First Aid: Head, Neck, Back, Chest, Abdomen and Pelvic Injuries

Introduction
-Each year, nearly 11,000 people in the United States are hospitalized with an injury to the head or spine.
-Most of these victims are males between ages 15 and 30.

Checking the Scene
-Evaluate the scene for clues.

Consider the possibility of a serious head, neck or back injury in the following situations:
-Any motor vehicle crash.
-Victim has tingling or weakness in extremities.
-Victim is not fully alert.
-Victim appears to be intoxicated.
-Victim has fallen from a height greater than their standing height.

Signals of Head, Neck and Back Injury
-You may find certain signals that indicate a serious injury.

These signals include—
-Changes in the level of consciousness.
-Severe pain.
-Tingling or loss of sensation.
-Partial or complete loss of movement.
-Unusual bumps or depressions.
-Sudden loss of memory.

Signals of Head, Neck and Back Injury (Continued)
-Blood or other fluids in the ears or nose.
-Seizures.
-Impaired breathing or impaired vision.
-Nausea or vomiting.
-Persistent headache.
-Loss of balance.
-Bruising of the head, especially around the eyes or behind the ears.

Care for Head, Neck and Back Injuries
-Minimize movement of the head, neck and back using manual stabilization.
-Gently hold the head in position found.
-Check for life-threatening conditions.
-Monitor consciousness and breathing.
-Control external bleeding.
-Maintain normal body temperature.

Injuries to the Chest, Abdomen and Pelvis
-Because the chest, abdomen and pelvis contain many organs important to life, injury to these areas can be fatal.
-Chest injuries are a leading cause of trauma deaths each year.

Chest Injury
Chest wounds are either open or closed and Signals of serious chest injury include—
-Trouble breathing.
-Severe pain.
-Flushed, pale, ashen or bluish skin.
-Obvious deformity.
-Coughing up blood.
-Bruising at the site of a blunt injury.
– A distinctive “sucking” sound as the person breathes.

Care for Injuries to the Chest
To care for a serious chest injury
-Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
-Position the victim to aid breathing.
-If ribs are broken, bind the victim’s upper arm to the chest.
-Use a pillow or rolled blanket to support and immobilize the area.
-If a sucking chest sound is evident, cover the wound with plastic dressing. (stop air from entering the chest)
-Take steps to minimize shock.

Injuries to the Abdomen
Signals of serious abdominal injury include—
-Severe pain.
-Bruising.
-External bleeding.
-Nausea.
-Vomiting (sometimes containing blood).
-Thirst.
-Organs protruding from the abdomen.
-Rigid abdominal muscles.
-Signs of shock.

Care for Injuries to the Abdomen
If the injury involves an open wound—
-Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
-Carefully position the victim on his or her back.
-Apply moist, sterile dressings.
-Cover dressings to maintain warmth.
-Take steps to minimize shock.

Care for Injuries to the Abdomen (continued)
If the injury involves a closed wound—
-Call 9-1-1
-Carefully position the victim on his or her back
-Bend the victim’s knees slightly.
-Place rolled-up pillows or blankets under the knees for support.
-Take steps to minimize shock.
-Monitor breathing, skin color and temperature until EMS personnel arrive

Injuries to the Pelvis
-The pelvis is the lower part of the trunk.
-Injuries to the pelvis may be minor soft tissue injuries or injuries to bone and internal structures.
-An injury to the pelvis sometimes involves the genitals, the external reproductive organs.

Injuries to the Pelvis (continued)
Signals of pelvic injury are the same as those for an abdominal injury.
-Severe pain.
-Bruising.
-External bleeding.
-Nausea.
-Vomiting (sometimes vomit containing blood).
-Weakness.
-Thirst.
-Pain, tenderness or swelling.

Care for Pelvic Injury
To care for injuries to the pelvis
-Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
-Do not move the victim unless necessary.
-Cover any protruding organs.
-Take steps to minimize shock.
-Care for a closed wound to the genitals as you would any closed wound.

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