Longer days and warmer temperatures bring people out of their houses. Children are playing spring sports, like soccer and baseball. Adults of all ages are doing yardwork and starting workout programs to get ready for summer.
These new activities introduce new health risks, many of which can lead to visits to urgent care centers and emergency rooms. It’s a good time for EMS personnel and ER nurses to refresh some basic skills.
1. Concussions, plus sprains, strains, and other injuries
According to the CDC, concussions are on the rise, especially in the area of youth sports. Nearly 3.8 million concussions were reported in 2012, twice the number from a decade before. Properly educated healthcare providers play a vital role in the prevention and treatment of concussion. Patient outcomes are improved through early diagnosis, management, and referral. For resources on concussions, see the CDC’s HEADS UP pages.
In addition to concussions, which are serious, more mild injuries such as sprains and strains are common. Children aren’t just hurt on playing fields; playground and bicycle-related injuries occur, too. Annually, more than 775,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in hospital emergency rooms. (Source)
Obviously, deep cuts that need to be stitched up can happen any time of year. Wound assessment to determine if stitches or staples are needed is key. The cut should be thoroughly washed to prevent infection. Wounds more than 0.25 inches (6.5 mm) deep, wounds with jagged edges, and wounds that gape open should definitely be assessed as soon as possible. Facial wounds can be treated to prevent scarring. And any wound that is still bleeding after 15 minutes of direct pressure is a reason to see an ER healthcare provider.
To practice and demonstrate sutures, see our Pocket Nurse® trainers and Demo Dose® sutures.
3. Heart attack
Exercise is beneficial for long-term heart health. However, if a patient is starting a new workout program, he or she should be assessed to be sure they are healthy enough to start exercising. Learning proper diagnostic procedures will ensure positive health outcomes.
4. Allergies, including bee stings
Another seasonal risk includes allergies to pollen, pollution, and bee stings. Emergency personnel should learn how to tend to patients with respiratory distress, create an airway if necessary, and administer allergy and asthma medications to help relieve breathing difficulties. The Demo Dose family of simulated medication includes an epi-pen trainer and simulated diphenhydramine in several forms.