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How to Provide First Aid for a Broken Bone

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Providing Initial Help:-

Assess the injured area-In an emergency situation with no trained medical people around, you need to quickly assess the seriousness of the injury. Trauma from a fall or accident coupled with severe pain is not a guarantee of a broken bone, but it's usually a pretty good indicator. Fractures involving the head, spine or pelvis are difficult to tell without an x-ray, but you suspect a break in one of these areas you should not attempt to move the person. Bones in the arms, legs, fingers, and toes will typically look crooked, misshapen or obviously out of place when broken. A severely broken bone might poke out through the skin (open fracture) and involve profuse bleeding.

Call for ambulance-Once you've established that the injury is serious and suspect that a broken bone is likely, get professional medical help on their way as quickly as you can. Providing immediate rudimentary first aid and supportive care are certainly helpful. If you are close to a hospital or emergency clinic and are quite certain the injury is not life threatening and only involves a limb, then consider driving the injured person to the facility.

Provide CPR if necessary-If the injured person is not breathing and you can't feel a pulse on her wrists or neck, then start administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation before the ambulance arrives. CPR involves clearing the airways, blowing air into the mouth / lungs and trying to restart the heart by rhythmically pushing on the chest.

Stop any bleeding-If the injury is bleeding significantly, then you must attempt to stop it regardless if there is a fracture or not. Significant bleeding from the main artery can lead to death within a few minutes. Controlling the bleeding is a higher priority than addressing a broken bone. Apply firm pressure to the wound with a sterile and absorbent bandage, although a clean towel or piece of clothing will do in an emergency. Hold it there for a few minutes to encourage the blood to clot at the injury site. Secure the bandage around the wound with an elastic bandage or piece of cloth if you can.


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Addressing the Broken Bone:-

Immobilize the broken bone-After the injured person is stabilized, it's time to immobilize the broken bone if you anticipate a wait of an hour or longer for emergency medical personnel.

  • The best method of immobilization is to make a simple splint. Place a piece of stiff cardboard or plastic, a branch or stick, a metal rod, or rolled up newspaper/magazine on either side of the injury to support the bone. Tie these supports together firmly with tape, string, rope, cord, rubber tubing, leather belt, necktie, scarf, etc.
  • When splinting a fractured bone, try to allow movement in the adjacent joints and don't secure it too tight — allow appropriate blood circulation.

Apply ice to the injury-Once the broken bone is immobilized, apply something cold to it as soon as you can while you wait for the ambulance.

  • Apply ice for about 20 minutes or until the area is completely numb before removing it. Compressing it against the injury may help reduce swelling even more as long as it doesn't increase the pain.
  • While applying the ice, make sure the broken bone is elevated in order to combat swelling and slow down bleeding.

Keep calm and watch for signs of shock-Breaking a bone is very traumatic and painful. Fear, panic, and shock are all common reactions, but they can have negative consequences for the body, so they must be controlled.

  • Signs of shock include: feeling faint / dizzy, pale complexion, cold sweats, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, confusion, irrational panic.
  • If it looks like the person is in shock, lay him down with his head supported and elevate his legs. Keep him covered with a blanket or jacket, or even a table cloth if those things are not available.
  • Shock is dangerous because blood and oxygen are routed away from vital organs. This physiological state, if left untreated, can ultimately cause organ damage.

Consider pain medication-If the wait for emergency medical personnel is longer than an hour and then consider taking / giving some medication, if you have any, to control the pain and make the wait more tolerable.


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