Here’s to wishing you a Happy July 4th weekend!
To help everyone stay safe, I am writing to address common illness and injuries seen around this time.
Here are some first aid measures that you can take to help someone:
Diabetics who are dependent on insulin are especially prone to emergencies in the summertime.
Here’s what to do:
- Testing the person’s blood sugar, while helpful to emergency medical personnel, will not change the way you treat the emergency.
- Try to get the person to sit still. For safety, it is best to help them to the ground or a couch they will not fall out of and hurt themselves.
- The victim needs something with sugar in it. Chocolate, candy, non-diet soda, orange juice and apple juice are all good sources of quickly absorbed simple sugars.
- If their condition does not improve markedly in a few minutes, or if they are insulin dependent, call 911.
It is probably worth mentioning some recent changes to the Good Samaritan Laws in New York State.
Signs of opiate overdose includes slow, shallow, or absent respirations, pin-point pupils and unresponsiveness to painful stimuli.
To help a victim of an overdose:
- Call 911 immediately.
- Rub the victims’ sternum vigorously to see if they respond to pain.
- If the victim is not responsive to pain, not breathing, or has slow or shallow respirations, begin hands-only CPR.
- If you or someone nearby have attended a naloxone in-service class, suspect an opiate overdose, and have a “Narcan Kit”, administer 1 mg of Narcan in each nostril while continuing CPR.
- If the victim awakens or begins to breathe at an adequate rate, stop chest compressions and place him/her on his/her side, mouth open and facing downward.
- Be prepared to give a second dose if there is no improvement or if signs worsen again.
Many illnesses can be prevented by ensuring everyone is drinking plenty of water.
Thermal burns from bar-b-ques and fireworks seem to be fairly common.
Follow these steps to care for burns that are smaller than 10% body area:
- Run the burned area under cool water for at least 10 minutes or until pain free.
- Remove any charred clothing not stuck to the skin.
- Cover the burn with a non-stick, sterile bandage, and wrap loosely with clean roller gauze.
- Never break blisters.
- Use running water to cool burns to the face, do not use a bowl or bucket.
- Call 911 or seek medical attention immediately if the burn is greater than 1% in area, affects at least most of the thickness of the skin, or involves the hands, feet, face, genitals or full circumference of a limb.
Fireworks and other accidents can cause the loss of a finger, partial or full limb.
In many cases, limbs can be reattached.
- Rinse the amputated part under clean water for several seconds.
- Wrap the part in clean gauze and place into a sealed plastic bag.
- Place this bag inside of another sealed plastic bag that contains ice and a small amount of water. Take care to make sure the severed body part does not touch the ice directly.
- Write the victim’s name, date and time on the bag, and give it to EMS for transport.
Of course, the best way to treat these injuries is to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Unless you are trained and qualified to set off fireworks, stay away from them.
Wishing you a happy and safe July 4th,