Five of Your First Aid Questions, Answered

Sometimes we take a look through the search terms that bring visitors to this site and sometimes they are first aid questions looking for an answer. Hopefully these people got the information they wanted already, but if not…. here goes.

1. Bump on head ice or heat?

Ice. Heat would hurt. Ice helps in immediate trauma situations and can reduce swelling. Heat is used later to promote blood flow and healing. For example a sprained ankle might be iced for the first say or two, after which heat may improve healing.

2. Can you get secondary drowning from drinking water wrong?

No. But you could aspirate on it.

3. Why is it important to keep people who are unconscious talking?

It isn’t, and you can’t. Unconscious people can’t talk – it’s part of being unconscious. Maybe you were wondering why we try to keep people from becoming unconscious?

4. Can you give cpr if you don’t have permission?

Don’t do it to someone who can give permission, they won’t need it! In B.C. at least, the law assumes that if someone is unwell enough to need CPR, they would give you permission if they were still capable of doing so. Don’t confuse this with DNR – in which you are specifically told not to do CPR.

5. Why should you not use a tourniquet to isolate a snake bite?

Some snake venoms are designed to digest flesh to make it easier for the snake to swallow. Usually this is something like a mouse. If you use a tourniquet to isolate the venom to a small area like a hand, then the hand too might dissolve. Plus tourniquets are generally discouraged because people forget about them, which causes gangrene and other complications.

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Pain assessment using OPQRST

Cut in halfOPQRST – This little string of the alphabet helps you to do a comprehensive pain assessment. Obviously if someone has pain from a cut finger, you deal with the finger. When you need to dig more deeply and find out more about a painful condition, the OPQRST pain assessment method will help. As far as you can, ask the questions as part of a normal, conversational assessment. Try to avoid interrogation! So let’s start with what OPQRST stands for before we dig in more deeply:

  • Onset
  • Provoking
  • Quality
  • Radiating
  • Severity
  • Time



The first part of your pain assessment. You may want to ask/consider these topics. (Remember to keep it conversational, you might not be asking these in order!)

  • What were they doing when it started?
  • Did it come on at rest or while working/stressed?
  • What do they believe causes the pain?
  • Was it sudden?
  • Did it come on gradually?
  • Is it something they already have and part of a known condition?


  • What makes it worse?
  • And in fact, what makes it better?
  • Any movement making it worse?
  • What about when you press on it?
  • What about moving related areas? (Eg: moving an arm may hurt a shoulder)


Ask them to describe the pain. Try to ask them and not lead them: “Tell me what it feels like” is better than “Is it stabbing? Burning? Throbbing?” Let them give you the description. Is there a pattern to it? Eg: When I walk/sit/stand/move; every X minutes, hours, days, etc.

Radiating (or region)

  • Is it just one specific area or does it radiate (spread).
  • If so, where does it spread.
  • Just one area or several.
  • Is there any referred pain (pain in a seemingly uninjured or unconnected place).
  • Does the pain seem to move around?


Ask them at first how bad it is, then try to put that into perspective. Often pain scales can be used (eg: from one to five – how bad is it?). These are somewhat useful, but limited in most people depending on their experience of pain. Has it happened before and if so, is it worse pain or lesser? During your pain assessment remember there are people whose pain is always 5/5 no matter what. As always, your judgement comes in to this as well.


  • When did it happen?
  • How long has it been going on?
  • Has it happened before – when?
  • How long since the pain was at its worst/lowest point?
  • How long since it seemed to improve/worsen?
  • How long since it stopped hurting?
  • How long did it feel sharp/burning/whatever before it became dull/achy/throbbing/whatever?

And that’s it – simple, kind of…. OPQRST is an easy way to help you recall the kinds of questions you should be asking, but always use your won judgement. It’s unlikely you’ll need (or want) to ask all those questions on one patient assessment.


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Google Glass – What About Health and Safety?

If there’s one product that’s created a stir before its public launch, it’s Google Glass. The search engine giant has an innovative, high-tech product in its beta program (which means it’s still in the testing phase) that looks like a headset with glasses, but it’s much more than that.


At $1,500 a pair, the frame has a tiny, battery-operated computer mounted on the right side that allows users to access the Internet and email, make phone calls, send text messages, take photos and record what they are seeing on a video camera.

Google plans to make Glass available to the general public sometime this year. The company set up an Explorer Program in June for a limited number of people to test the device.

Some Explorers, who wear the glasses for an extended period of time, have complained of headaches.  If headaches do not dissipate, or other critical health symptoms arise, seek medical attention as soon as possible. As a safety measure, contact legal professionals who can give you advice. For instance, an Independence personal injury lawyer advises, “If you have been injured, on the job, in a car, in the hospital or through any other means at the hands of another, you deserve to have them pay for your medical damages and pain and suffering.”

In the meantime, Google says it is taking the complaints seriously and looking into what, if any, other potential health risk Glass poses to users.

Concerns over Glass

Visitors to casinos in New Jersey and Nevada are banned from wearing the device. The states’ gaming authorities contend that gamblers can use the device to cheat when playing games.

Casinos are not the only places where the specialized eye wear is a concern. Bills are pending in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, West Virginia, Illinois and Wyoming to ban drivers from wearing the product. The legislation aims at preventing more problems with distracted driving. Google says it has hired lobbyists to prevent the bills from passing and to educate lawmakers about the new device.

In February, a Wichita State University researcher found that Google Glass was not as distracting to drivers as a smart phone. In fact, drivers wearing Glass followed other vehicles less closely and drove slower than smart-phone users, according to Jibo He, a WSU assistant professor and driver safety expert who plans to publish his findings this spring.

In what’s believed to be the first real-life traffic safety case involving Google Glass, Cecilia Abadie, of Temecula, Calif., was wearing the device on Oct. 29 when she was ticketed by a California Highway Patrol officer for speeding. The officer also added on a citation that fines people who drive with a video or TV on in the front of the car. Abadie said she was only wearing them but not actively using the device when she was pulled over by the officer. In January, a San Diego judge dismissed the case, ruling that there was not enough evidence presented to prove that Abadie was using Google Glass while she was driving. With the dismissal of Abadie’s case, the question remains unanswered as to whether Google Glass distracts drivers.

The Legal Side of Glass

Along with concerns over distracted driving, there are questions surrounding the legal aspects of Glass being asked, such as:

1. Who will accident victims sue if a driver causes a serious injury or fatal injury crash while wearing and using Glass? The driver or Google?
2. Can a driver who caused a traffic crash while wearing them sue Google?
3. How will police, prosecutors and personal injury attorneys prove that a driver was actually using Glass at the time of a vehicle accident?

Regardless of the many questions surrounding this advanced tech product, some tech experts believe it has a bright future because of its usefulness to professionals and entertainment value to consumers. Until Google makes its device available to the public, its future remains to be seen.

Guest Writer Teresa Stewart enjoys learning and sharing information about new and developing technologies. She researched Independence personal injury lawyer online to gather information for this post.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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The Dangers of Driving While Drowsy – an Infographic

Many people have heard of the dangers of “Driving Under the Influence” (DUI) or “Driving While Intoxicated” (DWI). There have been many campaigns to bring awareness to this danger. But there is another danger on the road. A danger that has caused many accidents and even fatalities. The danger of “Driving While Drowsy,” or (DWD). DWD is very dangerous and can cause a driver to lose concentration making the driver unaware of any other vehicles or pedestrians on the road. Precautions should be taken to avoid Driving While Drowsy.

Click here for another 101 Safe Driving Tips

In National Lampoon’s “Vacation”, The Griswold’s are on cross country quest to Wally World. Clark, played by Chevy Chase, is trying to keep to a tight daily schedule thus driving late into the night. We see the family asleep and finally reveal Clark also dozing at the wheel. The Family Truckster careens off the highway into a neighbourhood almost hitting a pedestrian in a cross-walk, another customer walking out of a restaurant and dog being taken on its nightly walk. All while Clark is still asleep. When he is awakened by Helen, he realizes the situation he is in but is helpless. The car spins around and comes to a violent stop in a parking place at the hotel. Clark shouts out, “Well, up and at-em. We’re here.” A very funny scene that was played out for laughs in a movie that still hold up today. But the dangers of driving while drowsy is a very real situation.

Going without sleep can leave a person on the same conscious level of a drunk driver. Tens of thousands of accidents are caused every year, and 1 in 24 adults has admitted to recently dozing off at the wheel. These statistics don’t include accidents that aren’t reported, such as dozing off and hitting a curb, but regardless, this information is shocking. Younger drivers are more susceptible to this habit as they account for over half of these types of accidents. This damage can be prevented, however. There are measures that drivers can take to ensure they don’t doze off.

If a driver is feeling drowsy, it is important to acknowledge the signs and pull over. The driver can either pull over for the night at a motel or the driver can take a quick cat nap at a rest stop. Both of these options will give the driver the rest needed to be alert on the road. Especially during night-time driving, drivers should consider drinking coffee or an energy drink when the first signs of drowsiness appears. This will provide the driver with temporary alertness so that the driver can find a safe place to pull over. Passengers can also help to keep the driver awake and more alert. Taking these precautions can help prevent an accident and even save lives.

Follow these simple procedures and you will be able to shout, “Well up and at -em, we’re here.”

driving drowsing infographic - don't sleep and drive!

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