in the event of an accident. This list could help prevent the effects of drug interactions. Also, add to the list any allergies, especially drug allergies or those to which you have a severe reaction. This list will ensure that the care you receive won't make matters worse.
Keep a well-stocked first-aid kit at home, at work and in your car, too. It's also a good idea to take a first-aid class. A basic class will teach CPR and proper methods for treating burns, sprains, applying splints and performing the Heimlich manoeuvre. It's also important to know how to stop serious bleeding and treat shock and fractures until medical help arrives. First-aid classes will also teach you how to remain calm and how to calm others in an emergency. It's also useful to recognise the difference between a minor crisis and a life-threatening emergency. Not every cut needs stitches, nor does every chest pain herald a heart attack.
Part of handling an emergency is being able to evaluate warning signs and make a quick decision. But it's always best to err on the side of caution and call the emergency services. Some of the warning signs to look out for include shortness of breath, chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure, fainting, sudden dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, sudden severe pain, bleeding that won't stop, severe or persistent vomiting and coughing up blood.
It's equally important to know what not to do. Never move anyone that is unconscious, who has a head injury, or who has been injured in a car crash, unless they're in imminent danger. When treating burns, don't use ice or butter... and never leave an unconscious casualty alone to call help - get somebody else to call for you, if possible.
According to research
of all accidental deaths happen at home.
People are mistaken in the belief that the home is a
It is difficult for
to distinguish between those objects which are safe
and those which are not.
Wendy advises taking the precaution of having inoculations and
Being prepared for an emergency can
Carrying a list of medications can prevent
to medication you are
First-aid classes not only train you in how to administer basic medical
treatment, but also how to
yourself in an emergency.
Judging how serious a situation is and coming to a
is part of dealing
with an emergency.
You should only move a victim of a car accident if they are in
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