Unconsciousness and First Aid Treatment : Part 1

What is Unconsciousness?

When a person is unaware of their surroundings and unable to respond, this is described as being unconscious. Unconsciousness is a medical emergency, and it is often a sign of a serious health issue that could result in death or permanent disability. People who become unconscious don’t respond to loud sounds or shaking. They may even stop breathing or their pulse may become faint.

This calls for immediate emergency attention. The sooner the person receives emergency first aid, the better their outlook will be.

What Causes Unconsciousness?

Unconsciousness can be brought on by a major illness or injury, or complications from drug use or alcohol misuse. Common causes of unconsciousness include:

  • a car accident
  • severe blood loss
  • a blow to the chest or head
  • a drug overdose
  • alcohol poisoning

A person may become temporarily unconscious, or faint, when sudden changes occur within the body. Common causes of temporary unconsciousness include:

  • low blood sugar
  • low blood pressure
  • syncope, or the loss of consciousness due to lack of blood flow to the brain
  • neurologic syncope, or the loss of consciousness caused by a seizure, stroke, or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • dehydration
  • problems with the heart’s rhythm
  • straining
  • hyperventilating

Causes of altered levels of consciousness can be summarized with the mnemonic AEIOU TIPS :

  • A – Alcohol: The amount of alcohol that can cause a person to lose consciousness varies from one person to another. For example, a person who takes medications that interact with alcohol or who has liver disease can become unconscious after drinking a relatively small amount of alcohol.
  • E – Epilepsy or exposure (heat stroke, hypothermia)
  • I – Insulin (diabetic emergency)
  • O – Overdose or oxygen deficiency: A recreational drug or medication overdose can cause loss of consciousness. Oxygen deficiency can occur due to heart or lung disease.
  • U – Uremia (toxins due to kidney failure)
  • T – Trauma (shock or head injury)
  • I – Infection
  • P – Poisoning; This can occur due to ingesting toxins (such as a chemical cleaner) or as a result of organ failure, which can cause toxins to build up in the body.
  • S – Stroke

When a person is unconscious, the brain is functional. Unconsciousness is not the same as brain death. Brain death is a condition in which the brain is not functioning, and it can occur when the same medical issues that cause unconsciousness lead to severe and permanent brain damage.

First Aid Treatment

If someone is unconscious, you can take steps to assist while you are waiting for professional medical help to arrive. Things you can do include:

  • Check if they are breathing
  • Try to feel their pulse
  • Administer CPR if they need it and you know how to do it
  • Use the Heimlich maneuver if they need it and you know how to do it
  • Cover them with a warm blanket if the temperature is too cold
  • Place an ice pack on them if the temperature is too hot

If unconsciousness is due to low blood pressure, a doctor will administer medication by injection to increase blood pressure. If low blood sugar levels are the cause, the unconscious person may need an injection of glucose or something sweet to eat. Medical staff should treat any injuries that caused the person to become unconscious.

What to Avoid?
  • Do not place anything in their mouth
  • Do not administer medication
  • Do not move their neck or back—this can cause permanent paralysis if the spine is injured

You can get more training from RCL Safety Centre thru https://www.safetycentre.ng/training_register .

At RCL Safety Centre this training is also available in different Nigerian languages like PIDGIN,YORUBA,HAUSA AND IGBO

Our company (RCL Safety Centre) is an indigenous company dedicated to Health, Safety and Environment Training and Services.

We are technical partners of the National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria (NISCN) as well as approved training partners of most major International Occupational Safety and Health organizations like NEBOSH, and corporate members of ISPON (Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria) with thousands of personnel trained in various areas till date.

For more information visit our website: www.safetycentre.ng

Email: sale@safetycentre.ng or mma@safetycentre.ng

Contact us on: 08099700070, 09057666623 or 08164363532

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