Be Ready For An Emergency

This might seem like a detour from your normal health advice, but it certainly isn’t. Emergencies sometimes turn out to be a life or death situation. If you have the knowledge and tools you need to improve the situation, you can literally save someone’s life, including your own.

The best way to prevent an emergency is to avoid them in the first place. Be a defensive driver, avoid dangerous situation, etc. But no matter what we do accidents can and do occur all the time.

I, along with many other people, are under the belief that everyone should have basic first aid and CPR training. Watching it on tv does not count. You have to get in a classroom and practice the necessary skills. If it has been a number of years since you have taken the course then perhaps it is time you took a refresher course.

(Disclaimer: While I offer some of the basics here, reading about this stuff can never replace actually practicing it.)

So some people watch CPR happening on tv and actually believe they can do it in an emergency situation without proper training. They think that CPR is just blowing air into a person’s mouth and pounding on their chest. This is foolhardy at best and dangerous at worst.

The easy way that we all remember how to do CPR (or at least used to) is by minding our ABC’s. First comes Airway, then Breathing, and finally Circulation. If you haven’t taken a class in a few years then you won’t know that the guidelines changed a bit. It is now CAB. Circulation comes first because recent research has shown that circulating the blood to the brain is more important than getting more oxygen in the blood by breathing. Again, please go take a class, even if you took one 10 years ago.

2010 CPR Layman Guidelines2010 CPR AHA Scientific Guidelines

In a situation requiring CPR you should ALWAYS call 911 first! Only then can you proceed to CPR. If your workplace has a defibrillator you should know how to use it. Then proceed to do CPR.

The American Heart Association has shown through its research that a “hands only” approach to CPR is still much better than doing nothing, and almost as effective as managing the the airway and breathing for the person. If you go into panic mood and all else fails simply doing chest compressions fast and hard will prolong a person’s life, hopefully long enough till emergency responders can get there.

The other part of being able to respond to an emergency situation is to have a first aid kit AND first aid training.

You should have some basic emergency supplies in your home, car, and place of work. The type and amount in each kit will just depend on where you are traveling and what type of work you do. Your home emergency kit should be well stocked as well.

So when it comes to what you have in each kit it is good to think about the function it will serve instead of actual specific items. For instance, when you need pain relief you should have some ibuprofen or aspirin.

You should have things to clean wounds such as antibiotic ointment and a syringe to irrigate the wound with water. If you think about it, it is always good to have a bottle of water just to stay hydrated.

You need to have something that can stop bleeding, bandages, gauze, medical tape, all the way up to a large trauma pad.

You should also think about having things that can relieve burns, reduce allergic reactions, keep you warm, and well hydrated. The types of things you carry with you will all depend on the most likely situations you will face.

Having good knowledge about first aid will help you buy and build the best kit possible. And again I will emphasize the need to take a class and practice this stuff. Reading it here should only spark your interest. Right now you should be saying to yourself, “Maybe I should go sign up for a CPR and first aid class”. I can guarantee you won’t regret it!

This is our 27th challenge in The Personal Health Challenge Series…