CPR First Aid

Different Types of Injuries

Different Types of Injuries

Different types of injuries can happen anywhere, at any time. Knowing how to properly administer CPR and first aid can be the difference between life and death in some cases. This guide will teach you what to do when common injuries and conditions occur so that you can stay safe and help those in need.

Projectile Objects (Embedded)

There are many types of projectile objects that can cause injury – from glass or shrapnel, knives, and metal objects such as rods to bullet wounds. If a projectile object becomes embedded in the skin, you should follow the principles of first aid for embedded objects. This involves forming a donut bandage to secure the object (reducing any movement that can potentially cause more injury and damage) and assisting in reducing the bleeding by providing indirect pressure to the area.

NEVER attempt to remove an embedded object. If the object is large and deep, the casualty will likely require surgery to remove it. The main thing is to reduce bleeding, keep the object secure and keep the casualty calm until the ambulance arrives.

"Infographic: Abdominal Injury Symptoms"

Abdominal Injuries

Signs and Symptoms

  • Obvious signs of a wound (history of injury) in the abdominal area
  • Bleeding wound or other obvious injuries, possibly with visible intestines
  • Severe pain and possible muscle spasm across the abdominal wall
  • Abdominal rigidity
  • Bruising of the skin
  • Casualty is unable to stand and is holding the injured area for pain relief
  • Casualty shows other indications of internal bleeding
  • Nausea or vomiting; Intense stomach cramps

There are many types and causes of abdominal injury. Basic first aid principles should be followed depending on the type and cause of the injury, for example:

aBDOMINAL INJURIESPenetrating Wounds

  • Follow guidelines for the treatment of an embedded object. Use a doughnut bandage to avoid movement of the object and to control bleeding

Note: If any internal organs are protruding from the body, DO NOT push them back in. Cover by applying a large moist non-adherent dressing to prevent them from drying out and call 000 / 112 immediately. If possible, get the casualty to lie flat on their back with their knees bent for relief of pain and spasm

Locations of some major abdominal organs

ABDOMINAL ORGANS

"Infographic: Crush injury treatment tips"

CRUSH INJURIESCrush Injuries

Crush injuries may result from a variety of situations, including vehicle entrapment, falling debris, industrial accidents or prolonged pressure on a part of the body due to their own body weight in an immobile person.

Crush syndrome refers to the multiple problems that may subsequently develop, most commonly as a result of crush injuries to the limbs, particularly the legs. Crush syndrome results from disruption of the body’s chemistry and can result in kidney, heart and other problems. The likelihood of developing acute crush syndrome is directly related to the compression time, therefore crushed persons should be released as quickly as possible, irrespective of how long they have been trapped.

(Following excerpt from ANZCOR Guideline 9.1.7) CRUSH INJURY 2

Crush injury should be suspected whenever there is a crushing force. A crush injury should be suspected whenever a part of the body is crushed (pressure from a heavy object onto a body part) or compressed (squeezing of a body part between two objects), or when you are unable to fully see or examine a part of the body.

A crush injury can also result from prolonged pressure to a part of the body due to their own body weight in an immobile person and may show few symptoms or signs.

Crush Signs and Symptoms

Depending on their severity, crush injuries can be complicated by bleeding, bruising, broken bones, open wounds, poor circulation, shock, hypothermia or breakdown of muscle as above.

A person with a crush injury may not complain of pain and there may be no external signs of injury. 

Crush Injuries First Aid

Any person who has been subjected to crush injury, including from their own body weight, should be taken to the hospital for immediate investigation.

  • Ensure your own safety and the safety of others
  • Call 000 immediately and follow their advice as to what to do next
  • If physically possible and safe to do so, remove any crushing forces as soon as possible
  • Control any bleeding using light to moderate pressure (avoid placing firm pressure

on the abdomen unless required to stop serious bleeding)

  • Treat other injuries as possible
  • Try to prevent hypothermia – Maintain the casualty’s body temperature
  • Keep the casualty calm. Do not leave the casualty unattended
  • The casualty should be monitored and if they become unconscious follow DRS ABCD

CAUTION: A tourniquet should not be used for first aid treatment of a crushed limb

 

Heat-Related Injuries or Conditions

Heat is a necessity that all people need. However, it could get out of control and harm people. Let’s take a look at several heat-related injuries and conditions.

Sunburn

Everyone who has been to the beach or enjoyed a summer day has felt the stings of the sun’s heat. This is what happens when skin is overly exposed to the UV rays of the sun. Depending on the severity of the exposure, the sunburn can either be mild and easily treated, or quite serious and require medical care.

The following are symptoms to watch out for when identifying sunburns:

  • Skin that is hot to the touch
  • Skin that has changed colour
  • Swollen parts of the skin
  • Blisters that are full of fluids or broken

If the heat becomes unbearable, severe sunburn can take place. New symptoms are introduced such as more blisters and pain, fever, nausea, and altered states of consciousness. When this happens, it becomes a medical emergency that must be catered to immediately.

Sunburn Treatment

For sunburn, prevention is better than a cure. Wearing sunscreen and protective clothing can help protect one’s skin. If it does happen, people can bathe the area in cool running water or place a ice pack on the affected area.

If you want to learn more about treating sunburns, taking a first aid course is a great way to learn about what to do. The skills and knowledge learned here will allow you to provide care while waiting for medical help.

Heat Exhaustion

When the rays of the sun intensify within the hot Australian summer, it is possible for the heat to be too much. When this happens, the body can react in an unfavourable way, resulting in several conditions. The first one is heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is when the body loses a significant amount of water and salt. This loss is usually facilitated through sweating. These generally result in weakness, nausea, vomiting, pale and clammy skin, lightheadedness, and dizziness.

Like many heat-related conditions, one of the best things to do – especially under the hot Australia sun – is to get out from under the heat. Find some good shade and a nice cool place. Additionally, find better ways to cool down such as taking off unnecessary layers of clothes and drinking more water. Finally, if vomiting continues or if a person has fainted, seek medical attention immediately.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke on the other hand happens when a person’s body is unable to control its temperature internally. Apart from a significant increase in temperature (above 40°C), a person’s heart rate will also see a quickened pace. The affected person’s skin may be red and hot, and if untreated, they may lose their consciousness.

Similar to heat exhaustion, the name of the game is to keep cool. Place the casualty in some shade and have them drink lots of water. Use a cold compress or wet clean cloth to lower body temperature. Finally, upon discovering an increase in temperature, seek the medical advice of healthcare professionals.

Scalds

A scald takes place when very hot water or steam burns a part of the body. Common occurrences such as sipping a cup of coffee that is too hot or a pot of hot water dropping on a person. If this happens, it can cause significant damage to tissues and cells. Depending on how bad it is, it could burn through several layers of skin.

Treating scalds involves removing the source of heat, placing the affected area under cool running water, removing any jewelry from the burned area, and elevating the burned area.

Large areas of scalds can also result in infections if not treated immediately. The first step is to identify signs of infection. These are usually around blistered areas resulting from the scald. The signs include a discharge or greenish pus, discoloration of the burned area, and fever. If this happens, it can be considered an emergency situation. Be proactive and apply an antiseptic to the burned area before things get out of hand.

"Shock types explained - infographic"

Shock

Shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body is not getting enough blood flow. Shock can damage multiple organs, and requires immediate medical treatment as it can worsen rapidly.

There are many specific types of shock including:

Shock causes visualized in infographic

Shock may be caused by any of the following:

  • Loss of blood through internal or external bleeding
  • Loss of plasma or fluids, i.e. burns, vomiting, dehydration
  • Allergic reactions (Anaphylaxis)
  • Infections
  • Heart trouble, heart attack, or stroke
  • Poisoning by chemicals, gases, alcohol, or drugs
  • Snake and animal bites
  • Respiratory problems, chest trauma
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Obstructions caused by choking
  • Injuries of all types, both severe and minor

Infographic: Recognizing Shock Symptoms

SHOCK 1Shock Symptoms

At first:

  • Rapid pulse
  • Pale grey blue skin
  • The capillary test will be slower
  • Sweating and cold clammy skin

As shock develops:

  • Casualty starts feeling cold (even on a warm day)
  • Weakness a-nd giddiness
  • Nausea, and the possibility of vomiting
  • Thirst
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • A weak thready pulse

SHOCK 2As the brain O2 levels drop:

  • Restless, anxious and even aggressiveness
  • Yawn and gasp for air
  • Unconsciousness
  • Finally, the heart will stop

First Aid Infographic: Shock—Stay Calm & Respond

Shock First Aid

  • If unconscious and breathing, place into the recovery position
  • If conscious – lay the casualty down flat onto their back
  • Promptly control any bleeding. Manage and treat all other injuries
  • Call 000 for professional assistance
  • Make the casualty comfortable, i.e. loosen clothing
  • Keep the casualty warm. Cover with a blanket if cold
  • Reassure and keep the casualty calm
  • Continue to monitor the casualty’s physical condition
  • You may moisten the casualty’s lips – but be sure that they do not eat or drink
  • If the casualty becomes unresponsive and not breathing normally, follow DRS ABCD

"Graphic: Safety measures to prevent sharp injuries"

Sharps Injuries

Sharps or Needle Stick Injuries are an opportunity for a pathogen to penetrate directly into the bloodstream of another person if not handled carefully. HIV (AIDS) and Hepatitis B are just a few of the possible blood-borne viruses that can be transferred from one person to another. The most common sharps injuries are from needle sticks, typically on the index finger and thumb.

  • If injured by a used needle stick, one should always seek medical assistance so that testing and preventative measures can be done to decrease the risk of infection.

SHARP INJURIESFollow all safety procedures:

  • Latex or nitrile gloves will not protect you against needle stick injuries
  • Never bend or snap used needles
  • Never re-cap a needle
  • Always place used needles into a clearly labelled and puncture-proof sharps-approved container

SHARP INJURIES 2If you do become contaminated by a sharp you should follow these steps:

  • Penetration of skin – wash the blood/body fluid away with soap and water or handwash for 30 seconds
  • Contamination of the eye – rinse with water or saline with the eye open.
  • Blood in mouth – spit out blood, and repeatedly wash with water.
  • Cover site with a sterile dressing
  • Seek professional medical assistance from your local doctor or hospital.

Treating What You Can

Injuries can happen any time. Sometimes you are the person that is hurt, in others you are the person in a position to help others. Whatever the case, it is in your best interest to stay prepared and learn as much as you can so you can treat whatever injuries that you can.

Taking first aid training is a great way to learn how to approach different types of injuries. It provides invaluable nuggets of wisdom. For instance, did you know that you aren’t supposed to use tweezers when taking out stingers? This is because it could squeeze out more venom.

Apart from that, people can learn how to treat a foreign body, minor cuts, sprains, nosebleeds, eye injuries, scrapes, abrasions, and so much more.

Learn invaluable techniques that may save people’s lives by taking a first aid course today.

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