All posts by Mikha Canon

The Danger of a Miscarriage

Miscarriage is the most common pregnancy loss. It is the loss of pregnancy within the first 20 weeks of gestation, with majority occurring within the first 13 weeks. In cases of miscarriages, there is a spontaneous end to the pregnancy at a stage where the embryo or the fetus is not yet capable of surviving outside the womb. Pregnancy normally terminates at 40 weeks plus or minus two weeks, wherein the fetus has already fully developed the critical organs needed for survival.

Approximately 10% to 15% of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, with 40% of these miscarriages occurring even before the woman becomes conscious of her pregnancy. Majority of miscarriages occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. It should also be noted that pregnancies of women aged 35 and above are already considered high risk.

Miscarriage is also called spontaneous abortion.

Miscarriage is the loss of baby
Miscarriage is the loss of baby within the first 20 weeks of gestation

Risk Factors of Miscarriage

Although one cannot prevent a miscarriage from occurring, there are several known factors that can increase the likelihood of suffering from a miscarriage. These include:

  • Age
  • Previous miscarriage
  • Smoking – affects both the mother’s and baby’s health
    • May also increase chances of stillbirth
  • Caffeine – may be connected to increased rate but not enough evidence to support
  • Alcohol
  • Use of illegal drugs
  • Obesity
  • Hypothyroidism and other hormone problems
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Infections during pregnancy, such as rubella
  • In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) – which explains the increased need to plant several embryos in the womb

Causes of Miscarriage

In most cases, the case of miscarriage remains unknown. The following are the known causes of miscarriage in a woman:

  • Chromosomal abnormality in the fetus (lacking or additional number of chromosomes) – most common cause of miscarriage in the first trimester
    • The risk for chromosomal abnormality in a fetus increases as the mother’s age increases
  • Problems with the cervix or uterus – most common cause of miscarriage in the second trimester
  • Blighted ovum (pregnancy sac with no fetus)
  • Poor maternal health condition (severe malnutrition, etc.)

Signs and Symptoms of Miscarriage

The signs and symptoms of miscarriage are often noticeable. The most common ones include:

  • Vaginal spotting
  • Bleeding from the vagina that progresses from light to heavy
  • Tissue with clot like material passing from the vagina
  • Severe abdominal pain or menstrual like cramps
  • Back pain
  • Fever
  • Weakness

First Aid Management for Miscarriage

The primary goal of administering first aid on a woman suffering from a miscarriage is to ensure to health to the woman. Recommended steps for miscarriage management include:

  • Assist the woman to a resting position that is most comfortable to her.
  • Immediately call for emergency medical assistance.
  • Observe the woman for any change in condition.
  • Watch out for dry lips and moisten it.
  • Do not give any food or fluids.
  • If anything comes out from the vagina, keep out of sight of the woman. Give it to the medics or doctor for further study.

As previously mentioned, it is important to know that in most cases, a miscarriage cannot be prevented. The most important part of life after a miscarriage is to show continued support for the woman. There are plenty of emotional groups available that can help provide support to the grieving mother and father. Counseling is also another option.

To learn how to manage pregnancy problems, enroll in First Aid Courses and CPR Training. Miscarriage, the loss of pregnancy within the first 20 weeks of gestation, is the most common type of pregnancy loss. A miscarriage is also called spontaneous abortion.

First Aid Emergency: Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a condition caused by exposure to excessive heat, whether natural or artificial. It is only considered heat stroke when the body temperature is at (or exceeds) 40°C (104°C). Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia. As a byproduct of metabolism, heat is usually dissipated by heat radiation through the skin or evaporation. However, in cases of very high temperatures, high humidity and physical exertion in the hot environment, the body may be unable to dissipate the heat leading to the rise of the body temperature. This rise in temperature may lead to damage in the internal organs and the brain.

Young children, particularly infants, and the elderly are more at risk for experiencing heat stroke. So are individuals with certain health problems that affect temperature regulation mechanisms, such as diabetes and kidney problems.

Heat stroke, the most serious among the heat-related illnesses, is also referred to as sunstroke. It progresses from heat cramps (mildest) and heat exhaustion (milder). Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency, thus it is absolutely necessary to call for emergency medical assistance as soon as an individual shows symptoms of heat stroke. Heat stroke may be fatal if not treated

Causes of Heat Stroke

There are several potential causes of heat stroke. Their common denominator is presence of hot temperatures. The following are the causes of heat stroke:

  • Exposure to high temperatures for a long period of time
  • Doing strenuous physical activity under the hot weather.
  • Dehydration , especially when it coexists with the previous two conditions
Doing vigorous physical activity under the hot weather for a long period of time may lead to heat stroke
Doing vigorous physical activity under the hot weather for a long period of time may lead to heat stroke

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke

The two hallmark signs of heat stroke are the elevated body temperature at 40°C (104°C) or higher and the cessation of sweating, whereas in heat exhaustion there is still sweating the temperature is subnormal.

  • Body temperature of 40°C (104°C) or higher
  • Absence of sweating
  • Red, hot and dry skin
  • Pounding headache
  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Dyspnea
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

First Aid Management for Heat Stroke

It is necessary to give first aid to individuals suffering from heat stroke as it is considered a medical emergency. The primary goal of first aid management is to cool the victim. Learn how to properly administer first aid to heat stroke victims by enrolling in First Aid Courses. The following instructions do not substitute actual first aid training:

  • Immediately call for emergency medical assistance
  • If a hospital is nearby, transport the victim to the nearest one.
  • If no hospital is nearby, move the individual to a shaded area. If possible, move the individual to an air conditioned room.
  • Remove any clothing that was drenched in sweat. Remove also any jewelry.
  • Cool the victim by either (1) spraying the individual with cool or lukewarm water or (2) gently watering the individual using a garden hose.
  • Place ice packs wrapped in any piece of clothing to the neck, underarms, back and groin regions. These areas are rich in blood vessels and may aid in decreasing body temperature.
  • To help induce sweating and evaporation, fan the individual.
  • For individuals who are able to drink, assist them into drinking cool water, fruit juices or sports drinks. Avoid diuretics.
  • Monitor body temperature using a thermometer and do not stop giving first aid until temperature lowers to 38.3?C to 38.8?C.

Heat stroke occurs from doing strenuous physical activity under the hot weather or exposure to high temperatures for a long period of time. It is often accompanied by high body temperature and absence of sweating. Heat stroke is also called sunstroke.

Bacterial Infection: Tetanus

Tetanus, also called lockjaw, is a rare but serious infection caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. The C. tetani bacterium is mostly found in the environment, present in soil contaminated with manure but can also be found in animal and human feces, animal saliva and even dust. The bacteria enter the body through a deep wound or any break in the skin, usually upon a cut or puncture. The bacteria will then multiply inside the body and begin to produce and release a toxin (poison). It is this toxin that results to the characteristic muscle spasms found in tetanus infections. This infection cannot be transmitted from one person to another.

Always seek medical attention if one is suspected of suffering from a tetanus infection, especially if a foreign object remains lodged in the skin. There is an increased risk of infection if the source of the wound is a dirty object, it can from an animal bite or it was a previous wound that had signs of infection. Know how to apply first aid on different kinds of wounds by enrolling in First Aid Courses.

There is an estimated one million new cases of tetanus each year worldwide. Within a five year time span, the World Health Organization reports an estimated 61,000 deaths from tetanus as of 2011. Fatality rate is highest among infants and the elderly.  Fortunately, tetanus can be prevented in individuals. There are now vaccines that can help fight this infection. It is recommended especially to infants and children, with booster shots every ten years.

Causes of Tetanus

Tetanus is usually caused by a deep cut our wound from a source infected by the bacteria. The following listed below are also sources of tetanus in individuals:

  • Insect bites
  • Dental infections
  • Surgical procedures

Signs and Symptoms of Tetanus

Initial signs and symptoms usually manifest eight days after infection, although the incubation period may be as short as three days or as long as three weeks. The first sign that a person may be suffering from tetanus is the mild spasms of the jaw, hence the name lockjaw. The other signs and symptoms of tetanus include:

  • Painful stiffness of the muscles of the body
  • Jaw cramps
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Abrupt and involuntary tightening of the muscles, often the stomach
  • Seizures, specifically characterized by jerking movements and staring
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)

Death may occur from a tetanus infection, particularly from abnormalities in the heart or severe trouble breathing.

First Aid Management for Tetanus

Administer first aid on all wounds to try and prevent any kind of infection from developing, especially serious ones, such as tetanus. The following can be done:

Apply direct pressure on a bleeding wound to try and prevent tetanus
Apply direct pressure on a bleeding wound to try and prevent tetanus
  • Control the bleeding by applying direct pressure on the wound.
  • When the wound has stopped bleeding, thoroughly wash the wound with running water and mild soap.
  • If a saline solution is available, apply this as well.
  • Apply a thin layer of antibiotic cream or ointment.
  • Cover the wound using a sterile dressing. Change this dressing at least once a day.
  • Do not cover the wound if it has not yet been cleaned to avoid trapping the bacteria in the wound.

Tetanus is an infection caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. It causes muscles spasms, painful muscle spasms and seizures.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

High blood pressure (BP), medically known as hypertension, is a medical condition characterized by having a resting sustained elevated blood pressure of systolic BP greater than or equal to 140mmHg, diastolic BP greater than or equal to 90mmHg or both. Individuals with hypertension usually do not develop signs or symptoms unless it is intense or long term. Risk factors for hypertension include age, obesity, high salt diet, alcohol, smoking, diabetes and having a family history of hypertension. This medical condition is dangerous as it can lead to further complications in the body, such as heart attack, heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease and strokes.

Causes of Hypertension

Hypertension is either classified as primary or secondary. If it has no known cause, it is identified as primary, which accounts for most of the cases. Secondary hypertension is due to an identified cause. There are several factors that can alter the blood pressure of the body:

  • Amount of salt and water in the body
  • Kidney, blood vessel and nervous system conditions
  • Levels of hormones in the body, such as renin, angiotensin and aldosterone, among others
  • Stressful situations

Secondary hypertension can be due to the following existing medical conditions:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal gland disorders, such as primary aldosteronism
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Pregnancy
  • Taking certain medications, such as, diet pills, birth control pills, and medicines for colds

Signs and Symptoms of Hypertension

The following are signs and symptoms that are commonly associated with hypertension:

A person suffering from a hypertension attack often has a severe headache
A person suffering from a hypertension attack often has a severe headache
  • Intense headache
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nose bleed
  • Stiffness of the body
  • Feeling anxious
  • Sudden weakness

Classification of Hypertension

Blood pressure is defined as the measurement of pressure or force against the artery walls as the heart pumps through the body. The readings for blood pressure are given as two numbers. Systolic blood pressure refers to the top (high) number, whereas the diastolic blood pressure sis the bottom (low) number. Blood pressure classification for individuals 18 years old and above is as follows:

  • Normal: Systolic is 120mmHg or lower, Diastolic is 80mmHg or lower
  • Prehypertension: Systolic is between 120-139mmHg, Diastolic is between 80-89mmHg
  • Stage 1 hypertension: Systolic is between 140-159mmHg, Diastolic is between 90-99mmHg
  • Stage 2 hypertension: Systolic is 160mmHg or higher, Diastolic is 100mHg or higher

First Aid Management for Hypertension

The following first aid tips are recommended when a person experiences hypertension:

  • Tell the patient to take deep breaths and reassure them
  • If the patient is in a stressful situation, remove the person from the stress.
  • If the patient’s nose is bleeding, administer appropriate first aid.
  • Give drinks that are high in potassium to help balance the amount of sodium (salt) in the body to lower blood pressure levels.

How to Prevent Hypertension

There are several ways to prevent this chronic condition, which include:

  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and minimize the amount of salt in the diet.
  • If one is overweight or obese, lose weight.
  • Drink plenty amounts of water.
  • Exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.
  • Do not smoke and limit alcohol intake.

Understanding hypertension can help when taking First Aid Courses as it is a great risk factor for many medical emergencies, such as strokes and heart attack. Hypertension is a condition is sustained elevated resting blood pressure of greater than or equal to 140mmHg/90mmHg.

Online Sources:

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/241381-overview

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000468.htm

Eye Emergencies

Eye emergencies are eye injuries wherein eyesight is at risk,

Eye Injury
Eye Injury

especially if left untreated, that can occur on the eyelid or eyeball itself. The eye is a sensitive organ that is easily damaged and any of these damages can lead to partial loss of vision, and in extreme cases, blindness. Some common eye emergencies include scratches, cuts, foreign objects in the eye, burns, chemical exposure and blunt injuries.

Signs and Symptoms of Eye Emergencies

Signs and symptoms of eye emergencies will depend on the type of injury, however, the presence of the following signs and symptoms are the commonest implications of an eye emergency:

  • Headache
  • Itchy eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Stinging or burning in the eye
  • Unequal pupil sizes
  • Bulging eye
  • One eye is not moving like the other
  • Redness (bloodshot appearance of eyes)
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding or discharge from or around the eye
  • Sensation of an object in the eye
  • Photosensitivity
  • Decreased vision
  • Double vision
  • Loss of vision

What Not to Do in Eye Emergencies

The best thing to do in all cases of eye emergencies is to call for emergency medical services. It is necessary to take prompt action to avoid further damage and First Aid will depend on the type injury sustained. For more instructions on eye emergencies, enroll in First Aid Courses with workplace approved Training. It is important to NOT do the following in cases of eye emergencies as it may aggravate the condition and cause serious complications. Do NOT:

  • Put any sort of medication or ointments in the eye
  • Rub or apply pressure to the eye
  • Attempt to remove any foreign object that is stuck in any part of the eye
  • Use tweezers or any tools in the eye – it is only advised to use cotton swabs on the eyelids

Prevention of Eye Emergencies

Prevention is always better than cure. The following can help decrease chances of sustaining an eye injury:

  • When using power tools or engaging in high-risk sporting events, wear protective eyewear
  • Keep sharp objects such as scissors and knives away from children. Pencils have also caused damage to the eyes
  • Do not allow young children to play with projectile toys, such as pellet guns and darts, especially in there is no parental supervision
  • Childproof home by removing or cushioning sharp edges
  • Keep heated hair appliances away from the eyes
  • Always keep distance from fireworks, especially amateur shows

Eye emergencies can easily lead to serious complications, thus medical help is always necessary. Although some injuries may seem like a simple scratch, they can lead to vision loss. To learn how to recognize and manage eye emergencies, enroll in First Aid Courses with workplace approved Training.

Breathing Emergencies

A breathing emergency is any respiratory problem that generally

breathing emergencies
breathing emergencies

occurs when air cannot travel freely and easily into the lungs. Breathing emergencies can be life-threatening. The body needs a continual oxygen supply for cellular respiration to occur in the cells of the body. Needless to say, oxygen is essential for survival. When there is not enough oxygen in the body, cells will die. The process of respiration involves inspiration (inhalation) of oxygen and expiration (exhalation) of carbon dioxide.

When breathing stops, the damage to the cells will depend on the amount of time without oxygen.

Minutes Effects
0 minutes Breathing stops. Heart will soon begin to cease beating.
4 – 6 minutes Possible brain damage
6 – 10 minutes Likely brain damage
Over 10 minutes Certain irreversible brain damage; and most likely death

 

Types of Breathing Emergencies

There are two main types of breathing emergencies:

  • Respiratory distress: breathing is difficult
  • Respiratory arrest: breathing has stopped

Causes of Breathing Emergencies

There are many possible causes of breathing emergencies. Any one of these breathing emergencies can immediately lead to cessation of breathing. The common causes of breathing emergencies include:

  • Respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia
  • Respiratory conditions, such as asthma
  • Choking(obstructed airway)
  • Electrocution
  • Shock
  • Drowning
  • Heart attack or heart disease
  • Chest or lung injury, such as sucking chest wound
  • Allergic reactions
  • Hyperventilation
  • Use of illicit drugs, and sometimes prescription drugs

Signs and Symptoms of Breathing Emergencies

It may not always be easy to detect breathing emergencies and although there are many causesof breathing emergencies, each with different signs and symptoms, it is necessary to recognize breathing emergencies at all times.

The following may indicate breathing emergencies:

  • Breathing is abnormally fast or slow, deep or shallow
  • Gasping for air
  • Making high-pitched noises, wheezing or gurgling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Flushed, pale or bluish skin
  • Dizziness or light headedness
  • Chest pain
  • Tingling sensation in the hands or legs

First Aid Management for Breathing Emergencies

For all breathing emergencies, call emergency medical services immediately to avoid further damage. The following steps are generally recommended in cases of breathing emergencies:

  • If the victim is unconscious, check for breathing and pulse. If both are not present, commence CPR. If there is no breathing, initiate rescue breaths.
  • For asthma patients, use inhaler and follow advise by doctor.
  • For choking victims, perform Heimlich manoeuvre.
  • Before helping victims of drowning and electrocution, ensure that it is safe to help these victims to avoid increasing number of casualties.
  • For anaphylaxis, assist the victim in taking epinephrine shots.

Respiratory problems that hinder air from traveling freely and easily are considered breathing emergencies. To learn more about how to manage different breathing emergencies, enrol in First Aid Training and CPR Courses available in the country.

Online Sources: