Life-threatening medical catastrophes can strike at the worst possible times.
In those moments, there may not be a hospital anywhere nearby.
Here are four first-aid tips to know if a medical emergency happens and help isn’t immediately on the way.
Accidents can ruin camping or hiking trips in one instant.
When that happens, access to medical care is often limited.
That’s why it’s imperative to have general first-aid skills until professional medical care is available.
Here’s a guide for dealing with four common medical emergencies.
First, it’s crucial to know how to treat a person who’s stopped breathing.
Position the patient on their back and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Place one hand on the center of the chest, then place your second hand on top and interlock your fingers.
Keep your arms straight and position your shoulders directly over the person’s torso.
Give 30 chest compressions at a rate of approximately two per second.
Next, open the person’s airways by lifting the neck and tilting the head back.
Pinch their nostrils, take a normal breath, then breathe into their mouth.
Turn your head level to their chest to see if it rises.
Perform another rescue breath, then repeat the entire procedure again until breathing recurs.
Next, it’s critical to be able to handle a bleeding.
Control bleeding by elevating the wound above the heart and applying pressure with gauze or a clean cloth.
For severe bleeding, a tourniquet may be necessary.
Tie off a tourniquet three inches above the wound to preserve as much tissue as possible.
But when it doubt, it’s easiest to tie off the wound high and tight, such as right below the shoulder for an arm injury.
Once bleeding is under control, disinfect the wounded area and keep it as clean as possible.
Next, it’s important to know how to treat a bone break.
On top of excruciating pain, fractures can lead to life-threatening circulation problems.
Fractures are often identified by sharp pain, deformation or discoloration in the wounded area, a grating sound or sensation when in motion, or the inability to put any pressure on the affected area.
Immobilize the patient so the injury doesn’t get any worse.
If necessary, control bleeding and tend to open wounds.
Splint the injury above and below the fracture with a rigid surface (such as wood) and soft padding.
Check to make sure the splint isn’t tied too tightly so circulation isn’t weakened.
Finally, you need to know how to handle a patient who’s in shock.
Shock can cause all of the body processes to shut down due to an injury, or even acute emotional trauma.
Bleeding, harsh weather conditions and sharp pain can exacerbate the effects of shock.
Shock often leads to arrhythmia and possibly fainting, which can cause a secondary injury.
When a patient is in shock, treat for apparent issues such as breathing, bleeding, and breaks.
If there are no head or chest injuries, place the patient on his back and elevate his legs to help blood circulation.
If head or chest injuries are present, elevate the upper body.
If the patient passes out, lie him face down to prevent choking.
Emergencies like these can be scary, so it’s important to stay calm for both the patient’s sake and yours.
Follow these critical steps, and chances of survival improve greatly.