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Medical emergencies are traumatic and stressful both financially and emotionally. Preparing yourself for an emergency helps you lessen the negative impact that these events can have on your financial well-being, your work and your household. Look over these tips to understand how you can reduce the threat of disaster before it hits.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an easy skill that anyone is capable of and should learn—especially since roughly 70% of heart attacks happen at home. Unfortunately, over 50% of Americans are helpless during these situations because they don’t know how to perform CPR. It doesn’t have to be this way. Organizations like American Red Cross and the American Heart Association offer CPR courses regularly, and all it takes is a phone call to register.
Understand the warning signs of a medical emergency.
Aside from CPR, you should also learn some of the most standard medical emergency indicators. The American College of Emergency Physicians states that some warning signs may be confusion, suicidal thoughts, severe vomiting or diarrhea, abdominal or chest pain or pressure for more than two minutes. Other symptoms include uncontrollable bleeding, difficulty breathing, vomiting or coughing up blood, sudden dizziness, an alteration in behavior or mental status, sudden vision changes or slurred speech.
It is always best to seek professional help because these signs aren’t always that of a medical emergency.
Keep a first aid kit in your car and at home.
Keeping a well-stocked first-aid kit helps you ensure an efficient and timely response to sudden injuries and illness. Be sure that you have one wherever you go, including your house and car, at all times. You can purchase already-assembled kits from pharmacies, or you can create your own.
Aside from standard items like scissors, bandages, a flashlight with batteries and adhesives, your first aid kit needs to include your medications (i.e., antihypertensives, anti-allergies) as well. The American Red Cross offers a complete list of first aid essentials for the public.
Make a full list of your family’s medical information and their consent forms.
A complete list of medical information for every family member, such as known surgeries, illnesses, physicians sought, medications and history of hospitalization can help doctors intervene swiftly and appropriately during an emergency. Make sure to bring this list with you to the emergency room.
It is also smart to have everyone’s consent forms at hand as well as their medical history if authorization for treatment or procedure is needed and the individual is unable to give consent.
Keep all hospital and emergency room phone numbers handy.
Even if you do know CPR, some cases need the expertise of board-certified emergency medics and physicians. Circumstances like diabetic emergencies, strokes or bone fractures require specialized care that only emergency clinic personnel can give.
Be sure to have the phone numbers of these facilities on hand, along with a list of “emergency services near me.”
Ask questions of each hospital in your area about the services provided: Do all triage and lab services operate even on holidays? Are they a full-service hospital with emergency services and specialized treatments? Are nurses, physicians and specialists on hand at all times?
For residents of Slidell, La., Slidell Memorial Hospital has all of these emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This hospital has centers dedicated to oncology, birthing, sleep disorders, heart and SMH imaging. Rehabilitation services and outpatient are also offered.
Medical emergencies are already stressful enough. With the proper preparation, you can save lives and lessen the tragic impact that these situations have.