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A chest injury refers to an injury that causes damage any structure in the chest. Minor forms of injuries to the chest include small injuries to the skin such as bruises, while severe forms of injuries to the chest may include damage to the internal organs such as the heart or the lungs. Injuries to the soft tissue of the chest may include lacerations, stab wounds, puncture wounds and abrasions.

A person with a chest injury may have bruising along with chest pain, chest swelling and chest wall tenderness.

Treatment for chest injury often depends on how severe the damage to the chest is. General treatment options may include cold compresses, rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or narcotic pain medication for pain. Often rib fractures require narcotic pain medication for short-term use

Chest Injuries

Chest Injuries

only. Your doctor may also advise deep breathing exercises to reduce the risk of incurring pneumonia and atelectasis.

Important Disclaimer: this post on chest injuries, signs, symptoms, causes and treatment is for learning purposes only. When in doubt contact a medical professional or learn more about recognizing and managing these emergencies by enrolling in first aid and CPR courses through St Mark James.

Causes

Causes of chest injury may include the following:

  • Motor vehicle or car accidents
  • Altercations
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries – especially contact sports injuries
  • Occupational injuries
  • Industrial injuries
  • Gunshot wounds – puncture wounds
  • Stab or knife wounds – puncture wounds

Types of chest injuries include:

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of chest injury may include:

  • Mild chest pain
  • Chest pain while breathing
  • Chest pain while coughing
  • Worsening pain with movement
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Tenderness of the chest – breast tenderness or tenderness of the chest wall
  • Chest contusions – bruising to the chest wall
  • Mild breathing difficulties
  • Swelling of the chest wall
  • Back pain

Severe chest injury may cause the following symptoms:

  • Fainting
  • Deformed chest
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing – severe – use of accessory muscles to support breathing
  • Nasal flaring
  • Rib retractions

Treatment

General treatment for chest injury includes cold compresses, rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication for pain and deep breathing exercises. Many casualties, however, find it difficult to breathe deeply due to the increasing pain while breathing. It is important to note that deep breathing is very important in case you have a chest injury as it reduces the risk of pneumonia and atelectasis. Pain medication can be taken by these patients who are no able to breathe deeply due to the pain.

Severe chest injuries may occur due to rib fractures or damage to the vital internal organs such as the heart and the lungs. Treatment for severe chest injuries may include oxygen therapy and surgical repair of damaged tissues of the chest.

Treatment options for chest injury may include:

  • Cold compresses – apply every 2-3 hours for 20 minutes
  • Rest
  • Deep breathing
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication for pain
  • Narcotic pain medication for short term use only
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Surgery to repair damaged tissues in the chest

Additional treatment measures include:

  • Stop smoking and avoid passive smoking
  • Perform deep breathing exercises for every 4 hours
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Take medication as directed by your health car provider and avoid skipping doses

Learn More

To learn more about minor and severe emergencies involving chest pain and injuries sign up for first aid and CPR training courses through workplace approved.

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Know More About Crush Injury

February 25th, 2013 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Skeletal Injuries - (0 Comments)

Crush injuries result when certain parts of the body are subjected to a high

Crush Injury

Crush Injury First Aid

degree of pressure or force, usually when the body is squeezed between two immobile or heavy objects. Damaged caused by injuries include bleeding, bruising, fracture, laceration, secondary infection, nerve injury, wounds, and/or compartment syndrome (increased pressure in a leg or arm leading to severe nerve, muscle, tissue or blood vessel damage).

Crush injuries result from many different situations that include occupational injuries, motor vehicle accidents, mining accidents and other industrial accidents. For crush injury syndrome to occur, it must involve a large area, such as the entire arm or thigh, and blood circulation towards the area has been obstructed. Moreover, the force or pressure applied must be present for some time before crush injury syndrome can occur. However, not all crush injuries actually progress into crush injury syndrome.

First aid for crush injuries

Initiate basic first aid procedures (register for training here). Quickly survey the scene and look for possible dangers. Ensure your personal safety and that of the casualty. Call 911 or your local services and ask for help.

Assess the condition of the victim. If it safe to remove the crushing force, do so. Keep the victim comfortable and continuously monitor condition. In the past, tourniquet was frequently used for crush injuries but it is not recommended. The victim may appear conscious and alert; however their condition can deteriorate quickly, so be sure to monitor victim closely while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

Crush Injury Syndrome

In case of a crush injury and pressure is not released immediately, such as when the body part is trapped, the severed body part may progress into crush injury syndrome.

Crush injury syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition. In this condition, toxins produced by the body are trapped by the compressive item. Removing the pressure can cause the sudden release of toxins into the system potentially overwhelming the kidneys – the organs mainly responsible for clearing body toxins. Crush injury syndrome may develop within one hour after a severe crush injury, but normally takes around 4 hours.

In addition, releasing the compressing pressure or force can cause fluid to leak into the injured area, resulting in shock. If not properly treated, both crush injury syndrome and shock can lead to fatal consequences. Therefore, it is recommended that experts remove the compressive item. Ideally, the casualty is given fluids and medications by rescue services before removing the compressing force.

Preventing Crush Injury Syndrome

Crush injury syndrome can actually be prevented if persons suffering from crushing injuries are provided with proper first aid immediately. Here are two important things to remember when caring for victims of crush injury:

  • If the body part of the victim has been trapped for LESS THAN 10 MINUTES and you can safely remove the compressive object, carefully remove the object and provide first aid for injuries sustained.
  • If the body part of the victim has been trapped for LONGER THAN 10 MINUTES, call for emergency services and explain the situation. DO NOT attempt to release the pressure or remove the object. Keep the victim warm and comfortable. Provide reassurance while waiting for rescue services.

Learn More

To learn more about recognizing and helping victims of crush injuries enrol in workplace approved first aid training (more information).

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First Aid for Fractures

December 17th, 2012 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Skeletal Injuries - (0 Comments)

A fracture refers to a crack or a break in a bone. When a person is fractured, he will first hear a snap and then experience an acute pain. With care and effort you can provide first aid to a person who has undergone a fracture. A fracture can usually be seen as an open wound or a protruding bone in most cases.

Signs and Symptoms

If a fracture results in a lot of pain and trauma, call 911 or a local emergency number immediately. You will know if a person is fractured if:

  • The patient explains that he or she heard an audible snap during the accident
  • The patient may tell you that he or she is feeling a rubbing in the bones also called crepitus
  • There is a swelling in the affected area
  • The person is bleeding heavily
  • The affected joint or limb seem deformed
  • Loss of strength
  • A gentle press causes sharp pain
  • The bone is piercing through the skin
  • The extremities of the injured leg or arm, such as fingers or toes appear bluish
  • The neck, head or back seems deformed if a bone is broken in these areas
  • A bone is broken in the pelvis, hip or upper leg
  • Twitching
  • Immobility or the person becomes unresponsive. There is no breathing or movement.

First Aid

The first thing you need to make sure is that you should know what you are about to treat. Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of fractures mentioned above before you begin first aid.

  • If the person is bleeding heavily and you suspect a broken bone in the arm, leg, hip, pelvis or neck, make sure you take care of it before you call for help. If you are not alone, it is better if you make someone else call
    Folded Splint

    The picture above shows a splint that is commonly found in first aid kits. Splints are used to help immobilize a injury.

    instead.

  • Use a sterile piece of fabric to apply pressure on the wound to stop it from bleeding. If there is no bleeding or spurting of blood, do not firmly press the injured area with a cloth as it would cause more damage to the affected area.
  • Do not try to treat the area if a bone is protruding out by trying to realign the bone. If you have been trained to secure such a fracture, in case professional help is not available, secure the area below and above the affected site. You can also pad the splint to make the person feel a bit more comfortable.
  • Do not apply ice directly on the wound, instead wrap it around a towel or a sterile cloth and apply pressure with it on the affected area to prevent bleeding.
  • Do not try to touch or poke the wound to over-investigate the problem. If the affected area is swollen or discolored, it is obviously fractured. Therefore, leave it to a professional to further investigate and treat the wound.
  • Do not wash the wound.
  • If a person is unconscious or breathless, make the person lie down with his head lower than the chest. Raise the legs upwards, if possible.

First Aid Video on Fractures