Medical emergencies occur all the time, but that doesn’t mean that it is understandable they happen. Every individual should know how to detect an emergency, and all health professionals should have a nodding acquaintance with how to respond to common emergencies. Let’s have a look at 10 of the most common problems that healthcare providers should brace for:
1. Cardiovascular emergencies
Cardiovascular emergencies may not be among the most common types of medical emergencies, but they are among the most serious. Knowing how to detect and respond to them should be a part of any healthcare professional’s repertoire. You can get your Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) courses at a recognized medical school such as Newcastle Training and increase your usefulness during cardiovascular emergencies. ACLS participants are taught patient assessment, problem identification, and dynamic team-based resuscitation, among other care procedures and systems that can help improve a patient’s symptoms and potentially save their life.
About one in 10 people have a seizure at least once in their lifetime. There is a good chance as a health professional that you will need to help someone suffering from one. The only positive thing about seizures is that they do not require instant medical attention, but that doesn’t mean they are nothing to worry about. If a patient is brought to you after suffering a seizure, you need to be familiar with the right procedures to establish the cause and prepare a treatment plan.
3. Swallowing poisonous substances
Individuals may knowingly or unknowingly swallow toxic substances, such as cleaning chemicals, pesticides, and medications. These scenarios require emergency medical attention, and health professionals should know the general steps to take to prevent the poison from spreading further. You can then refer them to the right professional or call poison control.
Bleeding can arise from cuts and bruises. It isn’t anything to worry about most of the time, but sometimes you could be approached with cases of deep cuts or severe bruises that need emergency attention. There are many things to do in such instances; your reaction should be based on factors such as the severity of the injury, the location of the cut, and the extent of the bleeding. Ensure you are well acquainted with the common causes of bleeding and the most effective first-aid procedures for each case.
5. Sudden breathing difficulty
If someone suddenly develops breathing difficulty—whether the symptoms are persistent or short-lived—it is an indication they have an underlying health problem. Common culprits include allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, flu, COPD, and respiratory syncytial virus. All health professionals should know how to tell common asthma symptoms from serious situations. They should also know the recommended steps to take in case of a more urgent situation.
Also known as sunstroke, heat stroke is perhaps the most serious heat-induced injury as it can cause damage to vital body organs, including the brain. The condition mostly affects older adults, but that doesn’t make younger individuals immune to it. Lengthy exposure to scorching temperatures, dehydration, and history of heat-induced illnesses like heat exhaustion, heat syncope, and heat cramps are all risk factors.
One way doctors expel the excess heat from the body is by immersing the patient in cold water. For more severe cases, an endovascular cooler might be required.
Fractures can take forever to heal on their own, and the fact that most are accompanied by excruciating pain gives them emergency traits. As an expert, the first thing you should do is ease the discomfort and pain before getting on with creating a treatment plan.
There are many different types of fractures, including complete fractures, stable fractures, comminuted fractures, transverse fractures, displaced fractures, and oblique fractures. Each of these exhibits unique symptoms, but common ones include swelling, pain, tenderness, deformity, bruising, and a grinding sound near the affected area. A healthcare expert should determine the type of fracture a patient is suffering and find a workable solution as soon as possible.
8. Electric shock
This is another pretty common cause of injury in homes and workplaces. When a person is hit by a high-intensity electric shock, they can experience varying degrees of burns on their skin, injured muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. In rare cases, the lungs and heart might sustain an injury.
Patients with electric-shock-related injuries are evaluated and managed as trauma patients. Breathing, airway, and inline spine immobilization should be made part of the primary survey. Since some injuries may take up to a week to manifest, healthcare professionals are also advised to evaluate for hidden signs.
9. Insect bites and stings
Insect bites and stings are often typified by swelling and redness in the affected area. However, sometimes they can cause severe allergic reactions and even transmit bacteria, viruses, and parasites into the victim’s body. The diagnosis of an adverse reaction to an insect bite involves an initial physical exam followed by a more detailed evaluation of the skin, oral cavity, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system. The patient may also be required to give a description of the bug that bit them.
Treatments typically start with epinephrine, steroid, and diphenhydramine administration. The victim may also be given oral antibiotics if the wound is infected. For severe injuries, oxygen may be given.
10. Eye trauma
Eye trauma describes injuries caused by direct hits to the eye. When someone suffers a blow to the eye or both eyes, the eye retracts, resulting in blood collecting under the skin surrounding the hit area. Common symptoms include cuts, bruises, pain, limited eyelid movement, blood on the eyeball, smaller or larger than usual pupil size, etc.
Different cases of eye trauma call for varying treatment plans. Depending on the severity of the injury from the findings of a physical exam, x-ray scans, ultrasound biomicroscopy, B-scan ultrasonography, and head MRI scans may be needed.
Knowing how to handle common emergencies, whether or not it is your specialty, can be a life-saving skill that will make you a better healthcare professional. There are dozens of emergencies to learn about, but the above are arguably more common and should provide an excellent place to start.