How to Help Someone Having a Diabetic Emergency

For a diabetic emergency, particularly when someone is experiencing either hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), the following steps can be taken:

  1. Assess the Situation: Approach the person calmly and assess the situation. Determine if the person is conscious and responsive.
  2. Check Blood Sugar Levels: If the person is conscious and able to communicate, ask if they have a glucose meter and if they have checked their blood sugar levels recently. If not, and if you have access to a glucose meter, you may check their blood sugar level if they consent.
  3. Recognize Symptoms:
    • Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar): Symptoms may include confusion, dizziness, sweating, weakness, trembling, irritability, or loss of consciousness.
    • Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar): Symptoms may include excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, fruity-smelling breath, nausea, vomiting, or confusion.
  4. If Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar):
    • Give them a fast-acting carbohydrate source immediately, such as glucose tablets, fruit juice, honey, or sugar candies.
    • Avoid foods with fat as they can delay the absorption of sugar.
    • Recheck their blood sugar after 15 minutes. If it remains low, repeat the treatment.
  5. If Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar):
    • Encourage the person to drink water to stay hydrated.
    • Monitor their condition closely. If they have high blood sugar levels and exhibit symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening complication of diabetes, seek medical help immediately.
  6. Stay with the Person: Monitor their condition closely. If they become unconscious, call emergency services immediately.
  7. Seek Medical Help if Necessary: If the person’s condition doesn’t improve or if they lose consciousness, call emergency services immediately.
  8. Provide Support: Offer reassurance and support to the person throughout the process.

Remember, it’s crucial to act promptly and seek medical assistance if needed, especially if the person is unconscious or if their condition doesn’t improve with initial treatment. If you’re unsure about the appropriate steps to take, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek professional medical help. Being familiar with first aid is an essential part of being a lifeguard. Be sure to review regularly!

Advice for Treating Burns

Treating burns properly is essential to promote healing, reduce pain, and prevent infection. Here’s some of the best advice for treating burns:

  1. Cool the burn: Hold the burned area under cool (not cold) running water for at least 10 to 20 minutes, or until the pain subsides. Avoid using ice or very cold water, as this can further damage the skin.
  2. Remove tight clothing and jewelry: If clothing or jewelry is not stuck to the burn, remove it to prevent constriction and allow for proper cooling and healing.
  3. Protect the burn: Once the burn has been cooled, cover it with a sterile, non-adhesive dressing or clean cloth to protect it from friction and infection. Avoid using cotton balls or fluffy material, as these can stick to the wound.
  4. Avoid popping blisters: If blisters form, do not pop them. Blisters act as a natural barrier against infection. Popping them increases the risk of infection and delays healing.
  5. Use pain relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with burns. Follow the recommended dosage instructions.
  6. Seek medical attention for severe burns: If the burn is severe (large, deep, or covering a sensitive area like the face, hands, feet, or genitals), or if it is accompanied by symptoms like fever, chills, or signs of infection, seek medical attention immediately.
  7. Do not use butter, oil, or toothpaste: Despite common misconceptions, these substances can actually trap heat and bacteria, worsening the burn and increasing the risk of infection.
  8. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help your body recover from the burn and maintain proper hydration levels.
  9. Follow up with a healthcare professional: If you have any concerns about the burn or if it’s not healing properly, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment.

Remember, the severity of a burn can vary, so it’s important to assess each burn individually and seek appropriate medical care if necessary.