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Feb 5, 2013

Advice from the Emergency Room

Emergency Room Image

Parents frequently seek advice on medical care at home. Here are a few tips which can help in taking care of some common ailments at home, and reduce the complications that are frequently seen in Casualty. 

A.     Lacerations, Abrasions, Fractures 

1.      Keep wounds and dressings clean & Dry (for at least 48 hours)

2.      Elevate the affected arm/leg to help relieve pain and reduce swelling

3.      Watch for signs of infection:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Drainage

If any of these signs occur you should see your physician or visit your nearest health center.  If you cannot see a doctor or nurse at a Health Centre, you should go to the emergency room.


4.      Always try as best as possible to return to your Health Centre or your physician for follow-up

5.      If your wound has been sutured, have your Health Centre or physician remove the sutures.


B.     Head Injury


1.      Place an ice bag on the head intermittently for 12 – 24 hours

2.      Try as much as possible to have clear liquids for the first 8 – 12 hours, reduced food intake for
          24 hours

3.      Do not take any pain medication except Panadol or Ibuprofen.

4.      Watch for the following DANGER SIGNS:

a.       Increasing drowsiness with difficulty to arouse
b.      Increase headache pain
c.       Persistent vomiting

d.      Confusion and/or abnormal behavior
e.       Blurred vision, pupils unequal
f.        Any paralysis or difficulty with speech.


If any of these signs occur, visit the Casualty department immediately.


C.     Sprains 

1.      Elevate injured part on pillows to lessen swelling and pain

2.      Place an ice pack on the affected part for the first 24 hours

3.      Use warm compresses after 48 hours

4.      Wear an ankle bandage; it should be snug but not so tight that it cuts off the circulation.

5.      Use crutches.  Do not put weight on affected leg until it is checked by a physician.


D.    Cast 

1.      Do not get your cast wet

2.      Keep cast and limb elevated for first 3 -4 days

3.      Do not walk on your cast, use crutches

4.      Return to the emergency room if any of the following occurs:  pain, swelling, gray blue
         discoloring of fingers, toes or numbness in limb


E.     Diarrhea/vomiting 

Babies and younger children: persistent and frequent watery bowel movements and/or vomiting causes dehydration quickly.  If the following signs occur, visit your regular physician or emergency room promptly.

a.       Not feeding eg. Breastfeeds, oral rehydration fluids

b.      Persistent vomiting/diarrhea

c.       Restlessness, fever, irritability

d.      Failure to pass urine (check diapers, don’t confuse watery bowel movements with urine)

e.       Dry lips and tongue

f.        Excessive sleeping/lethargy


DANGER SIGNS:  Weight loss, loose skin, sunken eyes, failure to cry or respond.

F.      Colds, Sore Throats, Flu

1.      Rest in Bed

2.      Drink lots of Fluids, especially water and fruit juices

3.      Eat a simple but nutritious diet; keep it light

4.      Take Aspirin or Panadol for muscle aches or pain of a sore throat

5.      Do not smoke

6.      Use warm drinks and warm salt water gargle for a sore throat


G.    Fever

1.      Normal temperature is 35.6C or 98.6F

2.      Take temperature every 4 hours as indicated by excessive warmth to touch

3.      Avoid excessive clothing and/or covering

4.      Aspirin is not recommended for children under the age of 5; Panadol syrup should be given
         according to dosage schedule on the bottle

5.      Sponging for at least 15 minutes, with lukewarm or room temperature water (not cold water!)
         is recommended for fever of 103F or greater

6.      Increase fluid intake


H.    Antibiotic Use

1.      Use medication only as directed by physician

2.      Do not stop medication because one feels better – Always complete the treatment course.

3.      Do not reuse antibiotics prescribed for previous illnesses.

4.      Do not share antibiotics

5.      If a rash and itching develops while on antibiotics occurs please go to A&E/Casualty


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Posted by: slmda_admin