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Common injury treatments

Allergic reactions

Anaphylaxis is also known as an allergic reaction. At times, this allergic reaction, if left untreated, can be fatal.

What causes anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis may be caused by food allergies or insect bites. More common sources of allergens are:

  • Insect bites or stings
  • Foods - shellfish, nuts, fruits
  • Medications - especially penicillin, sulpha medications, anaesthetics
  • Latex, party balloons or medical gloves mainly in rubber gloves

What are the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis?

  • Swelling in the throat and/or face.
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itchy rash (hives, urticaria)
  • Dizziness or loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting

What to do if anaphylaxis occurs?

  • Dial 9-1-1 immediately and ask for paramedics
  • Have the person lie down
  • If the person has an EpiPen (adrenalin), help them administer it by injecting the EpiPen into their thigh.
  • Place person on their side
  • If person is unconscious inject EpiPen into thigh and monitor their airway, breathing and circulation
  • Have someone meet the paramedics outside

What will the paramedics do when they arrive?

  • They will administer oxygen through a mask to help you breathe
  • Take your vital signs - your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate
  • If the allergic reaction is severe, paramedics will give you medication (epinephrine)
  • An intravenous may be put in place in case further medication is required

How to prevent an allergic reaction?

  • Consult a physician if you suspect having an allergy
  • Avoid exposure to any known allergens
  • Wear a medic alert bracelet identifying what your allergies are
  • If you have severe allergies always carry an EpiPen. An EpiPen can save your life. Make sure that family members, teachers, coaches and friends are trained in its use.

Bleeding

Bleeding is the loss of blood through either an external cut or, an internal wound from a medical condition or related to a traumatic event.

Cuts are some of the most common injuries people experience. There are two types of lacerations:

  • Arterial bleeds are very serious and require immediate medical attention. Arterial bleeds spurt and are bright red in colour.
  • Venous bleeds bleed slowly and are dark red in colour.

What causes bleeding?

Cuts may occur from a kitchen knife, power tool or may be caused by a fall. Bleeding can also be internal, caused by ulcers or trauma to internal organs.

What to do if someone has severe bleeding?

  • Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth to the wound (except on impaled objects).
  • Dial 9-1-1 and ask for paramedics.
  • NEVER remove any impaled objects, try stabilizing the impaled object to limit its movement.
  • Have the person sit or lie down. If possible, elevate the wound so that it is above the heart.
  • If bandage is placed over a joint advise the person not to bend the joint.
  • Make the person as comfortable as possible and attempt to calm and reassure the person.
  • If person is unconscious, place the person on their side and monitor their airway, breathing and circulation.
  • Maintain current by taking first aid and CPR courses.

What will the paramedics do when they arrive?

  • Pressure through a sterile dressing will be applied to the wound
  • An oxygen mask may be given to help you breathe
  • They will take your vital signs - your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate
  • An intravenous may be started

Sprains and strains

Sprains occur as a result of a stretching or tearing type injury to one or more ligaments. Ligaments are tough fibrous tissue that connects one bone to another. A strain results from a stretching or tearing of muscle tissue.

What causes a sprain?

A sprain can be caused by a sudden twist, or fall that forces the joint out of its normal position. Sprains are common in both upper and lower body, but sprain injuries most often occur in the ankles or knees.

What are the signs and symptoms of a strain?

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Discoloration (purple)
  • Pain ranging from mild to severe
  • Loss of mobility or function of the joint
  • Sometimes people hear a pop or a tearing when the injury happens

Sprains may range from a mild sprain (minimal swelling or pain) to a severe sprain where there is heavy swelling and extreme pain.

What causes a strain?

A strain is caused by trauma or the abuse of certain muscles. For example, improperly lifting heavy objects or overstressing the muscles can also cause a strain. The most common strain injuries are to the lower back and the hamstring (muscle located in the back of the thigh).

What are the signs and symptoms of a strain?

  • Muscle spasm or muscle weakness
  • Swelling
  • Cramping
  • Inflammation
  • Pain

What to do when a sprain or strain occurs?

The treatment for a sprain or strain injury is R.I.C.E. therapy.

  • R est – reduce regular exercise or daily activities. An injured ankle or knee may take up to 48 hours to heal
  • I ce – apply an ice pack, bag of ice, or towel wrapped with ice for 20 minutes, 6 to 8 times a day
  • C ompression – use tensor bandages to compress a sprained ankle, knee, or wrist can help reduce swelling.
  • E levation – if possible keep the injury elevated above the level of the heart using a pillow or blanket. Elevating the injury is extremely effective in reducing swelling

Consult your physician if you cannot bare weight, lose sensation in the affected area, or swelling does not subside after 48 hrs

How to prevent a sprain or strain injury?

  • Always warm up or stretch before participating in a sport
  • If possible do stretching exercises daily
  • Run on flat, even surfaces
  • Make sure footwear fits properly
  • Maintain a healthy balanced diet to keep muscles strong
  • Maintain a healthy weight