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Most accidents happen at home. Acting quickly and correctly greatly reduces the chances of infection or other complications and of course, a well-stocked first-aid kit is a must-have.
These are our top five most common injuries and some advice on what to do.
While we class the injuries below as minor, remember you may still need medical attention, such as that provided in Affidea’s ExpressCare clinics.
- The first step in the care of cuts, scrapes (abrasions) is to stop the bleeding. Thoroughly clean the wound with soap and water. Press firmly over the site with a clean cloth until bleeding stops. This will take anywhere from three to 15 minutes. If bleeding does not stop after several attempts with direct pressure seek medical help.
- If the skin is broken you will need to apply an antibiotic cream such as Neosporin or Polysporin and cover the wound.
- If the wound is deep you will need to see a doctor as it may need stitches. Generally a wound that is more than ¼ inch (6 millimetres) deep or is gaping or jagged edged and has fat or muscle protruding requires stitches.
2. Burns & Scalds
- There are three primary types of burns - first, second and third-degree. Each degree is based on the severity of damage to the skin. First and second degree burns usually heal well after a short time if treated properly.
- Wash the burn under cool running water or place a cold, wet towel over the affected area for 15 minutes to help reduce the level of pain. Do not use ice as it shrinks the blood vessels in the area and may even cause frost burns.
- Bandage the area to prevent infections and reduce the pain. If there are small blisters make sure the gauze and tape are not tight.
- Apply pain relief ointments. Aloe vera or petroleum jelly are good. If in pain take an over-the-counter medication like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
- Seek medical advice if the burns are in the vicinity of the face or near the joints or if the burn is not healing.
- Fractures are broken bones , and they can occur as a result of falls, car accidents or sport injuries.
Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, discoloured skin around the affected area and angulation (the affected area may be bent at an unusual angle).
- If you suspect you have a fracture, get medical attention immediately as you will most likely need an X-ray to show images of your bone and show the damage. It’s extremely important that the patient does not put weight on or move the affected area. If it is an open fracture there may be bleeding, so use a bandage. When a large bone is affected - such as the pelvis or femur - the sufferer may look pale and clammy. There may be dizziness, feelings of sickness and nausea.
- Broken bones heal by themselves. The aim of medical treatment is to make sure the pieces of bone are lined up correctly. Some complicated fractures may need surgery or surgical traction (or both). You may have a cast or a sling and you will need to rest at home.
4. Insect Bite/Sting
- Insect bites and stings usually only cause minor irritation however some stings can be painful and could trigger a serious allergic reaction in which case you will need to seek medical advice. A typical bite or sting leaves a small lump which can be red, swollen and itchy.
- Wash the affected area with soap and water.......try not to scratch and if you are in pain take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
- Seek medical help if there is a lot of swelling and blistering or if there is pus which indicates an infection.
- If you or your child is stung you need to locate the sting and remove it right away. Scrape it away if possible and avoid a tweezers as it can squeeze more venom out and cause more injury.
- A typical nosebleed can be heavy or light and last from a few seconds to 10 minutes or more. Heavy nosebleeds may indicate more serious health problems such as high blood pressure or a blood clotting disorder and should be checked.
- Sit upright and lean forward and breathe through your mouth – this will drain blood down your nose instead of down the back of your throat. Place an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables covered by a towel on the bridge of your nose
- If it persists for more than 10 minutes or returns later check with a doctor as there may be a breakage and you may need to be referred to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist for further tests.
Pain is the lead reason people present at Affidea’s emergency healthcare facilities.
“People present with a new injury or ongoing pain in a joint or a bone that may be fractured, sprained, dislocated or just wear and tear,” Affidea’s Dr Tony Lynch told us.
Affidea’s two new ExpressCare clinics at The Elysian in Cork and Tallaght Cross East in Dublin join their network of 10 state-of-the-art medical scanning centres around the country.
“Our job here is to see if they warrant imaging and if so what type. Depending on the results, we decide on a management plan which will cover everything from the acute (pain management to immobilisation) to the more long term (physio, surgery, specialist referral),” said Dr Lynch.
“We pride ourselves on reviewing a patient and having all the X-rays etc done with a plan of action within an hour of them coming to the clinic.”
He added that patients present at Affidea ExpressCare from all over the country and further afield.
He advised: “If you are in pain or worried about a health matter we will do all we can to address it. Our role is to get the history of the complaint and figure out how we can get our patients back to 100%. We really are passionate about getting people back to health.
“We see a lot of cuts and lacerations. Our doctors are trained in suturing and dressings so we can have you fixed up in no time and if we think you need to see a plastic surgeon we can arrange that too.”
Regarding general advice about joint pain, he said: “If you hurt a limb or a joint follow the basic rule and keep it elevated. Don’t put pressure on it if it hurts take a painkiller and come visit us. Our doctors and nurses are trained in acute medicine, emergency medicine, paediatrics and orthopaedics to name but a few. They are extremely experienced doctors who have worked in Ireland for years and who bring a wealth of knowledge and skill to our clinic”.
Upper Respiratory Tract infection: No one likes having a cough or that blocked-up feeling. If the infection is not improving or getting worse, then it may be time to see one of our doctors who can advise you on everything from reducing your cough to seeing if there’s a need for antibiotics, right up to getting a chest X-ray if indicated. We can advise on the management of COPD, asthma and sinus infections.
Facture of a bone/Dislocations: If you break a bone, then the best thing to do is pop down to us and we can have you reviewed, X-rayed and sorted very quickly. We specialise in pain management in the acute phase of the break and can also refer you on to an orthopaedic surgeon. The worst thing you can do is to ignore the pain. This can lead to loss of function in the limb in years to come, or chronic pain. If you do injure yourself, then follow the RICE rule: Rest (never walk on a suspected break), Ice it for a while, Compress it with a bandage, Elevate it as high as you can. Then let us do the rest.
Lacerations: A cut can be problematic. We will review it, clean it and if you need some sutures, we can do that too. Then, if needed, we can refer to plastics or secondary services to ensure important structures under the skin are not impacted. However, while you’re waiting to come to us, keep pressure on the wound and keep it elevated.
Burns: We can review you and make sure your pain is eased, but at the moment you or your little one get a burn make sure you get cold water flowing over it and keep it flowing.
Skin rashes can really impact on patients’ quality of life. We have expertise in their initial management, plus can refer on to dermatologists when needed.
ENT: ear, nose or throat illness are common issues for our patients. We have the expertise to review and treat, but we can also refer on to a specialist when appropriate.
Affidea’s ExpressCare clinic is staffed by skilled doctors who have years of experience treating everything from infections to muscle-skeletal complaints and everything in between.
Behind them is cutting-edge technology and equipment ranging from X-ray to CT, MRI and Ultrasound, to name a few. After your initial treatment, you will be offered appropriate referrals onto the best secondary care to further manage your condition and get you back on the road to recovery.
For more information, see here.