An ounce of prevention

Lyle Karasiuk

Mother always said eat your vegetables; drink plenty of fluids when you have a cold; get plenty of rest and don’t forget to exercise too! But despite our mother’s best advice we still get sick, injuries still happen, and hopefully we won’t, but we might need to visit the hospital emergency room. In the case of an emergency knowing what to do can make the difference and prevent things from getting worse. Knowing what not to do is just as important. It’s important to remember that taking a basic first aid class will give you the knowledge and skills you need to be safe at home, work or in the community. Visit our web sites for upcoming courses.

When a serious medical emergency does occur, it is important to act quickly. Time is crucial. When in doubt always seek medical advice! But what is a serious medical emergency:
• Chest pain or a cardiac arrest
• Difficulty breathing or not breathing
• A sudden, severe or unexplained headache
• Frequent vomiting or diarrhea
• A large cut or wound
• A motor vehicle collision
• An industrial incident
• Unconscious state
• Overdose or poisoning
• A fall of great height
• Broken bones

When a serious medical emergency does occur calling 9-1-1 for the paramedics is important. The mobile health care team at Parkland Ambulance will quickly respond to your request for assistance. Bring the emergency room to your door, essential treatments can be started to improve the injured person’s health; stabilize the injured body part; or control the pain till further definitive care is available in the hospital emergency room. Here are a few simple tips you can do to prevent injuries or prevent injuries from getting worse while help is coming.
• In case of a fall where you suspect a head, neck, back injury, do not move the person. Keep them warm and get help.
• If the person may have injured a large bone like the upper part of their leg or hip, don’t try to move them and get help.
• If the person collapses to the floor and their whole body shakes due to a convulsion, do not try to open their mouth and jam anything into it. Do not hold them down but protect their head with some padding.

It’s important that you act to prevent emergencies in your home or workplace by:
• picking up obstacles like toys or tools
• keeping chemicals in the original container and safely stored
• get proper training in first aid and CPR – contact us for the next course
• Make sure you are trained before using unfamiliar equipment and always read the instructions
• Get regular physical check ups from your family physician
• When taking medication especially antibiotics follow the instructions carefully and finish all the medication even if you are feeling better.
• Post emergency numbers beside each telephone – plan safety drills – post directions to your home by each telephone if you live out in the rural areas
• When calling the emergency medical dispatch center take the time to follow the instructions provided. While it might seem to you that help is not on the way be assured others in our communication center are getting the paramedics going as quickly as possible.

Sometimes the emergency may not be serious, when in doubt start with a call to the Health Help Line. 8-1-1 is that number where someone can help you make the decision with free medical information. Many emergencies can be handled by your family doctor or one of the many walks in clinics in our city. Knowing how to prevent emergencies is the first step. Know what to do in case of an emergency is an important second step. Be prepared and not scared. Visit our web site for more information. From our families to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!