The lat­est in first aid

NT News - - NT WEEKEND | LIFESTYLE AND HEALTH -

THERE are lots of ways you can get hurt in the Top End. Here are the lat­est tips on how to treat the most com­mon and se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tions so you’ll know ex­actly what to do if one strikes.

BURN

“The num­ber-one so­lu­tion for a burn is 20 min­utes un­der cool run­ning water,” Peter LeCornu, na­tional train­ing man­ager at St John Am­bu­lance Aus­tralia, says. “Af­ter that, cover it with a loose, non-stick dress­ing. If the burn is big­ger than a 20-cent piece, see your doctor or a phar­ma­cist. If it’s big­ger than the palm of your hand, head straight to hos­pi­tal.” Do not use ice or ap­ply lo­tions, oint­ment or fat to the burn. If the burn is deep, seek ur­gent med­i­cal ad­vice.

CHOK­ING

“Give the per­son five sharp blows to the mid­dle of their back us­ing the heel of your hand. Fail­ing that, give them five ch­est thrusts — stand next to them with the heel of one hand on the lower half of their ster­num and one in the mid­dle of their back and thrust,” LeCornu says. If a child is chok­ing, use back blows. Don’t tip them up­side down or put your fin­gers in their mouth or throat.

SUN­BURN

“Pre­ven­tion is al­ways the best cure,” as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Chris Baker, pres­i­dent of the Aus­tralasian Col­lege of Der­ma­tol­o­gists, says. “But if you get caught out and are suf­fer­ing from mild sun­burn, use a sim­ple moisturiser, such as sor­bo­lene, and a cold com­press on the area. Sim­ple is best when it comes to af­ter-sun lo­tions, and I’d avoid any­thing that’s highly per­fumed or has an anaes­thetic agent in it.”

HEART­BURN

“Mild heart­burn can of­ten set­tle with a glass of milk and rest,” GP Dr El­iz­a­beth Stur­giss says. “For any­thing more se­vere, use over-the­counter tablets or liq­uids.” If that fails, seek ur­gent med­i­cal ad­vice to rule out a more se­ri­ous is­sue.

FEVER

“A fever is con­sid­ered tem­per­a­tures above 38˚C,” Stur­giss ex­plains. “If you have a fever for more than 48 hours or if parac­eta­mol isn’t help­ing to bring it down, make an ap­point­ment to see your doctor. If, how­ever, you have a fever as well as neck stiff­ness, dif­fi­culty with bright lights, a bruise-like rash, drowsi­ness or con­fu­sion, get to the hos­pi­tal. Ex­er­cis­ing to ‘sweat out a fever’ is a myth so don’t try it. Chil­dren with fevers should be seen by a doctor as soon as pos­si­ble.”

DI­AR­RHOEA

“Keep well hy­drated by drink­ing a com­bi­na­tion of water and elec­trolyte solutions fre­quently,” Stur­giss says. “It’s also im­por­tant to rest. If you’ve had on­go­ing di­ar­rhoea for 48 hours, it’s worth­while vis­it­ing your GP. If you’re vom­it­ing too, don’t leave it any longer than 12 hours be­fore see­ing a doctor.”

TICK BITE

“It’s cru­cial you get the whole tick out, so only try to re­move it if you’ve got tick-re­moval for­ceps,” LeCornu ad­vises. “With nor­mal tweez­ers, it’s re­ally easy to get the body out but you of­ten leave the head be­hind. If you don’t have the right for­ceps, get to a doctor.”

SPRAIN

“The mes­sage is sim­ple: R-I-C-E,” LeCornu says. “That is, rest, ice, com­pres­sion and el­e­va­tion. Sit down with an icepack on the area for 15 min­utes ev­ery two hours for the first 24 hours. Also use a com­pres­sion ban­dage on the area for at least 48 hours and el­e­vate it for as long as you can.”

FAINT­ING

“If some­one blacks out with no warn­ing, they should see a doctor im­me­di­ately,” Stur­giss says. “But if some­one feels they’re about to faint and then does, it’s less se­ri­ous. Put them flat on their back on the floor with their feet up at a right an­gle. If they don’t wake in a few min­utes, call an am­bu­lance. If they do wake, keep them ly­ing flat for 5-10 min­utes and then ease them up gen­tly. Have them sip some flu­ids. If they’re act­ing oddly or feel­ing un­well, call an am­bu­lance.”

OPEN WOUND

“If the area is bleed­ing, stop it by ap­ply­ing pres­sure,” LeCornu says. “Then use water or sa­line and ster­ile gauze to clean the area and get any nas­ties out. Af­ter that, ap­ply a soft, dry dress­ing. If the wound can’t be cleaned or if there’s some­thing stuck in there, that’s when you should head to the doctor.”

CON­STI­PA­TION

“In­creas­ing your fi­bre in­take with more veg­eta­bles, whole fruit with the skin on and whole­grains, as well as up­ping water in­take, should be the first step,” Stur­giss says. “Ex­er­cise also gets the bow­els mov­ing.”

CH­EST PAIN

“Ch­est pain that lasts for a few sec­onds is some­thing that should be fol­lowed up with your doctor,” Stur­giss says. “But if ch­est pain lasts more than a few min­utes or comes with dif­fi­culty breath­ing, rac­ing heart or feel­ing un­well, call an am­bu­lance quickly.”

STOM­ACH ACHE

We’ve all had that queasy feel­ing but Stur­giss says, “Se­vere or per­sis­tent tummy pains should be dis­cussed with your doctor, who will do a com­pre­hen­sive as­sess­ment of your med­i­cal history and a phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion. There’s no com­mon rem­edy for a stom­ach ache and they can be caused by so many dif­fer­ent things so it’s re­ally im­por­tant to get to the bot­tom of the cause.”

TOOTHACHE

“Even a mild toothache war­rants a visit to your den­tist,” Dr Gary Smith, pres­i­dent of the Aus­tralian Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion Queens­land, says.

“The most likely cause of a toothache is sen­si­tiv­ity, de­cay or a cav­ity, all of which need treat­ment. Other causes in­clude frac­tures, gum dis­ease and even things un­re­lated to the teeth such as si­nus in­fec­tions and heart dis­ease. Have reg­u­lar check-ups.”

Picture: iSTOCK

Don’t for­get to lather up be­fore you go out­side, whether it’s the sunny dry sea­son or the steamy build-up HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE

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