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First Aid - Hurry Cases

In the event where the person of a situation requires urgent treatment, there are a few factors that must be examined and, if found, treated immediately. These are known as the Hurry Cases and they can be the difference between life and death.

Stopped Breathing
The human body requires a constant supply of oxygen to survive. If the oxygen supply to the body is reduced or cut off, the heart will soon stop beating and blood with stop circulating the body. Without oxygen, brain cells can begin to die within four to six minutes, causing possible brain damage. Within six to 10 minutes, brain damage is likely, and anything over 10 minutes means irreversible brain damage is certain.
Signs of stopped breathing can be scene when the person's chest does not rise or fall or if you do not feel air or hear it when your ear is placed near the person's mouth and nose. These are signs that the person may not be breathing. Act quickly and place the person on their back to begin rescue breathing.

  • Check for responsiveness by tapping the person on the shoulder and asking if they are okay.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number before continuing.
  • Open the airway by tilting the head back slightly to lift their chin.
  • Check for breathing (no more than 10 seconds).
  • Pinch the nose shut and make a seal over the child's mouth and give two rescue breaths. For an infant, make a complete seal over the infant's nose and mouth. Note: If you have a face shield or CPR breathing barrier handy, this would be a good time to use it, just to be safe.
  • Blow air in to fill their lungs and look to see if their chest rises and falls.
  • If the person's chest does not rise, reposition their head. Ensure that the head is tilted back and that the tongue does not block the airway. If there is not breathing, be prepared to perform CPR.

Choking (Retired Hurry Case)
Although it is no longer considered a Hurry Case (according to the Boy Scout Handbook), choking is a common breathing emergency This can occur when the airway is partially or completely blocked by food or a foreign object. Signs of choking can include coughing, clutching their throat with a hand (the universal sign of distress for choking), and a bluish skin color.

  • If the person can speak, breathe, or cough, encourage them to to cough up the object. If not, proceed by giving them five back blows.
  • If the back blows are unsuccessful, proceed to use the Heimlich maneuver and give the person five abdominal thrusts.
Treatment for large or pregnant people:
  • Step behind the person and put your arms around their chest.
  • Place your fist against the center of the person's breastbone, grab your fist with your other hand and give quick thrusts into the chest.
Treatment for yourself:
  • Perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself. You can also bend over and press your abdomen against any firm object (such as the back of a chair).
Treatment for infants:
  • Provide a combination of five back blows while the infant is face-down along your forearm and thigh and five chest thrusts while the infant is in a face-up position.

No Heartbeat
The heart is a very important organ in the body. Blood with little or no oxygen enters the right side of the heart to be pumped into the lungs where it becomes oxygen-rich blood that then goes travels through the left side of the heart to be pumped and distributed to other areas of the body. If you don't take care of the heart, the arteries can become clogged with fatty materials or plaque and result in reduced blood flow and ineffective circulation that deprives the body of the precious oxygen-rich blood it needs to survive.
In normal conditions, the heart beats evenly with a steady rhythm. However, when the heart becomes damaged, the person can experience a heart attack that can cause the heart to stop beating entirely. This condition is called cardiac arrest. Some signs to look for include uncomfortable pressure/squeezing, pale skin, nausea, unusual sweating, shortness of breath, and feeling of weakness.

  • If the discomfort lasts more than three to five minutes, call 911 or the local emergency number immediately.
  • Have the person stop what they are doing and rest.
  • Loosen any tight or uncomfortable clothing and closely monitor the person's condition until emergency services arrive.
  • Be prepared to perform CPR if the person loses consciousness and stops breathing.

Severe Bleeding
An injury to the soft tissue of the skin is commonly called a wound. Any injury may damage the soft tissue and the trauma is severe enough, it may cause a blood vessel to tear and cause bleeding. In normal cases, the blood at the wound will clot quickly and stop flowing, but in extreme cases, the damage may be too large or the pressure in the blood vessel is too great for the blood to clot. When this happens, the bleeding can become life threatening.

  • General care for open wounds includes controlling bleeding, prevention, and using dressing and bandages. The amount of bleeding depends on the location and severity of the injury.
  • For serious wounds, call 911 or the local emergency number immediately.
  • Cover the wound with a dressing and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. When the dressing soaks through with blood, do not remove it. Instead, put another dressing on top of the first and continue to apply pressure. Note: If possible, try to avoid direct contact with blood by using gloves.
  • Raising an injured arm/leg above the heart will help control the bleeding.
A tourniquet is a tight band that is placed around an arm or leg to constrict the blood flow to a wound. This should only be used as a last resort because it has the potential for negative effects.

Treatment when using a tourniquet:
  • Apply the tourniquet (a strip of cloth or other item) around the wounded arm or leg, just above the wound.
  • Place a rod between the tourniquet and the body part and twist to tighten the tourniquet until the bleeding stops.
  • Secure the tourniquet in place and do not remove.
  • Note the time that the tourniquet was performed (use a pen and write it on the victim's forehead).

People can be poisoned by swallowing food items, drugs, and household items such as cleaning products and pesticides or by handling substances that can be harmful.

Signs of poisoning can include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, chest or abdominal pain, seizures, headaches, and irregular pupil sizes. If poisoning is suspected, try to find out the type of poison, the quantity taken, when it was taken, and how much the person weights.

  • Call 911 or the local emergency number. If the person is conscious and alert, call the National Poison Control Center hotline at 1-800-222-1222 and follow the advice the dispatcher gives.
  • Until help arrives, remove the person from the source of poison.
  • Monitor the person's level of consciousness and breathing.
  • Care for any life-threatening conditions.
  • If the person is conscious, ask questions to get more information.
  • Look for containers that may be the source of the poison.
  • Do not give the person anything to eat or drink unless medical professionals tell you to do so. If the person vomits, collect the vomit. The hospital may be able to analyze it and provide the proper treatment.