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Recognizing Signs of a Medical Emergency

Recognize these signs to learn the warning signs and symptoms of some common medical emergencies.

Medical emergencies can happen any place and at any time.  Those who are preparing for long-term disasters need to familiarize themselves with signs of medical distress. Recognizing these signs when they first appear can help take the appropriate next steps in a timely fashion.

You can help the individual you support to learn these warning signs and symptoms of some common medical emergencies listed below:

  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure lasting two minutes or more
  • Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness, seizure
  • Possible serious bone fractures
  • Major burns
  • Changes in vision
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion or changes in mental status, unusual behavior, difficulty waking
  • Any sudden or severe pain
  • Head pain that lasts longer than five minutes
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Shock symptoms, e.g., confusion, disorientation, cool/clammy, pale skin
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Unusual abdominal pain
  • Suicidal or homicidal feelings

Knowing these signs and acting quickly could save the individual’s life.  Get treatment promptly.  For many medical emergencies, time is very important.  Some people experience the symptoms of an emergency, such as a stroke or a heart attack, but do not get help right away.  A delay in treatment could lead to a more serious illness.

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on August 11th, 2011

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