Sprains and strains are very common injuries that affect muscles and ligaments. They often occur if you change direction or speed suddenly, fall and land awkwardly or collide with an object or person – such as when playing sports.

Sprains

A sprain occurs when one or more of your ligaments have been stretched, twisted or torn, usually as a result of excessive force being applied to a joint. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue around joints that connect bones to one another. Common locations for sprains include the knees, ankles, wrists and thumbs.

Symptoms of a sprain can include:

  • → Pain around the affected joint
  • → Being unable to use the joint normally or being unable to put weight on it
  • → Swelling
  • → Bruising
  • → Tenderness

 

The swelling from a sprain will often occur soon after the injury, but the bruising may not show until later or it may not show at all. Bruising can sometimes occur some distance from the affected joint, as blood from the damaged tissue seeps along the muscles and around the joint before coming close to the skin.

 

Strains

A strain occurs when muscle fibres stretch or tear. They usually occur when the muscle has been stretched beyond its limits or it has been forced to contract (shorten) too quickly. Muscle strains are particularly common in the legs and back, such as hamstring strains and lumbar (lower back) strains. Symptoms of a muscle strain can include:

  • →  Pain in the affected muscle
  • →  Swelling
  • →  Bruising
  • →  Muscle spasms (when the muscles contract tightly and painfully)
  • →  Loss of some, or all, of the function in the affected muscle
  • →  Blood collecting under the skin at the site of the strain – this is known as a haematoma, and it may look like a large, dark-red bruise

When to seek medical help

Most sprains and strains are relatively minor and can be cared for at home. However, you should visit a minor injuries unit (MIU) or your GP if you think you have a sprain or strain and:

  • → The pain is particularly severe
  • → You cannot move the injured joint or muscle
  • → You cannot put any weight on the injured limb, or it gives way when you try to use it
  • → The injured area looks crooked or has unusual lumps or bumps (other than swelling)
  • → You have numbness, discolouration or coldness in any part of the injured area
  • → The symptoms have not started to improve within a few days of self-treatment

 

 

Information from NHS


Throughout the Christmas period the consumption of alcohol increases, but be aware if someone has consumed too much alcohol they may be suffering from alcohol poisoning, symptoms to look out for are:

  • → Confusion
  • → Loss of coordination
  • → Vomiting
  • → Seizures
  • → Irregular or slow breathing
  • → Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • → Stupor – when someone’s conscious but unresponsive
  • → Unconsciousness – passing out

 

DO

  • → Try to keep them awake and sitting up.
  • → Lie them on their side in the recovery position if they’ve passed out, and check they’re breathing properly.
  • → Keep them warm.
  • → Stay with them and monitor their symptoms.

 

If they’re not getting any better, don’t delay, dial 999 for an ambulance.

 

DO NOT

  •  → Leave someone to sleep it off
  • → Give them a coffee
  • → Make them sick
  • → Walk them around
  • → Put them under a cold shower
  • → Let them drink any more alcohol

 

Information from drinkaware.co.uk


Epilepsy

The brain works on electrical activity and when there is a mix up in the normal electrical activity in the brain, the sudden burst of electrical activity this leads to seizures. There around 600,000 in the UK living with Epilepsy

The type of seizure you have and what happens to you during a seizure depends on which part of the brain the unusual electrical activity starts and how much of your brain is affected by it.

Those who are diagnosed with Epilepsy usually take medication that controls the seizures, unfortunately these drugs don’t work for everyone and this may be a reason why as a First Aider you are called to assist someone having a fit.

 

Generalised seizures

Involve both halves of the brain and the muscles may stiffen or jerk and the person may fall down. The person goes stiff, loses consciousness and then falls to the ground. This is followed by jerking movements. A blue tinge around the mouth is likely. This is due to irregular breathing. Loss of bladder and/or bowel control may happen. After a minute or two the jerking movements should stop and consciousness may slowly return.

 

Focal seizures

Affect specific areas of the brain and as such cause various symptoms. Where the Temporal region is affected for example the person may feel frightened, having a strange taste, or smelling something that isn’t there, be staring or smacking their lips.

 

First Aid for Generalised seizures

  • → Protect the person from injury by removing anything they may bang into, protect the head with a cushion or soft object like a coat
  • → Look for an alert card or jewellery that tells you the person has epilepsy
  • → Time how long the seizure lasts for and how long they are unconscious for after the shaking stops
  • → Once the seizure has stopped place them into the recovery position

Do not:

  • → Try to stop the persons shaking
  • → Put anything in their mouth
  • → Move them unless they are in danger
  • → Attempt to bring them round
  • → Give them anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered

 

Call for an ambulance if:

  • → They have a second seizure without fully recovering from the first
  • → They appear to have hurt themselves
  • → The seizure lasts for more than five minutes
  • → You believe they may need urgent medical attention

 

First Aid for a Focal seizure

Sometimes the person may not be aware of their surroundings or what they are doing. They may pluck at their clothes; smack their lips, swallow repeatedly, and wander around.

  • → Gently guide the person from danger
  • → Stay with the person until recovery is complete
  • → Be calmly reassuring
  • → Explain anything that they may have missed

Do not:

  • → Restrain the person
  • → Act in a way that could frighten them, such as making abrupt movements or shouting at them
  • → Assume the person is aware of what is happening, or what has happened
  • → Give the person anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered
  • → Attempt to bring them round

 

Call for an ambulance if:

  • → You know it is the person’s first seizure
  • → The seizure continues for more than five minutes
  • → The person is injured during the seizure
  • → You believe the person needs urgent medical attention

Following seizures a person may be confused and frightened, comfort and reassure them until they are fully recovered.

Epilepsy Action have an informative website and provide advice for those looking for more information about Epilepsy and support for those with this condition , please visit and show your support. The information for this blog was taken from this website.


Eye injuries

Eye injuries can occur in many settings, including at home, at work or when playing sports. Eye injuries must be treated seriously as damage to the eye can lead to permanent loss of sight. Accidents at work that lead to any injury likely to lead to permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight must be reported to the HSE under the RIDDOR 2013 (see link below for further guidance

http://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/reportable-incidents.htm

Common types of eye injury are:

  • → Blows to the eye – such as being hit by a fist, elbow or ball
  • → Scratches and abrasions – such as from fingernails or tree branches
  • → Foreign bodies – such as small pieces of grit, wood or metal getting in the eye
  • → Penetrating or cutting injuries – such as cuts from glass or projectiles flung from tools
  • → Chemical burns – such as exposure to household cleaning products
  • → Radiation exposure – such as exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or sun lamps

You can flush your eyes in the following ways:

  1. Sit down and slant your head so the injured eye is lower than the unaffected eye (ideally over a bath or sink), then use a glass or cupped hand to repeatedly pour water across the eye from the bridge of the nose.
  2. If both eyes are affected, tilt your head back (keeping it level) and use a glass or cupped hand to repeatedly pour water across both eyes from the bridge of the nose.
  3. If you have access to a shower, aim a gentle stream of warm water at your forehead or just above the affected eye, while holding the affected eye open.
  4. If you are working outside, you can use a garden hose to rinse your eye, using a very low flow setting.

If an eye injury has been caused by a chemical entering the eye, follow the safety information on the container. In the workplace follow the COSHH guidance for the substance. Household chemicals such as bleach also have first aid advice on the packaging.

When to seek immediate medical advice

You should go immediately to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department if you have any of the following:

  • → Persistent or severe eye pain
  • → Foreign bodies that can’t be washed out
  • → Decreased or double vision
  • → Flashing lights, spots, halos or shadows in your field of vision
  • → Blood visible in your eye
  • → Pain when exposed to bright light
  • → Deep cuts around your eye

If medical attention is being sought cover the eye with a sterile dressing to protect it. The injured person should rest the other eye or close it to reduce the movement to the injured eye.

This information has been taken from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Eye-injuries/Pages/Introduction.aspx

 


Dislocations

 

Dislocations are extremely painful injuries that occur at the joints. The two bones at the joint are forcefully pulled apart, moving out of their normal position causing pain.

Common sites for dislocations are the shoulder, knee, hip, fingers.

Recognition features:

  • → Pain at the site of the injury
  • → Irregularity, deformity, swelling and bruising
  • → Difficulty in moving the affected part
  • → Crepitus (grinding of the bone ends when movement occurs)

 

Treatment:

  • → Don’t move the injured part
  • → Steady, support and immobilise in a comfortable position
  • → For upper limbs applying a sling may ease pain
  • → You may need to treat for shock, keep them warm (not too hot)
  • → Calm and reassure
  • → Call 999 for an ambulance if needed

 

Dislocated knee cap

dislocated knee caps

 

 

 


What happens when you have diabetes?

 

Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.

This is because the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter your body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly.

Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose to enter the body’s cells, where it is used as fuel for energy so we can work, play and generally live our lives. It is vital for life.

Glucose comes from digesting carbohydrate and is also produced by the liver.

For a person that has diabetes their body cannot make proper use of this glucose so it builds up in the blood and can’t be used as fuel.

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

  • → There is no insulin to unlock the cells (Type 1)
  • → There is not enough insulin or the insulin is there but not working properly (Type 2).

 

Diabetic emergency Hypoglycaemia (hypo)

Hypoglycaemia means ‘low blood glucose levels’. When blood sugar is low a diabetic hasn’t got enough energy for normal body activities.

 

Symptoms

Hypos can come on quickly and everyone has different symptoms, but common ones are: feeling shaky, sweating, hunger, tiredness, blurred vision, lack of concentration, headaches, feeling tearful, stroppy or moody, going pale. Often the person appears drunk and confused.

Why do hypos happen?

There’s no rule as to why they happen, but some things make it more likely: excess insulin, delayed or missed meal or snack, not enough carbs, unplanned physical activity, and drinking large quantities of alcohol or alcohol without food.

Treating a hypo

If the person is conscious, and can swallow treat the hypo immediately with fast-acting carbohydrate:

  • → Small glass of sugary (non-diet) drink
  • → At least three glucose tablets
  • → Five sweets, such as jelly babies
  • → Small carton of pure fruit juice
  • → Glucose gel.

If a person suffering from a hypo and becomes unconscious you will need to help by:

  • → Putting them into the recovery position
  • → Call an ambulance

The information for this blog was taken in part from the Diabetes UK website. Please visit the site as it is informative and useful to those suffering with diabetes, their families and first aiders who want to learn more about the subject,

http://www.diabetes.org.uk/

 


The most common age group affected by this infection are between the ages of six months and three years.

Croup is an infection of the airway to the lungs. Croup is instantly recognisable by the distinctive “barking” cough, and a particularly harsh sound as the child breathes in, this noise is known as stridor – if you aren’t familiar with this sound you can listen to it here.

Croup is often initially diagnosed as a cold as the child can have a cough, runny nose and a sore throat, as the condition worsens over a couple of days the distinctive “barking” cough, difficulty breathing and swallowing and hoarse voice begin to present themselves.

Severe croup:

  • → The child is struggling to breath, look for signs of “tug” and “intercostal recession”
  • → The child cannot swallow effectively
  • → This child needs urgent medical attention, call 999

 

Mild croup:

  • → Arrange to see a GP or urgent care centre
  • → Give Paracetamol to manage a temperature as per dose on the packet
  • → Give plenty of fluids
  • → Monitor the child for any signs of breathing or swallowing problems

 

For more info follow the link to the NHS A-Z

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Croup/Pages/Introduction.aspx

 



Looking after bruises

Everyone has suffered from bruising to some degree during their life. A simple bang to the skin can cause bruising. We don’t need to be overly concerned about a bruise unless it’s very big with lots of swelling and pain. Using common sense is best, if it looks big, horrible and continues to swell  so that the skin looks tight or is in a concerning place like the head,  neck or spine. It needs further assessment. Remember it is very difficult to bruise the stomach, bum cheeks or throat area, bruising here should be assessed quickly by a health care professional.

Bruises are bluish or purple-coloured patches that appear on the skin when tiny blood vessels, called capillaries, break or burst underneath. The blood from the capillaries leaks into the soft tissue under your skin, causing the discolouration. Gradually this fades and changes to shades of yellow or green.

Some people are naturally more likely to bruise than others – for example, elderly people may bruise more easily because their skin is thinner and the tissue underneath is more fragile.

How should I treat bruises?

Use R.I.C.E treatment

  • REST – place the injured part in a comfortable position
  • ICE – To make an ice pack, place ice cubes or a packet of frozen vegetables in a plastic bag and wrap them in a towel. Hold this over the area for at least 10 minutes. Do not put the ice pack straight onto your skin as this will be too cold and could hurt.
  • COMPRESSION- consider applying a compressing bandage, Use a good-quality crepe roller bandage on an injured limb. Ensure that firm and even pressure is applied to the injured part without slowing the circulation of blood to the fingers or toes of the affected limb. A compressing bandage is not always necessary. However it may be useful if there is visible bruising.

 

If the bandage increases the pain, DO NOT persist with it.

  • Keep the injured area elevated when appropriate, useful for leg bruises
  • Use simple pain relief such as Paracetamol during the first 24 to 48 hours, following directions on the package. If symptoms are not improving within two days the casualty should seek further advice, earlier if symptoms are worsening.
  • Most bruises will disappear after around two weeks. If the bruise is still there after two weeks, see your GP.

 

 

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The Children’s and Families Act 2014 requires governing bodies of English schools to make arrangements for supporting pupils at school with medical conditions. This duty came into force on 1st September 2014 and is supported by the statutory guidance supporting pupils at school with medical conditions.

This guidance includes the provision of Salbutamol inhalers kept specifically for emergency situations where children diagnosed with asthma do not have access to their own inhaler for the treatment of an asthma attack in school.

The document prepared by the Department for Health gives guidance and support to Head Teachers/Governors about Planning, Training, Supply, Storage, Care, Use and Disposal of the inhaler.

→  The emergency salbutamol inhaler should only be use by children:

→  Who have been diagnosed with asthma, and prescribed a reliever inhaler;

→  OR who have been prescribed a reliever inhaler;

→  AND for whom written parental consent for the use of the emergency inhaler has been given.

This guidance considers that the use of the emergency inhaler may be lifesaving and prevent unnecessary transportation to hospital or the child being sent home from school

Schools should ensure staff have appropriate training and support, relevant to their level of responsibility, Supporting Pupils requires governing bodies to ensure that staff supporting children with a medical condition should have appropriate knowledge, and where necessary, support.

It would be reasonable for ALL staff to be:

  • →  Trained to recognise the symptoms of an asthma attack, and ideally, how to distinguish them from other conditions with similar symptoms

 

The guidance is non-statutory; Schools are not required to hold an inhaler but it is part of Good Practice and should form part of schools medical conditions policy.

 

For more information or to arrange training on the usage of inhalers in schools, please contact us on 01254 790 296 or using the contact us page here