Survival Medicine 101 Part 7:
How To Treat Sprains, Dislocations and Fractures
Sprains, dislocations and fractures are the type of injuries that involve a lot of pain and swelling. Also, walking becomes very difficult, so it`s even harder to get help if you don`t have your phone around. And if it happens during a disaster, when there`s nothing but chaos all over the place, you`re in for the time of your life!
Now, I don`t mean to get all apocalyptic about this, but I do believe it`s very important that you know basic measures when you`re dealing with bone and joint injuries.
So let`s take them one by one and go through the whole process together:
Most people get a sprain at least once in their lives, so you`re probably familiar with the symptoms: pain and swelling mostly, but also discoloration (when the sprained area turns black and blue).
Now, even if it hurts, do not call 911 for a sprain. Those guys take on more severe cases. However, according to firstaid.about.com, you should go see a doctor if there`s one close to you, especially if you`re experiencing:
○ severe pain
○ inability to put any weight on it victim unable to put any weight on it
○ inability to move it
○ inability to walk
○ redness or red streaks spread out from the injury
○ pain, swelling, or redness over a bony part of your foot
When it comes to treating sprains, you should think RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate):
REST the sprained joint. Don`t try to walk if you`re feeling severe pain whenever you take a step or two. But if you have to walk, use a cane to take most of your body weight.
ICE the sprained area with an ice pack.
COMPRESS it with an elastic bandage. Like this: ELEVATE the sprain above the level of the heart during the first 48 hours. Just place your foot on top of some pillows or a rolled blanket and keep it that way as much as possible.
Dislocations and Fractures
According to eMedicalHealth.com, these are the guidelines to treat a fracture or dislocation if medical help is not available:
- Apply a cold pack to the area of fracture or dislocation to decrease swelling and to relieve pain.
- Flush open wounds associated with compound fractures with clean, fresh water and cover them with a dry dressing.
- Splint the injured area to keep it from moving. Support a broken limb by using the best material available for a splint, such as sticks, part of a backpack frame, or other stabilizing device. Wrap tape around the splint and the extremity affected. For example, if a forearm is broken, the splint should run from the wrist to the upper arm and support the arm without repositioning it.
- Monitor the extremity near the fracture or dislocation, assessing any loss of sensation, decreased temperature, and pulse.
However, the first thing to do is call 911. ALWAYS.
Pain can get pretty nasty in case of dislocations or fractures, so take 1-2 tablets of acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 4 hours or 1-2 tablets of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) every 6-8 hours.
I really hope you`ll never have to take these measures, not for yourself or for anyone else. But if you do, I hope they help you treat your injury and relieve your pain. Make sure you stay safe, alright?
By Anne Sunday