Heart Attack

A heart attack happens when the blood supply to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked.

First aid Treatment

1. Chest Discomfort

The person may have persistent vice like chest pain or isolated unexplained discomfort in arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. They may also be pale, cool or clammy

2. Call 911

The person must receive medical assistance as soon as possible to prevent further damage or even death.

3. Give aspirin?

Give them aspirin, as long as they are not allergic, haven’t had recent surgery, bleeding ulcer or unconscious. The best is one not coated and no more than 300mg.

4. Position of Comfort

This will ease the strain on the heart and decrease chance of injury if the person loses consciousness.  

Frequently Asked questions

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack happens when the blood supply to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked. Heart muscle begins to die after 4-6 of no oxygen. The severity of the heart attack depends on the size and area of the muscle affected.

Does a person have to have chest pain to be having a heart attack?

Symptoms may be present with or without chest discomfort. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest, back  or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.

What should I do if the person has medication to use for chest pain?

If they have tablets or spray, help them use it. You may help them but you should never do so if the patient is unresponsive or has an altered mental status.

How is angina different than a heart attack?

Angina is chest discomfort due to the heart not getting enough blood due to increased demand on the heart and/or narrowing of the blood vessels. Often associated with exertion or excitement usually relieved by rest and taking prescribed medication.

Want to learn more? 

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Stroke

A Stroke is a blockage of blood flow to the brain or bleed within the cranium.

First Aid Treatment

1. Think F.A.S.T.

Face drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty, Time to call 911.

2. Call 911

A stroke is caused by interruption of blood flow to the brain. Heart muscle begins to die after 4-6 minutes without oxygen.

3. Position & Reassure

A stroke can be scary for everyone. Have the person sit in a position of comfort and reassure while you wait for the ambulance.

4. Other Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms vary, but most common can include: shakiness, clammy skin, profuse sweating, drowsiness, confusion, weakness or feeling faint or loss of consciousness.

Frequently Asked questions

The person may be difficult to understand or frightened or anxious. What should I do?

Remain calm. Speak slowly and reassure them that help is on its way. You may not understand them but they may be able to understand you.

Why does stroke tend to affect one side of the body?

Since disruption of blood flow generally involves one side of the brain it will affect the side of the body it controls. Also the location of the blockage or bleed impacts the how the person presents such as speech, personality and so on.

Should I give someone with a stroke Aspirin.

No. Although strokes are often caused by a blockage, they are also caused by a bleed. Aspirin will make these types of strokes more severe. Only test in the hospital can determine the difference.

What is a “mini-stroke”?

TIA or mini-stroke where symptoms go away within 24hours of onset without, cannot diagnose until alleviation of symptoms or medical tests. Those who have experienced a TIA are more likely to have a true stroke.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Diabetic Emergency

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is caused by abnormally low amount of glucose in the body.

First Aid Treatment

1. Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms vary, but most common include: shakiness, clammy skin, profuse sweating, drowsiness, confusion, weakness or feeling faint or sudden loss of consciousness

2. Give Sugary foods

If the person can feed themself give them high sugar foods such as orange juice, candy or sugar tablets.

3. Call 911

You should call 911 if the person is unconscious, has an altered mental status (can become combative or appear drunk), or does not improve after eating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Diabetic emergency symptoms can mimic symptoms of other medical issues & Vice versa.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of medical conditions that inhibits that bodies ability to regulate it’s blood sugar levels. People with diabetes may manage their blood sugar with diet, tablets or insulin.

Should I put food in their mouth?

No. You should never put food in someone's mouth that is unconscious or has an altered mental status as this could cause choking or aspiration. The person should be assisted or encouraged to eat.

What if the emergency is caused by high blood sugar?

Symptoms of high and low blood sugar are similar. High blood sugar is due to the lack of insulin, which is needed for the transport of sugar to muscles and the brain.  Giving additional sugar is unlikely to cause any significant harm so when unsure of type it is advised to provide sugar.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Seizure

Seizures can be caused by an abnormality in the brain or a sign of a medical emergency.

First Aid Treatment

1. Prevent injury

Do not restrain them but put blanket or clothing next to or behind their head (do not over flex neck where it will compromise the airway).  Loosen tight clothing.

2. Recovery Position

After the seizure, roll the person to onto their side with their head tilted back. This will help make sure they keep breathing and will allow any fluids to drain from their mouth.

3. Call 911

Call 911. If you can time how long the seizure lasts and note if it starts again.

4. Reassure

Stay with the person and reassure while you wait for medical help. They may be confused and agitated when they are “waking up”.

Frequently Asked questions

Seizures have a beginning, middle, and end but Not all parts may be visible or easy to identify.

What causes a seizure?

Most commonly caused by an abnormality of the brain. But also brain injury, high blood pressure during pregnancy, low blood sugar, lack of oxygen, stroke  or even fever in children (sudden spike).

Should I keep the tongue forward, put something in their mouth or restrain them?

No, do not go anywhere near the mouth or put anything in the mouth. Simply make the area safe for the person and other around. Restraining may cause injury to your or them. Let the seizure run its normal course.

What if they stop breathing?

It can be normal for breathing to stop for short while during the stiff or contracted stage of seizure and their face may turn pale or bluish. They may also have abnormal breathing after the “jerking” phase. Consider placing them in the recovery position.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Heat stroke

When the body’s mechanism of keeping the body cool is no longer sufficient.

First Aid Treatment

1. Call 911

The person’s skin may be hot and wet or dry; they may be experiencing changes in consciousness, seizures, as well as vomiting and a high body temperature.

2. Cool Them Down

Remove person from the extreme environment. Remove or loosen tight clothing. Cool the person with cold water, immersion, shower or wet ice towel.

3. Provide Water

If the person is conscious give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure they drink slowly.

4. Considerations

If the person has an altered mental status consider recovery position. Be prepared for potential seizures. If using immersion or shower to cool do not leave person unattended.

Frequently Asked questions

When the body’s temp is in excess of 104°F, it can cause permanent damage to the brain & vital organs.

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke is a medical emergency in which the bodies ability to manage its temperature no longer works and the body can rise to dangerous temperatures, especially the brain.

What is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool. You might feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, and nauseated. You might also begin experience heat cramps in the legs or abdomen. 

How can I immerse someone if not near a pool or tub?

Kiddie pool, a tarp raised at the edges, garden hose or locker room shower. Be mindful not to obstruct the person airway especially if they are presenting with an altered mental status.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is when the body temperature is below 95.0 °F.

First Aid Treatment

1. Signs & Symptoms

The person may have excessive shivering or cessation in severe hypothermia. Appear pale, cool to the touch, confused & sluggish.

2. Warm slowly

Take person to a warmer environment, remove any wet clothing if possible. Wrap in dry blanket and give warm drinks and high-energy foods.

3. Call 911

Call 911 if the person does not improve or worsens or if they have altered mental status.

Frequently Asked Questions

Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of hypothermia and mask signs and symptoms. 

What is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia is when a person’s internal temperature falls below the level for normal body functions which reduces circulation of blood to skin and eventually brain and internal organs.

Does it have to be below freezing to become hypothermic?

No. The environment is usually cold but a person can develop hypothermia in a warm environment as well especially in water or prolonged exposure or extreme exertion in mild to cold conditions.  Medications and medical conditions can also affect how a persons body can maintain their temperature. 

What is frostbite?

Frostbite usually happens to the fingers or toes in extreme cold conditions is much less common than hypothermia. Areas may become pale, blue & lose sensation. Gently warm the fingers and toes such as warm water (not hot) while waiting for more advanced care. Do not thaw the affected body part if there is any chance that it will refreeze.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Toxins/Poisons

Toxins and poisons can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed.

First Aid Treatment

1. Determine What, When, How Much

Determine without putting yourself at risk what the person ingested or came in contact with, how much and when.

2. Call 911

Call 911 if the person has an altered mental status, has difficulty breathing, you suspect was attempting to do harm to self or area not safe.

3a. If Swallowed

Do not make the person sick or give them anything to drink unless instructed to by poison control or emergency services.

3b. If Skin Contact

Do not to get on yourself. Remove contaminated clothing and rinse skin with large amounts of tap water. Call 911.

3c. If inhaled

Do not expose yourself to potential danger. Get yourself, others and affected person to fresh air immediately. Call 911.

4. Poison Control

1-800-222-1222 - Call 911 first if person has any life threats, area is not safe or you are unsure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Relatively safe items can become hazardous depending on amount, mixing, exposure type and more.

Should I make the person sick?

No unless instructed to by poison control. This can cause more harm, especially if the substance is caustic or may block the airway.

What if I suspect someone has ingested a harmful substance but appears fine?

Call poison control and follow their instructions. Try to determine what, when and how much the person may have ingested.  Call 911 if the person is unconscious, has an altered mental status, has difficulty breathing or you suspect was attempting to harm themselves.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Asthma Attack

Asthma causes the muscles in the airway to narrow, making it difficult to breathe.

First Aid Treatment

1. Position & Inhaler

Help the person sit in a position of comfort and help them take their medication.

2. Call 911

If the difficulty breathing appears severe (not able to complete sentences), they don’t have their medication or they situation worsens, call 911.

3. How to use inhaler

  1. Shake the inhaler well before use
  2. Remove the cap.
  3. Breathe out, away from the inhaler.
  4. Bring the inhaler to the mouth.
  5. Start to breathe in slowly.
  6. Depress the top of the inhaler while continuing to breath un until max breath.
  7. Remove the inhaler from the mouth, and hold your breath for about 10 seconds, then breathe out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Asthmatic attacks can be triggered by allergens, exercise, smoke, pollution, or airway infections.

How can I tell if someone is having an asthma attack?

People with Asthma are usually aware of their condition and can let you know. They will present with difficulty breathing, may have difficulty speaking and may cough and make wheezing sound. In severe cases the person will begin to appear anxious or have a declining level of consciousness. Their skin may appear grayish-blue (especially around the lips and nail-beds) as their body does not have enough oxygen.

What if they stop breathing or become unconscious?

Follow the steps for unconscious person.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Anaphylaxis or Severe Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction that can cause life threatening complications (i.e. blocked airway, shock).

First Aid Treatment

1. Rash, Swelling, S.O.B

The person may develop a rash, itchiness or swelling with difficulty breathing from minor to severe.

2. Call 911

Call 911 if the person begins to have difficulty breathing, altered mental status or “shock”.

3. Epi-Pen/Auto-Injector

If the person has an Epi-Pen or Auto-Injector help them use it. Administer in the outer thigh and hold for 10 seconds.

4. Position of Comfort

Have the person sit in a position of comfort and reassure while you wait for the ambulance.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most common causes of anaphylaxis are foods, medications and insect stings.

What is anaphylactic shock?

The body’s response to injury or infection is to increase blood flow to site.  With anaphylaxis it is wide spread causing system wide vasodilation and shift of fluid from vessels into interstitial space. Not only does this cause a problem with the volume (poor perfusion) but also causes a swelling of the upper and lower airway.

What causes anaphylaxis?

Common causes of allergic reaction are pollen, stings, latex, food items such as nuts or dairy products. Often times victims will know they have an allergy but you can develop allergic reaction even severe at anytime no matter how many times they’ve been exposed to the substance.

What is an auto-injector/epi-pen?

An epi-pen is spring loaded injection that quickly administers epinephrine to a victim with little training or technical knowledge needed. Epinephrine is the first line medication for anaphylaxis.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Bleeding

Bleeding can range from minor to severe. Firm, consistent pressure is the standard of care.

First Aid Treatment

1. Apply Direct Pressure

The pressure is acting as a plug to stop or slow the blood escaping. This helps the blood clot to stop the bleeding. Use what is on hand if bandage not immediately available.

2. Call 911

If bleeding is severe, you are unable to control with pressure or the patient presents with an altered mental status or signs of shock call 911 ASAP.

3. Continuous Pressure

Keep pressure on the wound until help arrives. If bleeding soaks through, do not remove & add second item and hold pressure.  If bleeding stops secure bandage with pressure dressing if available.

4. Treat for Shock

If person appears pale, cold, clammy or has an altered mental status lay the person down in a position of comfort and help keep warm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bleeding in those who take blood thinners or take aspirin will be more difficult to manage.

What can I use to put pressure on the wound?

You can use anything although clean or sterile dressing/pads are preferable. Do not delay applying pressure waiting for these items though.

Should I worry about getting in contact with blood?

It’s best not to come into contact with someone else's blood or bodily fluid. Wear medical gloves, a plastic bag or assist the person apply pressure on themselves.

How do I treat an impaled object?

Do not remove as it may be acting as stopper. Apply pressure around the object. If object is in the eye cover both eyes to prevent movement.

How do I treat a nosebleed?

Have the person (or you) pinch the nostrils together tightly have them lean forward while breathing through their mouth. Do not tilt the head backwards as this could let blood get into the airway or stomach their stomach, which can cause vomiting.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Fractures, Sprains, Strains

Treat the same rather you think it's a fracture, sprain or strain.

First Aid Treatment

1. Support the injury

Encourage the person to support the injury with their hand or use a cushion or item of clothing to prevent unnecessary movement.

2. Call 911

If the injured area is obviously deformed, significantly painful or the person cannot move without causing additional pain/injury call 911 or have someone do it for you.

3. Minimize movement

Do not try to manipulate or reposition the injured area as this may cause more harm. Splint if needed to move person or to prevent further injury.

4. Considerations

If open fracture (bone exposed) you may apply gentle pressure to area to control bleeding if needed. Leave footwear in place unless needed to control bleeding. You may apply ice to injury in 20 min increments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Significant force is needed to break a bone. Consider other injuries that may have been sustained.

How can I tell if a bone is broken?

The person may have severe pain, bruising or swelling or in more severe cases the injured area may be misshapen or have an open wound.

How do I support a broken bone?

Do not move it unnecessarily or try to force it back into alignment. Pad around the area and use the person other non-inured areas to support the injury.

What if all I see is bruising and/or swelling?

It can be extremely difficult to differentiate between fractures, sprains and strains without an X-Ray. Consider how the injury occurred as this will determine your level of suspicions. If any doubt seek further medical attention.

Can broken bones also cause blood loss?

Yes. Fractures can also be a cause of blood loss or internal bleeding. For example: Rib = 125 ml, Radius or Ulna = 250-500 ml, Humerus = 500-750 ml, Femur = 1000-2000 ml, Pelvis = 1000-Massive. If person shows sign of shock treat accordingly.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

Burns

The faster and longer a burn is cooled, the less the impact of the injury.

First Aid Treatment

1. Cool the burn

Cool with running water for at least 10 minutes which will reduce pain, swelling and the risk of scarring.

2. Call 911

Always call 911 if a child has been burned, electrical or chemical burns, affects more multiple areas of the body, covers hands, feet, joints or face or if underlying tissues are visible or appears dry/leathery, white or charred.

3. Loosely Cover

If the burn requires further medical care, loosely cover it with a clean dressing. Keeping the area clean helps prevent infection.

4. Inhalation Injury

Burns to the face can be a warning sign of an inhalation injury and can lead to difficulty breathing or a blocked airway.

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider taking steps to prevent heat loss for burns covering a large body surface area.

Should I put butter or cream on a burn?

No. Butter does not cool the area. All oils retain heat which is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. If you put anything on top of a burn it will have to be removed later at the hospital which may cause further pain and damage.

If clothes or other objects are stuck to the burn should I remove them?

No. Remove clothing or jewelry near the burned injury but don’t try to remove anything stuck to the burn as this will cause more injury.

What if the burn is caused by a liquid chemical?

Immediately flush the chemical with large amounts of water. Be careful to not expose yourself to the chemical or potential danger.

Want to learn more?

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or guarantees. See additional information here.

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