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Author Archives: Julius Mark

Acute abdominal distress or acute abdomen is characterized by the sudden onset of severe abdominal pain and discomfort. Many people associate acute abdominal symptoms to simple indigestion that would resolve and “go away.” Although most cases of acute abdominal distress are temporary, some people may experience pain that does not go away or that becomes so severe.

The abdominal cavity houses a number of organs and tissues where the pain may originate. Aside from indigestion, which is the most common cause of abdominal distress, other possible problems include:

  • Appendicitis
  • Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis)
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Inflammation of abdominal cavity membranes (peritonitis)
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Kidney stones
  • Perforated ulcer
  • Strangulated hernia
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Aneurysm or rupture of an abdominal blood vessel

Acute abdomen may result in general symptoms that include:

  • Pain (widespread or generalized)
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
  • Abdominal distention
  • Fever
  • Rigid abdomen
  • Tenderness
  • Guarding behavior
  • Fear
  • Signs of shock (if there is internal bleeding or a major infection)
  • Possible bleeding from the rectum or blood in the urine.

Some individuals may report other symptoms that include weakness, restlessness, pain at movement, and assuming curled position.

Signs and symptoms of abdominal distress should not be taken lightly. The initial emergency care you provide can be critical for the condition of the patient.  In case the symptoms continue to get worse, do not try to diagnose or guess the nature of the problem, instead transport the individual or call for emergency help.

You should also:

  • Maintain an open airway. Prepare for possible vomiting.
  • Monitor for signs of shock and be ready to provide first aid.
  • Assist the individual to his side with knees flexed. Stay alert for vomiting.
  • Provide reassurance.
  • If supplemental oxygen is available, provide oxygen if there are symptoms of difficulty breathing or shallow breathing.
  • Do not give anything by mouth.
  • If possible, get details about the symptoms of the patient such as the time of onset, the nature of pain (sharp, gnawing, stabbing), if it was sudden or gradual, any changes in bowel movement and characteristic of stool (dark, tarry stool), any fever or chills, and if there are signs of bleeding. Find out what was last consumed and when the patient last ate.
  • Try save vomitus for possible laboratory test. However, make sure to avoid contact with ALL discharges and body fluids to prevent contracting communicable diseases.

Although most cases of abdominal distress end up as indigestion, they should be thoroughly diagnosed to prevent misdiagnosis. Physical examination and laboratory tests are necessary for the accurate diagnosis of abdominal distress. It is important to take the patient to the nearest medical facility for complete medical evaluation.

First Aid Skills You Really Need to Learn

May 19th, 2013 | Posted by Julius Mark in First Aid Traning - (0 Comments)

Sometimes administering first aid is as easy as just slapping a Band-Aid on or taking some medicine and lying down. But there are also those serious, step-up-to-the-plate first aid that can mean the difference between life and death. These are the first aid skills that we all need to learn.

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR

Paramedics sometimes call death a cardiac arrest; and the main reason is that the heart is no longer working to pump blood into our body. A person suffering from a heart attack or a stroke is sometimes just a few minutes away from death and only a quick administration of CPR might be the only way to save the victim. This is why, on the scale of life-saving skills that we need to learn, CPR is at the top.

  • Using an Epi-Pen

Anaphylaxis is a very difficult word to pronounce and one that has a very difficult and dangerous effect. The word pertains to a very severe allergic reaction that kills millions of people yearly. Whatever triggered the allergy – whether it’s antibiotics, bees, pollen, peanuts, shellfish or antibiotics, the Epi-Pen is the best way to combat anaphylaxis and give the victim a better chance at survival.

  • Doing the Heimlich Maneuver

The fastest way to clear a choking person’s air way is through the Heimlich Maneuver. This three step first aid skill can literally save a life in seconds. It’s very easy to do and is always taught in CPR courses.

  • Treating a Choking Infant

Babies are notorious for how easy it is for them to choke. They’re small but curious, always putting things in their mouths. Luckily, they’re not as built as the older kids and adults are yet so there are more ways to get things out of their airway.

  • Stopping the  Bleeding

Stopping bleeding in its tracks only requires two steps – put pressure and elevate. This is one of the most basic but easiest first aid skills to remember. Unfortunately, a lot of people are afraid of blood and tend to panic at the sight of it. Having a few first aid skills up your sleeves can help calm you enough so you’ll remember what to do in this situation.

  •  Treating Heat Stroke

This is a crucial skill to learn since a heat stroke can sometimes strike without warning. A critical step in treating heat stroke is knowing if it really is heat stroke. Some of the strongest indicators that one is suffering from heat stroke are a body that doesn’t sweat even though it’s hot, difficulty breathing, having hot and dry skin and being disoriented. If you think someone is suffering from heat stroke, best to call an emergency respondent and start packing ice on the victim.

  • Treating Hypothermia

Hypothermia is similar to heat stroke, except that you’re cold instead of hot. The best way to survive hypothermia is to know when you’re getting it. Someone suffering from hypothermia will be shivering, have very low energy, breathing shallowly, have a weak pulse and have difficulty thinking. It’s often easy to treat hypothermia, you just need to slowly heat up the person.

Being prepared to save lives is a mindset that we should all develop, especially since we don’t know if or when a medical emergency will strike our family or friends. Some first aid skills just require quick thinking and quick action. Unfortunately, not all emergencies can be handled that way. Taking first aid and CPR courses is still the best way to ensure that you’re ready for anything.

Swimmer’s Ear Treatment

May 11th, 2013 | Posted by Julius Mark in Ear Infections Treatment - (0 Comments)

Swimmer’s ear refers to an infection of the outer ear canal. The outer ear canal runs from the eardrum and travels to the outside of the head. The infection usually occurs from water that stays in your ear after swimming, which provides a suitable moist environment for bacteria to thrive in.

Putting cotton swabs, your fingers or other objects into your ears may damage the thin layer of skin overlying the ear canal, thus resulting in a swimmer’s ear infection.

Swimmer’s ear is also called otitis externa or acute external otitis. The infection is most commonly caused due to bacteria that invade the thin layer of skin of the ear canal. Swimmer’s ear can be effectively treated with eardrops. Prompt treatment is necessary to make sure future complications and more severe infections are prevented.

A short YouTube video on How to Care for Swimmer’s Ear

Signs and symptoms of a swimmer’s ear

Symptoms of swimmer’s ear are initially mild but they worsen with time if the infection is left untreated. Swimmer’s itch is classified as mild, moderate and advanced progression.

Mild signs and symptoms include:

  • Itching in the ear canal
  • Subtle redness of the inner ear
  • Drainage – clear and odorless fluid
  • Mild discomfort – may worsen when the bump in front of the ear is pushes or the outer ear is pulled

Moderate progression signs and symptoms include:

  • Increasing pain
  • Itchiness is more intense
  • Redness is more extensive
  • Excessive drainage of fluid
  • Pus discharge
  • Muffled or reduced hearing
  • A feeling of fullness in the inner ear
  • A partial blockage in the ear canal caused by swelling, debris and fluid

Advanced progression signs and symptoms include:

  • Severe pain – pain may radiate to the side of the head, face or neck
  • Swelling or redness of the outer ear
  • Complete blockage of the ear canal
  • Fever
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck

When to seek medical attention

See your doctor even if you experience mild signs and symptoms of swimmer’s ear. Seek immediate medical attention if swimmer’s ear is companied by fever or severe pain.

Treatment for Swimmer’s Ear

Treatment aims and stopping the infection with cleaning and medication and allowing the ear canal to recover.

Cleaning is vital to allow the flow to eardrops to infected regions of the ear. Your doctor will most likely use a suction tool to clean fluids, discharge, debris, earwax and flaky skin.

Medication includes eardrops with a combination of:

  • Acidic solution to restore the antibacterial environment of the ear
  •  Steroid injections to control inflammation
  • Antibiotics to fight bacteria
  • Antifungal medication in case the infection is fungal

You can also take pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce pain and discomfort of the ear. If pain is persistent or severe even with the use of medication, your doctor may prescribe a stronger pain medication.

The following tips may help you use ear drops in a better way:

  • Bring the eardrops to your body temperature by holding the bottle for a few minutes. This will reduce discomfort caused by cool fluids
  • Lie on your side while using the ear drops
  • It is better if you ask someone to put the ear drops into your ear

First Aid Management of Vomiting

May 4th, 2013 | Posted by Julius Mark in Vomiting First Aid - (0 Comments)

Vomiting is emptying of stomach content through the mouth; it can be either voluntary or involuntary. It can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance which if untreated can be fatal. Vomiting can be due to various causes and usually does not present as an isolated finding. Mostly it can be gastro-intestinal system related cause but disorders in other systems can cause vomiting as a presenting cause.

Causes

  1. Related to the gastro-intestinal system
  • Acute gastroenteritis
  • Gastritis
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux disease
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Food allergies
  • Food poisoning
  • Cholecystitis – inflammation of the gall bladder
  • Pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas
  • Appendicitis
  • Hepatitis

2.  Related to brain and higher functions

  • Motion sickness
  • Meniere’s disease ( triad of vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss )
  • Migraine
  • Brain tumors
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Cerebral hemorrhage

3.  Pregnancy

4.  Metabolic disturbances

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Calcium abnormalities
  • Uremia and renal failure

5.  Other

  • Alcohol
  • Most of the medications/drugs
  • Psychological

Simple vomiting is harmless but it may be the first sign of the serious illness.

But most important fact to consider about is the dehydration caused by which can even kill the patient. Children have more risk of dehydration comparing to adults.  Prolonged and excessive vomiting depletes body fluids and alters the electrolyte composition of blood. Also vomiting can lead to serious complications like aspiration of vomitus and cause aspiration pneumonia. Prolonged vomiting can lead to destruction of tooth enamel and forceful vomiting may lead to esophageal tears called as Mallory -Weiss syndrome resulting in vomiting of blood.

First Aid Management

1)      Reassure the patient, help him to clean his mouth and remove cloths.

2)      Keep in a comfortable position.

3)      Give small amount of clear water, if patient vomited again give fluids few minutes later.

4)      If it is a breast feeding child, continue Brest feeding.

5)      Give much fluid to prevent dehydration. Can give lemon juice, clear fruit juices or rehydration solutions available in market. But do not give dairy products which can induce vomiting in some people.

6)      Keep eye on signs of dehydration like crying without tears, dry eyes, dry lips, shrunken skin, passing small amount of darker urine and if severe drowsiness, lethargy, confusion and altered level of consciousness.

7)      Over the counter anti-emetics can be administered if available.

8)      If possible keep notes about fluid input and output by measuring the drinks as well as vomitus, urine and stool; their amounts and time.

9)      Contact your doctor in following situations

  • Continuous and profuse vomiting
  • Suspected poisoning
  • Suspected gall bladder, pancreatic, hepatic diseases
  • Suspected appendicitis
  • Blood or dark coffee color vomitus
  • Dehydration
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Headache and neck stiffness

Oral Rehydration Fluid at Home

Homemade drinks like lime juice, salted rice water, salted vegetable or chicken soup can be used instead of water.

WHO new ORS(oral rehydration solution) formula can be used for rehydration a patient with vomiting much effectively than water as it replenishes lost water as well as electrolytes from the body in optimal concentrations.

The basic oral rehydration solute should contain water, sugar, salt in a standard ratio.

  • 1 liter of water: 30 ml of sugar: 2.5 ml salt

In 2003 WHO changed the ORS formula to reduced osmolality new formula. The new version is having few added advantages including decrease stool output, reduces vomiting, and reduces the need of unscheduled intravenous therapy.

New ORS formula

mmol/l
Sodium 75
Chloride 65
Glucose ,anhydrous 75
Potassium 20
Citrate 10
Total osmolarity 245

Preparation of ORS

Dissolve the contents of the sachet in 1 liter of boiled and cooled/ or clean water and store in a clean bottle. This can be used for 24hrs and then discard the remaining fluid.

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