Preventing and Treating Household Emergencies

Good Samaritan Hospital offers Lindenhurst residents tips about how to prevent and treat emergencies such as falls, cuts and burns, and how to know when to call 911.

Household emergencies like cuts and falls occur every day, so being prepared for some of the more common situations is key.

“Most household injuries are preventable. Knowledge and common sense will make everyone better prepared to deal with these situations. Injuries of any kind should receive proper medical attention,” according to Good Samaritan Hospital’s Chairman of Emergency Services Adhi Sharma, MD.

Falls
For instance, falls are a common source of injuries. Often victims will get back on their feet immediately, and minor injuries will often respond well to ice and over-the-counter pain relievers.

However, when the victim’s unable to get up, a bone might be broken or a head injury might’ve occurred.

In general these victims should be left in place while someone calls 911 to request aid and transport to the nearest hospital.

To prevent falls, especially among the elderly, remove small, loose area rugs, make sure lighting is good in bathrooms and hallways and install assist devices grab bars and/or seats in the tub and shower.

Lacerations and Cuts
Cuts and lacerations are also common. Often they occur while washing dishes, handling broken glass or using an improper tool to open jars and bottles. While some are minor, others could result in serious bleeding and even nerve or tendon injuries.

If bleeding is difficult to control or if the victim is unable to feel or move a body part affected by the cut, then it requires medical attention. Call 911 for more serious cases. For minor wounds a clean dressing should be applied with pressure to control bleeding. Elevating the affected body part could also help control bleeding.

To prevent cuts and lacerations never put your hand in a tall or tight drinking glass when washing them since the stress could break them. Always use the proper tool to open stubborn lids and caps. Use caution when handling broken glass or clamshell packaging. When using sharp tools, keep body parts clear of the blade/tool.

Burns
While less frequent than falls or cuts, burns could also occur, and cause serious injury and significant scars.

Mild or first-degree burns require only simple first aid: cooling the burn and cleaning the area with soap and water. A clean bandage should be applied to help reduce the risk of infection. OTC first-aid creams could also be applied to reduce infection.

However, second- and third-degree burns (blisters or deep burns), as well as damage to the face, hands and large areas, require medical attention.

To help guard against burns, pot handles should always be turned in, and preferential use of rear burners could reduce the probability of injuries.

Appropriate use of oven mitts and discarding any hot liquids immediately when no longer needed will also help prevent burns. Adjusting the water heater thermostat to the warm or medium setting and testing water temperature when bathing young children could also help prevent burns.

Information was provided by Good Samaritan Hospital.

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