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Muscle Strain: First Aid Management

August 12th, 2015 | Posted by Mikha Canon in Muscle Injuries - (Comments Off on Muscle Strain: First Aid Management)

Muscle strain is an injury to the muscles or tendons (links muscles together) that pertains to the sudden tearing of the muscle fibers caused by exertion or over stretching. Muscle strain may occur partially or completely, with the latter being more difficult to treat. The most commonly affected muscles of muscle strain are the lower back, shoulder, neck and hamstring (muscle behind the thigh). Muscle strain should not be confused with muscle sprain, which is caused by torn fibers in the ligament.

Muscle strain is also called pulled muscle or muscle tear.

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The lower back, along with the shoulder. neck and hamstring, are the most commonly  affected muscles of muscle strain

Causes of Muscle Strain

Muscle strains don’t always occur with extreme or strenuous activities. They may also occur while doing normal activities. Muscle strain usually results from fatigue, improper or overuse. The following may lead to muscle strain:

  • Sports training or performance (which makes athletes more at risk for muscle strain)
  • Quick and abrupt heavy lifting
  • Work tasks

Signs and Symptoms of Muscle Strain

The signs and symptoms of muscle strain may include:

  • Local bleeding or bruising (or any skin discoloration) caused by damage in the small blood vessels
  • Open cuts
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Stiffness that is localized
  • Pain upon moving the affected muscle or joint
  • Pain that manifests even at rest caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the affected region
  • Muscle or tendon weakness
  • Unable to use the muscle (loss of efficient movement)

First Aid Management for Muscle Strain

Mild to moderate cases of muscle strain can be managed at home by giving first aid to casualties. The primary goal of muscle strain is to reduce pain and swelling. This can be done by following price and avoiding HARM.

PRICE Therapy (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate)

  • Protect the strained muscle from further injury –best to use a support that will increase protection
  • Rest the strained muscle or tendon, thus do not engage in further activities that may worsen the injury; it is advisable to avoid activity for 48 to 72 hours
  • Ice wrapped in cloth or towel should be placed over the affected muscle or tendon for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours while awake. Do not apply ice directly on the skin and ensure that it is not left for too long.
  • Compress or bandage the affected area to help limit swelling and movement that may exacerbate the injury. Bandage firmly but not too tightly to ensure that blood flow is maintained.
  • Elevate the affected area for 12 inches or place on top of a pillow to help limit swelling.
  • Bonus: Take painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen and aspirin to help reduce pain and improve movement.

HARM (Heat, Alcohol, Running, Massage)

  • Avoid Heat on the affected area as this may actually increase pain and swelling. Only apply heat once there has been an obvious reduction in swelling.
  • Avoid Alcohol as apart from hastening the healing period, it increases bleeding and swelling
  • Avoid Running or any form of exercise that may lead to aggravation.
  • Avoid Massage because it may increase swelling and bleeding.

Learn how to properly manage muscle strain and other common muscle injuries by enrolling in First Aid Courses.

Muscle strain is the sudden tearing of the muscle fibers due to exertion or over stretching. It is also called pulsed muscle. First Aid Treatment for muscle strain follows PRICE and avoids HARM.

First Aid for Wrist Sprain

July 5th, 2015 | Posted by Mikha Canon in Skeletal Injuries - (Comments Off on First Aid for Wrist Sprain)

A wrist sprain is a common injury that usually occurs when an outstretched hand is used to break a fall or a hard impact. This stress on the ligaments of the wrist that connect it to the bones of the hand may be overstretched or in more severe cases, partially or completely tear off. A ligament is a tough fibrous connective tissue that provides stability to the wrist joint and thus, explains the loss of function or the limited range of motion of the wrist experienced after injury. The most commonly injured ligament is the ligament that connects the scaphoid bone to the lunate bone, which are the two small bones found in the wrist. This ligament is otherwise known as the scapho-lunate ligament.

A wrist sprain is usually common in athletes such as basketball players, volleyball players, gymnasts and skaters just to name a few. A direct blunt force trauma to the wrist may also cause this injury.

Signs and Symptoms of a Wrist Sprain

A wrist sprain often presents with acute pain with some reports of hearing a popping sound upon the moment of injury. Other signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • Swelling and tenderness of the wrist
  • Bruising of the skin around the wrist
  • Inability to achieve full range of motion
  • Pain that is exacerbated when the wrist is moved

Grading of a Wrist Sprain

Grading of a wrist sprain depends on the extent of the injury on the ligaments. The grading is as follows:

  • Grade 1 – the ligaments are overstretched with or without minor damages to the fibers of the ligament but are not torn. This often presents with minimal tenderness and swelling.
  • Grade 2 sprain – a partial tear in the ligament that present with abnormal laxity of the wrist joint, moderate tenderness and swelling and decreased range of motion
  • Grade 3 sprain – a complete tear in the ligament that present with severe tenderness, swelling and loss of function

First Aid Treatment of a Wrist Sprain

Treatment of a wrist sprain will depend on the grading of the injury. A grade 1 sprain or even some grade 2 sprain may resolve with first aid and home remedies. The following can be done:

Apply ice on a wrist sprain to reduce swelling

Apply ice on a wrist sprain to reduce swelling

  • Rest – immobilize and rest the injured wrist for at least 2 days. A splint may be used if necessary
  • Ice – apply ice compress over the injured area for 2 to 3 times a day for at least 10 minutes
  • Compress – a compression bandage can ease the swelling
  • Elevate – elevate the injured wrist above the heart while sitting or lying down
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin can help ease the pain and swelling
  • Physical therapy or occupational therapy may also be recommended to restore mobility and to strengthen the wrist


For more severe injuries, such as a grade 3 sprain, surgery may be required in order to repair the detached ligament. This is followed by physical rehabilitation in order to strengthen the wrist and regain full range of motion.

To learn how to properly give first aid on wrist sprain, enroll in First Aid Courses.

A wrist sprain occurs when the ligaments found in the wrist are stretched beyond its limits producing pain, discomfort and in more severe cases, loss of function.

How to Treat and Manage Headaches

June 8th, 2015 | Posted by Mikha Canon in Basic First Aid Skills - (Comments Off on How to Treat and Manage Headaches)

Headaches are said to be the most common form of pain that one experiences. Most people have experienced headaches at least once in their lives. Headache is pain or discomfort felt either in the head, scalp or neck. The brain itself does not have nerves, thus it does not experience pain. Thus the pain originates from the tissues and other structures surrounding the brain, usually as a result of inflammation or irritation of the tissues. The pain from headaches can be described as dull, sharp, constant, radiating, throbbing, mild, intense, and plenty of other ways. But symptoms for headaches will vary according to its cause

Headaches are either classified as primary or secondary. Headaches are classified according to their underlying cause. The aim of this classification scheme is to easily eliminate potential causes. This could lead to giving a faster diagnosis and therefore giving proper medications at the soonest possible time.

Primary Headaches

Primary headaches are the most common types of headaches. The source of pain here is from tissue inflammation in the head. There are three known types:

  • Tension (most common type)
    • Exact cause is still undetermined but is hypothesized to be due to the contraction of the muscles that cover the skull resulting to inflammation
    • Possible causes: stress, depression, anxiety, bad posture, etc.
    • More common in women than men
    • Pain usually begins at the back of the head or upper neck and radiates to encircle the head
    • Pain is most intense over the temples or over the eyebrows
    • Pain is on both sides
  • Migraine (second most common)
    • Exact cause is still undetermined
    • Possible triggers: heat, lack of sleep, certain scents, caffeine withdrawal, etc.
    • More common in women than men
    • Pain is described as severe, throbbing or pounding and usually occurs in one side only
    • May be accompanied by change in vision and nausea
  • Cluster (rare type)
    • Exact cause is still undetermined but is hypothesized to be due to the sudden release of serotonin and/or histamine
    • May be genetic
    • More common in men than women
    • Pain is described as severe and usually occurs once or twice a day and typically lasts from 30 to 90 minutes
    • May happen daily for a week or longer and usually happens at the same time every day
    • May be accompanied by the reddening, inflammation and watering of the eyes

Secondary Headaches

Secondary headaches are caused by an underlying health or medical condition, which include:

  • Strokes
  • Transient ischemic attack
  • Seizures
  • Brain tumors
  • Encephalitis, meningitis and other infections that involve the brain
  • Traumatic headaches
  • Hypertension
  • Dehydration
  • Substance abuse

Cranial Neuralgias Headaches

  • Inflammation of the one of the 12 cranial nerves
  • Symptoms: severe facial pain, etc.

First Aid Treatment and Management for Headaches

Headaches can usually be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin. Aspirin should not be given to children. Doctors may prescribed pain medications for severe headaches.  The following treatment can also be done to help manage headaches:

  • Apply a cool compress over the forehead.
  • Take plenty of rest and if possible, do this in a dark room.
  • Do not join activities that may worsen the headache.
  • Do not stay in stressful environments.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clear fluids, such as water.

Enroll in First Aid Courses to learn more about how to handle pain.

Headache is a pain or discomfort that is felt either in the head, scalp or even in the neck. They have a wide variety of causes.

Head Hurts Headache Depressed Sad

Headache is a pain or discomfort that is felt either in the head, scalp or even in the neck

How to Prevent Runner’s Diarrhea

May 16th, 2015 | Posted by Mikha Canon in Being Prepared - (Comments Off on How to Prevent Runner’s Diarrhea)

Runner’s diarrhea, also called runner’s trot, is a diarrhea that is specific for runners or other athletes that involve a lot of running. It is characterized by a sudden increase in the number and sense of urgency for fecal discharge that occurs for the duration of or soon after finishing a run, albeit, it commonly happens during mid-run. Runner’s diarrhea is most frequent for long distance runners, wherein approximately 20 to 50% of all runners experience its symptoms.

Runner's Diarrhea is common among runners who run distant

Runner’s Diarrhea usually occurs mid run or immediately after a run

Causes of Runner’s Diarrhea

The cause of runner’s diarrhea is still yet undetermined. However, the mechanism of action is somewhat known. When engaged in physical activities, such as running, there is decreased blood flow to the intestines to give way to the increased blood requirement of the muscles. As a result, the absorption rate in the intestines changes. There are a few suppositions as to what leads to runner’s diarrhea:

  • Ischemia – insufficient supply of blood
  • Mechanical trauma
  • Diet that is rich in dried fruits and/or berries

Signs and Symptoms of Runner’s Diarrhea

There is no difference between the signs and symptoms of runner’s diarrhea in comparison to other kinds of diarrhea. The only difference is with onset. Signs and symptoms can last for several hours or days. The list below provides with the signs and symptoms of runner’s diarrhea:

  • Increase in the frequency (sometimes volume) and looseness of stools
  • Blood may be present, especially if it was delayed
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Malaise

First Aid Management for Runner’s Diarrhea

Runner’s diarrhea usually disappears on its own and does not need medical attention. However, it would be difficult to continue and finish the run with the manifesting signs and symptoms. The following first aid tips can be done to help an individual suffering from runner’s diarrhea:

  • If necessary, take anti-diarrhea medications such as Imodium and Lomotil. Although this may ease symptoms, it can prolong diarrhea.
  • Drink plenty of water, sports drinks, fruit juices and other clear liquids. Do not finish everything in one drinking instead, drink small amount but frequently. Do not drink beverages that are diuretics, such as caffeine and alcohol, because these will lead to increased urination.
  • When the runner is already able to eat, opt for foods that are low in fat and high in carbohydrates. Make sure that there is enough amount of salt in the diet to make up for the lost salt.
  • For runners that are vomiting, help them into a position of greatest comfort.

Prevention of Runner’s Diarrhea

The following are some tips that can help decrease chances of getting runner’s diarrhea:

  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes during the run.
  • Do not eat heavy foods for at least two hours before scheduled running
  • Drink plenty of water and other clear fluid before, during and after the run.
  • Limit but do not completely avoid high fiber foods leading to a run. High fiber foods are usually green leafy vegetables and whole wheat foods.

Learn more first aid tips by enrolling in First Aid Courses. Runner’s diarrhea is a condition of diarrhea that occurs during or after a run, although it most commonly occurs mid-run.

Stable Angina: First Aid Management

May 15th, 2015 | Posted by Mikha Canon in Circulatory Emergency - (Comments Off on Stable Angina: First Aid Management)

Stable angina is feeling of chest pain or discomfort that is characterized by having a usual pattern when it comes to intensity and regularity, meaning its onset can be predictable. It typically manifests with activity or stress, as opposed to unstable angina where there is no regular pattern and can become more intense and more frequent than stable angina as time passes by.

Each year, millions of individuals suffer from stable angina. It is commonly associated with coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease in adults. Although having certain diseases can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing stable angina, lifestyle factors and the environment can also play a role in predisposing an individual to experiencing angina. Medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high LDL and low LDL cholesterol, and lifestyle practices such as, smoking, eating large meals and lack of exercise can all increase risk of stable angina.

Stable angina is the most common type of angina. Medically, it is known as angina pectoris. It is often indicative of a heart attack in the future.

Causes of Stable Angina

Because the heart is working all the time, it needs a constant supply of oxygen, hence stable angina occurs when there is insufficient amount of oxygen-rich heart in the blood. Although stable angina is not a diagnosis on its own, it is commonly a symptom of an existing medical condition. The following medical conditions may lead to chest pain or discomfort:

  • Coronary heart disease – most common cause of stable
  • Heart attack
  • Aortic dissection (tearing of a major artery of the heart)
  • Aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart)
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Infection of the lungs

Symptoms Associated with Stable Angina

As previously mentioned, stable angina is not a disease on its own, however, there are associated symptoms that manifest with it, such as:

Chest pain

The chest pain in angina usually occurs behind the breastbone

  • Chest pain or discomfort that occurs behind the breastbone or slightly to its left that usually lasts from one to fifteen minutes
    • Increases in intensity before disappearing slowly
    • Described as a sharp, dull, burning, squeezing, heavy or tight feeling in the chest
    • May radiate to the neck, jaw, shoulders, (left) arm or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling of indigestion
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Light-headedness
  • Sweating

First Aid Management for Stable Angina

Due to the regularity in pattern of stable angina, symptoms associated with this pain can be relieved by making lifestyle changes and taking medications, and if necessary, surgical procedures. The following procedure is recommended during stable angina:

  • If the patient is engaged in exercise or strenuous activity, tell the person to stop and rest first. If the patient is in a stressful situation, remove the person from this situation and go to a place of peace.
  • Assist the patient into a position of greatest comfort.
  • Reassure the patient and keep the person calm.
  • Assist the patient into taking medications if they have.
  • If the patient experiences angina for the first time, call for emergency medical services, as angina could be a symptom of a heart attack.
  • If necessary, initiate CPR.

Know how to properly assist a patient experiencing chest pain by taking First Aid Courses and CPR Classes. Stable angina is a chest pain or discomfort characterized by having a regular pattern of onset and intensity that can be relieved by resting or medications.

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