The Respiratory System and Problems Hypoxia Hypoxia arises when there is insufficient oxygen in the body tissues. If not treated quickly, hypoxia is potentially fatal. There are a number of causes of hypoxia, ranging from suffocation, choking or poisoning to impaired lungs or brain functions. Recognitions: In moderate and severe hypoxia, there will be: Rapid breathing Breathing that is distressed Difficulty speaking Grey blue skin (cyanosis) – at first, more obvious in the extremities (lips, nails, earlobes) and later, affects the rest of the body Anxiety Restlessness Headache Nausea and possibility of vomiting
Breathing may stop if hypoxia is not quickly reversed INJURIES OR CONDITIONS CAUSING LOW BLOOD OXYGEN (HYPOXIA) Injury or condition Causes Insufficient oxygen in inspired air ???suffocation by smoke or gas Changes in atmospheric pressure Airway obstruction ???Blocking or swelling of the airway Hanging or strangulation ???something covering the mouth/nose ???Asthma Choking ???Anaphylaxis Conditions affecting the chest walls crushing (by a fall of earth/sand) chest wall injury with multiple rib fractures Impaired lung functions lung injury lungs infections such as pneumonia Damage to the brain or nerves that control respiration ead injury that damages breathing centre in the brain Impaired oxygen uptake Carbon monoxide/ cyanide poisoning Chocking Choking: Chocking can be defined as the condition where a foreign object is stuck in the throat, block it and cause muscular spasm. Universal sign, casualty pointing his chest / throat Red face Swollen face Appearance of blood vessels Casualty may cough, speak in mild choking In severe condition, casualty may stop coughing, speaking First Aid Protocol – Chocking in Adult and Child ??? Encourage the casualty to cough. ?? If casualty unable to cough, give up to five back blows. ??? Check mouth at each step f obstruction cleared. ??? If obstruction not cleared give up to five abdominal thrust. ??? Dial 114 SAMU if obstruction not cleared after three cycles of 5 back blows and 5 abdominal thrust. ??? Continue with 5 back blows and 5 abdominal thrust until: (i) Obstruction cleared. (it) Ambulance arrives and takes over. (iii) Casualty becomes unconscious. First Aid Protocol – Chocking in Infant Give up to five back blows. Check mouth at each step. ??? If obstruction not cleared, give up to five chest thrust. ??? Dial 114 SAMU if obstruction not cleared after three cycles of 5 back blows and 5 chest thrust. ? Continue with 5 back blow and 5 chest thrust until (i) Obstruction cleared Ambulance arrives and takes over (iii) Casualty becomes unconscious N. B: Always advise a casualty who suffered from chocking to seek medical attention as the foreign object may has caused some internal injuries. Drowning Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/ immersion in liquid. First Aid protocol – Drowning Unconscious Casualty Who Is Breathing Check response No response, open airway and check breathing Breathing present wet clothes Place casualty in recovery position over a blanket Cover the casualty (to prevent hypothermia) Dial 114 SAMU Monitor and record vital signs until help arrives N.
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B: Keep the casualtys head lower than the rest of the body as far as practicable First Aid Protocol – Drowning Unconscious Casualty who is NOT Breathing Check response. ??? No response, open airway and check breathing. ??? If there is no breathing, ask someone to dial 114 SAMU Give 5 initial rescue breaths Give 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths. Continue with 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths until: (i) Casualty shows signs of survival (it) Ambulance arrives and takes over iii) You are relieved by another first aider (iv) You are too exhausted to continue N. B: If you are alone with the casualty, perform 1 MINUTE resuscitation before calling SAMU. Asthma Asthma is a disease affecting the airways that carry air to and from your lungs.
People who suffer from this chronic condition (long-lasting or recurrent) are said to be asthmatic. The inside walls of an asthmatic’s airways are swollen or inflamed. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways extremely sensitive to irritations and increases susceptibility to an allergic reaction. (Reaction to dust, pollen, cigarette moke) (A chronic condition is a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects – longer than a 3 month period) Asthma Triggers Upper respiratory infections, which affect the upper airways, are often caused by cold and flu viruses and are a common trigger of asthma. Allergens Pollen, dust mites, animal fur or feathers, for example, can trigger asthma.
Airborne irritants Cigarette smoke, chemical fumes and atmospheric pollution may trigger asthma. Medicines The class of painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAlDs), ncluding aspirin and ibuprofen, can trigger asthma for some people. Emotional factors Asthma can be triggered by emotional factors, such as stress or laughing. Foods containing sulphites Sulphites are naturally occurring substances found in some food and drink. They are also sometimes used as a food preservative. Food and drinks high in sulphites include concentrated fruit Juice, Jam, prawns and many processed or pre-cooked meals. Most people with asthma do not have this trigger, but some may. Certain wines can also trigger asthma in susceptible people.
Weather conditions A sudden change in temperature, cold air, windy days, poor air quality and hot, humid days are all known triggers for asthma. Indoor Conditions Mould or damp, house dust mites and chemicals in carpets and flooring materials may trigger asthma. Exercise – Sometimes, people with asthma find their symptoms are worse when they exercise. Exercise Sometimes, people with asthma find their symptoms are worse when they exercise. Food allergies Although uncommon, some people may have allergies to nuts or other food items, known as an anaphylactic reaction. If so, these can trigger severe asthma attacks. What happens during an asthma attack?
During an asthma attack: the bands of muscles around the airways tighten there is increased inflammation in the linings of the airways, which swell the airways produce sticky mucus or phlegm, which can cause them to narrow further The passages of the airways narrow, making it more difficult for the air to pass through and therefore more difficult to breathe. This can cause the characteristic wheezy noise, although not everyone with asthma will wheeze. In a life-threatening attack, there may not be a wheezy sound. An asthma attack can happen at any time. However there are usually warning signs for a couple of days before. These include symptoms getting worse, especially during the night, and needing to use the reliever inhaler more and more.
Recognitions Wheezing Difficulty speaking, leading to short sentences or whispering Coughing Distress and anxiety First Aid Protocol – Asthma Reassure the casualty. Place casualty in sitting position. (Leaning forward) Advise to have slow and deep breathing. Help the casualty to take his inhaler if necessary ??? If the attack persists, the casualty may take another puff at 15 minutes interval. ??? If after 4 puffs, if attack did not ease, dial 114 SAMI-J. ???Monitor and record vital signs until reach hospital or ambulance arrives. Penetrating Chest Wound A sharp object penetrating the chest can cause severe damage to the orangs in the chest and the upper abdomen and this will lead to shock.
The lungs are particularly susceptible to injury, either by being damaged themselves or from wounds that perforate the pleura that surround each lung. If this happens, air can enter between the membranes and exert pressure on the lung, and the lung may collapse, a condition called pneumothorax. Pressure around the lung may build up to such an xtent that it affects the uninjured lung. As a result, the casualty becomes increasingly breathless. This build-up of pressure may prevent the heart from refilling with blood properly, impairing circulation and causing shock – a condition called tension pnuemothorax. Sometimes, blood collects in the plueral cavity and puts pressure on the lungs.
Recognition: Difficult and painful breathing, possibly rapid, shallow and uneven Casualty feels an acute sense of alarm Signs of cyanosis Coughed-up frothy, red blood A crackling feeling of the skin around the site of the wound, caused by air collecting n the tissues Blood bubbling out of the wound Sound of air being sucked into the chest, as the casualty breathes in Veins in the neck becoming prominent First Aid Protocol – Penetrating Chest Wound ??? Assess the injury. Place casualty in half sitting position, leaning on the injured side. ??? If no foreign object, ask casualty to cover the wound with his palm. ??? Cover the wound with a dressing. (diagonal) Cover the dressing with a plastic bag. Secure firmly with adhesive tape on three edges only. Cover with a blanket. Dial 114 SAMU. Monitor and record vital signs until ambulance arrives. N. B: If casualty becomes unconscious, place in recovery position with injured side facing down.
INHALATION OF FUMES (CASUALTY TRAP IN A ROOM FILLED WITH FUMES) The inhalation of smoke, or gases such as carbon monoxide A casualty who has inhaled fumes is likely to have low oxygen levels in his body tissues and therefore needs urgent medical attention. Remember, fumes that have built up in a confined space will quickly and will overcome anyone who is not wearing protective gear. Smoke inhalation – any person in a confined space during a fire should be assumed to have inhaled smoke. Smoke from burning plastics, foam adding and synthetic wall coverings is likely to contain poisonous fumes. Carbon monoxide inhalation – CO is a poisonous gas produced by burning, it has no taste or smell. It acts directly on red blood cells to prevent them from carrying oxygen. In large quantities, they can be fatal.
Sources of fumes include: Carbon monoxide: car exhaust, fires, blocked chimney flues, emissions Smoke: fires (smoke is low oxygen) Solvents/fuels: Glues, cleaning fluids, lighter fluids, camping gas and propane stoves Carbon Monoxide Confusion Aggression Nausea and vomiting Incontinence High levels: Cyanosis Rapid, difficult breathing Impaired consciousness Smoke: Rapid, noisy and difficult breathing Coughing and wheezing Burning in airway Soot in airway Unconsciousness Carbon dioxide: Breathlessness Solvents/fuels: Headache and vomiting Solvent abuse is a potential cause for cardiac arrest First Aid Protocol – Casualty trapped in a room filled with fumes Assess the situation Call for help Advise casualty to remain at floor level ??? If it is safe, open windows, and doors When casualty is out the building, place him in sitting position in a safe place ??? Ensure plenty of fresh air Cover with a blanket Monitor and record vital signs until ambulance arrives