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Dealing with Emergencies

​Topics covered:

  • Basic first aid

  • Home emergencies

  • Early detection for diseases in elderly

Dealing with emergencies

Basic first aid

Seeking professional help
Please seek consent before applying first aid treatment. Deemed consent will apply to casualties who are unconscious. First aid cannot be the conclusive care for most of t
he people you are helping. Make sure that you call the ambulance on time and wait for the professionals. When in doubt or victim is still suffering from pain always seek professional helps.

Enjoying Firepit

Burns and scalds
The severity of a burn is based on how deep into the skin it has penetrated and how big it is:

  1. First-degree burn: This kind of burn only affects only the outer layer of skin and causes redness and swelling. It is considered a minor burn.

  2. Second-degree burn: This kind of burn affects two layers of skin and causes blistering, redness, and swelling. It is considered a major burn if it’s more than three inches wide or is on the face, hands, feet, genitals, buttocks, or over a major joint.

  • Third-degree burn: This kind of burn affects deeper layers of skin and causes white or blackened skin that can be numb. It is always considered a major burn.

    What to Do

  • Major burns need emergency medical attention. Once you’ve stopped the burning process, call 995 or get someone else to.

  • For burns that are not an emergency (wait for professional help for major burns), you can take these first aid steps:

  • Flush the burned area with cool running water for several minutes. Do not use ice.

  • Apply a light gauze bandage. If the burn is minor, you can put on an ointment, like aloe vera, before you cover it.

  • Take Panadol for pain relief if you need it.

  • Do not break any blisters that form.

What to Do
The first thing to do is make sure that the injured person stops any unnecessary activity, as moving can make the injury worse. Sprains often don’t require emergency treatment. However, you should get immediate medical care if the injured person:
1.       Has severe pain when they move or are touched
2.      Cannot put any weight on the injured joint
3.      Has increased bruising
4.      Has numbness or pins-and-needles near the sprain
5.      Shows signs of infection
6.      Has little or no improvement during the first week after the injury happens
If emergency care is not needed, follow these first aid steps:
1.       Keep the limb as still as possible.
2.      Apply a cold pack.
3.      Elevate the injured part if you can do so safely.
4.      Use NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for pain.
5.      Ask your medical provider about any other treatment for a sprain you might need.

Heavy bleeding 
Try to prevent further blood loss by applying and maintaining pressure to the wound. Use disposable gloves to reduce any chance of infection. If there is any object embedded in the wound, try not to put pressure on the object or remove the object. Use a clean dressing to bandage the wound. Dial the emergency helpline for an ambulance as soon as possible.

If someone is injured and bleeding, there are a few basics about how blood works that will be helpful for you to know.

The color of the blood and how it’s leaving the body can give you a sense of the extent of the injury:
1.       Capillaries: Bleeding from the smallest blood vessels (capillaries) looks like a trickle. This kind of bleeding usually stops on its own.
2.       Veins: A consistent blood flow and blood that’s a dark red color is most likely coming from the veins. This type of bleeding can range from mild to severe.
3.       Arteries: Arteries are the largest blood vessels and carry a lot of oxygen. If they are injured, bright red blood will spurt out. Blood can be lost very fast with this kind of bleeding.
Almost all bleeding can be controlled with first aid. If severe bleeding keeps going, a person can go into shock and may die.
What to Do
While it is important to stop bleeding, the next steps are to:
1.       Wash your hands or put on disposable gloves if you have them. This will protect you from infectious diseases like viral hepatitis and HIV/AIDS that can be spread in a person’s blood.6
2.       Rinse the wound with water.
3.       Cover the wound with a gauze or cloth (e.g., towel, blanket, clothing).
4.       Apply direct pressure to stop the flow of blood and encourage clotting (when blood naturally thickens to stop blood loss).
5.       Elevate the bleeding body part above the person’s head if you can.
6.       Do not remove the cloth if it becomes soaked. Removing the first layer will interfere with the clotting process and result in more blood loss. Instead, add more layers if needed.
7.       Once bleeding has stopped, put a clean bandage on the wound.

If the airway of the casualty is partially blocked, the person might be able to get rid of the blockage coughing or spitting. In case of severe choking, you need to apply Heimlich Manoeuvre. The Heimlich Manoeuvre is a series of abdominal thrusts that can help dislodge the thing a person is choking on. This first aid technique should only be done if someone is truly choking.

Image by Towfiqu barbhuiya

Here are the steps:
1.       Stand behind the person and lean them slightly forward.
2.       Put your arms around their waist and one leg in between the person’s legst
3.       Clench your fist and place it between their belly button (navel) and rib cage.
4.       Grab your fist with your other hand.
5.       Pull your clenched fist sharply backward and upward under the person’s rib cage in 5 quick thrusts.
6.       Repeat until the object is coughed up.

The most common cause of a nosebleed is trauma—better known as picking your nose.

Other causes of a bloody nose include:

  1. Dry or hot air

  2. High altitudes

  3. Chemical fumes that irritate the nasal passages

  4. Colds and allergies

  5. Blowing your nose hard or often

  6. Trauma to the nose

  7. Deviated Septum (Crooked nasal cartilage)

  8. Nasal polyps (non-cancerous or cancerous growths in the nasal passage and sinuses) or nasal tumors

  9. Bleeding disorders

  10. High blood pressure

  11. Pregnancy

  12. Frequent use of nasal sprays, decongestants, and antihistamines

  13. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

  14. Blood thinners

  15. Many of these things dry out or damage the delicate membranes in your nostrils, causing them to get crusty and burst when irritated.

What to Do
First aid for a nosebleed has a few simple steps.
If your nose is bleeding:

  1. Lean slightly forward, not back.

  2. Pinch your nose just below the bridge. It needs to be high enough that the nostrils are not pinched closed.

  3. After five minutes, check to see if the bleeding has stopped. If not, continue pinching and check after another 10 minutes.

  4. Apply a cold pack to the bridge of your nose while you’re pinching.

In some cases, you will need to let your provider know if you have a bloody nose.
You should seek immediate medical attention if 

  1. You have anemia symptoms (e.g., weakness, faintness, fatigue, and pale skin)

  2. You’re taking blood thinners

  3. You have a clotting or bleeding disorder

  4. You just started a new medication

  5. You also have unusual bruising

  6. You might need to seek emergency medical care for a bloody nose.

  7. The bleeding will not stop even after more than 15 minutes of direct pressure

  8. There is a lot of blood loss

  9. You have a hard time breathing

  10. You’ve swallowed a lot of blood and vomited it up

  11. You’ve had a serious injury or a blow to the head

​Electric shock
Switch off the electrical current at the mains to disengage the person from the electrical supply. You SHOULD NOT go near or touch the person until the power supply around the area is switched off. Call the emergency helpline if the person isn’t breathing after the disengagement.





When a person swallows toxic substances or takes an overdose of prescribed medicine, poisoning happens. Alcohol poisoning and other forms of wild plant consumption could lead to life-threatening situations. You need to call 995 to get immediate medical help. CPR should be performed in the casualty becomes unconscious. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is not advisable as the victim’s mouth or airway might be contaminated.

Dealing with home emergencies

Treating Glass Splinters 

  • Clean the area around the splinter carefully with warm water and soap.

  • Grasp the splinter with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible, and draw it out in a straight line keeping it at the same angle as it goes into the skin.

  • Squeeze the wound carefully to encourage slight bleeding as this will help to remove any dirt. 

  • Clean and dry the wound and cover with a dressing.  

Splinters can be easily removed from the skin using tweezers. However, if the splinter is deep in the skin it can be difficult to remove and should be left in place – this is when one should seek medical help. 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning signs
The most common symptoms are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. 

If you think you might have carbon monoxide poisoning 

  • Stop using the appliances that might be creating carbon monoxide

  • Open windows and doors to let fresh air in

  • Go outside 

  • Get medical advice as soon as possible; do not go back into the affected building until you have got advice

General signs of a medical emergency: 

  • Sudden or severe pain, including chest pain

  • Breathing difficulty or shortness of breath

  • Uncontrolled bleeding of any kind

  • Sudden confusion of disorientation

  • Sudden dizziness, numbness, weakness or vision change

  • Coughing or vomiting of blood

  • Continuous vomiting or diarrhea

Call 995 and provide information on age, presenting problems and duration, as well as medical history. 

Recognizing early signs of diseases in the elderly

Recognizing signs of a possible disease occurrence in the elderly is important for several reasons:

  • Early detection - It is important for successful treatment and management of the condition. The earlier a disease is discovered, the sooner we can mitigate its effects and treat it.

  • Preventive measures - Knowing the signs of possible disease occurrence in the elderly allows caregivers to take preventive measures to prevent the onset of the conditions.

  • Improved quality of life - Timely diagnosis and treatment improves the quality of life for elderly, allowing them to continue living independently and actively.

  • Reduced healthcare costs - It is less expensive to treat a condition in its early stages than in advanced stages.

  • Peace of mind - Being conscious of the signs of possible signs of disease provides a peace of mind as they can take proactive steps to maintain their health and well-being



Recognizing the signs of a stroke is crucial because it is a medical emergency that requires prompt medical attention. The following are common signs and symptoms of a stroke:

Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech. 
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.


How to recognise these signs and symptoms

  • Follow F.A.S.T

  • Facial drooping

  • Arm weakness

  • Speech difficulties

  • Time to call for help




Heart attack:

Recognizing the signs of a heart attack is crucial because it is a medical emergency that requires prompt medical attention. The following are common signs and symptoms of a Heart attack

  1. Chest pain or discomfort: This is the most common symptom of a heart attack. It may feel like pressure, tightness, fullness, or squeezing in the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

  2. Upper body pain: Pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.

  3. Shortness of breath: Difficulty breathing or feeling like you can't catch your breath.

  4. Cold sweat: Feeling clammy, sweaty, or having cold, pale skin.

  5. Nausea or vomiting: Feeling sick to your stomach or actually vomiting.

  6. Lightheadedness or dizziness: Feeling dizzy or faint.

What to do?

  1. Call 995 first.

  2. Chew or swallow an aspirin (if available)

  3. Take nitroglycerin if prescribed

  4. Begin CPR if the person is unconscious

  5. Use the automated external defibrillator if the person is still unconscious


The signs and symptoms of a seizure can vary widely depending on the type of seizure and the individual experiencing it. However, some common signs of a seizure can include:

  • Sudden confusion or a loss of consciousness

  • Staring spells or blank expressions

  • Uncontrollable twitching or shaking movements in the arms, legs, or face

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

  • A sudden fall for no apparent reason

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Rapid eye blinking or unusual eye movements

  • A feeling of fear or panic


What to do?

  1. Stay calm and keep the person safe: Make sure the person is in a safe place and remove any objects that could cause injury. Do not try to hold them down or stop their movements during the seizure.

  2. Time the seizure: Take note of when the seizure started and how long it lasts, and call for emergency medical assistance.

  3. Protect the person's head: Gently place something soft, like a pillow or jacket, under their head to prevent injury.

  4. Loosen tight clothing: If the person is wearing tight clothing, like a tie or scarf, loosen it to help them breathe easier.

  5. Turn the person on their side: If the person is lying down, roll them onto their side to prevent choking and to help clear their airway.

  6. Comfort the person: Talk calmly and reassuringly to the person during and after the seizure to help them feel more at ease.

  7. Stay with the person: Stay with the person until they are fully alert and aware of their surroundings. Offer to call a family member or friend to come and stay with them

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