Accidents at Home – What Can I Do?

Accidents at Home – What Can I Do?

Accidental injuries in the home account for thousands of ER and office visits in the US every year. The most common are falls. We are all conditioned to call 911 in an emergency, and more people are becoming certified in first-aid and CPR. It’s important to be familiar with some basic principles that can make a huge difference in common home trauma scenarios.

Falls – If the person loses consciousness after falling, always seek medical treatment. Concussions may take hours to develop and may not be immediately apparent. If someone falls from a height, they may have a neck or back injury. Remove them from any areas of immediate danger, but otherwise it is safer to keep them immobile until help arrives. Persistent grogginess or confusion, persistent pain or worsening bruising after falling are red flags and medical attention should be sought.

Burns – There are many home remedies but the best treatment is still to immediately cool the area with water, keep clean, and if severe seek treatment. Hot liquids are the most common hazards in the home and children are especially susceptible. Grease or chemical burns should always be evaluated by professionals.

Cuts – Wash the area with water and apply pressure. If bleeding is persistent or severe, seek treatment. For major lacerations on limbs or fingers, tourniquets help stem bleeding until help is available. Direct pressure to wound will limit bleeding. For cuts on the hands, hold pressure and keep above the level of the chest for a few minutes. Always beware of infections and clean with antiseptics before dressing.

Animal bites – clean the area and apply ice for swelling. If the skin is broken, beware infection and seeking treatment is best. Definitely get treatment if tetanus vaccine is outdated (or if unsure).

These are just simple suggestions for everyday mishaps that occur in the home. Remember though, there is no substitute for a proper medical evaluation and when in doubt – get checked out.

Dr Seetahal is a board-certified general and bariatric surgeon. He has published over 20 scientific articles and book chapters. For questions related to surgical health, you can contact him at shiva.seetahal@heartofflorida.com, or call his office at 863-421-7626 to schedule an appointment.

Categories: Departments