Guides

SNAKE BITE

Signs are not always visible but may be a puncture marks, bleeding or scratches.

Symptoms developing within an hour may include headache, impaired vision, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, drowsiness, faintness, problems speaking or swallowing.

What to do

  1. Follow DRSABCD.
  2. Reassure the patient and ask them not to move.
  3. Apply a broad crepe bandage over the bite site as soon as possible.
  4. Apply a pressure bandage (heavy crepe or elasticised roller bandage) starting just above the fingers or toes of the bitten limb, and move upwards on the limb as far as can be reached (include the snake bite). Apply firmly without stopping blood supply to the limb.
  5. Immobilise the bandaged limb with splints.
  6. Ensure the patient does not move.
  7. Write down the time of the bite and when the bandage was applied. Stay with the patient.
  8. Regularly check circulation in fingers or toes.
  9. Manage for shock.
  10. Ensure an ambulance has been called.

Warning

DO NOT wash venom off the skin.
DO NOT cut the bitten area.
DO NOT try to suck venom out of wound.
DO NOT use a tourniquet.
DO NOT try to catch the snake.

CHOKING ADULT/CHILD

What to do

  1. Encourage the adult or child to cough to remove the object.
  2. Call triple zero (000) if coughing does not remove the blockage, or if patient is an infant.
  3. Bend the patient well forward and give up to
    5 back blows with the heel of one hand between the shoulder blades, checking if the object is relieved after each back blow.
  4. If unsuccessful, give up to 5 chest thrusts by placing one hand in the middle of patient’s back for support and heel of other hand in the CPR compression position, checking if the object is relieved after each chest thrust.
  5. If blockage does not clear continue alternating 5 back blows with 5 chest thrusts until medical aid arrives.

If the patient becomes unconscious:

1. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
2. Remove any visible obstructions from the mouth.
3. Commence CPR.

Signs & Symptons

Clutching the throatcoughing, wheezing, gagging
Difficulty breathing, speaking, swallowing
Making a whistling or ‘crowing’ noise or no sound at all
Face, neck lips, ears, fingernails turning blue.

ASTHMA ATTACK

Signs & symptoms

Asthma attack

  • increasing wheeze
  • cough
  • chest tightness
  • shortness of breath.

Asthma emergency

  • symptoms get worse very quickly
  • severe shortness of breath
  • can’t speak comfortably
  • lips may turn blue
  • little or no relief from reliever inhaler.

What to do

Unconscious patient

  1. Follow DRSABCD.

Conscious patient

  1. Help the patient into a comfortable sitting position. Be calm and reassuring. Don’t leave the person alone. Help them to follow their action plan.
  2. Give 4 puffs of a blue/grey reliever. Use a spacer if available. Shake the reliever inhaler before each puff.
  3. Give 1 puff at a time with 4 breaths after each puff.
  4. Wait 4 minutes. If no improvement, give 4 more puffs.
  5. If the person still cannot breathe normally call for an ambulance and say that someone is having an asthma attack.
  6. Keep giving 4 puffs every 4

Signs & Symptons

Anyone having a SEVERE asthma attack needs URGENT medical treatment. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

SEVERE BLEEDING

What to do

Unconscious casualty

1. Follow DRSABCD.

Conscious casualty

  1. Follow DRSABCD.
  2. Lie the casualty down and remove or cut their clothing to expose the wound.
  3. Apply direct pressure over the wound using a pad or your hands (use gloves if available). Instruct the casualty to do this if possible.
  4. Squeeze the wound edges together if possible.
  5. Raise and support the injured part above the level of the heart. Handle gently if you suspect a fracture.
  6. Apply a pad over the wound if not already in place and secure by bandaging over the padded wound.
  7. If bleeding is still not controlled, leave initial pad in place and apply a second pad and secure with a bandage.
  8. Check circulation below wound.
  9. Ensure an ambulance has been called.

For severe external bleeding:

  • wear gloves, if possible, to prevent infection
  • do not apply a tourniquet
  • if an object is embedded in or protruding from a wound apply pressure either side of the wound and place pads around it before bandaging
  • give nothing by mouth.

BURNS & SCALDS

What to do

1. Follow DRSABCD.

2. Extinguish burning clothing:

  • STOP the patient from moving around
  • DROP/pull the patient to the ground with blanket or similar
  • ROLL the patient along ground until ames extinguished

3. As soon as possible, hold the burnt area under cool running water for 20 minutes, for thermal, scalds, chemical, bitumen and electrical burns.

4. Remove jewellery and clothing from the burnt area unless stuck to the burn.

5. Prevent infection by covering the burn wound with a loose and light non-stick dressing, preferably clean, dry, lint free (non- uffy) material e.g. plastic cling lm.

6. Manage for shock.

7. Seek medical attention.

Seek medical aid urgently if:

  • the burn is deep, even if the patient does not feel any pain
  • a super cial burn is larger than a 20 cent piece
  • the burn involves airway, face, hands or genitals
  • you are unsure of the severity of the burn.

Do Not:

  • apply lotions, ointment or fat to burns
  • touch injured areas or burst any blisters
  • remove anything sticking to the burn
  • use ice

DIABETES

What to do

Unconscious patient

1. Follow DRSABCD.
2. Give nothing by mouth. Conscious patient

If you are not sure which form of diabetic emergency the patient has, give a sweet drink. This will not do any harm.

Low blood sugar

  1. Give sugar, glucose or a sweet drink such as a soft drink or cordial (NOT ‘diet’ or sugarfree drinks).
  2. Continue giving sugar every 15 minutes until the patient recovers.
  3. Follow up with a sandwich or other food.
  4. If no improvement, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

High blood sugar

1. Seek medical attention if required.
2. Give patient sugar-free fluids if help is delayed.

Signs and symptoms

Low blood sugar

pale
• hungry
• sweating
• weak
• confused
• aggressive.

High blood sugar

  • thirsty
  • needs to urinate
  • hot dry skin
  • smell of acetone on breath.

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