Knowing how to give first aid in emergencies can, and does, save many lives.  Common emergencies and the techniques used to deal with them are listed alphabetically in this section.

Whenever possible, alternative treatments accompany conventional ones; but where there are no appropriate alternatives, orthodox methd.

Remember, however, that it is essential to call a doctor - or an ambulance - for any serious injury or illness.


INDEX




ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION: THE ABC


When dealing with seriously ill or unconscious patients, there are three main priorities, which can be remembered as A, B and C (Airway, Breathing and Circulation)


       


A. Airway

Check that nothing is blocking the patient's airway to the lungs, and remove anything (such as false teeth) that may be obstructing breathing



B. Breathing

Check that the victim is breathing by watching the chest or holding your cheek close to the mouth or nose.  If the victim is not breathing, start ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION (below)



C. Circulation

Check if the victim's heart is beating.  If not, start CHEST COMPRESSION (below)


Artificial respiration - Applying it



  • Clear casualty's mouth of blood or vomit



  • Tilt head up so that back is resting on ground with chin well up



  • Pinch casualty's nose shut with your fingers
  • Seal your lips around casualty's open mouth
  • Breathe into casualty's mouth until chest rises
  • Remove your mouth
  • Keep nose pinched shut with one hand
  • Turn your head to watch casualty's chest fall



  • Replace your mouth and start to breathe into casualty's mouth again.  Continue at normal breathing rate of 12-16 a minute (15-30 breaths a minute for children)
  • If the casualty starts to vomit during resuscitation, turn the head to one side and clear mouth with your finger
  • When mouth is clear, tilt the casualty's head again and resume resuscitation


Babies and Children



Head should not be tilted back to far.  In infants, cover nose and mouth with mouth.  Perform resuscitation just enough to make chest rise.  Give faster breaths - 15-30 a minute - depending on size of child. (The smaller the child, the faster the breaths.)


ASPHYXIATION


Orthodox treatment

  • Check casualty is breathing
  • Drag casualty from any danger
  • Untie or cut any cord or other material around neck
  • Clear casualty's airway by lying him on his back, supporting chin, and removing any debris with finger
  • If airway is blocked by food, treat for CHOKING
  • Check breathing and pulse, see PULSE AND RESPIRATION
  • If you can't see, hear or feel any breathing, give mouth to mouth resuscitation
  • Once breathing is normal, turn casualty on side in recovery position, see UNCONSCIOUSNESS
  • Again make sure casualty's airway is clear
  • Monitor breathing: give artificial respiration again if it falters
  • Get immediate medical aid, if you can do so without leaving casualty unattended


BANDAGES


Using a triangular bandage



  • Lay out bandage on clean, flat surface ready for use



  • Make broader bandage for emergencies by folding top point of triangle to middle of base
  • Fold bandage once more in same direction
  • To turn broad bandage into narrow one, fold it a third time in same direction
  • Use to bind hands, arms and legs

Bandages: making raised pads

  • Put clean cloth over wound



  • Make at least two curved pads by rolling cotton wool or any other material in clean cloth
  • If possible, make pads higher than foreign body in wound



  • Place pads around foreign body and bandage on with diagonal strips of material
  • If foreign body is higher than pads, don't cross bandage over it
  • You then have raised pads to prevent pressure on a wound that has a foreign object in it, such as a piece of glass


BITES AND STINGS


Alternative treatment (bites)


Homoeopathy

Be sure to clean all animal bites with pure tincture of Hypericum, or a dilution in cold, boiled water.

  • For pain and swelling, try Apis 6X


Orthodox Treatment (bites)

  • Wash the affected area with warm water and soap, or a mild antiseptic preparation
  • Dry gently, wiping down and away from wound
  • Cover with clean dressing. Fix dressing with sterile bandage or plaster
  • If wound is extensive or dirty, take casualty to hospital.  Injections against tetanus may be needed, or a course of antibiotics


Alternative Treatment (stings)

Traditional Medicine

  • For insect stings in general, rub affected area with crushed dock leaves, found near nettle-beds
  • For bee stings - in which both sting and poison bag are left in casualty - apply crumbed leaves of plantain to area
  • Alternatively, heat crumbled leaves over flame until they wilt without becoming burnt, squeeze them and rub on juice
  • For wasp stings - in which only poison is left in casualty - dab sting with vinegar
  • Chewed or moist tobacco placed on sting may help ease pain


Homoeopathy

For bee stings Ledum may help to relieve redness, swelling and pain.  Take one dose every hour or two until discomfort stops.


Naturopathy

Immerse affected area in bowl of cold water containing ice cubes and teaspoon of baking soda.  This slows circulation and helps prevent poison spreading.

  • Alternatively, hold fresh slice of raw onion over area, or cover with wheat-germ oil.  Put ice bag on top and apply calendula cream to soothe.


Herbal Medicine

  • For bee sting apply ice cold water containing a little bicarbonate of soda on sting.
  • For wasp stings put some drops of lemon juice in water and apply.
  • Alternatively, apply plain ice cube.
  • Marigold ointment may help to reduce swelling.


Orthodox Treatment (stings)

  • Scape out bee sting and poison bag with fingernail, or any blunt edge.
  • Avoid squeezing bag as this spreads poison.
  • Apply antihistamine cream or calamine lotion to relieve itching.
  • If casualty reacts strongly to bee or wasp stings, or if sting seems infected, get medical help.
  • In rare cases, casualty may be allergic to stings.  This can be fatal - get specialist help as soon as possible.
  • If you know you are allergic to stings, ask your doctor for pre-filled syringe of adrenaline to inject in an emergency.


BLEEDING


Orthodox Treatment

Treat deep cuts to chest with casualty sitting up and inclined towards injured side.

You should treat deep cuts to the stomach, leg or back with the casualty lying down as comfortably as possible.



  • Gently remove clothing from around wound
  • Press down firmly on the wound with clean, absorbent material or bare hands.
  • If possible, raise injured leg, arm or head to slow bleeding
  • Maintain pressure on the wound for 5-15 minutes
  • When bleeding stops, put absorbent pad - such as sterile gauze or clean, folded handkerchief - over wound.




  • Bandage firmly with scarf or clean piece of linen
  • If blood seeps through dressing, put another on top
  • Get medical attention, if you can do so without leaving casualty for more than a minute or two
  • Don't give anything to eat or drink
  • Regularly check casualty's pulse and breathing
  • Be ready to give first aid for other injuries if necessary

Warning

Don't touch any foreign object firmly embedded in wound. Never pull out object that has made puncture - such as knife - as it may be plugging wound

  • Put raised pad of clean material around wound - preferably higher than object - to prevent pressure on it, see BANDAGES
  • Bandage pad with diagonally applied strips of material that don't go over foreign object
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible
  • If casualty bleeds from ear, mouth or nose, this can indicate serious injury to head or chest
  • In this case, put casualty in half-sitting position
  • If nose is bleeding, pinch bridge just below bone with your fingers and apply firm pressure for at least 5 minutes
  • Cover other bleeding points with clean cloth. Don't apply pressure
  • Get medical aid immediately
  • If casualty becomes unconscious, place in recovery position, see UNCONSCIOUSNESS.


Alternative Treatment (cuts)

Herbal Medicine

Apply calendula ointment after washing cut in running water, or warm soapy water to remove any surrounding dirt.  Alternatively, soak cut with calendula tincture


Orthodox Treatment (cuts)

  • Take clean piece of cloth and press it on cut, or around edges if foreign body is in it
  • When bleeding stops, take pad away and remove any dirt or gravel that comes out easily
  • Gently wipe wound outwards with swab soaked in warm, soapy water. Use fresh swab for each wipe
  • Gently dry around wound with clean swab and apply plaster or bandage

Warning

Never apply tourniquet as this reduces supply of oxygen in blood and can permanently damage tissues, leading to gangrene and possible amputation.


BLISTERS


Alternative Treatment

Biochemic Tissue Salts

Adults should take four tablets of Nat. mur. half-hourly; children should take two tablets half-hourly

Aroma therapy

Dab lavender oil on blister

Traditional Medicine

Applying the leaves of the spekboom, the water lily or traveller joy are among traditional South African means of relieving blisters.  Blisters can also be soothed by the fruit and leaf of the bitter apple


Orthodox Treatment


  • Gently wipe blister with cotton wool soaked in methylated spirits
  • Alternatively, wash it with soap and water, or antiseptic wipe
  • A blister should not be burst because the underlying damaged tissue could become infected.  You should see your doctor about large, troublesome blisters, sometimes called bullae


BURNS AND SCALDS


Alternative Treatment (burns)

Homoeopathy

For superficial burns apply Hypericum lotion to burnt area


Orthodox Treatment (burns)



  • Bathe burnt area in cold water for 10-15 minutes



  • Remove any jewellery or rings and cover area with clean bandages or clean handkerchief
  • Do not apply butter or fat.

Warning

Don't try to treat deep burns or those that blister.  Seek expert medical help without delay.


Alternative Treatments (scalds)

Homoeopathy

  • Apply Hypericum lotion to scalded area. Dosage is about 10 drops of lotion in cup of water
  • Take some drops of Bach Rescue Remedy in glass of cold water


Orthodox Treatment (scalds)

  • Cool scalded area with cold water
  • Cover scald with clean, non-fluffy material such as linen handkerchief
  • If scald is serious, get medical aid


CHEST COMPRESSION


Providing artificial pump for blood if heart has stopped beating

  • Give 2 inflations of casualty's lungs and then feel for carotid pulse for at least 5 seconds
  • If pulse can't be detected, and if casualty's complexion is blue-grey, place on firm surface and start chest compression.



  • Feel for breastbone



  • Place heel of one hand on casualty's chest, two fingers up from bottom of breastbone
  • Keep thumb and fingers raised and off chest



  • Keep heel of hand in place and put other hand over it, fingers locked, thumb and finger raised
  • Press down 40-50mm. Let chest rise
  • Give 15 presses, then inflate lungs twice by ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION
  • Check carotid pulse after 1 minute
  • Continue chest compression until pulse returns, and give artificial respiration until casualty breathes

Adults

  • Repeat pressure at normal pulse rate: 80 times a minute



Children

  • Lightly repeat pressure 80-100 times a minute, according to size of child. (The smaller the child the faster the rate).
  • Press lightly with heel of one hand on lower part of breastbone to depth of 25-40mm
  • After pressing breastbone down, let it rise
  • Give 5 presses followed by 1 lung inflation
  • Repeat until pulse beats unaided
  • Continue if necessary



Babies

  • Very lightly repeat pressure with two fingers 120 times a minute
  • Support baby along one arm, with hand cradling its head, which should be tilted slightly down. (Artificial respiration can also be given in this position)
  • Press middle of breastbone down about 13mm, using two fingers, and let it rise
  • Give 5 presses followed by 1 small lung inflation
  • Repeat until pulse beats unaided

Warning

Chest compression should only be used if casualty's heart has stopped beating altogether and he seems likely to die. Ideally, it should be learned from a qualified instructor, and should be applied only by someone who has been trained.  If applied wrongly or unnecessarily it could be fatal.


CHOKING


Orthodox Treatment

Tell casualty to cough vigorously.  If obstruction isn't cleared, apply following:

Back Slaps

Give 3-4 sharp, flat slaps between casualty's shoulder blades with palm of hand



  • If casualty is young child, turn upside down while giving slaps
  • Rest older child face down across your thigh while giving slaps



The Heimlich Manoeuvre or abdominal thrust (conscious adult)

  • Stand behind casualty and put arms around waist, making fist with one hand



  • Place thumb side slightly above casualty's navel and below rib cage
  • Hold fist with other hand and give 3-4 strong pulls diagonally upwards and towards you
  • Use hands to exert pressure; don't just squeeze with arms
  • Once obstruction has been cleared, reassure casualty and give frequent sips of water.  Adults should sip cup of water over 10 minutes to help recovery


Abdominal thrust (unconscious adult)

Turn victim face up, kneel astride hips, put hand above navel.



  • Push on it with your other hand, thrusting at an angle downwards and towards casualty's head
  • Clear mouth with finger.  If necessary, give ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION and CHEST COMPRESSION if the heart has stopped
  • Once casualty's breathing is normal, put in recovery position
  • Give casualty something to drink when fully conscious


Abdominal thrust (self help)

  • Clench the fist and place it, thumb side against abdomen, above navel



  • With other hand, jerk fist inwards and upwards repeatedly.  Alternatively use back of chair or table edge.
  • Lean over edge, supported by hands on either side.  Thrust inwards and upwards 3-4 times



Abdominal thrust (conscious child)

  • Sit child on your lap, facing away from you
  • Put tips of two fingers of each hand side by side, just above navel
  • Press gently but firmly upwards


Abdominal thrust (unconscious child)

  • Lie child face up
  • Put tips of two fingers of each had side by side, just above navel
  • Press gently but firmly upwards
  • Clear mouth of any object
  • Give child water to sip when consciousness returns



CONCUSSION


A sharp blow to the head can shake and disturb the brain, causing concussion.  Symptoms may include confusion, slurred speech, vomiting, unsteadiness, inability to follow commands or loss of consciousness


Orthodox Treatment

  • Get expert medical help urgently
  • On recovery, casualty may suffer nausea and vomiting
  • Following head injury, any pressure on brain - from blood, fluid of fracture of skull - can cause compression, affecting casualty's alertness and level of consciousness
  • Compression may develop immediately after injury, or more slowly after casualty has apparently recovered from concussion
  • Again, get urgent medical help


DROWNING


Orthodox Treatment

  • Keep casualty's head and upper chest clear of water
  • Remove any debris from mouth
  • If casualty's breathing has stopped, start mouth-to-mouth ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION
  • Move carefully towards dry land
  • Once in shallow water continue artificial respiration.  Don't waste time bringing up water from lungs
  • Take casualty's pulse, see PULSE AND RESPIRATION.  If there's no pulse, start CHEST COMPRESSION
  • Once breathing has re-started, turn casualty into recovery position, see UNCONSCIOUSNESS
  • Cover casualty with blankets or towels and treat any injuries
  • Get medical help immediately

Note: Don't stop artificial respiration, even if situation looks hopeless.  Recovery can be achieved even after apparent death for a long period.  Nobody should be regarded as dead if the body is cold from immersion or exposure.


ELECTRIC SHOCK


Orthodox Treatment

  • Turn off power.  If casualty is holding frayed wire from electric lead, and power can't be switched off, rescuer may receive shock



  • With such accidents, lever casualty away from source of electricity with long, thick, dry piece of wood - such as broom handle
  • If possible, stand on dry, insulating material such as rubber mat or pile of newspapers
  • Once casualty is safely removed from contact with electric source, smother any burning clothes with blanket or towel
  • If impact of shock has thrown casualty to ground, check to see if breathing and heartbeat has stopped, see PULSE AND RESPIRATION
  • If necessary, apply ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION and CHEST COMPRESSION
  • Once casualty is breathing naturally, place in recovery position, see UNCONSCIOUSNESS
  • Check for broken bones and give appropriate treatment, see FRACTURES
  • Treat minor burns by cooling with cold water, then cover with dressings or suitable material
  • Call ambulance as soon as possible


EXPOSURE


Orthodox Treatment

  • Wrap casualty in spare, dry clothes or blankets, or put sleeping-bags over clothes
  • Get casualty to tent or other spot sheltered from wind an rain
  • Lie casualty on blanket or groundsheet to prevent further heat loss
  • Remove wet clothes and put casualty into sleeping-bag, or cover with blankets or spare clothes
  • Wrap any windproof material - such as polythene or aluminium foil - on top of clothes for extra protection
  • Use a space blanket if one is available
  • Check casualty's breathing and pulse, see PULSE AND RESPIRATION
  • Be ready to give ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION and CHEST COMPRESSION if necessary
  • Give warm, sweet, non-alcoholic drink and chocolate or biscuits if possible
  • Give warm (not hot) bath and get casualty into warm bed
  • Do not give up resuscitation until doctor has declared that death has occurred


EYE INJURIES


Orthodox Treatment

Chemical burns

  • Tilt casualty's head with injured eye pointing down
  • Flood eye with gently running cold or lukewarm water
  • Alternatively, wash chemical away by splashing water from basin
  • Lightly put the pad over the eye and get the casualty to hospital without delay


Impaled objects

  • Don't try to remove an impaled object from eye
  • Cut hole in piece of gauze and put over injured eye
  • Place soft pad, paper cup or similar object over gauze.  This keeps gauze in place and should be secured by bandage
  • Cover uninjured eye as well to reduce eye movement
  • Get immediate medical aid


Cut eyebrows

  • Make casualty sit down with head erect.  This will reduce bleeding by lowering the blood pressure to the head
  • Firmly put gauze pad over cut
  • Once bleeding is controlled; leave pad in place and put retaining bandage over it.  Be careful not to put pressure on eye itself
  • Get immediate medical aid


FAINTING


Alternative Treatment

Bach Remedies

As casualty comes round, place few drops of Rescue Remedy on tongue, or offer in water or tea


Homoeopathy

Give Aconite after faint from fright, Arsenicum album after faint from exhaustion or cold, and Carbo vegetalis after faint from lack of air


Acupressure

Use fingernail to stimulate firmly point on mid line two-thirds of way up, between casualty's top lip and nose


Orthodox Treatment

  • If casualty has passed out, but is breathing normally, lay on back with legs raised above level of head
  • Make sure casualty can still breathe, if necessary by supporting chin
  • Hold legs up, or prop them on chair or anything else suitable
  • Loosen clothing at neck, chest and waist and ensure casualty gets plenty of fresh air.  If casualty is indoors, open windows
  • If casualty is out of doors, do the same and protect from sun
  • Casualty should stay lying down for a few minutes after recovering, before attempting to rise
  • If casualty has difficulty in breathing, ensure that airway is clear and, if necessary, apply ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION


FRACTURES


Alternative Treatment

Homoeopathy

  • To help relieve pain offer casualty Asafoetida 6 or 6x
  • Get expert medical help


Orthodox Treatment

  • Gently remove clothing from any open wound over break, making sure to move affected area as little as possible
  • Cover wound with clean piece of lint.  If bone protrudes, place gauze raised pad over area, see BANDAGES
  • Support injured part, ensuring circulation is not restricted
  • If break is in leg, use uninjured leg as splint by tying it to other leg with bandages at knee and ankles and around feet.  Pad between legs
  • Broken arm can be supported in sling, see SLINGS
  • Broken finger can be taped to adjacent finger


FROSTBITE


Alternative Treatment

Traditional Medicine

For early stage of minor frostbite, put slices of peeled cucumber dipped in warm water on affected area.  Alternatively, use slices of raw onion


Orthodox Treatment

  • Do not apply any form of direct heat - such as from fire - to frostbitten skin, and do not rub skin
  • Instead, warm area slowly between your hands until circulation returns
  • With frostbitten foot, remove casualty's shoe and sock and cover foot with linen pad
  • Cover foot with warm sock, blanket or sleeping-bag
  • Bandage frostbitten hands and cover in similar manner
  • Make sure casualty is wrapped warmly with coats or blankets and give plenty of hot, sweet drinks and painkillers as needed.


HEAD AND FACIAL INJURIES


Orthodox Treatment

Scalp injuries

  • Place clean pad or your hand on wound to stop the bleeding
  • Cover wound with clean dressing.  If foreign object is present, or if fracture is suspected, put dressing on lightly with pad on top of it to avoid causing further injury
  • Fix dressing or bad with bandage around head or chin, depending on position of wound
  • Keep casualty's head as steady as possible
  • Seek medical aid


Broken jaw

  • If jaw is broken or dislocated, make sure mouth is clear of blood or debris and that casualty can breathe
  • Put makeshift pad under point of chin
  • Put narrow bandage or scarf under chin
  • Tie ends of bandage on top of head in double knot
  • Make sure bandage is tight enough to support jaw, but not so tight casualty's teeth are clenched
  • Seek medical aid


Bleeding face

  • Press sterile pad or clean handkerchief against wound to stem bleeding
  • Seek medical aid


HEART ATTACK AND STROKE


Orthodox Treatment (heart attack)

Symptoms are sudden crushing pain in chest, often spreading to the arms, neck and jaw. Possibly also breathlessness.

  • Check victim's breathing and pulse, see PULSE AND RESPIRATION
  • If necessary, give ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION and, if there's no pulse, CHEST COMPRESSION
  • If victim is conscious, put in half-sitting position, with head and shoulders supported with pillows or cushion under knees
  • If there's loss of consciousness, lie victim flat
  • Loosen clothing at neck, chest and waist
  • Send for medical aid immediately
  • Comfort victim and stop any onlookers from crowding around
  • Give two soluble aspirin tablets in water to reduce blood clotting


Orthodox Treatment (stroke)

Symptoms may include paralysis down one side of body, difficulty in swallowing and speaking. Possibly confusion and loss of consciousness

  • If victim is conscious, lay down with head and shoulders slightly raised and supported with pillow.
  • If victim is not conscious, place on side in recovery position, see UNCONSCIOUSNESS
  • Send for medical aid immediately
  • Comfort victim and stop any onlookers from crowding around


HEAT STROKE


Orthodox Treatment (heat stroke)

  • Remove victim from source of heat, preferably to cool room
  • Undress victim and wrap in sheet or towels soaked in tepid water
  • Fan regularly
  • Take victim's temperature every 5 minutes
  • When temperature is down to 38 degrees Celsius (101 degrees Farenheit), remove wet sheet, but continue fanning
  • If temperature rises again, restart cooling treatment
  • If victim is unconscious, place on side in recovery position, see UNCONSCIOUSNESS
  • If victim is unconscious, you can give a cup of weakly salted water every 10 minutes
  • Use level teaspoon of salt to each litre of water.  Add fruit juice to improve taste


MOTION SICKNESS


Alternative Treatment

Acupressure

  • Press point three fingers width above wrist crease on inner wrist, centrally, in line with middle finger.  Apply pressure towards centre of wrist
  • Alternatively, wristbands applying similar pressure can be worn.  Get them from chemists, airports or seaports and main travel stations

Homeopathy

Try Petroleum for nausea and vomiting; Tabacum for nausea, sweating and giddiness; and Borax for turbulence during air travel


Orthodox Treatment

  • Travel-sickness and seasickness tablets are available from chemists.  Take one about 1/2-1 hour before setting out on a journey
  • If driving, do not take tablets containing antihistamine, which can cause drowsiness
  • Fresh air and regular breaks should help ward off sickness


OVERDOSE


Orthodox Treatment

  • If breathing stops, start ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION immediately, with CHEST COMPRESSION if there's no pulse
  • If casualty is breathing but unconscious, place on side in recovery position and treat for UNCONSCIOUSNESS
  • If casualty is conscious, treat for POISONING
  • Get medical aid immediately, even if casualty seems to have recovered
  • Keep any vomit, tablets, bottles or containers which will help identify overdose drug

Warning

Try to keep casualty awake, but do not give coffee or help him to walk about.  Wait until stomach has been pumped out


POISONING


Orthodox Treatment

  • If casualty isn't breathing, give ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION with CHEST COMPRESSION if necessary
  • If casualty is unconscious, but breathing, turn on side in recovery position, see UNCONSCIOUSNESS
  • Check that airway is clear
  • If necessary, hold chin forwards so that tongue doesn't fall back into casualty's throat
  • If casualty is conscious and has swallowed something caustic, give half a litre of milk to be sipped slowly to dilute poison in stomach
  • Don't deliberately make casualty vomit without medical advice
  • Get medical help immediately


PULSE AND RESPIRATION


Two places to take pulse



On inside of wrist

  • About 25mm below base of casualty's thumb and 13mm in from edge of arm
  • Place three fingers on pulse and press slightly
  • Time the beats

On carotid area

  • On outer side of neck, by windpipe and just over halfway to jaw line
  • Place three fingers on pulse and press slightly
  • Time the beats



  • Take casualty's pulse and respiration rates as you are treating him - except in case of minor injuries
  • Bend casualty's arm at elbow so that it rests across chest near opposite shoulder, if that won't worsen injuries
  • Raise wrist slightly and feel for pulse with your fingertips - not your thumb
  • Count beats for 30 seconds and remember figure
  • Keep holding wrist and count number of times casualty's chest rises in next 30 seconds
  • Double pulse and respiration figures to express them per minute
  • Write them down, or have them noted by helper


Normal pulse rate

Adults:  60-80 beats a minute; average 72

Children: 90-100 beats a minute

Babies: Up to 140 beats a minute


Normal respiration rate

Adults: 12 times a minute when at rest

Children and babies: 20-40 times a minute


SHOCK

Symptoms may include grey or pallid skin, cold and moist to touch; fast, shallow breathing and rapid, weak and thin pulse; dizziness or faintness; blurred vision; nausea or vomiting; thirst; anxiety and restlessness, sometimes leading to loss of consciousness


Orthodox Treatment

  • Lay casualty down and treat any obvious injury or underlying condition which has caused shock
  • Reassure casualty
  • Loosen casualty's clothing at neck, chest and waist. Lightly cover with coat or single blanket
  • If possible, raise casualty's legs to return blood supply to brain
  • If casualty complains of thirst, moisten lips but don't give anything to drink
  • Try to comfort and calmly reassure casualty
  • Don't move casualty unnecessarily
  • If casualty is unconscious, put on side in recovery position, see UNCONSCIOUSNESS
  • Try to get immediate medical aid, but don't leave casualty unattended


SLINGS


Making a triangular sling

  • If the casualty's hand or forearm is injured, first raise the arm so that the hand rests on the opposite shoulder.  Get the casualty to hold it in place if possible



  • Put one point of base of sling over casualty's shoulder on uninjured side, with point extended well beyond elbow.  Sling should hang over injured arm
  • Gently push base of sling under hand, forearm and elbow of injured limb.  Bring lower end of base up and around casualty's back on injured side




  • Bring two ends of sling together round back of casualty on injured side.  Tie at uninjured shoulder



  • Fold top of sling at elbow and fasten with pin or tape, or tuck it in
  • Check nail beds to make sure they haven't turned blue, indicating constricted blood supply.  If they have, ease sling or bandage



Improvising sling

  • Use belt, tie, narrow scarf, or roller bandage
  • For injured upper arm, wrap improvised sling round casualty's wrist on injured side



  • Bring other end of sling across casualty's chest and around back of neck



  • Tie ends in hollow above collar-bone on uninjured side


SPLINTERS


Orthodox Treatment

  • Sterilise pair of tweezers by passing them through flame.  Be sure not to wipe any soot from them
  • Alternatively, boil tweezers in water for 10 minutes
  • Wash the skin around injury carefully with warm, soapy water.  Make sure that you wipe outwards from wound
  • Dry skin carefully
  • Using tweezers, pull splinter out
  • When splinter has been removed, wash wound with mild antiseptic and dry gently
  • Cover wound with plaster or sterile dressing
  • If splinter can't be removed, or become painful, get medical aid


SPLINTS


Improvising bandage splint



  • If one leg is injured, prepare to bandage to other leg
  • Carefully and gently move uninjured leg to it
  • Place plenty of padding between legs - especially knees and ankles
  • Carefully and gently move uninjured leg to injured



  • Tie casualty's feet and ankles together
  • Tie knees together with bandage knotted on uninjured side
  • Tie extra bandages above and below fracture site



Warning

Unskilled person should not put splint on broken limp.  Fractures should only be splinted by skilled person if casualty has to undergo long or rough journey to receive medical aid


Improvising blanket splint

  • Roll blanket lengthways as tightly as possible



  • Place one end between casualty's legs, starting at crotch
  • Bring blanket around foot of injured leg and take other end alongside leg up to thighs
  • Tie legs together with two bandages
  • If casualty faces long or rough journey to get medical aid, use five bandages



  • Tie feet and ankles together with bandage



  • Tie broad fold bandage around knees



  • Tie knot on uninjured leg
  • Tie third and fourth bandages above and below fracture site
  • Tie fifth bandage around casualty's thigh or calf, depending on where fracture is


SPRAINS AND STRAINS


Alternative Treatment (sprains)

Homoeopathy

Take Arnica 30 as soon as possible after accident, hourly for 6 doses

Aroma therapy

Apply hyssop and marjoram as soon as possible after accident and massage area gently

Use 2 drops of each oil in teaspoon of vegetable carrier oil

Apply compress made with 5 drops of each oil and enough water to soak through compress

Hold compressed in place with cling film and leave for several hours


Orthodox Treatment( sprains)

For indoor ankle sprain, remove casualty's shoe

For outdoor ankle sprain, leave shoe on

In either case, apply cold compress to injury and elevate foot

Place bandage over compress

Make one turn around ankle, then go over instep, under foot, back across instep, around ankle again and pin

Bandage over shoe

For wrist sprains, apply cold compress and bandage in place

Consult doctor to exclude fracture


Orthodox Treatment (strains)

Steady and support casualty's injured part

Gently apply cold compress

Keep injured part steady and well supported

Bandage firmly but not too tightly as muscles may swell, causing further discomfort

Get medical aid


SUNBURN


Alternative Treatment

Herbal Medicine

  • Apply cold water then add 1 or 2 drops of lavender oil
  • Alternatively, apply cold compress or marigold infusion.  Marigold or comfrey cream may ease large, mild burns
  • Apply fresh leaves of house leeks or plain tain to small burns


Naturopathy

  • Immerse small burns in cold water for 2 or 3 minutes, then dab dry .  Immerse large burns in cold bath, then apply vitamin E moisturising cream


Traditional Medicine

  • Try lotion made from dock roots or mixture of water and vinegar


Orthodox Treatment

  • Rest casualty in shade and give plenty of liquids to drink
  • Don't let casualty out in sun again without covering affected areas with light, loose clothing
  • Soothe mild cases of sunburn by bathing in cool water, or applying calamine lotion, witch hazel or proprietary after-sun lotion or cream to affected areas
  • If sunburn is severe, get medical help

Warning

Never deliberately burst blisters caused by sunburn


UNCONSCIOUSNESS


Orthodox Treatment

  • Check to see if casualty is still breathing
  • Put your ear to casualty's nose or mouth and listen
  • Watch chest to see if it rises and falls, or rest your hand lightly on it to feel for movement
  • If there's no breathing, give ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION
  • Check casualty's pulse, see PULSE AND RESPIRATION
  • If there's no pulse, start CHEST COMPRESSION
  • If and when casualty is breathing, loosen his clothing at neck, chest and waist
  • Turn casualty to recovery position, see Recovery Position
  • Open doors and windows for fresh air
  • Check for injuries or bruises and stem any bleeding
  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible


Recovery Position

  • Turn casualty on side by kneeling and tucking near arm under body, palm upwards



  • Cross ankle farthest away from you over one nearest to you
  • Put other arm over chest



  • Turn casualty towards you, supporting head with your hand
  • Place your other hand on his hip and roll him gently towards you
  • Hold casualty's chin forwards
  • Bend casualty's knee to stop him rolling over too far



  • Pull the other arm out behind the body so that casualty is prevented from rollin back



  • Pull up casualty's arm nearest to you so that point of elbow is in line with shoulder
  • Don't leave casualty unattended


Information by:

READER'S DIGEST

SOUTH AFRICAN FAMILY GUIDE TO

NATURAL MEDICINE

Published by:

THE READER'S DIGEST ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA (PTY) LIMITED

CAPE TOWN