First Aid Notes: Harm Induced by “Sea Monsters”

Poisoning Caused by Marine Life

Sometimes I make light of situations like this by referring to these things as “sea monster injuries”. Sea monsters can give potential victims puncture wounds or toxic reactions depending on what kind of sea monster it is. So of course if it’s something like a jellyfish you’d be more likely to experience the second kind of injury while you’d be more likely to experience the former when getting in a fight with a fish with pointy spines or with sharks and so on.

The following fish also come equipped with a “venom apparatus attached to dorsal or other spines”:

-Catfish

-Weever fish

-Scorpion fish (including zebra fish)

-Toadfish and surgeonfish

Sea snakes have powerful venom as well. Injuries from sea serpents should be treated like normal land serpent (snake) bites. Sea snakes aren’t common in waters that border the United States, but you may live in another area, so they might be more of a problem where you are. My hope is that you would already know whether they are a major concern in your area. You can always ask around just to be safe though.

Shellfish Poisoning Caused by the Ingestion of Sea Monsters

Shellfish poisoning can be related to any of these:

-Bacterial contamination (cook your food, darn it)

-Allergic reactions

-When clams or mussels have ingested “microscopic, poisonous marine animals called dinoflagellates”, which contain “a paralytic type of poison”. The clams or mussels eat the poison critters and you eat the clams or mussels. When trying to avoid this poison, know that “[t]he poison is concentrated in the dark meat, gills, digestive organs, and siphon of the shellfish”.

Symptoms of this paralytic kind of poisoning may include:

-Numbness of the face and mouth

-Weakness

-Muscular paralysis

-Increased salivation

-Intense thirst

-Difficulty in swallowing

This kind of poisoning is treated the same way one treats noncorrosive poisoning:

-Induce vomiting

-Dilute poison (drink water – when this is impossible you might as well try an enema… or call your local emergency services)

-Treat for shock (my notes for shock and seizures are here: https://frozenotterblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/notes-shock-and-seizures/ )

-Give artificial respiration if necessary

-“Individuals having allergic reactions to scombroid fish (for example, mackerel) or shellfish should seek medical advice regarding the administering of an antihistamine.”

Sea Monster Stings

Jellyfish and Portugese man-of-war discharge venom through threadlike tubes on their tentacles on contact. This venom results in:

-Burning pain

-Rash with small hemorrhages

-Muscle cramps (not a good thing when you’re swimming far from shore)

-Nausea and vomiting

-Difficulty breathing

-Sometimes results in shock

The treatment is to wipe off the area with a towel (preferably a sterile one), wash the area with rubbing alcohol or diluted ammonia, and administer mild pain killers (something like ibuprofen or aspirin – not any strong, over-the-counter drug). Medical attention should be sought when the symptoms are severe.

Stinging coral or fire coral can give a victim multiple sharp cuts in addition to injecting a victim with venom. If this happens you must thoroughly clean the area and promptly seek medical attention.

 

“The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide” Medical Editor: Charles B. Clayman, MD (ISBN: 0-679-41290-5)

“Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” (“Prepared by the American Red Cross”) (ISBN: 0-385-15736-3)

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Notes: Back Injuries and Cardiac Arrest

Back Injuries

Assume the possibility of a spinal injury. Bearing this in mind, you must of course avoid bending the victim’s back if he needs to be moved or transported.

If someone was injured while in the water, do not bend the victim’s head forward or put him in the jackknife position.

Carefully float the victim to shore.

Only remove them from the water when rigid support (i.e. a stretcher http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stretcher ) is available.

If possible one should avoid moving the victim until an ambulance arrives.

Cardiac Arrest

This one’s basically a re-run I posted on before, but I just can’t stop repeating it. Copied from my “Notes: Artificial Respiration and Heart Attack” post:

“If the victim is on the ground, unconscious, and has no heartbeat, give them CPR. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiopulmonary_resuscitation#Methods Lace your fingers with one hand over the other as it shows in the picture and have your hands over the person’s heart as you hover over them. Push down around a hundred beats per minute (to the tune of the song “Another One Bites the Dust”). You want their ribcage to go in to make their heart beat, otherwise your pushing won’t reach their heart and the victim will have a smaller chance of surviving. (That again without the coat of sugar: they will most likely die if you don’t push down on their heart hard enough. As a side note: they can recover from a few broken ribs, but they cannot recover from death.)”

I’d just like to add a link here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defibrillation and mention that the patient still doesn’t have a certain chance of surviving even if CPR is done correctly and they receive a couple shocks to the heart in a timely manner. Some people have pace makers to help prevent them from dying this way, but you should always assume there is a good chance that the person will stay dead. It’ll motivate you to try harder to help them and make you feel better if they actually live. Although, if they don’t get enough oxygen to their brain during this time, there is a possibility that they could have permanent brain damage if they survive.

 

“The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide” Medical Editor: Charles B. Clayman, MD (ISBN: 0-679-41290-5)

“Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” (“Prepared by the American Red Cross”) (ISBN: 0-385-15736-3)

Wikipedia.org

Notes: Head Injuries and Nosebleeds

Head Injuries

Cuts to the scalp bleed a lot. People who have watched enough professional wrestling know that this technique is sometimes used to make the wrestlers look more hurt than they really are. Attempts to clean the wound can result in even more serious bleeding. Instead, place a sterile dressing on the wound until the bleeding is under control. Then apply a bandage over the dressing to hold it in place and to keep the pressure on it. If the cut isn’t that bad it should be able to just heal itself without someone having to take the victim to a hospital. When in doubt: seek medical attention.

A brain injury may be accompanied by: blood or cerebrospinal fluid (clear, may be blood-tinged) coming out of the nose or ears (the blood may also come out the mouth of the victim), temporary unconsciousness, paralysis, abnormal speech, convulsions, headache, dizziness, vomiting, unequal pupil sizes, loss of bowel and bladder control.

In the event of brain injury: keep the victim lying down, treat for shock, and get medical attention as quickly as possible. Do not move the head as this can cause paralysis if the victim has a neck injury. Don’t give the victim any fluids. Control any external bleeding present (again: be careful of moving the neck).

Nosebleed

Tilt the head forward and apply pressure to the nose with some sort of sterile dressing. (Tilting the head back instead of forward can cause the victim to choke to death on his own blood.)

 

“The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide” Medical Editor: Charles B. Clayman, MD (ISBN: 0-679-41290-5)

“Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” (“Prepared by the American Red Cross”) (ISBN: 0-385-15736-3)

 

P.S. Getting fluid in one’s lungs can cause them to fill with fluid even more-so. In this way one can drown on dry land from nothing more than a glass of water. Just a heads-up.

Notes: Stroke

Stroke

Some things you might notice in the victim: unconsciousness, paralysis/weakness on one side, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, loss of control of the bladder and bowels, unequal pupil sizes, loss of speech or slurring of speech.

As a test to be more sure whether the victim is having a stroke, ask him to close his eyes and raise both of his arms in front of him at the same time. The arms of a stroke victim will raise at a noticeably uneven rate, with one arm raised normally and the other several inches lower or possibly not raised at all. Have the victim lower his arms before opening his eyes (especially if he has a weak heart or known heart condition) to prevent the victim from feeling too distressed (you’d probably be freaked out too if you knew you were having a stroke). Too much panic can cause susceptible victims to have a heart attack, so keep him calm.

If the victim is having too much difficulty breathing, you may need to lay him down on his side and give artificial respiration.

If the victim is breathing fairly well on his own but is having trouble swallowing, lay him down on his side so the fluids flow out of his mouth rather than choking him.

Minor Stroke

Similar to above and you can still do the arm raise test as an indicator.

Some symptoms that might accompany a minor stroke: headache, confusion, dizziness, ringing in the ears, slight difficulty in speech, memory changes (for the worse), weakness in an arm or leg, and there may be slight personality disturbance.

Minor strokes may occur while sleeping.

It is best to check in on the elderly regularly to make sure they are still healthy and happy. This will keep them in touch with the world and will ensure they get the medical attention they need as soon as possible when they need it. It also helps prevent those rare and unfortunate cases when someone has to bust into an old person’s house because they haven’t been paying their bills only to discover that they’ve been dead for a month and a half. That’s really unpleasant for everyone involved.

 

“The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide” Medical Editor: Charles B. Clayman, MD (ISBN: 0-679-41290-5)

“Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” (“Prepared by the American Red Cross”) (ISBN: 0-385-15736-3)

Notes: Open Wounds and Blisters

Open Wounds and Bleeding

-stop the bleeding: apply direct pressure, removing the bandage/dressings used to stop the blood too early will reopen the wound and cause it to start bleeding all over again, elevate the injured appendage/limb, if bandages don’t stop the bleeding you may have to use a pressure point ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_bleeding_control#Pressure_points )

-prevent the wound/area from getting contaminated or infected: on some wounds you can use antibacterial gels and such, foreign objects should also be removed from the wound (don’t use your fingers)

-treat shock if necessary, this is more likely to be needed in any case when the victim loses a lot of blood, especially if it happens very quickly… because those are the times when the victim is more likely to go into shock

-get medical attention if necessary (sometimes wounds just take care of themselves, so you don’t always need to – it differs with the wound and victim (the small-framed ones are more susceptible to shock because it takes a smaller amount of blood loss to affect them))

-if it is a bite wound, wash it thoroughly with soap and water (if it was inflicted by an animal suspected to be rabid, medical care should be sought and rabies vaccines may be necessary (remember Ozzy and the bat? He got a rabies shot after that. If the bat had had rabies that shot could’ve saved his life. I know I don’t usually say anything good about vaccines, but if it’s rabies and you might need it then go for it.))

Blisters

You are supposed to leave them alone if you can get the pressure off them long enough for them to heal, but I’m going to tell you the correct way of breaking them because almost nobody leaves them alone. If you’re going to break them then you might as well do it correctly.

-wash the area with soap and water

-either soak a needle in rubbing alcohol or use a match flame to sterilize it

-use the sterile needle to make a small puncture wound at the blister’s base

-put a sterile dressing on the blister and protect it from further irritation

-assuming the blister has already broken itself: treat it like an open wound (soap and water, sterile dressing, watch for signs of infection)

-if the blister fluid is deep in your palm or the sole of your foot: do nothing

 

“The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide” Medical Editor: Charles B. Clayman, MD (ISBN: 0-679-41290-5)

“Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” (“Prepared by the American Red Cross”) (ISBN: 0-385-15736-3)

Wikipedia.org

Notes: Hypothermia and Bug in the Ear

Hypothermia

“The affected person becomes increasingly clumsy, unreasonable, irritable, and sleepy. The person’s speech becomes slurred. He or she becomes confused and drowsy, and eventually goes into a coma, with slow, weak breathing and a slow, weak heart rate.” (page 841 of “The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide” cited at end of post)

-if unconscious, check breathing and give artificial respiration if necessary

-shelter victim from cold (cover head and insulate from ground)

-if victim isn’t nauseous, give him warm, non-alcoholic drinks (but don’t force him because the last thing you need is for the drinks to run out the sides of his mouth, down his face, and freeze his head to the ground. That results in an entirely worse series of problems.)

-it is ideal to reheat the person in a warm room

-the more wind, the more danger of cold-related injury

-if the victim has frostbite, rubbing the affected area can cause gangrene

-remember to dry off the victim completely if rewarmed with water (it should be warm water, not hot)

Bug in the Ear

-find a bathtub or sink (can also be done outside)

-tilt the victim’s head so the ear with the bug in it is pointing toward the ceiling or sky with the victim’s head being as parallel to the ground as you can possibly get it

-gently tug the earlobe

-continue tugging and pour warm mineral oil, olive oil, baby oil, or clean warm water into the ear (note: it might be wise to warn the victim to plug their nose and close their eyes beforehand), and the bug should float up and out of the ear

-if it doesn’t come out, you’ll be needing to take the victim to a hospital as attempting manual removal yourself can result in pain and/or hearing damage in the victim

 

“The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide” Medical Editor: Charles B. Clayman, MD (ISBN: 0-679-41290-5)

“Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” (“Prepared by the American Red Cross”) (ISBN: 0-385-15736-3)

Notes: Shock and Seizures

Shock

Shock can be caused by: severe injuries, loss of bodily fluids, poisoning, infection, heart attack, stroke, gases, alcohol, drugs, lack of oxygen*

Shock can be made worse by abnormal changes in body temperature, pain, and a delay in treatment.

Some signs of shock:

-pale or bluish skin

-cold to the touch (might also be moist and clammy)

-the victim will be experiencing weakness

-rapid pulse which may be too faint to be felt at the wrist

-increased rate of breathing (may be irregular)

-nausea

-apathy and potential relative unresponsiveness

-gone untreated: loss of consciousness, decrease in body temperature,  may result in death

Lay the victim down and cover him enough to prevent loss of body heat (using blankets and extra clothing wrapped both over and under him) and get medical help.

Avoid moving a victim suspected of having an injury anywhere on the spine unless absolutely necessary. Movement raises the risk of paralyzing the victim.

Make sure there is nothing obstructing the airway.

Raise the victim’s feet 8 to 12 inches (20.32 – 30.48 centimeters). If this increases pain or makes it difficult for the victim to breathe, lower the feet so the victim is again lying flat.

Fluids should not be given:

-while the victim is unconscious, nauseous or having convulsions

-“when a victim is likely to require surgery or general anesthetic, or when he appears to have a brain or abdominal injury” (quote from “Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” cited at the bottom of the post)

If medical care is  delayed or expected to be delayed (for certain, like when you’re in the middle of a forest and no one knows where you are) for at least an hour then you can give the victim a little water that isn’t too hot or too cold. It is preferable to have one teaspoonful of salt and half a teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water.

Adults: about half a glass/4 ounces around every 15 minutes.

Children (one to 12 years old): half the amount above.

Infants (one year or less): one ounce.

Stop if nausea or vomiting occur.

Seizures

(The victim may have a condition which causes him to have seizures. If this is the case, he will likely tell you so when he wakes up and sees you after the seizure is over. F.ex: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epilepsy )

If artificial respiration must be given, the mouth-to-nose technique should be used.

It is not recommended that you attempt to stick your fingers in the mouth of someone having a seizure, as they could have an involuntary muscle movement resulting in them accidentally biting off your fingers. (But if the seizure is locking their jaws shut, this shouldn’t be a possibility anyway. It is, however, possible that their tongue might obstruct their airway during the seizure, but this varies with the type of seizure and the situation.)

Push away nearby objects to prevent accidental harm to the victim.

Loosen the clothing around the victim’s neck after the spasms stop.

Keep the victim lying down and make sure his airway stays open. When he is lying down, turn his head to the side to prevent him from choking to death on his own vomit.

Let the victim rest after the seizure is over.

Get medical help if convulsions occur again.

 

 

*=a condensed list ripped almost entirely out of the “Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” book

 

“The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide” Medical Editor: Charles B. Clayman, MD (ISBN: 0-679-41290-5)

“Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” (“Prepared by the American Red Cross”) (ISBN: 0-385-15736-3)

Wikipedia.org