What Supplies are Essential if you travel to Remote Areas? ( Part 3 )

What Supplies are Essential if you travel to Remote Areas?

Introduction

This is the final part of our article on remote area first aid. We are going to look at some of the equipment and supplies you may need when travelling in remote areas. Don’t forget to read Remote First Aid (part 1) and handling medical emergencies in remote areas (part 2).

The quantity of supplies and equipment you can carry of course depends on your mode of travel. A 4-wheel drive outback adventure compared to a 3-week bushwalking trek for example.

Regardless of your mode of travel, there are some essentials you will need.

Itinerary

First and foremost, you will need a map or itinerary outlining where you are going, when you should be at certain locations on the map, and your expected ETA at the end of the journey.

One copy for you and another for someone who can monitor your progress and will check to see if you have arrived safely. If possible, you could even arrange regular communication times so that a missed call will trigger a search and rescue response.

Communications

While we are talking about communications, vast areas of remote Australia are without mobile phone coverage. (Have a look here to get an idea of Australia’s phone coverage.) This means an alternative method of communication or emergency notification is required.

There are lots of alternatives on the market. The list below is just a few of those available.

·        Satellite Phones – for use when outside mobile phone coverage. They connect directly to satellites and enable you to make/receive calls or SMS.

·        Satellite Communicators – enable text messaging but no voice communication.

·        UHF Radio – Generally for short-range communications up to about 5klm.

·        EPIRB and PLB – Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon and Personal Locator Beacon are distress beacons that send an emergency signal along with your GPS coordinates to emergency services via satellite. These devices do not offer any messaging or navigation functions. They are something you carry with you and only use in the event of an emergency.

For a great analysis of remote communications equipment check out the information available HERE

Other communication items you may consider are:

·        A Whistle – for attracting attention if lost.

·        A mirror to signal aircraft or other searchers.

First Aid Kit for remote area first aid

For remote area first aid, a well-stocked First Aid Kit is essential. Once again you might be limited regarding how much you can carry. You may need to compromise on what you would LIKE to have and what you NEED to have.

The following list is a bare minimum of first aid supplies you should carry:

·        First aid instructions / quick reference guide x 1.

·        Notebook and pen or pencil x 1.

·        Disposable surgical face masks x 4.

·        Resuscitation face mask or face shield with one-way valve x 1.

·        Disposable nitrile gloves (nitrile is a latex-free rubber suitable for people with latex allergies) 5  pairs in various sizes.

·        Gauze swabs 10 x 10 cm, sterile (3-pack) x 5 packs.

·        Saline 15 ml or 30 ml 8 x 15 ml or 4 x 30 ml

·        Adhesive dressing strips (Waterproof) – plastic or fabric, a packet of 50 x

·        Non-adherent wound dressing/pad 5 x 5 cm (small) x 6

·        Non-adherent wound dressing/pad 7.5 x 7.5 cm (medium) x 3

·        Non-adherent wound dressing/pad 10 x 10 cm (large) x 3

·        Conforming crepe bandage, light, 5 cm width, x 3

·        Conforming crepe bandage, light, 7.5 cm width x 3, Conforming crepe bandage, 10 cm width x 1

·        Scissors x 1

·        Adhesive tape, non-stretch, hypoallergenic, 2.5 cm wide roll x 1

·        Dressing – combine pad 9 x 20 cm x 2.

·        Resealable bag – large x 2

·        Triangular bandage minimum width 110 x 155 cm x 2

·        Eye pads, single-use x 2

·        Instant cold pack for treatment of soft tissue injuries and stings x 1

·        Alcohol-based hand sanitiser x 1

·        Emergency accident blanket x 1

Extras

You can buy first aid kits already stocked with the basics and add additional items to suit your needs.

So that’s a basic first aid supplies list.

You may want to add:

·        Snake Bite Bandages

·        Ointment for insect bites

·        Antiseptic cream

·        Soluble pain relievers

·        Electrolyte replacement‎

·        Antihistamine

·        Insect repellent

·        Salt, for leeches

·        Personal medication, with instructions

·        Tweezers and splinter needles

·        Splint material

Make sure that your first aid kit is a soft pack. This makes it much easier to store and carry.

You can find some more information on first-aid kits in our article –  “First Aid Kit Checklist: The Ultimate Guide.”

Other Supplies

As a First Aid Training Company, we are mainly concerned with the Remote Area First Aid side of things. However, we do recognise that other supplies that you take for an outback or wilderness adventure have an impact on your health and safety. Adequate water, and clothing suitable for the climate and terrain for example.

So, I have had a look around and found a couple of good websites to help you with your trip planning. (That’s the kinda guy I am…)

Check out this Outback and off-road checklist. It is very comprehensive. As is the website for vehicular travel around Australia.

Also, take a peek at https://www.trailhiking.com.au/. As the name suggests great information for hikers.

Conclusion

Australia is huge and mostly empty. When you are standing in the middle of nowhere, many hours or days from anyone else, it can be very peaceful. It can also be very stressful. The best you can do is be confident in your preparation, your communication systems, and the equipment/supplies you have with you.

As Benjamin Franklin said – “ By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.  And, miles from nowhere, nobody really wants to fail.

Well, that’s that. Until next time….. Stay safe.

Adrian

Survival First Aid: Handling Medical Emergencies in Remote Areas.

How to deal with a remote area first aid incident
Many activities happen outdoors in Australia, mostly injury-free. But if troubles arise, as the first aider in the group, what's your action plan?

Introduction

In part one of Remote Area First Aid, we looked at the preparation and some of the considerations associated with it. But you would know that because you’ve read it. If you haven’t then you should.

This time we are going to look at how you, as a first aider can deal with a remote area first aid incident.

There are heaps of diverse adventurous activities undertaken in the Great Australian Outdoors. Most occur incident-free with everyone returning home uninjured. (Perhaps a little sunburnt. But that’s another blog…)

Regardless of the activity, if it goes pear-shaped, the injuries sustained will be similar. Broken this, bruised that, punctured thingummy, or slashed whatsit.

AND, If you are the first aider in the group, YOU will most likely be called upon to answer the question on everyone’s lips – “ What are we going to do”?

Don’t forget the basics. The initial action plan of DRSABCD: Danger Response Send for help Airways Breathing CPR Defibrillator

What are you going to do?

Don’t forget the basics. The initial action plan of DRSABCD:

  • Danger
  • Response
  • Send for help
  • Airways
  • Breathing
  • CPR
  • Defibrillator

is just as valid in a remote area as it is in the suburbs.

In fact, using this initial action plan should short-circuit the panic impulse. Because it is a checklist plan with a set of actions to complete, as you work through it concentrating on each task, the urge to panic will be reduced. Handy.

Assessing the situation

You need to remain calm and act methodically. Medical assistance is probably not just around the corner.

A remote setting requires some extra first aid skills and a better understanding of actions and consequences.  

For example:

  • Action – casualty has fallen from approx. 5metres.
  • Consequences –  What are the Consequences? You need to know that a fall from any height above 1.2 metres can cause serious injuries including spinal injuries, head injuries or even death. And falls above 30m or higher are almost 100% fatal. (Check this out:  This is from – “….. lost his footing on an unsecured wooden plank and fell approximately two metres through the gap to the concrete floor below. The worker was taken to hospital with head injuries and later died.” The Australian Institute of Health & Safety)

So, if you are out bushwalking on mountainous or coastal cliff trails this type of extra knowledge would be very useful…

And the extra first aid skills? For this example, the know-how to deal with multiple serious fractures, spinal injury, internal bleeding, and serious head injury. Add a couple of panicking, distressed group members, just to stretch you a bit thinner…

To top it off, if you have communication with medical advice, you may even be required to carry out a medical procedure you are not trained for under the guidance of a doctor on the other end of the phone!

But hey… No pressure. It’s about now that you wished you had stayed home and watched the footy.

Back to assessing the situation.

OBSERVATION

Look at the situation. SEE what’s happened, work out what’s happening, and what could happen next.

Remember, your safety and the safety of the others in the group, are paramount! Don’t rush to assist the casualty. You could miss recognising a dangerous situation.

In our example above with a fall, you may have to approach the edge of a drop-off. You may need to use a rope to secure you from falling. Can you see the casualty? Are there any obvious injuries? Can they talk to you? Are they responsive?

Contact emergency services ASAP If you think their injuries are serious. This could mean calling on the phone or sending other members of the group out to get help.

In a remote first aid situation, any delay in organising medical assistance may affect the casualty’s chance of survival.

ACTION

Initial assessment of the casualty should be carried out calmly and methodically. If they are conscious you can ask pertinent questions.

Initial assessment of the casualty should be carried out calmly and methodically. If they are conscious you can ask pertinent questions.

For example, “ Can you breathe OK?”  Ask them to take a deep breath. Watch for signs of any discomfort.

If they cannot breathe effectively then examine their chest for any injuries.

Broken ribs from falls are common. Ribs enclose the heart, lungs, and other vital organs. Any severe chest trauma may cause life-threatening injuries to these organs. Broken ribs do not require compression bandaging. Look for signs of internal bleeding.

Make the casualty as comfortable as possible and monitor their condition.

Remember if they are unconscious and breathing, place them in the recovery position even if you suspect a spine or neck injury.

Bleeding

Severe, life-threatening bleeding must be stopped as soon as possible. Apply dressings and bandages as a priority. For profuse arterial bleeding, you may need to apply a tourniquet.

Monitor the bleeding and replace dressings if blood soaks through.

Head and Neck

Head and neck injuries should be suspected when impact injuries have occurred – Falls, aggression, hit in the head etc.

Stabilise the head and neck as soon as possible – use your hands or packing around the head and neck. You may have to deal with life-threatening issues first. Severe bleeding and breathing problems for example.

Head-to-Toe Assessment

Do a head-to-toe assessment as soon as the casualty is stabilised, . Check the casualty’s body for broken bones, and severe bleeding. Deal with minor injuries, minor bleeding and non-bleeding wounds later.

History

To collect the casualty’s medical history, use the acronym AMPLE. Allergies – triggers and allergies. · Medication – what medication, if any, are they taking. · Past/present medical history – heart condition, blood disorders. · Last meal or fluid intake – what and how much. · Event/environment – Signs, symptoms, observations. As well as what, when and how it happened.

History of the incident includes what has happened as well as details of the medical history of the casualty. Existing medical conditions, required medications, allergies suffered etc. can be ascertained after any life-threatening injuries have been managed.

Use the acronym AMPLE when you can collect the casualty’s medical history.

  • Allergies – triggers and allergies.
  • Medication – what medication, if any, are they taking.
  • Past/present medical history – heart condition, blood disorders.
  • Last meal or fluid intake – what and how much.
  • Event/environment – Signs, symptoms, observations. As well as what, when and how it happened.

Ongoing Care

Make the casualty as comfortable as possible. Relocate them to your campsite if you can. Or you can build your campsite around them.

If in a hot region, adequate shade, and water during the day. Warmth during the night. Cold, keep warm and dry. Watch for signs of Hyperthermia and Hypothermia.

Remember, you may be some distance or time from assistance. This means you will have to care for the casualty for some time before this help arrives. Also, the type of injury will determine the care required.

A broken leg although potentially very serious will not require the same type of treatment and care as severe life-threatening bleeding.

You could be there for some time and there are no guarantees the casualty’s condition will improve. They could get worse. A lot worse.

Make sure you conduct a thorough check on them regularly  – say every 15 minutes for serious injuries to every hour for less serious. Record all your observations. 

Look at their:

  • Conscious State – Very conscious, in and out.
  • Pulse and breathing rate – within normal limits or otherwise.
  • Temperature – Normal? High? Low?
  • Eyes – check pupils. Reaction to light, sizes, dilated or contracted.
  • Skin for condition and colour – Wet, cold, hot. Normal or bluish.
  • Headache
  • Slurred speech
  • Pain level
  • Fluid intake and output – measure using a cup or empty tin can (* this is especially important if they are vomiting or have diarrhoea).

By making these observations and recording them you will identify any changes and be able to respond to them quickly. This may make a life-or-death difference to your casualty.

Infection

Correct wound management is essential in remote area first aid.

  • Clean wounds with an antiseptic solution and gently remove as much dirt and debris as possible.
  • Keep the dressings as dry as possible.
  • Change dressings as required. If blood soaks through or they get wet, for example
  • Check circulation on bandaged limbs.
  • Check splint bandages for firmness.

You don’t want to add to your problems through the infection of a superficial wound. Especially if medical help is some time away.

General Considerations

You may have to improvise –

  • Torn-up towels, sheets or shirts can be used for extra dressings.
  • Shoelaces, belts, or rope can be used to attach splints.
  • Tentpoles or bits of wood can be used for splints.
  • Plastic bag, bucket, water bottle for immobilised casualty toilet.

For immobile casualties, going to the toilet is a problem you will face. Use what’s available to collect their bowel movements and urine and ensure handwashing/sanitising protocols are strictly followed.

Moving the casualty will depend on their injuries. You can improvise a stretcher using a couple of coats. Button/zip up the coats and pass the poles for the stretcher through the sleeves and body of each coat.

You will need to decide on any movement of the casualty.  What’s best for them is the priority.

Fluids. Frequent small amounts of water is the best method. If you have some electrolyte powder, or similar, you can add it to the water.

Increase the casualty’s water intake if the casualty has diarrhoea.

Be mindful that if the casualty has serious injuries requiring surgery stop giving them water 4 to 6 hours before their surgery.

And, if you’re thinking that’s enough, wait there’s more!

Don’t forget, that when someone is lying without moving for long periods they can develop pressure sores. Their heels, buttocks, shoulder blades and ears are the areas most affected.

These sores a caused when blood circulation is reduced to the skin in those areas remaining in contact with a hard surface such as the ground.

Use padding or turn the casualty at least every 2 hours to relieve this pressure. Turn more frequently if a sore develops.

Conclusion

There’s a lot in this remote area first aid. The preparation before you go ( Remote First Aid Part 1 ). The responsibility as a first aider should anything happen considering the distance/time away from medical help. The extra gear you have to carry ( Remote First Aid Part 3 ).

In Part 3 of our Remote Area First Aid article, I will offer some suggestions for the contents of a first aid kit, and how to stay in contact while you are away.

Well, that’s that. Until next time….. Stay safe.

Remote area first aid ( part 1)

Remote area first aid part 1
Given Australia's size and emptiness, it’s pretty obvious that remote area first aid would be a good skill to have. Follow this guide and be prepared.

Introduction

Given Australia’s size and emptiness, it’s pretty obvious that remote area first aid would be a good skill to have. If you don’t know how barren Australia is just have a look at Australia on Google Maps. Use the satellite view. And a nighttime view as well. There’s a couple here – Night Time Australia

Australia is empty.

A remote area is generally defined as an area where access to medical assistance is delayed by time and distance. Which is most of inland Australia.

However, remote for First Aid purposes could be anything over an hour, or 50klms, from a city or a country town.

If you are in a remote area and have the ability to manage injuries with skill and confidence you may be able to prevent complications. Complications which would hinder a speedy recovery.

Because you can’t call an ambulance and expect one to arrive within a reasonable time, remote area first aid has its own unique set of considerations.

Remote Area First Aid in Australia. A remote area is generally defined as an area where access to medical assistance is delayed by time and distance. Which is most of inland Australia.

Remote area First Aid considerations

  • Distance. The further you are from medical/ambulance assistance generally means it will take longer for that assistance to reach you.
  • Time. As for distance, the further away the more time it will take. However, in some cases, you may only be a couple of miles away from aid BUT it may take days to reach you. Mountainous areas for example.
  • Number of people in the affected party. This will determine what can be done if someone becomes injured. The more people in the group, the more options you may have.  One or two people could stay with the casualty, others could go for help. There may even be enough people to carry the injured person out.
  • Weather Conditions. Storms may prevent aircraft, as well as land transport, from reaching the casualty. High temperatures may inhibit a quick, on-foot, rescue. Deep snow the same.
  • Fire and Flood. (What? In Australia? – surely not!) There’s no denying that these are fairly commonplace within Australia. These natural disasters will have an impact on medical response time. If they are happening in your area.
  • Lack of communication. No mobile network. No road access. Lack of communication will, of course, delay any medical response. Lack of communication may also deprive you of contact with a doctor and the provision of medical advice.
  • Medical supplies. When travelling in remote areas the level of first aid you may be required to perform may be higher than the level of first aid closer to home. This will have an impact on the contents of your first-aid kit.
  • The severity of the injury. This will determine your actions and response.

After reading the list above you can see how isolated you might feel if you are out in the great outdoors with a couple of friends and something injurious happens.

Let’s make it worse… You’re by yourself.

Distance & Time: Further means longer help arrival. Number of People: More options with a larger group. Weather Challenges: Storms, heat, snow affect rescue. Fire & Flood Risks: Impact on medical response. Lack of Communication: No network delays help. Medical Supplies: Remote areas demand advanced first aid. Injury Severity: Guides actions and response.

Management Strategies for remote area First Aid

While there are some extra things you need to consider for remote area first aid, it is important to remember that the basic principles of first aid remain the same.

The initial action plan of DRSABCD is just as valid in a remote area as it is in the suburbs. What does make a difference is a sound knowledge of survival techniques and correct preparation before remote area travel is undertaken.

The Basics

  • First and foremost, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. You might even organise before you leave what to do if you do not return at, or close to, the expected time.
  • Avoid travelling alone. The recommended number is 4. That way one can stay with the injured person and two can go for help.
  • Leave a map with your travel details on it and organise a schedule of times when you will contact a nominated person. Keep to the schedule.
  • Remember there are four vital requirements to support life. Water, shelter, warmth, and food. Make sure you set out with an adequate supply of these vital requirements to sustain you should you become stranded. Even if you are planning to go to a remote area for only a short period.
  • Take appropriate communications and location equipment for the area you are going to. Know how to use them. These may include a long-range radio or mobile satellite phone, global positioning system, emergency position indicating radio beacon and maps. Use a torch, whistle or mirror to signal for help.
  • Check weather forecasts before you depart and while you are away. Be ready to change your plans or delay the trip if necessary.
  • Ensure all members of your group are fit for travel. Carry extra prescription medications for the journey.
  • Wear and pack appropriate clothing for the weather conditions and terrain.

So, planning and preparation beforehand is the key. However, even the best preparation and planning cannot prevent an emergency.

Inform someone. Travel in groups. Have a communication plan. Always carry water, shelter, warmth, and food. Bring communication tools (radio, phone, GPS) and signaling devices (torch, whistle, mirror). Check forecasts, be flexible, and adapt plans accordingly. Ensure group fitness and carry extra prescription medications. Dress and pack according to weather
and terrain conditions

Remote Area First Aid emergency

If well planned, your trip should go smoothly and safely, but if you get into difficulty, here are a couple of key things to remember:

  • if your car breaks down or you become lost on the way, never leave your vehicle. You can use it for shade and shelter. Also, it is easier to locate a missing vehicle than a missing person in the vast Australian Outback.
  • if you become lost while hiking, stop, try to relax, and study your maps. See if you can determine where you came from and slowly make your way back. If you can’t find your way back, move to higher ground for a better view.
  • If you become injured, deal with the injury and try to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
  • Ration your food and water supplies.
  • If you hear signs of rescue, signal with three torch flashes and with your whistle.
  • Light a small smoky fire with green leaves during the day and a small bright fire with dry materials at night.
  • Be patient and prepared to wait.
If your car breaks down or you become lost on the way, never leave your vehicle. If you become lost while hiking, stop, try to relax, and study your maps. If you become injured, deal with the injury and try to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Ration your food and water supplies. If you hear signs of rescue, signal with three torch flashes and with your whistle. Light a small smoky fire with green leaves during the day and a small bright fire with dry materials at night. Be patient and be prepared to wait.

Other outback emergency considerations especially if you are in a group.

  • Continue or stop. Somebody will have to decide whether the casualty is able to continue the journey, or it should be abandoned to care for the injured person. Or maybe take them out to medical aid. Whoever makes that decision should consider the welfare of the whole group.
  • Medical assistance. If you are able to call for assistance you will now have to decide whether you go to the assistance or wait for the assistance to come to you. The severity of the injury, time factor – travel out vs travel in. Can the casualty even be moved? Will determine your decision.
  • Time Frame. Because of the distance and extended time frame for assistance, the casualty may become more stressed. The decision maker/first aider will need to remain calm and reassure the casualty. Regularly monitoring the casualty’s condition will help reduce anxiety levels. Make sure they are as comfortable as possible.
  • Observations. Keep notes on the casualty’s condition. Record things like changes in signs and symptoms, vital signs, and first aid provided. Monitor and record fluid intake and output. Be aware that the casualty may go into shock.
  • Shelter and survival.  Try your best to shelter the casualty from the elements. Keep them as comfortable as possible. Keep cool if hot and warm if cold.

Ok. Now all of the above may have felt like death by dot point. But when you stop and think about it moving around this great empty country of ours does require planning and preparation.

There are about 40 deaths per year in the Australian outback. Most are due to motor vehicle accidents. However, people do perish directly as a result of poor preparation.

Check this out:   How a desert claimed two ill-prepared travellers.

Conclusion

If you want to hike around in remote parts of Australia then I suggest you do your research, complete a Provide First Aid in a remote or isolated site course, plan your trip – using the above articles as a guide and try not to travel alone.

I have deliberately not given details of how to deal with First Aid emergencies, contents of first aid kits, communications equipment etc.

I will cover those in Part 2 of Remote Area First Aid.

Well, that’s that. Until next time…Stay safe

Essential First Aid Tips for Managing Diabetes Emergencies.

Image depicts a Person consulting a general practitioner asking about her diabetic analysis. Title of image and blog is "Diabetes: Signs, symptoms, and management" followed by Life Saving First Aid logo

Introduction

In this article we are going to look at Diabetes, what it is, how to recognise the signs and symptoms of Hypoglycaemic and hyperglycaemic conditions, and how to manage them and assist the casualty.

Here’s a few quick facts about diabetes.

According to Diabetes Australia

  • More than 300 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes
  • Almost 1.9 million Australians have diabetes. This includes all types of diagnosed diabetes (almost 1.5 million known and registered) as well as silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes (up to 500,000 estimated)
  • Almost 120,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year
  • For every person diagnosed with diabetes, there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role. This means that an estimated 2.4 million Australians are affected by diabetes every day
  • The total annual cost impact of diabetes in Australia is estimated at $17.6 billion (inflation-adjusted)

In fact, diabetes is the fastest-growing chronic condition in Australia, increasing at a faster rate than other chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

All types of diabetes are increasing in prevalence.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic, lifelong medical condition which occurs when the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin, or the body develops a resistance to the action of its own insulin. Untreated, the absolute or relative lack of insulin will lead to a high blood glucose level.

When the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin, glucose stays in your blood and does not reach the cells. This prevents the cells from functioning normally.

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that often develops in childhood and requires lifelong treatment with insulin.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is more commonly recognised in adulthood and requires a treatment combination of diet, exercise, oral medication, and sometimes insulin.

A third type of diabetes is Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a relatively common condition specific to pregnancy.

Diabetes can also occur because of another disease or as a side effect of medication.

Blood Sugar levels

When blood glucose levels become too high or too low, people with diabetes may become unwell and need first aid or treatment at a medical facility.

The normal range of glucose concentration in the blood of a healthy person ranges from 4.0 – 7.8 mmol/L.

As a result, if someone has abnormal levels of blood sugar, they can either be HYPOglycaemic – LOW blood sugar, or HYPERglycaemic – High blood sugar.

You can use a blood glucose meter to determine a person’s blood glucose level. There are different types of blood glucose meters and for more info click here.

Hypoglycaemia

Hypoglycaemia – Hypo for short, can occur because of:

• Too much insulin or other blood glucose-lowering medication.

• Inadequate or delayed carbohydrate intake after their usual insulin or oral medication dose.

• Exercise without adequate carbohydrate intake.

• Possibly delayed for up to 12 hours or more after exercise.

• In the setting of other illnesses; or excessive alcohol intake.

If the person injects too much insulin, doesn’t eat, or undertakes exercise without replenishing sugar levels they can go into a Hypo.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycaemia

Some or all of the following are signs and symptoms of a Hypo.

• Weakness, shaking

• Sweating

• Faintness, dizziness

• Teariness or crying

• Hunger

• Numbness around the lips and fingers

• Sweating,

• Pallor (pale skin), especially in young children

• A rapid pulse; and a headache.

• Mood or behavioural changes, with confusion, inability to concentrate, and slurred speech.

• Inability to follow instructions.

• Unresponsive; or seizure, can lead to coma and possibly be fatal

Hypo management

The recommended way to manage a person with Hypoglycaemia is:

• Stop any exercise, make them comfortable, reassure them, and follow the person’s diabetes management plan if they have one.

• If the casualty is fully conscious and able to swallow give them some sweets such as jellybeans or a sugary drink. This will raise their glucose level and you should see some positive results within a few minutes.

• Do not give them diet beverages or sugar-free sweets.

• If their condition improves give them a meal or something to eat and monitor their condition.

If the person does not improve with this treatment, is seizing or is unconscious, call for an ambulance. I

If they are unresponsive and not breathing normally, commence resuscitation.

For an unconscious breathing person, place them into the recovery position and ensure the airway is clear.

Monitor their condition until the ambulance arrives.

Hyperglycaemia

Hyperglycaemia, Hyper for short, or high blood sugar level can occur because of

• Inadequate levels of insulin

• Incorrect doses of diabetes oral medications, infections,

• Excess carbohydrate intake,

• Stressful situations.

Hyperglycaemia can develop over hours or days, and many people do not experience symptoms from hyperglycaemia until their blood glucose levels are extremely high.

Hyperglycaemia can also occur at the time of initial diagnosis of diabetes and may go unrecognised until the person is clearly unwell.

If untreated, the person gradually deteriorates and can go into a coma.

Signs and symptoms of Hyperglycaemia

These may include:

• Excessive thirst with frequent urination/

• Dry skin and mouth, with sunken eyes (signs of dehydration)

• Recent weight loss

• Rapid pulse

• Nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain

• Rapid breathing

• Fruity sweet smell of acetone on the breath (like paint thinner or nail polish remover)

• Confusion and a deteriorating level of consciousness

• or unresponsiveness

Hyper management

The recommended way to manage a person with Hyperglycaemia is:

Follow the person’s diabetes management plan. If the person does not have a management plan, call 000 as they should be assessed by a health care professional.

• For unresponsive casualties with abnormal breathing, proceed with resuscitation.

• For unconscious casualties who are breathing normally, lay them down on their side in the recovery position and check to see that the airway is clear of any obstruction.

• Call 000

Conclusion

If you are unsure if the person has a high or low blood glucose level, the safest option is to treat hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose level).

Giving the casualty sweets may lead to a marked improvement if their blood glucose level is low. Indicating low blood sugar.

No improvement after giving sweets would indicate high blood sugar levels, and, if that’s the case, the small amount of sugar given would have little effect on blood sugar levels.

Let’s recap the main points:

• Hypoglycaemia is LOW blood sugar caused by too much insulin

• Hyperglycaemia is HIGH blood sugar. Not enough insulin.

• For a Hypo if conscious and able to swallow give the casualty sweets or a sweet drink

• If this does not improve their condition or they go unconscious call 000 Place in recovery  position or CPR as required

Remember, If in doubt about their condition, Hypo or Hyper, treat as Hypo

If you liked this article click here for more First Aid-related info

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.

Needle stick injury

Image of someone who got their feet poked with a syringe in a park. The title of the blog is :Needlestick Injurt First Aid" followed by Life Saving First Aid logo

Introduction

What is a needle stick injury?

If the skin is punctured by a sharp medical tool like a scalpel or needle on a syringe, it is called a ‘needlestick injury’.

Exposure to hypodermic syringes is a risk faced by First Aiders so an understanding of the procedures to deal with a needle stick injury is important.

How does needle stick injury happen?

Needlesticks don’t just happen in hospitals – stepping on a needle in park or on the beach is the same thing. Fortunately, infection by HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C in these situations is  rare.

According to the National Centre For Farmer Health, even farmers and agricultural workers experience preventable needlestick injuries. Every year, across Australia, 80% of livestock farmers reporting a needlestick injury at some time. This means the farmer may be injected with harmful chemicals.

Signs and Symptoms of needle stick injury

Victims of a needle stick injury usually feel a small, sharp pain at the needle stick point. The needle may stay in the finger, foot or wherever the injury occurred. A small drop of blood may appear.

Management

The recommended action to take is:

  1. Wash the area gently with soap and running tap water as soon as possible. – If not, available you can use hand sanitiser

2. Apply an antiseptic and a clean dressing to the injury area

4. Seek prompt medical advice from your local doctor or hospital emergency department, preferably within 24 hours.

5. Dispose of the needle safely.- In an identified sharps container, or you could put the needle in an empty plastic water bottle for later disposal in a sharp’s container.

Conclusion

While it is unlikely that you will encounter a needle stick injury, it is possible.

If you do, remember:

•            Wash, clean and cover the injury

•            Seek medical aid within 24hrs

•            Dispose of the needle safely and correctly.

This was a very short Article Post. If you found this one interesting, you can check out more here –https://lifesavingfirstaid.com.au/blog/

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.

Guide to First Aid for Bites and Stings.

Image of a person watering their flowers in the garden while bees, wasps and ants roam around the garden The title next to it says "Bee’s, Wasps, & Ant bites and stings" followed by Life Saving First Aid logo

Introduction

Australia is crawling with insects of one kind or another. In this article, we will look at first aid for bites and stings from various insects and spiders.

Recognising the Signs, Symptoms and knowing first aid management of insect bites and stings is important.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, over 3,500 Australians were hospitalised due to contact with a venomous animal or plants in 2017–18. More than a 26% of these hospitalisations were caused by bee stings, almost 19% were caused by spider bites with redbacks the most common spider involved.

In Australia deaths from venomous plants, animals or insects is rare. The National Coronial Information System records 19 deaths in 2017–18 due to contact with venomous animals – 7 with venomous snakes, 12 with bees and wasps.

Bees, Wasp and Ant bites and stings

Lets’ have a look at bee, wasp and ant stings. Single stings from a bee, wasp or ant, can be painful but rarely cause serious problems except for persons who have a severe allergy to the venom.

However, multiple insect stings can cause severe pain and widespread skin reaction. Multiple stings around the face can cause severe local swelling and difficulty breathing even if the person is not allergic to that insect.

Bees

Here in Australia, there are over 1,500 native bee species in a range of shapes and sizes. Bees are critical to the sustainability of our food supply. An astonishing one-third of Australian food is dependent on honey bee pollination.

Australian native bees can be either solitary or social bees. On the other hand, honey bees will live together in a nest or hive. Honey bees are generally stronger pollinators, but the smaller native bees can access smaller flowers and also play an important role in pollination. 

It is important to remember that bee stings leave behind the venom sac and sting which continues to inject venom into the skin, whilst a wasp or ant may sting multiple times without leaving a venom sac attached.

To remove the bee sting scrape sting out of the skin. Do no try to pull it out as you may squeeze more venom into the casualty.

Wasps

Wasps in Australia include European Wasps, English wasps and paper wasps all of which can sting and inject venom. Unlike a bee, the wasp does not lose its sting and therefore can sting you many times.

Stings from wasps can be immediately extremely painful with some redness around the bite area.

There can also be airway obstruction from swelling of the face and tongue due to anaphylaxis, or from many stings in or around the mouth.

Bull Ants

Bull ants are large, alert ants that can grow up to 40 mm They have characteristic large eyes and long, slender mandibles and a potent venom-loaded sting.

There are about 90 species of bull ants in Australia. Jumper ants are some of the smaller species. They have a habit of aggressively jumping toward intruders.

Ants deliver painful stings by gripping the intruder with their mandibles (jaws), curling their abdomen to reveal the sting, and injecting the victim with venom. Often the ant can deliver multiple stings. 

Signs and Symptoms

Stings from bees, wasps and ants all show similar signs and symptoms

Minor reactions are usually immediate and intense local pain with some local redness and swelling.

On the other hand, more severe reactions can be airway obstruction from swelling of the face and tongue due to anaphylaxis, or from bee stings in or around the mouth. This may occur immediately or over several hours.

Management:

THE major immediate risk to the health of persons bitten or stung by insects is severe allergic reaction, Anaphylaxis.

Prevention, recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis should be the focus of First aid for bites and stings.

For all bites and stings, except in the case of tick bites, apply a cold compress to the sting area. You may be use an icepack to relieve the pain of the sting and help reduce swelling

CALL 000 if multiple stings to the face or tongue have occurred or there is evidence of a severe allergic reaction anaphylaxis.

For anaphylaxis use an Epipen or other adrenaline injector to administer adrenaline (epinephrine) via intramuscular injection preferably into lateral thigh which is the outside part of the upper leg.

Monitor the casualty for any signs of allergic or other reaction

Ticks

Most tick bites cause few or no symptoms. Sometimes ticks may cause local skin irritation or a mild allergic reaction by injecting a toxin.

In susceptible people, a tick bite may cause a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.

It may also occur in people with no previous exposure or known susceptibility.

To prevent it from injecting more allergen-containing saliva, do not forcibly remove or touch the tick

This will prevent allergic reactions due to allergen-containing saliva injected by the tick.

The safest way to remove a tick is to Freeze the tick, using a product that rapidly freezes and kills the tick, and allows it to drop off.

Alternatively, leave it in place and seek medical assistance to remove the tick as soon as possible.

If you must remove the tick, use fine tweezers, and grasp the head of the tick as close to the persons skin as possible and lever the tick out by the head. Do not squeeze the tick.

Monitor the casualty for any signs of allergic or other reaction.

Conclusion

The main points for first aid for bites and stings are:

•            There are many insects in Australia that can bite and sting but generally they cause only minor problems

•            Be aware of possible severe allergic reactions and manage accordingly

•            Remove bee stings by scraping them out as soon as possible

•            Apply cold pack to insect bite site for pain management – except for ticks

•            Remove ticks, if possible, by freezing or tweezers applied to the tick’s head. Seek medical attention if you cannot remove the tick.

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.

Emergency Response to Bleeding, Blood Loss, and Shock.

Bleeding, blood loss and shock followed by Life Saving First Aid logo

What is bleeding?

Bleeding is when blood discharges from the circulatory system. Blood loss can occur due to small cuts, abrasions, or deep cuts and amputations.

Injuries to the body can also result in internal bleeding, which can range from minor to massive bleeds. Bleeding and blood loss can result in haemorrhagic shock.

There are around 5 litres of blood in the average person. With too much blood loss, the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen to support life. People who experience major injury and trauma may rapidly lose blood.

A loss of only 1.5ltr can result in

  • a rapid heart rate higher than 120 beats per minute.
  • A drop in blood pressure.
  • Increased breathing rate.

You will die if you lose more than 2ltr or about 40 per cent of your blood. Check out this chart- “How much blood can you lose?

There are three main types of Bleeding. Minor, Severe and Internal. It is quite possible you could experience all three types on one casualty.  

Minor Bleeding

For example:

  • from a small surface cut or nosebleed.
  • Capillary bleeding occurs when the skin’s surface layer breaks due to abrasion or a graze. As a result, it will slowly ooze blood and may contain particles.
  • Venous bleeding (a minor wound) is a laceration, cut or slice into the skin bleeding freely. The application of pressure or a bandage will control the bleeding.
  • Minor pain, small cuts, weeping fluid

Severe Bleeding

Severe bleeding:

  • a severe wound due to cut or laceration to an artery. Blood will spurt vigorously with every heartbeat. Requires immediate action as the casualty can lose a large amount of blood quickly.
  • As a result of an embedded object such as a knife, piece of wood or steel.
  • An amputation, that is, a completely severed body part.
  • Severe pain, cold clammy skin, rapid shallow breathing, or other signs of shock.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is bleeding inside the body. You should always suspect internal bleeding when symptoms of shock are present.

Signs and Symptoms include:

  • Coughing up blood, vomiting blood, bleeding from ears, anus, or blood in the urine.
  • Bruising, pain, tenderness and swelling at the site
  • Swollen, tight abdomen
  • unconsciousness

Management

As with all our First Aid incidents we need to check for danger first to ensure it is safe for us to provide First Aid.

Carry out DRSABCD

Determine the type of bleeding so you can give the appropriate first aid.

Wash your hands and wear personal protective equipment if available.

Nosebleed

Sit casualty upright and tilt their head forward, ask them to squeeze and apply dissect pressure over the soft part of the of the nostrils below the bridge of the nose.

Place a cold pack on the back of their neck.

Hold for at least 10 minutes and if bleeding does not stop within 20 minutes seek medical help.

Minor BleedingManagement

Using pressure on or around the wound is usually the fastest, easiest, and most effective way to stop external bleeding.

The aim is to stop further bleeding while waiting for help to arrive. There is no evidence that elevating a bleeding part will help control bleeding and there is the potential to cause more pain or injury.

If the wound is a graze there may be particles present in the wound. You should remove loose particles with tweezers or by flushing the wound with clean water or sterile saline solution. Do not rub or scrub the wound. If particles are still in the wound apply a bandage which is not too tight and call for medical help.

For a minor or small cut apply firm pressure to the wound using your hand, the casualties’ hand, or a bandage to stop the bleeding. The preferred dressing would be sterile, non-stick, and non-allergenic, . However, use what you have.

Monitor the casualty and seek medical help if needed.

Severe bleedingManagement

If the bleeding is severe or life-threatening, controlling it should take priority over airway and breathing interventions.

You should lie the casualty down, apply pressure on the wound, and send for an ambulance.

Wash your hands and wear PPE if available.

  • Do not remove any embedded object as it may be stopping some bleeding but Bandage around embedded objects to apply indirect pressure to the wound.
  • If there is blood spurting from wound, apply firm direct pressure to the wound with hand or dressing.
  • Apply dressing firmly to the wound, preferably sterile and non-stick
  • In cases where the wound still bleeds through the pad and bandage, remove the bandage, keep the first pad, apply a second pad and rebandage.

If the wound still bleeds through the bandage, remove all bandages and pads, reassess the wound if a bleeding point has been missed, then apply a fresh set of pads and bandages.

If you find the following or similar:

  • An amputated or partially amputated limb above wrist or ankle
  • A victim of a shark attack, propeller cuts or similar major trauma to any part of the body
  • Or bleeding not controlled by local pressure

Call 000 immediately and you should consider the use of a tourniquet. 

Tourniquets

If you cannot control the bleeding by direct pressure or it is life-threatening bleeding from a limb, use an arterial tourniquet.

Do not be apply a tourniquet over a joint or wound.

The following guidelines apply if you need to use a tourniquet:

  • When applying all arterial tourniquets, follow the manufacturer’s instructions (or 5 cm above the wound if no instructions) and tighten until the bleeding stops.
  • If the bleeding does not stop, check the position and application of the tourniquet. If possible, you should not apply the tourniquet over clothing or wetsuits. Apply the tourniquet tightly, even if it causes local discomfort
  • If bleeding continues, a second tourniquet (if available) should be applied to the limb, preferably above the first.
  • Note the time of the tourniquet application, and communicate to emergency/paramedic personnel. the victim will require urgent transfer to the hospital. Until the victim receives specialist care, the tourniquet should not be removed

You can improvise a tourniquet if there is no tourniquet available. Although an improvised tourniquet is unlikely to stop the bleeding and poses the risk of increased bleeding and tissue damage, an improvised tourniquet is better than none at all in life-threatening bleeding.

For example, using materials found in a first aid kit, clothing, or other similarly available items you can improvise a tourniquet. Tighten your Improvised tourniquet by twisting a rod or stick under the improvised tourniquet, similar to the windlass in commercial tourniquets.

You must ensure there is a record of the time your tourniquet was applied. Also, ensure you do not cover the tourniquet with clothing.

Haemostatic Dressing

Another method to help stop severe bleeding is the use of a Haemostatic Dressing.

Haemostatic dressings are filled with agents that help stop bleeding, such as kaolin and chitosan. While commonly used in surgical and military settings, their use in the civilian, non-surgical setting (such as first aid) is becoming more common.

Lie the person down and check for signs of shock and treat.

Internal Bleeding

This occurs when blood escapes from the arteries, veins, or capillaries into tissues or cavities in the body.

Remember, an injured person may be bleeding internally even if you can’t see any blood. An internal injury may cause bleeding that remains contained within the body; for example, within the skull or abdominal cavity.

It is important to ask the right questions to collect the relevant information. Listen carefully to what the person tells you about their injury. Watch for the signs and symptoms of shock. In the case of a head injury, the signs and symptoms of concussion.

The signs and symptoms of internal bleeding depend on where the bleeding is inside the body, but may include:

  • pain at the injured site
  • swollen, tight abdomen
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pale, clammy, sweaty skin
  • breathlessness
  • extreme thirst
  • unconsciousness.

For signs and symptoms specific to concussion (caused by trauma to the head) check out our blog – “Head Injuries”

Management of internal bleeding

First aid cannot realistically manage or treat any kind of internal bleeding. Therefore, seeking prompt medical help is vital.

Above all, severe internal bleeding is life-threatening and requires urgent treatment in hospital so CALL 000

Lie the person down, make them as comfortable as possible and check for signs of shock.

If there is bruising to a limb and no external bleeding, use pressure and a cold pack if available. Above all, make the casualty as comfortable as possible keeping them warm and monitoring their condition till the arrival of the ambulance.

Some things you can do are:

  • Check for danger before approaching the person.
  • If possible, send someone else to call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
  • Check that the person is conscious.
  • Lie the person down.
  • Cover them with a blanket or something to keep them warm.
  • If possible, raise the person’s legs above the level of their heart.
  • Don’t give the person anything to eat or drink.
  • Offer reassurance. Manage any other injuries, if possible.
  • If the person becomes unconscious, place them on their side. Check for breathing frequently. Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if necessary.

Conclusion

  • There are three types of bleeding, Minor, Severe and Internal
  • Use PPE if available and apply DRSABCD
  • Call an Ambulance ASAP if needed
  • Apply direct pressure to stop bleeding and use sterile non-stick dressings if available
  • Do not remove embedded objects
  • Be aware of and look for signs of shock
  • Only use a tourniquet as a last resort
  •  For a nosebleed, tilt the head forward, and apply pressure to the bridge of the nose for 10 minutes. If not stopped within 20 min. Call an ambulance.

And always monitor and reassure the casualty.

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.

Adrian

Conducting a Risk Assessment for Effective First Aid Preparedness.

cover image saying "first aid risk assessment" followed by Life Saving First Aid logo

Introduction

The ability to conduct a risk assessment for First Aid is critical. DRSABCD is our initial action plan and the first letter is D. D for DANGER.

If you can:

      A. Identify any HAZARDS,

      B. Recognise the RISKS,

And,

     C. Implement control measures,

you can make First Aid, and the spaces you work, live and play in, a lot safer for everyone.

In this article, I am going to explain the difference between a hazard and a risk, discuss how to conduct a risk assessment for first aid and, talk about control measures.

Risk assessment – a step by step process

To help manage risks in the workplace there is a step-by-step process you can follow.

By thinking about what could go wrong and what the consequences could be, you can then do whatever is ‘reasonably practicable ‘ to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks.

What is a hazard?

A hazard is something that poses a threat to life, health, property, or even the environment.

For example, you have a beautiful, inviting, swimming pool in your backyard. It’s a hot day and you want to go for a swim. You stand on the edge of the pool, ready to dive in. There’s just one problem. In the pool is a whopping Great White shark!

However, it’s so hot, you really, REALLY… need to dive in.

In this scenario, the shark is the hazard. A hazard that, should you dive in, poses a threat to your health or even your life.

What is a risk?

A risk is a chance (big or small) that a hazard could hurt or damage someone or something.

In our shark in the pool scenario, it is obvious that if you dived in there is a huge likelihood the shark will attack you and cause major damage to your body.

These are the risks – Torn off limbs. Chunks bitten from your torso. Severe blood loss. Death. ( Maybe it’s not that hot after all? ) Not to mention all that flesh and bone clogging up the pool filter.

So, it follows, understanding the difference between a hazard and a risk is important so you can properly plan your risk management strategy.

Step by step process

This process is known as risk management and involves four steps

1. Identify hazards—find out what could cause harm.

2. Assess risks – if necessary—understand the nature of the harm that could be caused by the hazard, how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening.

3. Control risks – implement the most effective control measure that is reasonably practicable in the circumstances and ensure it is still effective over time.

4. Review – hazards and control measures to ensure they are working as planned

Step 1 – Identify the hazard

By walking around your home or workplace, with a checklist, you can identify any hazards. Don’t forget, A hazard is anything that could cause harm or have a negative impact.

Things like broken or dangerous equipment, a poorly written procedures or bad practices. Staff not well trained for the workplace or equipment. Clutter and rubbish around the home or office, restricting movement and creating a fire hazard. A shark in the pool.

Step 2 – Assess the risks

Now that you have identified the hazard you need to assess the risk of harm or potential harm and also,

•  How likely is it to happen?

•  How serious is the outcome? What are the consequences?

Let’s look at our shark in the pool. What is the potential harm? I listed them above. What’s the probability of it happening? That is, how likely is that to happen? Could be almost certain if you dive in.

Therefore, when you are assessing the risks, you can rate the Probability Question By using:

Unlikely, Possible, Likely and Almost Certain.

Next, how serious are the consequences? These will fall into three categories.

  1. MINOR RISK – unlikely to cause long-term problems so you accept the risk and continue.
  2. MODERATE RISK – where you complete a risk assessment and go ahead if risk is worth  accepting
  3. SIGNIFICANT RISK – this is a risk that needs careful planning and consideration before going ahead. Involving others in decision-making, following policy guidance and practice, and identifying roles and responsibilities.

You can now evaluate the risks even further by combining the PROBABILITY results, with the SEVERITY of the risk.

For example, with our Shark (Hazard) in the pool, you find that it is Unlikely (Probability) you will go for a swim, then it would be of minor consequences (Seriousness), therefore the risk is a Low Priority for management – which is the lowest priority.

On the other end of the scale, if you found that the probability of you diving in is Almost Certain then that is a Significant Risk, with extreme consequences, requiring urgent priority for management.

Consequences for risk management are rated – Low, Moderate, High and Significant.

Step 3 – Control the Risks

Once you have identified the Severity of the risk and the consequences, you need to implement some control measure.

Controls are actions you can take to manage and reduce the risk.

There is a Hierarchy of Control, made up of different levels and control methods for us to follow.

They are

Level 1 – Elimination.

  • That is, remove the hazard.

Level 2 – Substitution,

  • Replace the hazardous item or process.
  • Isolation, separate people from the hazard.
  • Engineering, replace equipment with a more ergonomic style.

Level 3 – Administrative

  • Change procedures or rosters.
  • Use PPE to minimise risk.

Step 4 – Review

Reviewing and ongoing monitoring of the risk or potential harm is needed to ensure it continues to be managed as a low risk.

Throughout this process, you need to be vigilant in scanning and assessing any risk.

This can be done with safety checks, regular WHS inspections, and making it a regular topic at team meetings.

We can put these all together using our example of the shark in the pool.  You found that it was a significant risk with extreme consequences. But, you can use the top level of control here which is the elimination of the risk by removing the shark.  This reduces the risk to low priority, minor consequences, unlikely to happen.

While it sounds like a complicated process it’s not. When you think about it, keeping your first aid activities or workplace safe is just a matter of being vigilant and acting if you see something unsafe or likely to cause harm.

Most businesses and organisations will have a risk assessment matrix which simplifies the risk assessment process to make it easier for you.

Conclusion

The main points to remember are:

• A hazard is something that poses a threat to life, health, property, or even the environment

• A risk is the chance – big or small – that a hazard could hurt or damage someone or something.

• Use a Risk Assessment Matrix to determine the likelihood and consequence of hazards and risks. You can find a free Risk Assessment Matrix here. (Thanks to the Dept. of Education and Training)

Don’t forget to keep your First Aid Certificate current. ( Blog ” How long does a First Aid Certificate last”) This will eliminate the risk of your being an untrained workplace first aider.

Well, that’s that. Until next time… Stay safe.

Adrian

First Aid Training in Hawthorn East.

First Aid Training in Hawthorn East

In the words of my very good friend, Publilius Syrus, the Roman philosopher –  “It is hard to recover the lost opportunity.” Hence First Aid Training in Hawthorn East.

We at Life Saving First Aid recognised what a great opportunity has been presented to us due to the unprecedented demand for first aid training in Melbourne’s east.  

We acted quickly and opened a new First Aid training facility at 771 Toorak Rd Hawthorn East.

First Aid training in CPR, Provide First Aid (which includes CPR), Provide First Aid in an Educational and Care Setting ( also includes CPR), and Conduct Manual Tasks Safely is now available at this venue 7 days a week!

Life Saving First Aids’ new training facility falls in step with our mission statement:

What’s in it for you?

We have recruited new trainers, sourced new equipment, and bought new furniture to provide the best facilities possible.

The spacious First Aid training area allows ample room to comfortably accommodate up to 15 students at a time.

The building has a small waiting area and a café nearby for those who arrive early.

There is ample parking across the road in the Woolies car park, all-day parking on Toorak road, and 2 hr roadside parking in nearby side streets.

Our Community

And there are plenty of local businesses that will be able to access and benefit from our new facility.

Centres such as Guardian, Noahs Ark, Auburn Preschool, Samantha’s Child Care, Camberwell Family Day-care and Montessori Beginnings, to name just a few, are all within 6 minutes.

Bounce Glen Iris, Harold Holt Swim Centre, Kooyong Lawn Tennis club and other sporting clubs are also nearby.

We are committed to serving our community and making a positive impact. That’s why we are proud to partner with local organizations and offer group discounts and customised training programs to fit the needs of businesses and organizations in the area.

I hope you are picking up that we here at Life Saving First Aid are extremely excited about our new training facility! 

We are looking forward to providing our “best reviewed” (according to Google) First Aid training to our public clients as well as local businesses.

What makes us a great first Aid training provider?

I think it is a number of things.

  • We are Melbourne based. We’re Local!
  • We provide a personalised business and sales manager.  Should you need to contact us you will speak to the same person every time.
  • There’s a dedicated student support representative and a full-time office and sales assistant.  
  • We offer courses seven days a week. Very convenient for you.
  • Simple to use online booking system…Choose a day and time and course that suits you.
  • Blended learning. Online First Aid training theory to complete in your own time. In-classroom practical assessment.
  • We also communicate regularly with our clients.

What more could you ask for regarding First Aid Training?

Nothing.  

If you live or work in Melbourne’s East and need first aid training it’s all there for you at 771 Toorak Rd Hawthorn East!

Well, that’s that. Until next time…. Stay safe

Adrian

Stroke

Different strokes for different folks

Different strokes for different folks.

While that statement is a bit tongue-in-cheek, when it comes to people who suffer from a stroke, it is accurate. Read on and you will see there are different types of stroke and they can affect the casualty in different ways. Different strokes for different folks

Introduction

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a broad term for many conditions which affect the heart and blood vessels.  Coronary heart disease,  heart failure, and stroke are the most common.

In this blog, we are going to talk about strokes. What they are, what you can do to help someone who is experiencing a stroke, and some actions you can take to help prevent a stroke – maybe even help with preventing CVD.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare ( AIHW ) in 2019, there was an estimated 67,000 hospitalisations for stroke of those, sadly 8,382 died as a result.

Many were left with permanent physical damage.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare ( AIHW ) in 2019, there was an estimated 67,000 hospitalisations for stroke of those, sadly 8,382 died as a result.

And the cost to the community? Once again from the AIHW:

 “ In 2018–19, the estimated health system expenditure on stroke was more than $660 million. The greatest cost was for public hospital-admitted patient services ($364.2 million) followed by private hospital services”

More than 660 million dollars…

The Brain

You are probably aware that the brain is divided in half and each half is divided into other areas.

The left half of the brain – the left hemisphere –  controls most functions on the right side of the body, while the right half of the brain  -the right hemisphere –  controls most functions on the left side.

The different areas control different functions of your body. How you move – walking, standing, holding etc, your senses – touch, sight or smell etc., speech and how you think.

Because different arteries supply different areas of the brain, where the brain is damaged will determine which functions are affected.

So, you can see how a stroke impacts the person will depend on how much, and what part of the brain is damaged.

Different strokes for……you get the picture.

As I have said many times before, prevention is better than cure, and strokes could be prevented. We’ll talk about risk factors as well.

So, what is a stroke?

What is a stroke? In simple terms, a stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain either suddenly becomes blocked, or bursts and begins to bleed.

As a result, the flow of blood downstream from the blockage or bleed stops and brain cells die due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients.

And they die at the rate of around 1.9 million brain cells per minute. In 2018, an estimated 387,000 Australians aged 15 and over (1.3% of the population) had experienced a stroke at some time in their lives, based on self-reported data from the ABS

Different types of strokes

There are two types of strokes and both types stop blood flow to areas of the brain.

One type of stroke is called an ISCHAEMIC (is..key..mick) stroke.

The other is a HAEMORRHAGIC (hem..or..ragic) stroke.

Ischaemic Stroke

This occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked by a clot. There are two ways a blockage in these blood vessels can occur.

Embolic

When a blood clot forms in another part of the body and travels around the body in the bloodstream until it reaches the brain.

The clot will then move around the brain until it gets stuck in a blood vessel which is too small for the clot to pass through.

This blocks the blood vessel and prevents blood from getting through. And brain cells begin to die.

Thrombotic

If the blood contains cholesterol-laden plaques, these can stick to the inner walls of the blood vessels as the blood moves through them.

Over time, these plaques can increase in size and narrow or block the artery and stop blood from getting through.

If the blocked blood vessel is in the brain, then no blood will get through and brain cells will begin to die.

In the case of stroke, the plaques most often affect the major arteries in the neck taking blood to the brain.

Haemorrhagic stroke

Once again there are two types. Where they occur in the victims’ brain determines what they are called.

An Intracerebral Haemorrhage (ICH) occurs when an artery inside the brain bursts and bleeds into the brain.

This results in blood flow to part of the brain being reduced or stopped and brain cells begin to die.

Also, as the amount of blood flow into the brain increases, the build-up of pressure can lead to brain damage, unconsciousness or even death.

Then there’s bleeding on the surface of the brain. This can result in Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (SAH). There are 3 layers of membrane (or meninges) that cover the brain.

A subarachnoid haemorrhage is a bleed that happens underneath any of these layers.

Now, there are quite a few medical terms in there but as I said in the introduction – in simple terms a stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain stops, for whatever reason, and brain cells die.

Types of strokes. Ischaemic stroke.
When a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked by a clot. Haemorrhagic stroke.
When an artery inside the brain bursts and bleeds into the brain.

Recognising a Stroke

The Stroke Foundation Australia endorses the F.A.S.T. test when you suspect someone has had a stroke.

F – Face look closely at the victim’s face. Has their mouth drooped?

A – Ask them to lift both arms. Can they lift them both?

S – Speech. Ask them something. Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

T – Time Is critical. If any of these signs are present call 000 straight away.

Recognising a stroke. FAST.  F – Face. Look closely at the victim’s face. Has their mouth drooped?
A – Ask. Ask them to lift both arms. Can they lift them both?
S – Speech. Ask them something. Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
T - Time Is critical. If any of these signs are present call 000 straight away.

This simple test provides an accurate stroke assessment. There are of course other possible signs of stroke.

  • weakness or paralysis elsewhere in the body, on one or both sides
  • loss of sensation, usually on one side
  • loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • a sudden and severe headache
  • dizziness, loss of balance or an unexplained fall
  • difficulty swallowing

A stroke is a medical emergency and the longer it takes to get proper treatment, the more likely there will be long-term stroke-related damage to the brain afterwards. Don’t faff around. Act Fast. Get medical help immediately.

So, what causes a stroke?

What are some of the risk factors? I bet you can guess.

All the usual suspects:

  • smoking,
  • not enough physical activity,
  • unhealthy eating,
  • high blood pressure,
  • type2 diabetes,
  • high cholesterol

The risk factor of some of those can be reduced.

Of course, some risk factors cannot be reduced:

  • Your age — Most people who have a stroke (7 out of 10) are 65 years or older.
  • Your family history — If one of your parents had a stroke before they were 65, your risk of getting one is 3 times greater than average.
  • Your gender — Stroke is more common in men, especially between 65 and 84 years of age.
What causes a stroke?
Smoking, Type 2 diabetes, High cholesterol, Unhealthy eating, High blood pressure and Not enough physical activity.

Head Trauma

According to experts, trauma to the brain through a head injury can contribute to stroke later in life.

There is an association between head trauma and an increased incidence of haemorrhagic strokes in the years that follow as well as an increased lifetime risk of ischemic strokes in the years after head trauma.

Check out our blog on head trauma

Conclusion

As with many things in life, there are some things we can change and others we cannot escape.

As my old friend Publilius always said, “The defect which one period of life fastens upon us, another will remove.”

We could all make changes which may go a long way to remove the defect(s) one period of life has fastened upon us.

All the usual suspects. (see above)

If we wanted to…

But hey, YOLO, right?

Well, that’s that. Until next time….. stay safe

Adrian