There are a few more very important steps to saving a persons life. In my previous two posts I discussed how to regulate a persons breathing and heart rate, how to help someone with a fracture, how to prevent shock from happening and how to stop the bleeding of a wound someone may have acquired. This post is going to have a few more steps that are very important while trying to save someone that is seriously injured.
Heat Injuries are very dangerous and can be fatal. When the heat production in ones own body exceeds the body’s ability to lower its own temperature adequately. The only way to cure a heat injury is to artificially cool down the body and get it closer to normal temperature until their body can once again self-regulate. There are many different ways to acquire heat injuries:
Dehydration: to prevent dehydration you have to drink lots of water. Electrolyte-enhanced waters are great.
Heat Cramps: This is painful cramping in a large muscle. It usually happens in your legs, arms, or abdomen. It happens due to loss of salt due to heavy sweating. The treatment of this is to cool down the body.
Heatstroke: If your body temperature reaches more than 105 degrees, then the entire nervous system can malfunction. This is from an absence of sweat and can lead to organ damage and death. There are a few things you can do to cool down the body.
- Get to a shaded environment.
- Lie down and elevate the legs.
- Loosen Clothing.
- Take sips of fluid, but don’t gulp or guzzle.
- Remove most clothing.
- Fan a cold-water mist over the body, which increases evaporation.
- Wrap the victim in a water-soaked blanket
- Put ice packs under the groin or on the back of the neck.
Cold injuries are another injury that can cause death. Cold Injuries can occur from being exposed for prolonged periods of time to cold temperatures. The most import thing for a cold injury is to stay dry. There are two different types of cold injuries, hypothermia and frostbite.
Hypothermia: There are three different types of hypothermia: mild hypothermia, moderate hypothermia and severe hypothermia.
Mild hypothermia: when the body temperature drops to 96 degrees and involuntary shivery occurs.
Moderate Hypothermia: when the body temperature drops between 95 and 93 degrees. You will begin to feel dazed, lose fine motor coordination, slurred speech, and more violent shivering.
To treat mild and moderate hypothermia, you must get the body warmed up. There are a few different things you can do:
- If the person is in wet clothes, replace them with dry clothes and keep the victim moving and attempt to build a shelter.
- Have the victim drink or eat hot liquids if possible. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.
- Generate heat from an exterior source. Build a fire, wrap up in a sleeping bag, or huddle for body-to-body contact.
Severe Hypothermia: If the body goes between 92 and 86 degrees or below death is sure to occur.
To treat severe hypothermia, there are a few steps:
- Wrap the person in as many warm layers of blankets or sleeping bags that are available forming a shell of total insulation and raise the person off the cold ground.
- Heat water and add sugar to it and feed it to the victim every 15 minutes.
- Get the person to urinate, the more they urinate, the quicker the bodies resources can be used to heat other organs instead of the bladder.
- Place hot stones at major arties such as the neck and armpits.
- If no hot stones are available, transfer heat by pressing your warm hands to these points.
- You need to handle the victim gently so that they don’t have cardiac issues.
Frostbite: Frostbite happens when body tissue freezes. Frostbite can lead to death or necrosis of tissue requiring amputation. There are many steps to treat frostbite:
- Get the person warmed up waith a fire or blankets.
- Submerge the extemeties in water (105 to 110 degrees).
- Try to use a heated moist towel until red color returns to skin.
- If you don’t have a warm towel, cup your hands over the area and breathe.
- Do not place anything hot directly on the skin.
- Do not apply heat then remove it from the area.
- Don’t rub the area the skin will blister.
- Gradually rewarm in 100-degree water over a period of twenty-five to forty minutes.
- Do not try and treat/burst the blisters.
- Dress fingers and toes individually and give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the pain.
Trench foot is when boots are constricted or get wet, a fungal infection forms on the feet. The foot will itch and turn red then blue. The treatment for trench foot is to take off wet socks, air out footwear, and examine your feet regularly.
Choking is one of the top causes of accidental death in America. Choking is when something is stuck in an airway and it cuts off breathing. There are steps to treating a choking victim:
- Make sure the person is actually choking. If the person is able to speak or is coughing then they only have a partial blockage, so you should allow them to try and cough up the blockage themselves.
- If you can see the blockage in the mouth, remove it with your fingers.
- If the blockage is still there then use the Heimlich maneuver.
- Get behind the person and grab them just below their rib cage above the navel.
- Apply pressure by giving an upward and inward thrust.
If you are alone and choking find a chair or hard surface and ram your stomach.
There are three different types of severity of burns:
First degree: This burn just affects the outer layer of skin. The skin is red accompanied by swelling.
Second degree: The burn affects the second layer on skin called the dermis. Blisters develop and the skin becomes red and splotchy.
Third degree: this is the most serious. All layers or skin are damaged, it could even reach to the bone. They can appear charred black or sometimes white and dry. To treat burns:
- run the area under cold water
- remove jewelry and clothes from area.
- Cover the burn with sterile dressing
- Don’t point ointment on it
- Make sure the person drinks fluids
The treatment you get for a burn depends on the severity. For a severe burn you should get medical attention.
Bites and Stings:
Bee and Wasp Stings: To treat a bee or wasp sting:
- Remove stinger by scraping with a sharp edge.
- Make sure the person doesn’t need epinephrine that needs to be administered immediately.
- Wash the site with soap and water.
- Relieve discomfort with cold water.
- Use antibiotics with advice of physician.
Spider and Scorpion Bites: To treat spider and scorpion bites:
- Clean and dress the bite area.
- Treat for shock and be prepared to give CPR.
- Obtain antivenin if available.
- Take antibiotics if necessary.
Snakebites: To treat a snakebite:
- Keep the victim clam and still with a low heart rate.
- Transport to a medical facility
- Treat for shock and give them fluids.
- Remove jewelry or constricting items.
- Clean the bite area.
- Prepare to give rescue breathing and CPR.
- Use a constricting band between the bite site and heart that two fingers can easily slip under.
- Attempt to remover poison by squeezing
- Obtain antivenin if possible.
These are the last couple of steps for saving someone’s life. There are many different things that can happen in emergency situations. In my last three posts I have discussed numerous potential dangerous situations and ways to treat them. These are some of the many ways you can help in an emergency situation and potentially save lives.
Courtley, C. (2012). SEAL survival guide: A Navy SEAL’s secrets to surviving any disaster. New York: Gallery Books.