7 Ways to Be Prepared for a Medical Emergency
Medical emergencies can happen to anybody, so whether it’s yourself or somebody else, it’s always a wise idea to be fully prepared for any eventuality. Whether it’s an injury, a sudden illness or complications brought on by a pre-existing condition, knowing what to do and being prepared for an emergency situation could literally save your life or somebody else’s. Read on for tips and advice from medical professionals that could save precious time and even save a life in a medical emergency.
#1. Have an ICE:
ICE stands for ‘in case of emergency’, and it’s usually the contact details for the person that you’d want the emergency services to contact if you were found in a medical emergency situation on your own. If you own a smartphone, there will be the option for you to add an ICE contact in the health app, which can be accessed even when your phone screen is locked. It’s also a good idea to list any pre-existing medical conditions, any medication that you’re taking, and other basic medical history stored on your ICE. If you’re creating it through your smartphone, you will be given the option to include this information alongside your height, weight, and whether or not you are an organ donor. It’s also a wise idea to have an analog copy of your ICE in your wallet, next to your ID or driver’s license.
#2. Know Where to Go:
Knowing where to find the nearest emergency room, urgent care center or doctor’s office will help you save precious time in the case of an emergency. You don’t want to waste time Googling the nearest ER, so it’s a wise idea to research the healthcare services in your area and keep contact numbers for clinics and hospitals too. It’s also a good idea to know which one to choose for various types of emergency. For example, a suspected heart attack or stroke or major trauma would mean a visit to the ER, whilst other issues such as less serious broken bones can be treated at the MedNow Urgent Care Center.
#3. Learn Basic First Aid Skills:
What if it’s not yourself that’s experiencing a medical emergency? If you’re in a situation where somebody you know is in trouble or you have come across somebody who needs medical attention whilst out, knowing basic first aid skills could save their life. And, you could even put your first aid skills to use if you find yourself in a medical emergency since you’ll know what both you and others need to do. You can learn first aid online or join a program in your local area. It’s also a good idea to speak to your employer about finding the program for you since many employers require at least one first aid trained employee on site per shift. First aid training is highly sought after in the workplace, so it’s a great skill to have for your career, too.
#4. Wear Your Medical ID Jewelry:
If you suffer from a condition that an EMT or doctor would need to know about immediately, such as diabetes, epilepsy, or a severe allergy, then you should wear your medical ID bracelet at all times. Even if you have prepared an ICE on your smartphone or in your wallet, wearing medical ID jewelry gives you the extra peace of mind that you need to know that a medical professional will be informed of your condition straight away, even if your phone or wallet is lost. It’s worth adding any allergies or adverse reactions to certain medications on your ID jewelry too; this will help ensure that the doctor doesn’t end up medicating you with something that has previously caused issues.
#5. Learn How to Do CPR:
Even if you’re not in a position to take a full-time first aid training program right now, it’s a good idea to at least learn how to do CPR, as this could be the difference between life and death in a cardiac arrest situation. And, since the cardiac arrest is the leading cause of adult death in the U.S. and most of these incidents happen at home, understanding how to do CPR until EMTs arrive is absolutely crucial. The American Red Cross offers certification in both adult and pediatric CPR with both classroom-based and online-only options available. Hopefully, you never have to use it, but CPR is really important to know.
#6. Keep Important Contact Numbers Handy:
If something were to happen to you, you’d want to make sure that your family and friends would be able to get hold of your doctor and other medical professionals who can help. Keep your doctor’s phone number somewhere easy to find in your home, such as on a post-it note on your fridge, and keep them in your cell phone contacts as well. If you are setting up an ICE contact on your smartphone, it’s a wise idea to list your doctor as one of your emergency contacts.
#7. Be Willing to Call an Ambulance:
The associated costs with calling an ambulance often puts some patients off from doing so but you may need to call the emergency services in certain medical situations. It is not always plainly obvious whether it is safe to drive yourself to the ER or call for an ambulance. As a general rule, if you are experiencing any chest pain, shortness of breath, heavy bleeding, palpitations, dizziness, and weakness, or visual disturbances, calling the emergency services is always the best option. And, don’t wait until a health condition has worsened before you do so. In cases of heart attack, for example, it’s not uncommon for patients experiencing chest pain to wait for over an hour before calling 911 – valuable time that could be crucial to their safe recovery.
You never know when a medical emergency is going to unfold for yourself or somebody around you. By keeping these tips in mind, you can be sure that you’re prepared to safely and effectively deal with the situation.