Category Archives: Mild Emergencies

The Basics Of Mental Health First Aid

Many people are already familiar with the traditional “First Aid,” in which medical help is given to individuals with different physical conditions – whether it is an illness, an injury or other emergency conditions – before they eventually consult for professional medical assistance.  This kind of first aid, therefore, is all about providing care to the physical needs of an ill or infirm individual. But there are times when first aid is not just about giving physical medical assistance, because there are individuals who also need mental healthcare. Individuals who have mental problems need to get the necessary care they need just like those individuals who need CPR or wound care – this is where mental health first aid comes handy.

Why Mental Health First Aid Is Also Important?

Just like how we pay attention to the importance of health awareness, determining the needs of individuals with mental problems is also necessary. There are instances when we do not know if our loved ones or neighbors are already suffering from some form of mental health illness. Worse, they may not have any idea at all when it is necessary for them to turn for further mental health care. Signs and symptoms of mental health illness can be hard to detect, and even if the families of these people realize that something is wrong with them, they do not have enough knowledge how to intervene or send that person to necessary treatment.

These all boil down to one thing – people with mental illnesses do not receive prompt treatment until it is too late. As part of a large community, we should also have the necessary knowledge on how to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness in order for these people to be directed to proper care sooner than later. By enrolling in a mental health first aid course, we can increase our chance to help others within the society, who are in need of mental health services.

People with depression or other mental disabilities should also be given proper treatment.  Mental Health First Aid can help them.
People with depression or other mental disabilities should also be given proper treatment. Mental Health First Aid can help them.

Important Mental Health Conditions Addressed in the Course

Different mental health challenges are addressed in this 8-hour course. Some of the basic knowledge that can be derived includes teaching parents, teachers, neighbors, teenagers about lending a helping hand to people experiencing substance abuse problems and other minor mental health issues like depression.

The course also tackles important developmental challenges experienced by youths, adults and older adults, as well as how to help someone during a major life crisis. Finally, becoming aware of someone’s mood, behavior, and physical characteristics is one important concept of the mental health first aid, so it would be easier for the community to direct these people to proper treatment.

Related Video About Mental Health First Aid:

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozmSRrV0Hjo” width=”220″]

Sources:

“Mental health first aid fills knowledge gap.” ABC Health & Wellbeing. Retrieved online on August 14, 2014 from http://www.abc.net.au/health/library/stories/2014/08/14/4066924.htm

“Mental health first aid.” MHFA Australia. Retrieved online on August 14, 2014 from https://mhfa.com.au/

Acrocyanosis – What Does The Bluish Discoloration Indicate?

What Is Known About Acrocyanosis?

This is a vasospastic condition affecting the supply of blood from the arteries to the skin of the feet and hands. The vasospasm usually pertains to the process in which the arteries go into spasm and contraction, resulting in decreased blood flow to the different parts of the body. The smaller arteries that carry oxygenated blood and nutrients to the hands and feet usually receive insufficient amount of blood supply, because of spasm and contraction. Because of this kind of obstruction, the skin receives inadequate amount of oxygenated blood, resulting in a bluish to purplish discoloration. This characteristic discoloration is known as cyanosis. Acrocyanosis is a combination of two words – “akron” which means extremities and “kyanos” which means blue. Therefore, the bluish discoloration of the extremities indicates that there is not enough supply of oxygenated blood within the blood vessels of the skin, particularly the dermis and hypodermis.

What Are The Possible Reasons For Acrocyanosis?

According to a recently published study at the National Institutes of Health, there are two reasons why acrocyanosis happens. First, an individual might be having some kind of cardiac or pulmonary illness that makes him at risk for central blood oxygenation problems. Second, there might be problems with local tissue oxygenation. Either way, the results are usually the same; although there is a presence of discoloration in the upper and lower extremities, pain is often not associated with acrocyanosis.

What Are The Clinical Features of Acrocyanosis?

Acrocyanosis is a rare condition, but the painless discoloration is usually associated with cold and clammy skin. Other peripheral parts of the body can also be affected include the nose, lips and ears, and these clinical features are often exacerbated during cold weathers with high chill-wind factor. Although there is no swelling in the discolored part of the body, it usually exhibits profuse sweating and moisture.

The only time that acryocyanosis becomes slightly painful is when the affected peripherals are exposed to cold environment for a prolonged period of time, making them swollen and providing a tingling to numbing sensation.

First Aid Tips for Acrocyanosis:

  • Staying indoors during winter and cold seasons
  • Wearing of gloves or socks to provide heat and wick away moisture
  • Smoking cessation – because smoking can exacerbate vasospasms of the small arteries

The first aid for acrocyanosis are simple common sense prevention techniques to prevent discoloration from getting worse and the symptoms from exacerbating.

Related Video On Acrocyanosis:

 [youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ef_tQMd2Kk” width=”220″]

Sources:

“Acrocyanosis: An Overview.” National Institutes of Health. Retrieved online on August 18, 2014 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3827510/

“What is Acrocyanosis?” Web MD. Retrieved online on August 18, 2014 from http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acrocyanosis

Helpful Ankle Sprain Prevention Tips

What is sprain?

A torn or stretched ligament is known as sprain. The main function of the ligament is to connect two bones on a joint and prevent the bones from moving out of their place. Because sprain is usually caused by heavy force to the ligaments due to sudden twisting or changing of direction, the normal sites of this injury involve the ankles. For instance, when you had a hard fall, the joints forced out of its position, or you had twisted your ankles too far from its normal rotation, it can tear or stretch the ligaments.  This is why sprains are normally suffered by athletes during sports-related activities.

Common Signs of Ankle Sprain

foot pain - ankle pain - pain

 

  • Swelling or bruising
  • Tenderness, stiffness and pain
  • Numbness or coldness of the affected foot
  • Inability to run or walk because of pain in the joints

Take note, though, that the severity of these symptoms depends on how bad the ligaments have been stretched or torn. If the sprain, for instance, did not cause too much damage to the ligaments, then the swelling or pain may only be mild. But if there are one or more torn ligaments, the sprain can be very painful and swollen.

Recommended Treatment for Sprain

Doctors recommend the R. I. C. E. approach (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) as the main treatment for sprain.

  • Rest – Resting the affected ankle is important to reduce pain on the weight bearing joints and ligaments. Rest depends, though, on how bad the sprain is.
  • Ice – Application of ice pack on the sprained ankle can help reduce swelling and bruising.
  • Compression – Ice application is also combined with compression (wrapping of the ankles) to avoid inflammation.
  • Elevation – The idea behind elevating the affected ankle above heart level is to keep circulation on the ankles to prevent the swelling from getting severe.

How Could You Prevent Ankle Sprains?

  • Balance and Flexibility Training – lack of elasticity and movements on the torso, legs, hips and foot can increase the likelihood of sprains. Also, improving your balance and coordination is necessary to gain control over the body during movements.
  • Strengthening of the ankles – Exercises that focus on ankle strengthening can improve muscle and ankle functioning.

Finally, make proper preparations before an activity. Immediate changes in the body’s normal movement can make you prone to injury. Activities like warming up and conditioning the muscles are some important preparations you can do.

Related Video on Ankle Sprains:

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDFbZFNtPfs” width=”220″]

Sources:

“Tips for Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries.” USF Medical Center. Retrieved online on August 15, 2014 from http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/tips_for_preventing_foot_and_ankle_injuries/

“5 Ways to Reduce Your Chance of an Ankle Sprain.” Athletico Physical Therapy. Retrieved online on August 15, 2014 from http://www.athletico.com/2011/11/15/5-ways-to-reduce-your-chance-of-an-ankle-sprain/

Health Information – Traveler’s Diarrhea

What is Traveler’s Diarrhea?

This is a disorder of the digestive tract that commonly affects travelers. It is usually accompanied by loose, watery stool and abdominal aches, resulting from ingestion of contaminated foods or unsafe drinking water. Although there is nothing serious about traveler’s diarrhea, it is usually unpleasant to have this kind of experience, especially if you are on a bus, train or plane.

Abdominal craps and sudden urge to defecate are the common signs of traveler's diarrhea.
Abdominal craps and sudden urge to defecate are the common signs of traveler’s diarrhea.

International travelers are the ones who get the disease, which usually occur at any point of their travel or even after they have returned home. Basically, if you’re going to travel, your risk of developing diarrhea is particularly high when you visit a place with different social conditions, climate and sanitary standards. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the destinations considered as “high-risk” for acquiring traveler’s diarrhea include developing regions like Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa. In addition, the most vulnerable population to get traveler’s diarrhea include young adults, individuals who are immune-compromised, individuals with diabetes and chronic bowel disease, as well as those who are taking antacids or H-2 blockers.

What are the signs and symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea?

Similar to the signs of diarrhea, traveler’s diarrhea is accompanied by the following:

  • Sudden passage of loose stools more than three times a day
  • Urgency of defecating
  • Abdominal cramps and uneasiness
  • Weakness
  • May be accompanied by fever, nausea and vomiting.

There are also instances when the victim may suffer from dehydration, bloody spots or mucus on stool, as well as low to high grade fever.

Helpful Tips for Travelers

  • Traveler’s diarrhea is not totally life-threatening and the symptoms usually go away after two to three days even without giving treatment. However, if the symptoms do not disappear after a couple of days, it is best to seek medical supervision for further management and treatment.
  • Keep in mind that the severity of the symptoms may differ from one person to another, as well as the cause of the disease – either bacteria or a more severe form of organism. In most cases, taking over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications may help speed up recovery and this is usually advised for travelers who are always on the go.
  • Be aware of what you eat. Do not eat in places where you are unsure of the sanitary standards of the foods and drinks.
  • Be more cautious of children with traveler’s diarrhea, because they can get dehydrated more quickly than adults.

Get to know more about common diseases, how to prevent them, as well as basic first aid skills by checking out this site.

Related Video on Traveler’s Diarrhea:

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwm2GpNQ5Iw” width=”220″]

Source:

“Traveler’s Diarrhea.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved online on August 5, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/travelers-diarrhea/basics/causes/con-20019237

“Traveler’s Diarrhea.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved online on August 5, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/travelersdiarrhea_g.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.

Mammary Duct Ectasia

Mammary-Duct-EctasiaMammary Duct Ectasia occurs when a milk duct beneath your nipple becomes wider or clogged. The duct walls become thick and the duct becomes filled with fluid. The secretions may undergo calcification and this may be the presenting sign. It is a disorder of women post-menopausal age, thus the chance of developing mammary duct ectasia increases with age. Though it can mimic breast cancer, it is not a symptom of breast cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

Having mammary duct ectasia, you may have:

  • A small lump under the nipple
  • Tenderness and irritation in the nipple or surrounding areas
  • Nipple may retract (pull inwards), invert, or feel pain
  • Dirty white, greenish or black nipple discharge from one or both nipples
  • Redness of the nipple

Causes

Anatomically, breasts are made up of connective tissues that include milk ducts or tiny passages that carry milk to the nipples. Although there is no exact reason why this mammary gland ectasia happens, there are several causes why women experience this and may associate to some factors.

  • Aging. As women age, the breast tissue also changes from mostly glandular to mostly fatty. This change can lead to blockage of the duct and inflammation.
  • Stagnant secretion. The duct widening may be a result of slowing down or stoppage of the secretion.
  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking may be associated with widening of milk ducts, thus resulting to inflammation and possibly mammary duct ectasia.
  • Nipple inversion. The inward pulling of the nipple may obstruct the milk ducts, resulting to inflammation.

Complications

If left untreated, it may lead to complications. While some are usually minor, it can also be troubling and serious. These may include:

  • Nipple discharge problems. The secretions from your nipples can cause wetness and staining on your clothes.
  • Breast discomfort like redness, swelling, and tenderness.
  • Infection may develop in the affected milk duct causing pain and even fever. If untreated would lead to a collection of pus in the breast tissue.
  • Concern about breast cancer can be worrisome. When you see a change in your breast, you may think that it is a sign of cancer. While it is important to check the signs and symptoms bear in mind that mammary duct ectasia does not increase the risk of breast cancer.

Test and Diagnosis

To determine the disease, tests should be done accordingly. There are non-invasive procedures to find out whether you have mammary duct ectasia like physical examination, diagnostic mammography and diagnostic ultrasound. Factors should also be considered like age of the patient, size of the breast and also whether or not a lump is palpable.

Home Remedies

If you have this condition, you can have some measures to do at home:

  • Apply warm compress to reduce pain and swelling
  • Wear breast pad to keep the fluid from leaking
  • Wear a support bra for good support and minimize discomfort
  • Sleep on the opposite side to prevent discomfort and swelling
  • Stop smoking to reduce risk of recurrent infections

Treatment

In treating this disease, relieving symptoms is one of the major considerations. Those who are affected by the condition may take pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If there is any suspicion of infection at the site of inflammation, it should be treated with an antibiotic. Wearing supporting bra may also help in alleviating pain.

Surgical procedures can also be of help where both antibiotics and other treatment do not relieve the symptoms or if the condition recurs. However, surgery is rarely needed.

Related topics:

First Aid and CPR Courses – Read here!

Excessive sweating

Excessive sweating also known as hyperhidrosis refers to a condition in which a person is sweating profusely. Normally sweating occurs as a natural reaction of the body to heat and warm environments to cool the body down through the evaporation of sweat from the surface of the skin. Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis, however, occurs without any environmental triggers such as heat. In young adults excessive sweating occurs as a result of excessive sweatingfear, apprehension or emotional stress. However, excessive sweating also occurs as one of the symptoms of many diseases such as lung disease, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

A person with hyperhidrosis will experience sweating on the armpits, face, palms, soles of the feet and trunk. Treatment for excessive sweating may include anti-anxiety medication, antidepressants, botulism toxin injections and for severe conditions, surgery may also be required.

Disclaimer: this post on hyperhidrosis and excessive sweating is for learning purposes only. To learn about how to manage and recognize minor and major medical emergencies associated with heavy perspiration enrol in workplace approved first aid and CPR courses.

Causes of excessive sweating

Excessive sweating is commonly caused due to stress; however, it may also occur due to the following conditions:

  • Alcoholism
  • Asthma
  • Angina
  • Cancer
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • COPD
  • Fever
  • Diabetes
  • Gout
  • Leukemia
  • Low blood sugar
  • Menopause
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Tuberculosis – night sweats
  • Pneumonia

Rare causes of excessive sweating may include:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Aortic insufficiency
  • High altitude sickness
  • Mitral insufficiency
  • Mitral stenosis
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Thyrotoxicosis

Signs and symptoms signs and symptoms of excessive sweating include:

  • Excessive sweating from the armpits
  • Excessive sweating from the palms of the hands
  • Excessive sweating from the soles of the fee
  • Excessive sweating from the trunk
  • Excessive sweating from the face

Treatment

Treatment for excessive sweating usually involves anti-anxiety medication and antiperspirants.

Treatment for excessive sweating includes:

  • Antiperspirants – 20% aluminum chloride
  • Botulinum toxin injections
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Surgical removal of the sweat glands
  • Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy – surgical removal of the nerves that cause sweating from the sweat glands

If you are experiencing excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis, see a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment.

Home care and prevention

In order to reduce the risk of excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating or resolve excessive sweating, follow these steps:

  • Avoid common triggers such as hot environments
  • Stay away from humid environments as much as possible
  • Quit smoking and avoid passive smoking
  • Avoid caffeine and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or fizzy beverages
  • Avoid consuming alcohol
  • Avoid eating spicy food
  • Drink plenty of water and cool fluids
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid overwork and plan your day properly
  • Avoid working at night
  • Avoid decongestant cold medication
  • Use antidepressants containing aluminum chloride
  • Take medication as prescribed ad directed by your health care provider. Avoid skipping doses at this may just make the medication ineffective. Familiarize yourself with the common side effects of the drugs prescribed by your health care provider

Warning signs

See your doctor immediately if any of the following problems occur along with excessive sweating:

  • Chest pain/angina
  • Heart palpitations
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Severe fatigue or weakness

Learn More

To learn more about the serious medical emergencies that can be associated with excessive sweating register for first aid and CPR programs with credible workplace approved providers / training partners.

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Influenza: Risk factors and Complications

Influenza refers to a viral infection that targets the upper respiratory system which includes the nose, throat and lungs.

Risk factors

The following factors increase the risk of developing flu and its major symptoms:sneezing

  • Age. Often young children and people over the age of 65 are more likely to suffer from seasonal flu than the age groups in between. However, the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 mostly struck young adults and teenagers.
  • Living conditions. People living in areas accommodated by many other people such as military camps, barracks, and nursing homes are more likely to be infected due to close contact with people. Similarly, young children are also susceptible to the infection as they go to school and day care centers.
  • Occupation. Nurses, child care and health care workers come in contact with infected people suffering from influenza. Influenza can spread by breathing in contaminated air or touching contaminated objects.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women develop flu and influenza complications usually in the second and third trimesters.
  • Chronic illnesses. These include diabetes, asthma and heart problems. People suffering from chronic illnesses are more likely to develop influenza complications.
  • Suppressed immune system. Chemotherapy, corticosteroids, anti-rejection drugs and HIV/AIDS can greatly suppress your immune system and make you more susceptible to suffer from infections. A weakened immune system also makes you more prone to catch the influenza virus and suffer from its complications.

Complications

For healthy and young people, influenza virus does not produce major complications regardless of the fact that the sufferer may consider the condition to be a nuisance, the symptoms disappear on their own. However, high risk groups such as young children, older adults and people with weak immune systems are likely to suffer from major complications that may leave long lasting effects. Some of the most common complications include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus infections
  • Bronchitis
  • Ear infections

Of all complications, pneumonia seems to be the most recurrent complication in the world’s population. Moreover, it is also the most serious complication out of them all. For older people and people suffering from chronic illness, pneumonia might actually turn into a deadly complication. It is recommended that you get vaccinated for influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia to provide yourself with protection from both conditions.

Learn More

To learn about more serious medical emergencies and complications such as shock, breathing emergencies, anaphylaxis and asthma enrol in workplace approved first aid and CPR training with a provider near you.

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