We often face situations like we’re alone and start to feel a crushing pain in the chest, or we accidentally slice through a finger while chopping vegetables. On such occasions we either alert someone nearby or call an ambulance.
But everyone knows it that the average ambulance response time is eight minutes. But some of you may not know that the brain can survive for only three minutes without oxygen before it starts to die.
So, it is critical to know what to do and to act quickly.
‘In an emergency situation, you are much more likely to die if you’re alone and even more likely if you do nothing,’ says Joe Mulligan, a first-aid expert at the British Red Cross.
On an average response time of an ambulance is eight minutes, however, if you’re choking, your brain is gonna survive for just three minutes without oxygen before it starts to die. So, it is critical to know what to do and to act quickly.
‘Your actions are the most important factor in an emergency and the first ten minutes are the most crucial. Whatever you do, always do something.’
Of course, all situations can’t be dealt with on your own, for example, if you faint or have a fit, and you should always seek professional medical care in a critical situation.
Anyways, here are some effective self-help procedures you can do if you find yourself alone and in an emergency…
If something lodges in your airway, coughing is the best way to get it out. Doing this as vigorously as you can should work in most cases, says Joe Mulligan. Bending over with your head down should help move a lodged item.
Alternatively, you can perform a version of the Heimlich manoeuvre on yourself (applying pressure to the abdomen to force a lodged object up and out of your throat).
Here are two ways of doing this. First, by doing abdominal thrusts with your fist. Make a fist with one hand and place it just above your belly button. Place the other hand on top for support and push really hard, in short, sharp thrusts. Try about five of these.
You could also try the Heimlich manoeuvre on the back of a chair – this may be easier in the heat of the moment. Lean over a sturdy chair or table, holding on if you need to, and thrust your upper belly against the top edge using short, sharp motions.
If something lodges in your airway, either cough it out or perform a version of the Heimlich manoeuvre
When blood is gushing out at speed, you need to act quickly to stop excessive blood loss and unconsciousness.
‘It is possible for a person to bleed out their entire blood volume in around just a minute from a serious wound,’ says Alan Weir.
So grip the wound as firmly as you can with a clean towel or any large cloth you find nearby.
Apply pressure directly to the wound and raise it to at least the level of the heart to reduce the blood flow to the affected area, says Joe Mulligan.
If bleeding is in the leg, you got to lift up your leg to get it above the heart. This distorts the blood flow, making it harder for blood to flow uphill against gravity.
This reduces how much of it reaches the wound, which in turn reduces the amount of bleeding.
We recommend applying pressure directly to the wound and raising it to at least the level of the heart.
Remember this thumb rule, whether you are hurt or tending someone else who is, do not try applying a tourniquet to stop bleeding.
Instead apply direct pressure to stop or slow down the flow of blood until emergency help arrives.
If you have a bad accident with a chopping knife, the best way is to treat the site where the blood is flowing – or where the finger or digit has been severed, using pressure and a clean towel.
Hold the bleeding hand above your head to help stem the blood flow faster, says Alan Weir. And take a codeine pill for the pain.
After you have dealt with the bleeding, find the missing digit, rinse it carefully with water to remove bacteria, then wrap it loosely in a paper towel. Put it in a small clear bag of crushed ice to take with you to hospital.
This way, you give yourself a chance of having it reattached and regaining your finger’s function.
For a crushing heart pain, first call an ambulance and then chew an aspirin
If you are feeling a central crushing heart pain, call an ambulance and then chew an aspirin (this works faster than if you swallow one whole) and lie down with your head and shoulders slightly raised.
Aspirin slows down the blood’s clotting mechanism, so will not let any clots that have already formed from getting bigger plus reduces the chance of a heart attack occurring.
INSECT STINGS IN THE MOUTH
Insect stings can turn serious specially when in the mouth and throat.
In summers more people are outside drinking so the likelihood of a bee or wasp flying in while the mouth is open or getting into an open can of drink is much higher. The sweetness in sugary drinks attract these kinda insects.
Stings cause swelling in the mouth, tongue and throat as well as restricts the airways, making breathing difficult. So you need to act fast. If you are waiting for emergency help to arrive, sucking on ice cubes and ice lollies can help, according to research by the Red Cross to be published later this year.
The ice helps reduce the swelling and pain by numbing the area, as well as helps speed up the healing process.
WHAT NOT TO DO
- If you feel faint, don’t put your head between your knees. In this position you’ll fall directly on to your head if you do end up fainting, which could cause a more serious injury or concussion, says Joe Mulligan.
If you feel faint, don’t put your head between your knees
- Just lie on the ground and raise your legs to redirect blood flow up your body to your brain, he says.
- You’ll immediately start feeling better.
- If you have mistakenly taken too much of your medication or swallowed something harmful such as bleach, avoid drinking large quantities of water in an attempt to flush it out of your system.
- It will cause more harm by helping to break down tablets more quickly and speeding up its absorption by your body.
- With bleach, guzzling down water would make you want to be sick and this would make the chemical do further damage on its way back up, says Joe Mulligan.