Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Dear Readers,
I would like to start by wishing y’all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and as such, we’ve all got to be very health and safety conscious.
Lots of persons have lost their lives to simple emergencies that were not properly handled. While it is recommended that only qualified first Aiders should administer first aid in an emergency, these are basic tips that will come in handy in the absence of a licensed personnel.
It is pertinent to add here that every household should have a first aid box with size depending on the number of persons in the home; an enlightenment program for members of the family on first aid delivery will sound extreme, but is a key domestic emergency preparedness and response plan. Knowledge is power. 

Distinguishing a minor burn from a more serious burn involves determining the degree of damage to the tissues of the body. If you are not sure how serious the burn is, seek emergency medical help.

First-degree burns are those in which only the outer layer of skin is burned. Unless the burn involves large portions of the body, it can be treated at home.

Second-degree burns are those in which the first layer of skin has been burned through and the second layer of skin is also burned. Blisters can develop. If a second-degree burn is no larger than 2 or 3 inches in diameter, it can be treated at home.
Third-degree burns are the most serious and involve all layers of skin. These burns should receive emergency medical attention.

Follow these steps when treating minor burns at home:
·         If the skin is not broken, run cool water over the burn for several minutes.
·         Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or clean cloth.
·         Take aspirin or acetaminophen to relieve any swelling or pain. 
·         Seek emergency treatment immediately for major burns. Until an emergency unit arrives, follow these steps:
+      Remove the person from the source of the burn (fire, electric current, etc.).
+      If the person is not breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation immediately.
+      Remove all smouldering clothing to stop further burning. If the person is breathing sufficiently, cover the burned area with a cool, moist, sterile bandage or clean cloth. Do not place any creams, ointments or ice on the burned area or break blisters.

Cuts and Scrapes:
Small cuts and scrapes usually don't demand a visit to the emergency room of your local
hospital, but proper care is necessary to keep infections or other complications from occurring. When dealing with minor wounds, keep the following guidelines in mind:
·         Stop the bleeding by applying pressure using a gauze pad or clean cloth. If the bleeding persists after several minutes of applying pressure, get immediate medical attention.
·         Keep the wound clean by washing the area with mild soap and water and removing any dirt. Dry the area gently with a clean cloth, and cover the wound with a protective bandage. Change the bandage at least once a day. If the wound becomes tender to the touch and red or oozes fluid, see your doctor.
·          If your cut is more serious and the bleeding does not stop on its own or the cut is large, deep, or rough on the edges, try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure directly to the injury using a sterilized gauze pad or clean cloth. Maintain pressure on the wound until the bleeding stops. Then consult your physician. A tetanus booster may be required if you haven't had one for a while.
Heimlich Manoeuvre:
The Heimlich manoeuvre is the best known method of removing an object from the airway of a person who is choking. You can use it on yourself or someone else. These are the steps:
1.     Stand behind the choking person and wrap your arms around his or her waist. Bend the person slightly forward.
2.    Make a fist with one hand and place it slightly above the person's navel.
3.    Grasp your fist with the other hand and press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust. Repeat this procedure until the object is expelled from the airway
If you must perform this manoeuvre on yourself, position your own fist slightly above your navel. Grasp your fist with your other hand and thrust upward into your abdomen until the object is expelled.

A nosebleed is sudden bleeding from one or both nostrils, and may result from a variety of events: a punch in the nose, breathing dry air, allergies, or for no apparent reason. To stop the flow of blood from a common nosebleed, use these steps:
1. Sit or stand upright to slow the flow of blood in the veins of the nose. Do not tip your head back.
2. Pinch your nose with your thumb and forefinger for 10 minutes without relieving pressure.  Breathe through your mouth during this time.
3. If the bleeding continues despite these efforts, consult your doctor.

A poisoning may or may not be obvious. Sometimes the source of a poisoning can be easily identified -- an open bottle of medication or a spilled bottle of household cleaner. Look for 
these signs if you suspect a poisoning emergency:  
Ø  Burns or redness around the mouth and lips.
Ø  Breath that smells like chemicals.
Ø  Burns, stains, and odours on the person, his or her clothing, or on the furniture, floor, rugs, or other objects in the surrounding area.
Ø  Vomiting, difficulty breathing or other unexpected symptoms.
If you believe someone has been poisoned, take the following steps:
1.     Some products have instructions on the label specifying what to do if a poisoning occurs.  If the product known to be the poison has these instructions, follow them.
2.     If the person is alert, give them a glass of water or milk to drink. The liquid will slow the rate at which the poison is absorbed by the body. But if the person is weak, lethargic, unconscious, or having seizures, do not give them anything by mouth.
3.    If you cannot identify the poison or there are no instructions on the product label, call your medical centre for instructions. Keep the number near your telephone.
4.    Certain poisons should be vomited; others should not. If you do not know the identity of the substance swallowed, do not induce vomiting. Overall, you should not induce vomiting unless directed to by a poison control authority or your physician.
5.    If you are told to induce vomiting in the person who has swallowed poison, use syrup of ipecac to do so. An alternative method to induce vomiting is touching the back of the throat of the person to initiate gagging. If you have no other alternative, have the person drink a glass of warm water containing 1 teaspoon of dried mustard or 3 teaspoons of salt. After the person has vomited, give a glass of water or milk.
6.    If the poison has spilled on the person's clothing, skin, or eyes, remove the clothing and flush the skin or eyes with cool or lukewarm water for 20 minutes.
7.    Get immediate medical attention. If you have identified the poison, take the container with you.
Severe Bleeding:
To stop serious bleeding, follow these steps:
1.     Lay the affected person down. If possible, the person's head should be slightly lower than the trunk of his or her body or the legs should be elevated. This position increases blood flow to the brain. Elevate the site of bleeding, if possible to reduce the blood flow.
2.    Do not attempt to clean the wound.
3.    Apply steady, firm pressure directly to the wound using a sterile bandage, a clean cloth, or your hand.  Maintain pressure until the bleeding stops, then wrap the wound with a tight dressing and secure it with adhesive tape.  Most bleeding can be controlled this way. Call for emergency help immediately.
4.    If the bleeding continues and seeps through the bandage, add more absorbent material. Do not remove the first bandage.
5.    If the bleeding does not stop, apply pressure to the major artery that delivers blood to the area of the injury. 
6.    When the bleeding has stopped, immobilize the injured portion of the body. You can use another part of the body, such as a leg or torso, to immobilize the area. Leave the bandages in place and take the person for immediate medical attention or call for emergency help.
A variety of symptoms appear in a person experiencing shock:
v  The skin may appear pale or grey, and is cool and clammy to the touch.
v  The heartbeat is weak and rapid, and breathing is slow and shallow. The blood pressure is reduced.
v  The eyes lack shine and seem to stare. Sometimes the pupils are dilated.
v  The person may be conscious or unconscious. If conscious, the person may faint or be very weak or confused. On the other hand, shock sometimes causes a person to become overly excited and anxious. 

Even if a person seems normal after an injury, take precautions and treat the person for shock by following these steps:
1.     Get the person to lie down on his or her back and elevate the feet higher than the person's head. Keep the person from moving unnecessarily.
2.    Keep the person warm and comfortable. Loosen tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket. Do not give the person anything to drink.
3.    If the person is vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, place the person on his or her side to prevent choking.
4.    Treat any injuries appropriately (bleeding, broken bones, etc.).
5.    Summon emergency medical assistance immediately.
Julius Abanshebe Akpong TMIOSH, MISPON, is a Member of the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria has published books like, Simplified Chemistry for Senior Secondary 1, The path to Greatness, Reaching the Apex, Atmospheric heavy metals deposition and dispersion in Akpabuyo LGA of Cross River State. He is the publisher of the SuperPsychic Achiever, several HSE articles and bulletins for corporate bodies, international journals and newspapers like Business Insight and is yet to publish his first HSE book; HAZID companion.


Anonymous said...

wow, wat a way to start the year, kudos

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