Braving the Storm: 4 Steps to Handling a Medical Emergency

More than 7 million people find themselves in Australia’s hospital emergency departments each year based on a recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. These visits stem from a wide range of issues, some of the most common being vehicle accidents, on-the-job injuries, heart attacks and complications from long-running health conditions. While hospital staff members are trained to handle these situations, the average citizen isn’t typically equipped to deal with sudden and urgent medical needs.

How to Handle a Medical Emergency

When it comes to health scares, panic tends to be most people’s first reaction. This is especially true if a close friend or family member is the victim. Responses like these often come from a fear of the unknown combined with a natural surge in adrenaline, and they rarely generate positive outcomes. With a few simple measures, you can be more prepared for a medical emergency.

1) Know What to Look out for

Sudden medical issues come in a number of forms; of course, not all of them are truly emergencies. According to a recently published breakdown of the situation, certain problems are clear indications of the need for immediate medical attention.

A severe headache, extreme weakness, numbness, vision difficulties, dizziness, confusion, and trouble speaking could all be symptoms of issues or injuries of the brain. Chest and/or arm pain accompanied by weakness, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath may be warning signs of heart-related problems. Emphysema, COPD, chronic asthma attacks and anaphylactic allergic reactions are characterized by respiratory distress and potential loss of consciousness.

All these situations as well as choking and severe bleeding are considered serious emergencies. They should always be tended to promptly by qualified medical personnel.

2) Call for Help

Anytime someone appears to be in need of medical assistance, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This rule of thumb applies whether a complete stranger collapses before your eyes at the supermarket or a family member chokes on a bit of food at the dinner table. Never be afraid to enlist assistance. As noted in a related health guide, dialing 1234 will place you in touch with an operator who can offer help, and local police department numbers should be kept on speed dial just in case. To contact an ambulance dispatcher, dial 000.

3) Learn the Basics

Ambulances aren’t always just a few seconds away, and every moment is critical in an emergency scenario. Being able to jump in and offer assistance on your own is a valuable asset. Consider taking an emergency response course to learn how to handle choking, stop or slow serious bleeding, administer CPR and operate an AED among other basic procedures. These classes are readily available at a number of educational facilities, and some of them are offered at low or no cost to those interested.

4) Consider the Financial Aspects

Emergencies come at a price from a number of angles. Though getting medical attention as quickly as possible is crucial in times of need, the financial aspect can’t be ignored. Insurance doesn’t necessarily cover everything, and it can be a bit out of budget’s reach for many.

Analysts recommend having at least a few hundred dollars set aside for unexpected expenses; of course, we all know that isn’t always possible. When you or someone in your household faces an emergency or even a less critical medical need, you may need to get cash instantly or as quickly as humanly possible. Loans are available for just such instances.

Conclusion

Although it’s virtually impossible to be prepared for every sudden and immediate medical need, these four points can certainly help. Knowing how to determine whether a situation is a true emergency, who to turn to for medical and financial assistance and how to productively step in on your own is incredibly empowering. More importantly, these elements can help save lives.