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First Aid for dog bites

First Aid for dog bites

First Aid for a dog bite

Although most dogs are friendly, they will bite if provoked and animal bites are dirty and frequently get infected.

The following information is relevant whether the casualty is another dog or a human:

Bites from animals can be jagged and frequently get infected. If an animal bite has punctured the skin, it is important to wash the wound really well and look out for any signs of infection. It is sensible to get any bite that has punctured the skin looked at by a medical professional. Often the surface of the wound may not look too serious, however the bite can penetrate quite deeply and inject infected matter under the skin. If the wound looks red and becomes inflamed, hot, or angry looking, it is infected and the casualty will need antibiotics.

The initial treatment for a bite is the same as for any other wound, except it is important to wash it thoroughly, if you are not happy doing this consult a medical professional.

  • reassure the casualty
  • wash the wound thoroughly with clean water and antiseptic soap if available
  • apply pressure to stop bleeding
  • be ready to treat for shock.

Note : Outside the UK, if someone is bitten or licked in a wound, it is really important to get medical attention very fast and have anti-rabies medication. It is also important to ensure that the casualty is covered for tetanus.

Dog biteDog bites, how to help

 

It is highly recommended that you attend a practical or online First Aid course to learn how to help in a medical emergency

First Aid for life and onlinefirstaid.com provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.  The best way to be prepared for action in an emergency is to attend a practical First Aid course.

For more information please visit:  www.firstaidforlife.org.uk or contact emma@firstaidforlife.org.uk  0208 675 4036

 

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Lymes Disease and Ticks

Lymes Disease and Ticks

Tick bites

tick bite first aid

Ticks are tiny creatures that live in woodland and grassy areas, they are particularly prevalent if there are deer and other wildlife. They are blood sucking and bite into the skin to feed on blood. Initially they are extremely small, but swell as they eat, eventually becoming pea sized and therefore easier to spot and remove.

Ticks can carry Lymes disease and should ideally be removed by a medical professional. If this is not possible, they should be very carefully removed with tweezers or ideally with a proper tick remover, gently pulling without twisting in any way. when using a tick remover, you should insert under the tick and rotate 360 degrees. It is possible for the tick to be only half removed and to leave its mouthparts in the skin and this can lead to infection and will need medical treatment and  possibly antibiotics.

Never burn the tick off, or try and use chemicals to kill it. Keep the tick in a container to show to the medical professionals so they can ensure has been removed entirely.

Cover up when walking in woodland and long grasses and always check yourself, your clothes and your dog on your return.

Lymes disease is a serious illness in humans, characterised by flu like symptoms, lethargy and aches and pains. 50% of people with Lymes disease develop a classic bulls eye type rash, which can appear on any part of the body and not necessarily where they were bitten. If you are worried you might have contracted Lymes disease, visit your doctor urgently. If Lymes Disease is diagnosed and treated quickly it is possible to make a full recovery, however it can cause paralysis, arthritis, meningitis and severe long term problems.

It is highly recommended that you attend a practical or online First Aid course to learn how to help in a medical emergency

First Aid for life and onlinefirstaid.com provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.  The best way to be prepared for action in an emergency is to attend a practical First Aid course.

For more information please visit:  www.firstaidforlife.org.uk or contact emma@firstaidforlife.org.uk  0208 675 4036

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Bee and Wasp stings

  • emma
  • April 24, 2016

Bee and Wasp stings – what to do

As the weather gets warmer and more settled it is great to be able to spend more time outdoors, however it is also the time when sleepy insects are emerging and there is an increased likelihood that you could get stung.

Bee stings how to help

 

First Aid for Stings

Bee stings – if someone is stung by a bee and the sting is still in the skin, quickly flick it out using your thumb nail or a credit card. Do not be tempted to squeeze the sting or to try and remove it with tweezers as this can introduce more of the allergen into the body and therefore increase any possible allergic reaction.

Wasps and other stinging insects do not leave the sting behind in the wound.

How to treat a bee sting

If the casualty has a local reaction, a wrapped ice pack applied to the area can quickly help to reduce the swelling. Piriton (Chlorphenramine antihistamine) is really effective at reducing the reaction to the bite, but should only be given with prior written parental authorisation. Please note it will take about 15 minutes for the Piriton to start working.

If the casualty shows any signs of a full body reaction to the sting and has any difficulty breathing, call an ambulance immediately and use their Adrenaline Auto-injector if they have one. Reassuring the casualty and positioning them appropriately can make a major difference to their recovery, they should also be kept warm and dry.

If the casualty is very short of breath following the bee sting, they should be encouraged to sit in an upright position to help their breathing. Get emergency help immediately.

If the casualty is not having difficulty breathing, but is pale, cold, clammy, feeling sick and thirsty – they should lie down with their legs raised to help increase the circulation to their vital organs. They should stay lying down even if they appear to recover, as sitting or standing them up could be dangerous. Encourage them to turn their head to one side if they are likely to vomit. They should be covered to keep them warm and kept in this position until the paramedics arrive.

 

It is highly recommended that you attend a practical or online First Aid course to learn how to help in a medical emergency

First Aid for life and onlinefirstaid.com provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.  The best way to be prepared for action in an emergency is to attend a practical First Aid course.

For more information please visit:  www.firstaidforlife.org.uk or contact emma@firstaidforlife.org.uk  0208 675 4036

 

 

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7 Tips for a Successful Marathon

  • emma
  • April 20, 2016

7 Tips for a Successful Marathon

Top tips for a Successful Marathon

My Nephew Stephen – having run the Marathon in 2015

Running the Marathon is an incredible challenge and it is important to prepare properly both in training prior to the event and on the day. This article includes 7 vital tips for a safe and healthy marathon and first aid advice should something go wrong.

Wear appropriate clothing – dress for the weather conditions, whilst taking into account the fact that you are exercising. Ensure that someone has warm clothes for you when you finish the race. Ensure your trainers fit well and are worn in and comfortable. If there is rain (or snow) forecast ensure they have sufficient grip. Avoid wearing clothes with seams that can rub and cause friction burns. Wear clothes you have run in previously and know they are comfortable for the duration of the run. If you are prone to chafing apply petroleum jelly or anti chafing talc and it may be helpful to cover your nipples with plasters.

Warm up

Make sure you take time to warm up and stretch properly before the race and don’t forget to cool down too, with further stretches when you have finished.

Drink Water:

Drink sufficient amounts of fluid to remain hydrated but do not drink too much or too fast as this can cause Hyponatraemia and make you seriously ill. Initial symptoms are similar to dehydration, but this lack of sodium and salt inbalance can cause seizures, coma and can be fatal. Sports drinks are considered beneficial for longer runs.

Heat Exhaustion

If you begin to feel sick, get a headache or cramps, feel dizzy and your skin becomes cold and clammy; you may be suffering heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is serious so it is important that you get help as soon as possible. If you are training lie down in a shady spot with your legs raised, take regular sips of a sports drink and ideally call someone to come and be with you and get medical advice.

If you are running the Marathon and develop the symptoms of heat exhaustion, listen to your body and rest for a while. Get checked out by the medical support and only resume with their say so.

Drink sufficient amounts of fluid to remain hydrated. Drink small amounts regularly and avoid drinking a lot of water too quickly. Sports drinks are thought to be better than pure water for runs longer than an hour as they help you to maintain your salt balance.  Do not drink too much and avoid drinking for 45 minutes prior to the race.

Cramp is a common problem caused by the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles but this can be avoided by maintaining sufficient levels of salts and fluids and remaining well hydrated. Drink sports drinks during the race and long training and include salt in your normal diet a few days prior to the race.

Blisters

If you get a blister and the skin is still intact, leave it well alone.

If the blister is broken or likely to break; cover with a clean, dry, non-adhesive dressing that extends well beyond the edges of the blister. Alternatively apply a blister plaster.

To avoid blisters, ensure you are wearing shoes that are worn in and comfortable.

Sprains and strains

First Aid for Sprains and Strains 

Knee joint injuries

If your knee is injured; lie down supporting your knee in a raised position. Do not try to walk on your injured leg or straighten your knee.

Don’t eat or drink anything in case you need an anaesthetic, get medical attention.

Nipple bleeding and friction burns

This is caused by friction damaging the skin

You can prevent friction burn to nipples by covering them with plasters or petroleum jelly

If your nipples bleed when training; wash and dry them carefully and then cover with a breathable plaster

Sometimes, nipple bleeding may be due to more serious problems. If in doubt, consult your doctor.

 

Enjoy running your Marathon, stay fit and well and thank you to everyone for putting this huge amount of effort in to raise money for such valuable causes.

 

First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. It is strongly advised that you attend a First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.

Email: emma@firstaidforlife.org.uk or telephone 020 8675 4036 for more information.
www.FirstAidforLife.org.uk – Award Winning First Aid training tailored to your needs
www.Onlinefirstaid.com – The convenient way to learn vital skills straight from experts

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Measles Outbreak

  • emma
  • April 13, 2016

Measles Outbreak – new cases of measles confirmed in South London

NHS Choices video on Measles

Measles how to help

Sixteen new cases of measles were today confirmed in south London, and this now totals 36 recent cases of measles in the area with authorities awaiting tests on further patients. There have been more cases reported in other parts of London and the NE of England.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be extremely unpleasant and sometimes leads to serious complications. Measles can affect any age group but is most common in young children.

The infection usually lasts from 7 to 10 days; however it can lead to serious and potentially life changing and life threatening complications in some people if it affects their lungs or brain. Measles is also particularly serious if someone is pregnant.

Symptoms of measles

The initial symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after infection and can include the following:

Cold-like symptoms; such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough

Sore, red eyes that are often sensitive to light

A raised temperature (fever), which could get up to 40C (104F)

Small greyish-white raised spots on the inside of the cheeks – these are classic symptoms of Measles.

A few days after this, a reddish-brown blotchy rash will appear, this usually starts on the head or upper neck and then spreads to the rest of the body.

When to see your GP

Phone your GP as soon as possible if you suspect that you or your child may have measles. Tell them this is what you think it might be, as this is a highly contagious illness and they will need to make arrangement to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

Please also see your GP if you have had close contact with someone with measles and you are not fully vaccinated or haven’t had the infection before – even if you don’t have any symptoms.

How measles is spread

Measles is a highly contagious droplet virus which means it is spread through coughs and sneezes. The virus is able to survive on hard surfaces for quite a few hours.  Therefore if someone touches a contaminated surface and then puts their hands near their mouth or nose, they may become infected.

People with measles are infectious from when the symptoms develop until about four days after the rash first appears.

How measles can be prevented

Measles can be prevented by having the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The more people who are vaccinated the greater the chance of eradicating this disease.

The MMR vaccination is given in two doses as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme. The first dose is given when your child is around 13 months old and a second dose is given before your child starts school.

There was previously controversy about the safety of the MMR vaccine and a possible link with Autism. These concerns have since been disproved and the MMR vaccine remains a safe and extremely well tested weapon in the fight against this extremely unpleasant illness.

Adults and older children can be vaccinated at any age if they haven’t been fully vaccinated before. Ask your GP about having the vaccination.

If for some reason the MMR vaccine isn’t suitable for you, a treatment called human normal immunoglobulin (HNIG) can be used if you’re at immediate risk of catching measles.

Hand hygiene and extreme care when looking after someone who is infected with Measles is vital to reducing the spread.

Treating measles

There are several things you can do to help relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of spreading the infection, including:

  • Ensuring that everyone regularly washes their hands and uses hand sanitizer. Tissues should be disposed of hygienically (flushed down the loo) and they should always clean their hands after. They should always cover their noses and mouths when coughing and sneezing.
  • Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce your fever and aching and make you feel better.
  • Drinking plenty of water and keep hydrated.
  • Closing the curtains can help reduce light sensitivity and make it easier for their eyes.
  • Carefully clean their eyes using damp cotton wool and dispose of this hygienically.
  • Staying away from nursery, school or work for at least four days from when the rash first appears.

If you or your child are getting worse or experience any complications, get medical advice quickly.

First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. It is strongly advised that you attend a First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.

Email: emma@firstaidforlife.org.uk or telephone 020 8675 4036 for more information.

www.FirstAidforLife.org.uk – Award Winning First Aid training tailored to your needs

www.Onlinefirstaid.com – The convenient way to learn vital skills straight from experts

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8 top tips following a fall

  • emma
  • April 4, 2016

My wonderful Mum died on Sunday, she was very much loved and truly one in a million.

I would like to dedicate my post this week to all the Home Carers, Relatives, Care Home Workers and Professional Carers to thank them for the amazing work they do. Hopefully this article will give some helpful advice for those doing such an incredibly difficult and sometimes thankless task. You cannot overestimate the importance of the work you do and the difference you make to all involved.

First Aid for CarersMy wonderful Mum with my children (taken a few years ago)

More than 500,000 people aged over 65 years of age attend accident and emergency departments every year as the result of an accident in their home – the majority of these being falls.

Although most falls do not result in a serious injury, if the casualty is unable to get up following their fall they are more likely to suffer hypothermia and pressure sores. Most serious accidents in the elderly result from falls on the stairs or from steps with over 60 per cent of deaths resulting from accidents on stairs.

Falls

8 top tips following a fall

As we get older we are more prone to falling as we forget that we cannot respond as quickly as we used to if we trip or overbalance.  As our eyesight deteriorates it is easier to miss a step.

Prevention

  • Items should never be left on the stairs as it is too easy to trip over them.
  • Damaged carpet should always be replaced and avoid repetitive carpet patterns as these can affect perception and make it more difficult to see individual stairs.
  • Ensure landings, stairs and hallways are well lit with two-way light switches.
  • Ensure banisters are secure and sturdy, two easy-grip handrails gives more stability.

General help and advice to prevent injuries:

  • As we get older we are more prone to lose our balance through sudden movements, e.g. getting out of bed or a chair too quickly – this is often more apparent if taking medication for high blood pressure. Getting up very slowly and bringing the head up last, can reduce the dizzy effects of postural hypotension.
  • Floors and surfaces should be as clear as possible as worn rugs, slippery floors and paths, uneven surfaces, trailing flexes, and items left lying around make falling far more likely.
  • Look carefully at footwear – ill- fitting shoes that have lost their grip, or old slippers are often the cause of a fall.
  • Grab rails and places to sit down in the bathroom and kitchen can be really helpful if  someone suddenly feels dizzy.
  • Floors should be cleaned carefully to ensure that they are not slippery and it is really important that any spillages are immediately and thoroughly removed.

8 Top Tips following a fall:

Advice following a fall:

  • Stay as calm as you can and don’t rush to get the casualty upright – take time, be reassuring and carefully establish from head to toe whether or not they are hurt.

If unhurt:

  • Find something to hold onto and something soft for the elderly person to kneel on while you help them to get themselves up.
  • Encourage them to get up very slowly leaning forward onto their knees, with the cushioning beneath them and holding onto something solid to help themselves up.
  • Ensure they take time to recover and phone their next of kin to tell them what happened.

If hurt:

  • Do not move them unless they are unconscious and breathing and you need to put them into the recovery position to protect their airway – if you do need to do this, roll them very carefully supporting their hand under their cheek as you roll them over.
  • Keep them warm and comfortable until help arrives
  • If they are conscious encourage them to gently shift their position to avoid pressure sores and their limbs from stiffening up.
  • Get any grazes or cuts checked by a medical professional – particularly on shins as it is important that they are appropriately assessed, cleaned and dressed to avoid getting leg ulcers.

Burns and scalds

Burns and Scalds in the Elderly

It is frighteningly easy to suffer a nasty burn or scald

 Prevention

 Be particularly careful with kettles and flexes. Ensure that kettles and cups are not filled too full.

  • Discourage the use of hot water bottles as they are difficult to fill and are liable to perish, making them dangerous. Hot water bottles should never be filled with boiling water.
  • Rearrange tea and coffee making facilities to avoid carrying hot liquids further than necessary. A trolley can be useful to independently transport tea pots and cups to where you wish to drink it.
  • Fit a thermostatic mixing valve to bath taps and ensure that the temperature is set below 46° C, when running a bath, turn the cold water on first
  • Always use rear hot plates and turn the pan handles away from the front of the cooker
  • Ensure that there is a mains operated smoke alarm (and carbon monoxide sensor) professionally fitted and regularly checked.
  • Be careful when smoking and disposing of cigarette stubs, don’t smoke in bed.
  • Ensure electric blankets are in good condition and regularly checked
  • Elderly skin becomes thinner and an elderly person can suffer a nasty burn from a hot drink that has been made many minutes earlier.
  • If someone is diabetic their nerve endings may well have become damaged and they may not feel that something is burning them until it has done serious damage.

If burnt:

  • Run the affected area immediately under cool running water for at least 10 minutes and get medical help. Keep the area under cool running water until the help arrives. Keep the casualty warm and dry and just cool the burnt area. Look out for signs of shock and phone and ambulance if worried.
  • Never put any creams or potions onto a burn or pop any blisters. Burns should always be assessed by a medical professional. Do not rush to dress a burn – always ensure it has been run under cool running water for at least 20 minutes if you intend to dress it. Do not remove any clothing if it is sticking to the skin, loose clothing and jewellery should be taken off. Once properly cooled; a burn can be loosely dressed with a small piece of cling film from an inner part of the roll and then covered with cold wet towels and the casualty taken to hospital or to the GP for them to dress it properly. If concerned – do not hesitate to phone an ambulance.

Written by Emma Hammett for First Aid for Life

It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical or undertake an online First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit www.firstaidforlife.org.uk for more information about our practical courses specifically designed for Carers and  click here for information about our onlinefirstaid courses for Carers.

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

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Asthma, alcohol and pollen, a lethal combination

  • emma
  • March 1, 2016

Asthma, alcohol and pollen, a lethal combination

Asthma is an extremely common chronic and potentially life threatening condition that affects nearly 10% of children and a large number of adults too. There are over 25,000 emergency hospital admissions for asthma amongst children in the UK every year and many more when you include adult asthmatics too. Many asthmatics find that there is a particular time of year when their asthma becomes more difficult to control; for some cold weather is a challenge, however for many Spring is particularly difficult.

When someone has Asthma; their airways go into spasm which causes tightness of the chest; the linings of the airways become inflamed and produce phlegm leading to extreme difficulty in breathing.

Learn the triggers:

Asthma, Alcohol and pollen can be a lethal combination and the following paragraph explains why.

There are many different triggers for Asthma attacks and many asthmatics are well aware of their trigger points, although they may not always be able to avoid them.

Asthma triggers

Pollen and pollution are increasingly responsible for asthma triggers and many people find a worsening of their symptoms in Spring combined with the onset of hay fever. There are many species of grasses, trees and weeds in the UK and some people are particularly sensitive to some and do not react at all to others. There is also huge variation around the country as to when pollen is released and people can begin to suffer from hay fever as early as January. About 20% of people with hay fever are allergic to birch tree pollen and this as well as Oak and Plane trees, are responsible for many unpleasant symptoms and can exacerbate asthma.

Grass pollens are the most common cause of hay fever and usually affect people in May, June and July.

Weed pollens (such as nettles and docks) usually release pollen from early spring to early autumn.

If you know pollen is a trigger for your asthma, speak to your GP or asthma nurse.

The Met Office issues really useful pollen advice, please see below. They also have great resources and heat maps indicating particularly high pollen counts to enable you to prepare.

pollen-cal

Alcohol contains histamine; which is also released as part of the body’s reaction to allergies – it is therefore strongly suggested that alcohol can increase the sensitivity of the body to pollen and other allergens. It is advisable to avoid alcohol if you have a prone to allergic reactions or suffer from allergy induced asthma as it can make you more likely to suffer an asthma attack.

Keeping your hay fever under control will help with controlling your asthma too.

Take medicines for hay fever and do your best to control the symptoms. Research has shown that if you are able to control your hay fever symptoms, you are less likely to be admitted to A&E with a severe asthma attack. Hay fever can often be controlled using over the counter medication such as nasal steroids, anti-histamines or anti-inflammatory eye-drops; ask your pharmacist or GP which one is right for you and if it isn’t working go back and try an alternative.

Asthma UK have great resources on their website https://www.asthma.org.uk/

Symptoms of asthma:

coughing
wheezing
shortness of breath
tightness in the chest
Often people find it particularly difficult to breathe out and have an increase in sticky mucus and phlegm
Not everyone will get all of these symptoms.

NOTE: Encouraging someone to sit upright is generally helpful when dealing with breathing problems. Sitting the wrong way round on a chair may be a good position for them.

DO NOT take them outside for fresh air if it is cold – as cold air makes symptoms worse.

How to help in an asthma attack

The following guidelines are suitable for both children and adults:

How to help with an asthma attack

Be calm and reassuring as reducing the stress and keeping the casualty calm really helps them to control their symptoms and panic can increase the severity of an attack. Take one to two puffs of the reliever inhaler (usually blue), immediately – using a spacer device if available.

  • Stay as calm as you can and encourage them to stay calm too
  • Sit them down, loosen any tight clothing and encourage them to take slow, steady breaths.
  • If they do not start to feel better, they should take more puffs of their reliever inhaler
  • If they do not start to feel better after taking their inhaler as above, or if you are worried at any time, call 999/112.
  • They should keep taking the reliever inhaler whilst waiting for the paramedics to arrive
  • If you suspect the asthma attack maybe due to an allergic reaction and the reliever inhaler is not working. If the person has been prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector in case of an acute allergic reaction – it would be advisable to give this injection into the upper, outer part of their thigh according to the instructions. If worried in any way, check with the emergency services and keep them informed and updated as to the casualty’s condition.

After an asthma attack:

They should make an appointment with your doctor or asthma nurse for an asthma review, ideally within 48 hours of their attack.
It is strongly advised that you attend a First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. First Aid for Life run specific courses covering in detail how to help someone having an asthma attack.

Please visit www.firstaidforlife.org.uk, www.onlinefirstaid.com or contact emma@firstaidforlife.org.uk or tel 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses.

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

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Fitting, seizures and convulsions

  • emma
  • February 15, 2016

Fitting, seizures and convulsions

Seizures and convulsions

1 in 20 people will experience some sort of a seizure during their lives.

A seizure (the medical term for a fit or convulsion) occurs when there is a sudden burst of electrical activity in the brain temporarily interfering with the normal messaging processes.

The brain affects the whole of the body and so where the seizure occurs in the brain, will affect different parts of the body. There are many different types of seizures and loads of different causes: any head injury or stress to the brain can cause fitting, as can brain tumours, meningitis, malaria, eclampsia in pregnancy, poisoning, lack of oxygen, raised body temperature, epilepsy, drug and alcohol use and withdrawal…

It is quite common for babies and young children to experience febrile convulsions – these are seizures caused by a rising temperature when they are unwell, seizures are extremely frightening, however these ones are rarely life threatening and your child is likely to grow out of them by the time they are about 5 years old.

Observing how someone behaves during a seizure can be really helpful to neurologists. A diagnosis of epilepsy is made when someone has had at least one unprovoked seizure – that cannot be attributed to any other cause.

Fits, seizures or convulsions can cause as rigid out of control movements. The casualty may experience absence seizures, where they become rigid and unresponsive, full thrashing around tonic / clonic fits – or anything in between.

How to help someone experiencing a tonic-clonic fit / generalised seizure

fitting and seizures

What might happen:

Tonic phase – they collapse to the ground as they lose consciousness. The body goes stiff and rigid and they may cry out as if in pain – this is due to an involuntary action as the muscles force air out of the lungs – the casualty is not in pain and is usually unaware of the noise they are making. They can begin to appear blue around their mouth and finger tips.

Clonic phase – They may rigidly jerk around as the muscles alternately relax and tighten. They may make a snoring noise as the tongue flops to the back of the airway, they could be incontinent and might bite their tongue.

Post-Ictal phase – (a medical word to mean after a seizure).  Once the jerking stops, they may be confused, sleepy, agitated or pretty unresponsive (If you are worried about their airway put them into the recovery position). They may not know who they or you are and it could take a few minutes for it all to piece back together.

 

Help for a generalised seizure

  • Make sure they are safe, ease them to the ground if they are on a chair.
  • Protect their head without restraining them.
  • Make a note of the time that the seizure started and of the different phases – be as detailed as you can as this is extremely useful to the medical team when investigating causes and instigating treatment. Specific information as to whether one side of the body is more affected than the other etc can give the clinician help with their diagnosis.
  • Loosen any tight clothes.
  • Remove any objects against which they could hurt themselves.
  • Ask bystanders to move away and protect the casualty’s dignity.
  • Once the seizure has stopped, check the airway and breathing and place in the recovery position if unresponsive.
  • Stay with them and talk to them reassuringly throughout the seizure

 

Phone for an ambulance:

  • if it is their first seizure,
  • if the seizure lasts for more 5 minutes
  • If they have another seizure straight after
  • If they are injured
  • If they are known to have seizures and this one is different
  • If you are worried at all
  • If unresponsive for more than 5 minutes after the seizure
  • Never put your fingers or anything in their mouth to try and prevent them biting their tongue – as this will cause serious injury
  • Do not try and move them unless they are in immediate danger
  • Do not restrain their movements whilst they are fitting
  • Do not give them anything at all to eat and drink until fully recovered
  • Never try and ‘bring them round’

Useful links: Epilepsy UK

http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/seizures/febrile-convulsions

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4iWcTJW3tU&feature=em-subs_digest-vrecs A you tube video showing a little boy having a convulsion

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Breaks and sprains

  • emma
  • February 8, 2016

Breaks and Sprains

Breaks and sprains are extremely common, but how do you know whether you have broken a bone or just have a soft tissue injury?

The honest answer is, that unless the bone is sticking out, or the limb is at a very peculiar angle, the only way to know for sure that a bone is broken is to have an X-ray.

A fracture is another word for a broken bone.

Breaks and Sprains - how to help

Other possible signs:

Pain – it hurts

Loss of power, it can be hard to move a broken limb

Unnatural movement – the limb may be at an odd angle and have a wider range of movement than it should have

Swelling, bruising or a wound around the fracture site

Deformity- often limbs may be shortened, or the broken area could have lumps and bumps or stepping (with an injured spine it is uneven as you gently feel down their back)

Irregularity – lumps, bumps, depressions, or stretched skin

Crepitus – the grinding sound when the end of bones rub against each other

Tenderness – pain at the site of injury

Broken bones on their own, rarely cause fatalities. However, a severe break can cause the casualty to go into shock particularly if there is bleeding associated with the injury (either internal or external bleeding). Shock is life threatening.

Keep the casualty warm and dry and be aware that pain and stress will adversely affect their condition.

If you are at all worried about them, phone an ambulance.

Different types of fractures

types of fractures
open fracture

Open Fractures

If the bone is sticking out, the bone has to be broken! Your priority is to stop bleeding without pushing on the bone or moving the broken leg at all – then get emergency help.

Be very aware of the onset of shock – keep them warm and dry, if they show any signs of shock, lie them down, but do not elevate the injured limb.

 

Complicated fractures

With complicated fractures, muscles, nerves, tendons and blood vessels could be trapped and damaged. If you are aware that they have lost feeling in part of their limb, or if it has changed colour, they will need urgent medical treatment.

Keep them calm, warm and supported and phone for an ambulance.

 

Closed fractures

With a closed fracture, the bone has not come through the skin. Children commonly have greenstick fractures, where the bone doesn’t snap, but half breaks like a spring stick.

 

With closed fractures (and also with soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains) – you should initially do the following:

PRICE  Treatment for soft tissue injuries and closed fractures

Protect the injury (stop using the injured limb, pad to protect)

Rest the injury

Ice – apply a wrapped ice pack

Comfortable support – apply a supportive bandage

Elevate – to reduce swelling

Care of soft tissue injuries

Call an ambulance if:

  • They start to show signs of shock
  • There is a possibility that they have injured their spine or head
  • They have any difficulty breathing or begin to lose consciousness
  • It is an open fracture, with the bone through the skin
  • If they lose feeling in the limb, or if it dramatically changes colour
  • You are unable to safely transport the child to hospital yourself keeping the limb stable and supported
  • There is a suspected pelvic or hip fracture
  • You are worried about them in any way.

It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical or Online First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit www.firstaidforlife.org.uk www.onlinefirstaid.com emma@firstaidforlife.org.uk or tel 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses. First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

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Concussion – what should we do?

  • emma
  • February 1, 2016

Concussion

Will Smith’s latest film is out on Friday; a true story – Concussion.

The film centres around Dr Bennet Omalu a Nigerian forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who discovered that repeated blows to the head can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE); resulting in major deterioration to the brain function; causing dementia, depression and memory loss. It is currently diagnosed after death during the post-mortem.

Dr Omalu battled with the NFL to take concussion much more seriously and care more about the safety of their players. As a result of his research and persistence the NFL not only take better care of their current players but have also organised a $1 billion pay-out to former players. In addition they fund global concussion-related research and contributed to the major “Concussion In Sport” project to study the long-term effects of head injuries, currently happening in Britain under Dr Michael Turner

Currently we don’t know the full cause and effect of CTE, however it is thought to be due to repeated concussions and traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injury and Concussion

Traumatic brain injury occurs following a head injury; as a result of a blow or jolt to the head and can result in permanent or temporary damage to the brain.

Traumatic Brain Injury is the leading cause of disability and death in people under 45.

A traumatic brain injury can cause the signs and symptoms of concussion.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

Concussion and traumatic brain injury

During impact to the head, the soft brain crashes back and forth against the inside of the hard skull causing bruising, bleeding, and shearing of the brain.

An injury that occurs initially, at the moment of impact is known as the primary injury and this can either affect a small part or specific lobe of the brain or can damage the whole brain.
However, during the impact, the brain can smash against the inside of the skull, tearing nerve fibres and causing generalised bruising and bleeding to the brain.

Compression or secondary brain injury

compression-02

It is possible that immediately after an accident the casualty may appear confused; could briefly lose consciousness, have blurred vision or feel a bit sick. These are some of the signs and symptoms of concussion.

They may initially recover and appear fine, however they could swiftly deteriorate. The problem occurs as a result of delayed trauma or a secondary brain injury or compression and this can cause more damage than the primary injury.

Repeated injury further damages the brain and so it is vitally important that players never play on following a blow to the head and always take time out from play and training to allow for their injury to fully recover. The FA and England Rugby have produced guidelines for players suffering head injuries: FA guidance and England Rugby guidance

Compression is a secondary response to a major head injury and occurs as the brain swells. Swelling is a perfectly normal and usually helpful response to injury and occurs as extra oxygenated blood, fluid and nutrients are brought to the injured area. However the problem with swelling within the brain is that the skull forms a rigid box, resulting in increasing pressure on the brain which can constrict and damage other areas of the brain that were not damaged in the initial impact. This swelling can happen immediately or anytime up to 5 days after the injury (and even later if followed by a further head injury before the original injury has fully recovered).

What are the symptoms of concussion?

concussion and head injury symptoms

Depending on the type and location of the injury, the person’s symptoms may include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Memory loss / amnesia
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Visual problems
  • Poor attention / concentration
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dizziness / loss of balance
  • Irritability / emotional disturbances
  • Feelings of depression
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

The BMJ has produced a pocket guide to recognising concussion

First Aid for a head injury:

  • Maintain both your safety and that of the casualty
  • If they have suffered a serious head injury it is likely they may have sustained a spinal injury as well.
  • Quickly assess if there are any immediate life threatening injuries – check for a response and see if they are breathing normally. (if unconscious and breathing carefully put into the recovery position, whilst doing your best to keep their spine in line – keep checking that they are breathing, if unconscious and not breathing start CPR)
  • Keep monitoring the casualty for at least the next 48 hours and ensure they are not left on their own for any prolonged length of time and let others know that they have had a head injury. Observe for any of the above symptoms and if concerned call an ambulance.
  • Someone suffering from compression must receive immediate medical treatment in hospital. They may be treated with rest, observation and medication, or may require surgery to relieve the pressure on the brain.

The Head Injury charity Headway has produced a handout of advice for people who have suffered a head injury.

It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical or Online First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit www.firstaidforlife.org.uk www.onlinefirstaid.com emma@firstaidforlife.org.uk or tel 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses. First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

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