If you witness a medical emergency in public places or your home, you may be thinking of instantly calling 911. Of course, it’s an essential task to do but in most cases knowing basic first aid, even if you’re just a simple bystander, is critical in saving one’s life.
According to experts, people are usually hesitant to help someone in need or get involved in a medical emergency. It’s not because they don’t want to, but they just don’t know what to do to help. It’s important to take part in handling medical emergencies even if you’re not trained to do it. Don’t worry, you could be protected under laws if you act in good faith to save someone from dying.
However, knowing the basic steps doesn’t stop there. You have to understand where and how to apply them properly. This usually depends on some cases. So, here are the eight crucial things to do to potentially save someone’s life.
- Calling 911
The first thing everyone should know is to call 911. In many cases, if you think someone is in an emergency and needs immediate help, call 911.
You may sometimes be hesitating and thinking maybe this person is okay and may only waste a responder’s time. It’s okay to feel so but know that emergency responders are prepared for such situations. Moreover, it’s a part of their job. For them, it’s better to receive many calls rather than receive none. Also, it’s better to see them in good condition than to see things spiral out of control.
Also, there are factors to consider in calling for an emergency, such as:
- When should you call: It’s a must to seek help if the person is getting unresponsive or has significantly odd behavior. Also, check if the person is having one of the following symptoms:
- Breathing problems
- Bleeding that is difficult to stop even with direct pressure
- Severe burns
- Chest pains
- Coughing up or vomiting blood
- Broken bones
- Sharp abdominal pains
- Signs of stroke such as muscle weakness, speech difficulty, paralysis
If you’re insured and unsure of what’s happening, whether it’s an emergency or not, call your insurance company. They offer a 24/7 helpline where a trained professional will help you address and analyze the severity of the situation. So, ask your insurance company and check your plan if such services apply to you.
- What to expect during the call: Expect that all calls will be answered by trained individuals who will determine whether the situation needs immediate service or not. Also, prepare to answer some basic questions, such as the nature of the incident. It would also be best if you’re calm and clear as much as possible. Additionally, they will ask for your contact details, name, and address.
Moreover, it is also important to ask yourself, ‘Are there emergency rooms near me?’ so that you know how near or how far the paramedics are from the area of the incident.
- Staying Calm
Sometimes helping might end up worsening the situation and this usually happens. If you think you’re not in the best condition to help, try to take a few breaths to clear your mind and possibly stay out of shock. Proceeding to help may complicate things more than you could imagine. You may not only put someone’s life in jeopardy but also yours.
- Performing Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Only do this if you know how to execute it properly. Otherwise, just call for help. According to doctors, even people who know basic CPR could be asked by the dispatcher to perform it. It’s better than waiting for someone to come and do nothing.
- Addressing Fainting Emergencies
Imagine you’re in a mall walking and a woman approaches you and tells you she doesn’t feel well. After that, she suddenly collapsed in front of you. You may be thinking that she needs medical attention.
You might think she needs medical assistance. Also, fainting could be a symptom of many conditions, such as heart condition, pregnancy, diabetes, heart attack, low blood sugar, or heat-related causes. So, here’s what you need to do while waiting for the emergency respondents to arrive:
- Get them to lie down: According to experts, you have to make sure they’re laid down horizontally. Otherwise, they may be at risk of falling, which may cause additional head injuries or broken arms.
- Check their alertness: According to experts, you should ask them if they’re okay. If they respond, ask them if they know where they are. These things are important to determine their level of orientation. If they become unresponsive, check their breathing and pulse. If you’re alone, find someone who can help you.
- Check their breathing: Start checking by listening through their nose, and watching their chest if it continues to rise and fall. After that, check their pulse on their neck or wrist. If possible, you have to accompany them and offer support. If you find irregularities in their breathing pattern, it’s best to seek help. During the 911 call, the dispatcher will aid you on how to properly check their pulse and breathing correctly. So, it’s important to call them.
- Perform CPR if there’s no sign of breathing: Again, the dispatcher may ask you to perform CPR if you know how to do it. Otherwise, the dispatcher will assist you on call while you do it.
- Make the patient comfortable: If they’re weakened or fainted due to intense heat, help them find a shady place. If they wake up, give them fluids to drink to prevent dehydration. Usually, children and the elderly are more prone to this situation.
- Checking Chest Pain
If you see people grab their chest and tell you it hurts, most likely it’s a heart attack. According to experts, chest pain could be considered a heart attack until proven otherwise. Even a young adult could be a heart attack victim, as do anyone. Here’s what you need to do to help someone with chest pain:
- Stabilize them: Don’t make them move or do extra movements as much as possible. Even the slightest move could worsen the situation. Let them sit down.
- Give Them Emergency Medications: According to experts, you should provide them a 325mg dose or four low-dose aspirin tablets and have them chew it. Chewing the tablets would make it easily absorbed by the body rather than swallowing it whole.
- Call 911 And Perform CPR: Check the Airway, Breathing, and Circulation (ABC) of emergencies. If these are found to be negative, perform CPR. Sadly, most people hesitate to perform this to prevent doing the wrong thing. Also, you have to take note of important details. Position their head up, make sure that their tongue is out of the way for breathing, and lastly, perform chest compressions.
- Helping A Choking Person
Suppose you see someone coughing at the restaurant. According to experts, it’s still good when someone gets choked and still coughs because there is air circulation. However, if they’re not coughing and their face turns red, that’s probably a warning sign. The best course of action is to leave them alone and let them fix it. If you don’t hear any noise from their airways, that’s when you should go and help them.
When such a thing happens, it is crucial to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Although be warned, if they’re still coughing, the Heimlich maneuver could worsen the situation. The same goes with hitting their back because the food may block their windpipe as it goes back.
- Addressing Bleeding Individuals
If you see someone bleeding, the first thing to find out is where the bleeding comes from and how bad it is. If there’s a lot of bleeding going on, you may have to remove the clothing to assess the source of bleeding.
After careful assessment of the bleeding area, it’s important to apply strong and direct pressure on the source using the palm of your hand. If you’re worried about the infection, you may wrap your hands with a clean cloth or plastic.
If the process doesn’t seem to work, it may require the use of a tourniquet. Hence, place it at least two inches above the source of bleeding and tighten it until the bleeding stops. If you don’t have a tourniquet, you may use your belt, handkerchief, or anything you can wrap around the bleeding part.
On the other hand, some experts suggest stopping using tourniquets as they may do extra damage to tissues. It might be best to apply direct pressure and hold it tight rather than wrapping the bleeding part.
- Helping Those With Seizures
It would be difficult to stop someone from having a seizure, and you could even hurt yourself if you try. Although, you could still help them stay safe by applying soft paddings around them and getting them to the floor.
Seizures have different symptoms. Some people may fall, make erratic movements, or their heads and eyes might create unnecessary movements. Seizures can also be a symptom of high fever, epilepsy, or stroke. If you see someone having seizures, call 911 immediately. Also, watch out for how long their episodes may last.
During a medical emergency, it would be hard to assess what’s going on and what you should do to help. That’s why it’s important to always prepare yourself as something may occur in the following hours. Make sure to have your phone with you, download a medical-aiding app, keep a well-stocked first aid kit, and most importantly, learn the basics of saving a life.
Use these tips to save someone’s life. You might not know it now but maybe that someone is dear to you. Thus, it’s best to be prepared.