The effects of the pandemic strained healthcare systems in countless ways. Pushing aside even more important health concerns, like those of chronically ill patients, the definition of an emergency case has been and continues to be challenged. While it’s good that health monitoring technology has evolved exponentially in a short matter of time to introduce telemedicine and new medical lifestyles, these are yet to fulfill the neglected need of non-COVID-related cases.
During this critical period, we all have a responsibility to keep ourselves from getting sick or hurt. We all have to stay home to comply with outstanding quarantine guidelines. But, even though we’ve memorized every surface, corner, bump, and crevice in our home, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of incurring not only health issues but also injury.
This survey by Injury Epidemiology from November last year further supports this. Injuries from falls stay on top, followed by those from cuts, then bruises from bumping, and burns among others. The results also imply injuries caused by ingestion of medications and household products occurred frequently last year.
It’s only worth discussing these common home injuries if we want to avert situations that will need more medical attention knowing how overwhelmed our hospitals are right now. The following include ways to assess whether an injury is still manageable within the home or if the injured person must be sent for treatment by healthcare personnel.
Falls are more prevalent among children as their sense of balance is yet to fully develop, and they could happen more frequently than we think. Staircases, countertops, slippery floors, and uncleared pathways are just some common fall hazards.
Wounds sustained from falls can be treated with basic sterilizing and dressing while bruises could be soothed using an ice pack, but it is always best to monitor for any head trauma. This could be confirmed when the injured person exhibits headache, nausea, difficulty in breathing, and losing consciousness. This is when it’s appropriate to get urgent care services in your area and probe for possible fractures or dislocated bones.
Our house is filled with sharp objects from knives, letter openers, pens, and broken glass now and then. Adults can get cuts no matter how careful they are, but kids aged until 14 are still statistically more prone to lacerations. Aside from falling, they could accidentally cut themselves with common kitchen and garage tools.
Wounds from cuts can simply be cleaned and patched. However, if the wound is noted to bleed non-stop even after applying pressure or if the object that caused the puncture is rusty or covered with dirt, it’s best to send the injured for trauma care. Other more alarming signs which are reason enough to get medical help include the inability of the wounded to move his limbs or the wound presenting signs of infection such as warmth and redness.
Those wounded by insect or animal bites also require immediate medical attention as soon as their wounds exhibit signs of infections and if they show symptoms of allergic reactions such as hives and difficulty in breathing and swallowing. Emergency care is required, however, for those bitten by a wild animal like a snake or a bat.
Even if you’re sure your callused hands can endure touching hot surfaces like hot cooking pot lids, your hair iron, or you’re just fond of bathing in extra-warm water, it’s not an excuse to ignore what could be more serious. More attention should be given to children as they have relatively more sensitive skin. It’s also important to beware of electrocution risks from appliance cables.
Although there are burn ointments readily available OTC, if the burn affected the skin’s outer layer or blisters have formed on it, especially when these are anywhere on the face, hands, or genitals, more urgent care should be administered
The unfortunate event of a family member accidentally ingesting a toxic substance wouldn’t immediately show signs of poisoning. If you, however, observe symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, a state of unease, burns around the lips, and worse, seizures, immediately call the hotline of your city’s emergency response center.
Although there are simple tools like cover boxes for electrical outlets, guards for sharp-edged furniture, and toilet handles bars to make our home as injury-proof as possible, we aren’t fully capable of predicting an accident, knock on wood. Our increased presence for our kids or our elder family members doesn’t guarantee that we can keep them from all harm. It’s important to be alert even in our home at all times.