Chapter Five Sudden Illness
Change in consciousness Breathing problems Signals of a heart attack Signals of a stroke Loss of vision Signals of shock Sweating Persistent abdominal pain or pressure Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea Seizures Common signals of sudden illness:
When to call 9-1-1 • Unconscious or altered level • Breathing problems • Signals of a heart attack • Persistent abdominal pain or pressure • Severe bleeding • Vomiting or passing blood • Severe burns • Suspected poisoning • Seizures or stroke • Suspected or obvious injuries to the head, neck, or back • Painful, swollen, deformed areas
What to do until help arrives - • Do no further harm • Check the scene for safety and then the person • Care for life threatening conditions first • Help the person rest comfortably • Keep the person’s body temperature normal • Reassure the person • Watch for changes in consciousness • Do not give the person anything to eat or drink unless they are fully conscious, able to swallow and do not show signs of a stroke • Help the person with their medication if asked
Fainting • Definition – a partial or complete loss of consciousness resulting from a temporary reduction of blood flow to the brain • Signs and Symptoms • Lightheaded or dizzy • May show signs of shock • Numbness or tingling in fingers and toes • Sweating • Vomiting • Everything going dark
Care for Fainting • Care • Lower the person to the ground • Loosen tight clothing • Check that the person is breathing • Do not give them anything to eat or drink • Roll onto side if they vomit • Call 9-1-1 if you are unsure of the victim’s condition
Seizures • Definition – an irregularity in the brain’s electrical activity, often marked by loss of consciousness and uncontrollable muscle movement; also called a convulsion • The chronic condition is known as epilepsy • Can be caused by injury, disease, fever, poisoning, or infection • Febrile seizures are most common in children younger than 5 years.
Signals of a seizure - • A blank stare • A period of distorted sensation during which the person is unable to respond • Uncontrolled muscular contractions, called convulsions, which last several minutes
Signals of a febrile seizure - • Sudden rise in body temperature • Change in consciousness • Rhythmic jerking of head and limbs • Loss of bladder or bowel control • Confusion • Crying out • Becoming rigid • Holding breath • Upward rolling of eyes
Call 9-1-1 if… • The seizure lasts more than five minutes • This is the person’s first seizure • The person has multiple seizures • The person appears to be injured • The cause of the seizure is unknown • The person is pregnant • The person is diabetic • The seizure follows a quick rise in temperature • The person fails to regain consciousness • The seizure takes place in water • The person is elderly and could have suffered a stroke • The person is a young child or an infant and experienced a febrile seizure brought on by high fever
Care for Someone Having a Seizure • Reassure the person • Care for them the same way you would care for someone who is unconscious • Do not put anything between their teeth • Protect the person from being injured by moving nearby objects • Protect the person’s head • Roll them on to their side if there is fluid in their mouth
Stroke • Definition – also known as a brain attack, is a disruption of blood flow to a part of the brain, which causes permanent damage to brain tissue • Mini-stroke– a temporary episode, like a stroke, is caused by a disruption of blood flow to the brain; someone who has a mini stroke is at high risk of having a full blown stroke.
Risk Factors for Stroke • High Blood Pressure • Puts added pressure on arteries and make them stiffer • Controlled by losing weight, changing diet, exercising routinely and managing stress • Diabetes • Uncontrolled, the resulting elevated blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels throughout the body
Risk Factors for Stroke • Cigarette Smoking • Smoking increases blood pressure, damages blood vessels and makes blood more likely to clot. • Benefits of quitting smoking begin as soon as you stop. Ten years after quitting, a persons risk of stroke is about the same as someone who never smoked. • Diet • Diets that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol cause fatty materials to build up on the walls of the blood vessels. • Fatty foods – egg yolks, beef, pork, ham, whole mild
Preventing Stroke • Control your blood pressure • Quit smoking • Eat a healthy diet • Exercise regularly • Maintain a healthy weight • Control diabetes
Signals of a Stroke • Having difficulty talking or being understood when speaking • Facial droop or drooling • Having blurred or dimmed vision • Experience a sudden, severe headache, dizziness, or confusion • Incontinence
F.A.S.T. • Face – weakness on one side of the face • Arm – weakness or numbness in one arm • Speech – slurred speech or trouble speaking • Time – Call 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher know when the symptoms started
Diabetes • Definition – the inability of the body to change sugar from food to energy • This can lead to other medical conditions such as – • Blindness • Nerve disease • Kidney disease • Heart disease • Stroke
Types of Diabetes • Type I • Begins in childhood • Body produces little to no insulin • No cure • Type II • Body makes insulin but not enough for the body’s needs • Genetic or lifestyle factors
Types of Diabetic Emergencies • Hyperglycemia • Too much sugar in the blood • Person may have not taken enough insulin or reacting badly to a meal • Hypoglycemia • Too little sugar in the blood • Person may have taken too much insulin, eaten too little food, or overexerted him or herself.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Emergencies • Changes in level of consciousness • Changes in mood • Rapid breathing or pulse • Feeling or looking ill • Dizziness and headache • Confusion
Care for Diabetic Emergencies • If the person is conscious – • Help them eat or drink something with sugar in it – • Fruit juice or table sugar dissolved in water • Glucagon • Help them get to their injectable medicine • If they are unconscious – • Call 9-1-1 • Do not give them anything by mouth
Allergic Reactions • Allergic reactions are caused by over activity of the immune system against specific antigens (foreign substances) • Antigens that often cause allergic reactions – • Bee or insect • Antibiotics • Pollen • Animal dander • Latex • Certain foods
Allergic Reactions What to Look For - • Hives • Itching • Rash • Weakness • Nausea • Stomach cramps • Vomiting • Dizziness • Trouble breathing
Call 9-1-1 if - • Has trouble breathing • Complains of the throat tightening • Explains that he or she is subject to severe allergic reactions • Is unconscious
What to do until help arrives - • Monitor the person’s breathing • Give care for life-threatening conditions • Check a conscious person to determine – • The substance (antigen) involved • The route of exposure • The effects of the exposure • Assist the person to use an Epi Pen • Assist the person to take antihistamine • Document any changes in the person’s condition
How Poisons Enter the Body • A poison is any substance that causes injury, illness or death if it enters the body. • A person can be poisoned by - • Ingestion – foods, drugs, medications, household items, plants • Inhalation – gases and fumes • Absorption – plants, fertilizers, pesticides • Injection – bites, stings, needles
Checking the Scene for Poisoning • Check for clues about what happened • Unusual odors • Flames • Spilled containers • Try to get information from the victim or bystanders • Try to find out – • The type of poison • The quantity taken • When it was taken • How much the person weighs
Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea • Chest or abdominal pain • Trouble breathing • Sweating • Changes in consciousness • Headache • Dizziness • Burning or tearing eyes • Burns around the lips, tongue, or on the skin
General Care for Poisoning • Remove the person from the source of poison if the scene is dangerous. • Check the person’s level of consciousness, breathing, and other signs of life. • Care for any life threatening conditions. • Gather information. • Look for containers and take them with you to the phone. • Call 9-1-1 or the National Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 • Follow the directions given to you by the professionals.
Poison Control Centers • Dedicated to helping people deal with poisons. • Many can be found in emergency departments of hospitals. • Many poisonings can be cared for without the help of EMS, so PCCs help reduce the workload of the EMS system.
Special Care Considerations • Toxic Fumes • Person’s skin may turn pale and ashen • Get the victim fresh air as soon as possible • Chemicals • Wet – flush the area for at least 20 minutes • Dry – brush off the chemicals with a gloved hand, then flush the area with water
Preventing Poisonings • Use cleaners in a well ventilated room. • Wear protective clothing when working with chemicals. • Read product information carefully. • Never use someone else’s medication. • Keep poisonous substance out of the reach of children and child proof cabinets.