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First Aid for Snakebites: Signs, Symptoms

December 23rd, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in First Aid Injury Assessment | Poisons - (Comments Off on First Aid for Snakebites: Signs, Symptoms)
first aid, snakebite

helping snake bite victim

Being bitten by a snake can be life threatening, but this is not always the case. Some snakes are not venomous, and hence most victims can survive the attack. However, it is important to know how to identify snakebites and the first aid steps to take when trying to help a bite victim.

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out for

Victims of snakebites need emergency medical help, especially in the case of poisonous snakes. How fast the victim receives help can mean the difference between life and death. Sometimes a snake may bite you when there is no one around to help. Whether a snake bites your or someone else, it is important to know how to identify this kind of attack. The main signs and symptoms to look out for are:

  • A pair of bit marks at the wound
  • Swelling and redness around the puncture wound
  • Serious pain around the wound
  • Blurred Vision
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Increased perspiration
  • Numb tingling on the face and limbs

How to Administer Snake Bite First Aid

It is imperative to dial 911 or call for an ambulance after a snake attack incident. The following is what one should do to help a snakebite victim as emergency help arrives.

  • Make sure not to panic. The victim should be moved away from the snake to prevent further attacks.
  • The activity level of the victim should be minimized. This will reduce the rate at which the venom spreads in the body.
  • The bite or wound must be placed lower below the level of the heart. This will also help to reduce circulation to the bite area.
  • If you are sure that the snake is not poisons, apply puncture wound first aid.
  • It is important to know what type of snake was behind the attack.  Hence, look at the color and shape of the snake so that you can give this information to medical personnel when they arrive.

There are certain things that could exacerbate the victim’s condition and hence you should avoid them. For instance, do not:

  • Suck out the venom with your mouth. Not only is this dangers to you but the bacterial in your mouth might infect the wound.
  • Take alcohol or a painkiller.
  • Apply ice on the wound.
  • Tie a tight bandage around or near the wound.
  • Try to catch or kill the snake if you are untrained on how to do so as this could put you in danger.

Keep in mind that is vital to help medical personnel know what kind of snake bit the victim. If possible, take a picture of the snake, as this will help the doctor to choose the right anti-venom. In case you live in an area where snakes are common, it is use to have a snakebite first aid kit around.

Chickenpox: Signs and Symptoms, Complications and First Aid

December 19th, 2013 | Posted by Ibrar in First Aid Programs - (Comments Off on Chickenpox: Signs and Symptoms, Complications and First Aid)

Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, a member of the herpes virus family. The same virus is known to cause shingles in adults. It is a common childhood illness, especially in children below 10 years of age. It is very contagious. Direct contact with fluid blisters from chickenpox and aerosols from coughing and sneezing of an infected person can also spread the disease. Infected persons may be contagious even before the itchy blisters appear in the body and remain contagious until the blister crusts over.

The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get vaccination. Children who have been vaccinated reduce their chances of developing chickenpox before the age of one significantly. Moreover, babies whose mothers have already had chickenpox are also less likely to develop the infection due to their mother’s passed immunity through the blood. In the rare cases that they do acquire the disease, it is often mild. Severe cases of chickenpox frequent in children with suppressed immune systems or have not been vaccinated.

Signs and Symptoms of Chickenpox

The incubation period of the virus is typically 14-16 days after direct contact with an infected person, thus symptoms may only manifest then.Not all symptoms will be present,

  • Extremely itchy red skin rashes that occur for 10 to 21 days
  • Numerous blisters, approximately 250 to 500 in number
      • Small and itchy
      • Fluid-filled
      • Often appear in the face, middle of the body and scalp first, and may eventually spread
      • Appearance of new spots every day for five to seven days
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness

Complications fromChickenpox

Chickenpox

Chickenpox

Not many complications develop from chickenpox. However, these complications may make the infection more difficult to treat. Some of the common complications include:

  • Bacterial infection of the skin, soft tissues, bones or bloodstream
      • Often from scratching
      • May require antibiotics

     

  • Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  • Pneumonia
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • In adults, shingles
    • The same virus remains dormant in the body until becomes activated again and causes shingles

First Aid Treatment and Management for Chickenpox

Chickenpox does not usually need medical treatment and can be effectively treated and managed at home. This primarily involves reducing discomfort, promoting healing time, and avoiding complications from progressing. The following tips are suggested:

  • Do not scratch or rub the itchy areas. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream may help soothe itchy areas. Cut the fingernails short to avoid any further infection from developing.Try wearing gloves, especially at night.
  • Take lukewarm baths using minimal soap. Rinse comprehensively. Bathing in oatmeal bath products may also reduce itching.
  • After bathing, apply topical moisturizer to soften and cool the skin.
  • Wear loose and light bedclothes to avoid skin irritation.Exposure to extreme heat and humidity may also lead to skin irritation.
  • To treat fever, paracetamol and ibuprofen may be taken.
  • Take plenty of rest.

Disclaimer: The information given in this article should not be substituted for medical advice or medical treatment. To learn how to treat various skin injuries and infections, including chickenpox, enrol in First Aid Courses.

All about foot drop

December 4th, 2013 | Posted by Ibrar in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on All about foot drop)
foot drop

foot drop

The difficulty in lifting the front part of foot, or pain on lifting the foot upwards is known as the drop foot. The people with the drop foot cannot raise the front portion and drag the foot while walking. It is usually a clinical sign of some serious pathology going inside the body. The nervous system problem causes the drop foot more often. In some cases, the problem is temporary and drop foot gets cured on itself, but in some cases it becomes a permanent disorder and causes much discomfort. Some external support is required to keep the foot in normal position in such cases.

Also known as ‘drop foot’, it can occur at any age and may involve both feet in some cases. The treatment given is usually symptomatic.

Symptoms of foot drop:

The main signs and symptoms of foot drop are:

  • Difficulty in lifting front portion of foot
  • Dragging of foot or feet while walking
  • Raising thigh while walking
  • Steppage gait
  • Numbness of skin on top of foot

What causes foot drop:

Foot drop is not a disease itself; rather it is a sign of some other disease. It may become permanent in some cases. It is manifested in many neurological problems. The main causes may include:

Nerve supply is an essential thing for the maintenance of any body part. If nerve supply gets cut, the body part fails to act and gets destroyed as it is disconnected from brain. The nerve supply to foot comes from peroneal nerve, which is superficial and can be damaged easily and may result in foot drop. Sports injuries, knee surgery, delivery of a child or diabetes can cause the nerve damage. The problems in roots of nerve, that is the spinal cord, can also cause this problem.

The problem of brain like MS (multiple sclerosis), stroke, and cerebral palsy and Charcot-Marie-tooth disease can also result in foot drop.

Muscles are responsible for moving the feet up and down and any change in muscles also results in foot drop as movements are hampered. The weak or destroyed muscles cannot cause the foot to move and paralysis of that specific part occurs. Dystrophy of foot muscles, polio, Lou-Gehrig’s disease and many other problems can precipitate this problem.

Treatment options for Foot drop:

Addressing the underlying cause and removing it usually causes the foot drop problem to vanish. The immediate thing to do when this problem is encountered is to cure the symptoms and provide the relief. Following options might be helpful:

  • Wearing light weight braces keeps the foot at the normal straight position and helps during walking and avoids the foot dragging.
  • Specific shoe inserts are also helpful to provide the support to foot.
  • Taking certain exercises to help foot muscles to attain strength is very useful. A physiotherapist should be consulted for proper guidance in this regard. Some devices are now used to stimulate the muscles and get them back at normal work.
  • If problem persists after conventional methods, the surgery is performed to remove or repair the damaged nerve.