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.