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Care of Individuals with Cough

November 20th, 2013 | Posted by Ibrar in Being Prepared | First Aid and CPR - (Comments Off on Care of Individuals with Cough)

Although coughing is a reflex that protects the lungs and the entire respiratory system from the accumulation of secretions or the inhalation of foreign bodies, it can also be a symptom of disorders of the pulmonary system or it can be suppressed in other disorders. The cough reflex may be impaired by weakness or paralysis of the respiratory muscles, prolonged inactivity, the presence of a foreign object such as a nasogastric tube, or depressed function of the medullary centers of the brain.

Care of Individuals with Cough

Care of Individuals with Cough

Coughing results from irritation of the mucous membranes anywhere in the respiratory tract. The stimulus that produces a cough may arise from an infectious process or from an airborne irritant such as smoke, smog, dust or gas. A persistent and frequent cough can be exhausting and can cause debilitating pain and discomfort. Cough, in general may indicate a serious pulmonary disease, although it may be caused by a variety of other problems as well including cardiac disease, medications, chronic smoking and gastro-esophageal reflux disease.

Clinical Significance of Cough

To help determine the cause of the cough, the health professional such as the nurse should be able to effectively assess the description of the kind of cough the individual may be experiencing. The nurse should be able to describe the cough whether is dry, hacking, brassy, wheezing, loose, persistent or severe. A dry, irritating cough is characteristic of an upper respiratory tract infection that would suggest a viral cause of origin, or it may be a side effect of a special kind of medication. Tracheal lesions produce a brassy cough. A severe or constantly changing cough may indicate malignant tumor growth along the tracheal lining. Pleuritic chest pain that accompanies coughing may indicate pleural or chest wall involvement of the musculoskeletal system.

Other Serious Medical Conditions Associated with Coughing

Persistent cough at night may herald symptoms of a possible left-sided heart failure or bronchial asthma. A cough in the morning with sputum production may indicate bronchitis. A cough that worsens when the patient is lying supine may also suggest post nasal drip (sinusitis). Coughing after food intake may indicate aspiration of food material into the tracheobronchial tree. A cough of recent onset is usually indicative of an acute respiratory infection which can be either viral or bacterial in nature.

A persistent cough can adversely affect an individual’s quality of life and may produce embarrassment, exhaustion, inability to sleep and discomfort. The effect of chronic cough on the patient and the patient’s view regarding the significance of the coughing episode especially the accompanying effects can be better appreciated during an intensive assessment of the individual’s health history.

Relief Measures for Coughing

Cough suppressants must be used in moderation and caution because they may relieve cough but do not address the primary cause of the cough. If used inappropriately, they may prevent the patient from clearing mucus from the airways and result in a delay in seeking indicated health care. If the cause of the cough has been properly diagnosed and addressed, it is only then coughing suppressants may be prescribed. If the cough is a result of irritation from smoke, pollution, and other air irritants strategies that limit exposure to the environment is encouraged.

 

Convulsions in Children

August 12th, 2013 | Posted by Ibrar in Being Prepared - (0 Comments)

Convulsions in children can be terrifying for parents, especially if there is no history of convulsion. A convulsion is also called a seizure or “fit.” A convulsion is a period of involuntary muscular contraction.Frightening as it may seem, it does not usually cause life-threatening situations or long-term consequences. They are not generally fatal. Febrile convulsions occur in an estimated 4% of all children between six months and five years of age, generally at ages younger than three. More than half of these children will only experience one convulsion in their lifetime. It is more common in young boys than girls and can run in families,

Convulsions in children, similar to those of adults, are caused by a sudden, abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The temporary disturbance of normal brain function causes a burst of abnormal electrical activity in one part of the brain and can spread to the other parts of the brain. When it reaches the cerebral cortex, more brain tissue activates and seizes resulting to abnormal activity. Repeated seizures are characteristic of epilepsy.

The contents of this article should not be used as substitute for medical advice. Enrol in first aid training and CPR courses to learn more about convulsions in children and other emergencies that children may have.

Causes of Convulsions in Children

It may be difficult to diagnose the exact cause of the seizure as it generally lasts from 30 seconds to a few minutes. However, some of the common causes are the following:

  • Epilepsy
    • Recurring convulsions
    • Febrile convulsions
      • Convulsion is due to high-grade fever/ infection
      • Especially common in children between nine months and five years of age, affecting mostly toddlers
      • Caused by flu or other infections in the body
      • Hypoglycemia
        • Low sugar levels in the body
        • Hypoxia
          • Reduced oxygen content in a particular region of the body
          • Hypotension
            • Low blood pressure
            • Electrolyte imbalance
            • Other uncommon causes in children:
              • Cerebral tumor
              • Drug overdose
              • Cardiac arrhythmias
              • Idiopathic or cryptogenic: of no identified cause

Symptoms of Convulsions in Children

Although it may be quiet obvious when a child is having a convulsion, some of the characteristics of seizures include:

  • Sudden tightening of muscles on both sides of the body
  • Muscle twitching and jerking
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Tongue biting
  • High-grade fever
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Foaming of the mouth
  • Child may be moaning or crying
  • Unresponsive
  • Unconsciousness
  • Post-seizure:
    • Lethargy
    • Confusion
    • Profound sleep

First Aid Management for Convulsions in Children

When a child starts convulsing, the main goal of first aid is to protect the child from any injury.

Hands behind the head when a person is having a seizure

Keep your hands behind the head when a child is having convulsions to prevent head injury.

  • If the child is standing, lay the child on a safe area. Make sure that the area is clear of sharp objects and other furniture that he/ she may hit.
  • Place a cushion or a jacket on the child head.
  • Loosen any tight clothing, especially those surrounding the neck.
  • Do not put anything in the child’s mouth as it may cause damage to the tongue and gums.
  • If the child begins to vomit, assist the child to his/ her side and clear the mouth.

Do not attempt to restrict movement as it may just lead to more harm to a convulsing child.

Are You Ready For A Heat Wave?

July 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Ibrar in Being Prepared - (0 Comments)

Are You Ready For A Heat Wave?

The summer is expected to get even hotter. Read on to learn more about how to prepare yourself for the heat wave.

Are You Ready For A Heat Wave?The scorching weather that swept many parts of Canada in recent days is here to stay, that’s according to Environment Canada. While people who are enjoying the beach are finding some relief from the heat, those who are living in inland provinces are advised to prepare for the worst.

Climatologists are surprised for the heat wave that struck many parts of Canada at the beginning of July. It is a rare phenomenon that experts are now warning people to prepare for an unusually hot summer.

Like any other climate disturbance, extended heat waves can be dangerous, even lifethreatening, to high risk populations that include young children, elderly, people with chronic illnesses, and those weigh beyond the scales.

Here are some tips to help you prepare:

• Know how to recognize and treat heat emergencies (heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke).
• Make sure that the air-conditioning (AC) system is working well. It recommended to be checked before the summer season.
• If your house does not have AC system, consider having it installed. If not, be sure to have one or more fans on standby to help cool down your body.
• Weather-strip sills and doors to allow more cool air in.
• Put up shades over windows that receive sunlight.

In case of extreme heat:
• Stay indoors and avoid performing strenuous physical activities outdoors.
• Listen to warnings about extreme heat from your local authorities.
• When at home, stay on the lowest floor and away from the sun, usually the coolest spot in the house. If your house is also hot, stay in a cool place (such as a shopping mall, library, community center) especially at the height of the day.
• Increase fluid intake to keep your body hydrated and help you cool down. Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine as they can cause dehydration.
• Eat small, frequent meals. Do not take on too much heavy foods or excessive protein.
• Wear light, loose clothing; avoid layers of clothing.
• Take frequent baths or cool showers.
• Never leave young children in closed vehicles even for short periods. Temperatures within the car can shoot up to a dangerous level within just a few minutes.

Seniors:

As we age, the body gradually finds it difficult to adjust to sudden changes in temperature making older adults at risk for heat emergencies during heat waves. Moreover, there are many chronic medical conditions and medications that can affect the body’s normal responses to heat. Make sure to check on elderly family members and relatives in case of extreme heat.

Pets:

While animals can adapt to changes in environment, they may not be
able to achieve adequate coping mechanisms because of limitations in their environment. Make sure that your pets have plenty of water and access to cooler environments. Never over-exert your pets outdoors during the peak of the day, especially for pets with thick fur or older pets. Like humans, animals can also suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Layrngitis

Layrngitis can cause difficulty breathing and irritation

Laryngitis is a medical term that refers to the inflammation of a human’s voice box; larynx resulting from overuse, infection or irritation. It is characterized by hoarse voice and sometimes causes temporary complete loss of the voice as a result of irritation to the vocal folds.

Causes

Laryngitis causes are classified as either acute or chronic.  Acute laryngitis is  generally caused by cold or flu as a result of viral infection, inflammation due to overuse of vocal cords especially in shouting, singing or speaking, constant coughing, throat clearing and throat injury. Moreover, it is chronically caused by any allergic reaction from dust, toxins, chemicals or fumes, extreme consumption of alcohol, smoking or as a result of disease affecting esophagus.

Signs and symptoms

The common symptoms of laryngitis include weak voice and often one can lose the voice completely, hoarseness of voice where it may sound rough, be deeper than ordinary, or break frequently. Others include dry and sore throat, coughing and trouble when swallowing.

Risk factors

The risk factor for laryngitis are overusing ones voice by either shouting, too much singing loudly or speaking at the top of one’s voice, coming into contact with irritating substances like cigarette smoke, chemicals at workplace, stomach acid and excessive consumption of alcohol. Others include respiratory infections for instance, sinusitis, cold and bronchitis.

When to seek medical attention

At times, during the infection, one is likely to contract a secondary bacterial infection which becomes one of the major complications of laryngitis. However in little children, swellings in the larynx arising from irritation make both inhalation and exhalation hard and noisy. In such a case, urgent medical attention is recommended.

Treatment

Laryngitis cases more often than not get better within a period of one week or thereabout. Meanwhile, to aid in relieving a patient’s symptoms, the following measures should be practiced: taking enough fluids, stopping both smoking and taking of alcohol until the condition improves, resting one’s voice and speaking normally yet avoiding whispering as this would strain the voice. Laryngitis being a viral infection does not require an antibiotic unless in case of a bacterial infection, where the general practitioner would prescribe the right antibiotic to use. In addition, he would advise on appropriate treatment in cases of related illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis.

Prevention

Prevention method is unclear because it usually occurs during cold or other related infections. Nonetheless, constant practice of beneficial lifestyle changes can help prevent the infection. These are: maintaining high levels of personal hygiene, avoiding clearing of voice as this is likely to cause an unusual vibration of one’s vocal cords; distancing from any kind of irritants like smokes, and limiting alcohol intake including caffeine.

In conclusion, laryngitis infection affects both young and old. It can either be acute or chronic and lasts for a week then clears on its own. Antibiotics apply only in bacterial infection on prescription by a doctor. It remains necessary to practice good lifestyle changes in case one contracts laryngitis.

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Survival In The Wilderness

June 11th, 2013 | Posted by Ibrar in Being Prepared - (0 Comments)

Wilderness Survival Tips : How to Make Fire

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You find yourself in the midst of a forest – injured, stranded and alone. Nighttime starts to fall, conditions are becoming unfavorable, and you can do nothing but wait for the following day or longer. Will you survive in the wild? Your chances of surviving are greatly improved if you have these life-saving items and know how to use them.

Keep yourself warm and dry

Hypothermia or low body temperature can quickly kill you. The body needs to maintain its temperature within the normal range or else many cellular functions may be adversely affected. Heat loss is much faster if you are wet and the wind is blowing. Therefore, it is important to keep yourself dry. Heavy-duty garbage bags or space blankets are a good protection against the elements. These supplies are lightweight and are very easy to carry. Choose high-capacity versions, with thicker materials and bright colors. These surfaces would not only keep you warm and dry; they can also help make you more visible from rescuers. Emergency first aid will be very useful with this kind of situation.

Learn how to make a fire

Fire is essential, as it serves many functions: source of warmth, safety against wild creatures, and as a potential rescue signal. Make sure to carry emergency fire starts such as matches that are waterproof. You can also find “metal match” which can produce long-lived sparks when struck with a metal scraper. These sparks can effectively ignite a flame. Other common household fire starters, such as butane lighters, may not be suited for outdoor use. Operating them on cold, wooden hands are rather difficult.

Know basic first aid

Before heading out to the wild, you should consider taking a basic first course.

Basic First Aid Training

Basic First Aid Training

There are many accidents that can occur while you are in remote areas. In case this happens, emergency medical services may not reach you immediately. Therefore, you should know how to provide for emergency care. Take a time to learn standard first aid before going to an adventure in the wilderness for emergencies.

There are special first aid certification programs designed for remote or wilderness areas. Usually, these are two-day practical courses that are intended for anyone who spends much time in the remote geographical locations more than one hour from standard medical care. This certification course will equip you with skills on how to treat emergency situations using available supplies and materials. Outdoor enthusiasts, avid mountaineers, climbers, forestry workers, hill farmers, and anyone who love wild places should learn the first aid skills. If you are interested at learning these specialty first aid skills, you can contact your local workplace approved chapter or any first aid training institution near you for available schedules.

Help rescuers locate you

Make sure somebody knows where you’re going and the estimated duration of your trip, or else, it will take more days before rescuers start looking for you. Carry signaling devices such as a whistle so that you can alert rescuers of your location and situation. These signaling devices can be used to communicate distress signal even from afar. If possible stay in a safe place where rescuers can easily find you.

It is estimated that around 1.2 million people die each year throughout the

First Aid Kit For Your Car

It is important to have the proper equipment to keep yourself safe if ever stuck on the side of the road and needing to leave your vehicle.

world due to road traffic accidents, making it one of the ten leading causes of deaths worldwide. Road crashes are even more common in the US, Canada and other developed countries, occupying fifth spot of the ten common causes of deaths and injuries.

Carrying basic first aid kit in your vehicle can help you respond properly in case of an accident. It provides you with the essential, life-saving supplies necessary for first aid treatment. In addition, a well-equipped first aid kit can ensure comfort during long hauls.

Your car first aid kit must contain supplies that will ensure:

1.   Personal safety

Before you help at the scene of a road accident, you should ensure your own safety. Your first aid kit should have a combination of the following warning equipment:

  • Flashlight
  • High visibility strap or jacket
  • Hazard warning triangle.

Aside from protecting you from oncoming traffic, these warning devices also help call for help.

2.   Warmth for the injured victim

  • Blanket or thermal blanket

There is very little thing that you can do to help a fatally injured casualty other than preventing shock. Basically, keeping the injured person warm is an essential first aid which can actually be life-saving. Be sure to have at least one blanket in your car emergency kit. Aside from providing warmth, blankets can also be used as splint to immobilize body parts (such as in fractured bones) or as hammock for transferring victims.

3.   Treatment for injuries

The trunk of your car has very limited space thus you should keep your first aid supplies to the minimum. Here are some basic first aid treatments that you must bring:

  • Adhesive and non-adhesive bandages
  • Triangular bandages
  • Sterile dressings of assorted sizes (small, medium and large)
  • Hypoallergenic tape
  • Disposable gloves and face mask/shield
  • Pen and a notepad
  • List of emergency phone numbers

4.   Supplies for long travels

In addition to carrying these basic first aid supplies, you may also want to consider bringing useful items for long, family journeys that include:

  • Baby wipes or wet pads
  • Emesis bags
  • Cold and warmth emergency packs
  • Alcohol wipes
  • OTC remedies for common ailments such as acetaminophen
  • A week’s supply of prescription medicine (if you have any major health condition)

How to store your first aid kit

Choose a waterproof container or bag that is huge enough to hold all your first aid supplies. It is recommended that you use a container with clear compartments so you can easily see the items. Clearly label each pocket or compartment to remind you where supplies are stored. Consider bringing a simple, step-by-step first aid manual.

Store your first aid kit in the main part of the car, usually in the trunk. It should be easily accessible but firmly bolted down to avoid it from accidentally dislodging in case of sudden impact.

Learn More

To learn more about recognizing, managing and helping with first aid during an emergency enrol in a standard first aid course near you. We have providers located throughout Canada in convenient locations at the best prices. Check out our location page to learn more.

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