How to do First Aid on a Pregnant Person

A pregnant person is more vulnerable during an emergency for obvious reasons. There are two lives that need to be saved. It is always necessary to prioritise the pregnant person as saving and reviving the women will prevent serious harm to the fetus. This is regardless of the stage of the pregnancy. In some cases, the fetus needs to be equally prioritised and this is usually when the pregnancy is in its last few weeks. There are different kinds of approaches to do first aid on a pregnant person and they vary depending on the emergency and the number of people available to attend to the woman. Here is a comprehensive guide illustrating how to do first aid on a pregnant person.

First Steps to First Aid on a Pregnant Person

The first step is to call emergency services. This is regardless of the nature of the problem or the severity of it. While some cases may not be medical emergencies and the situation may be transient, still it is better to be proactive than latently reactive to call the first responders. Whoever makes the call should inform the operator that there is a pregnant woman in need of immediate help. If there is someone who can gauge or actually known the stage of the pregnancy then such information should also be conveyed. Such details help first responders to plan accordingly. The healthcare professionals may get additional help. They may need some special equipment to be readily available in some cases. The more information you can provide, the better it is for both the pregnant person and the responders.

The second step is to try and give first aid without the help of healthcare professionals. This is actually a simultaneous step. While one person should attend to the pregnant person, someone else should call the emergency services. It is possible there would be only one person at the time so it can be a little difficult to choose between making the call and physically attending to the woman. One can dial emergency services and put the call on speaker as the pregnant woman is attended to at the same time. How one must attend to the emergency without professional help depends on the nature of the emergency. Cardiac arrest or any health complication leading to loss of consciousness and choking are two common incidents that demand first aid. We shall explore both one by one.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Pregnant Women

The cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedure is the same for pregnant women as it is for other adults. There are some special needs such as immediate perimortem cesarean delivery or resuscitative hysterotomy that could be inevitable but only professionals can carry out such procedures. These are often needed within five minutes of a cardiac arrest. The standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation can and should start immediately at the time of the cardiac arrest.

A pregnant person should always be laid down on a hard surface. She should lay flat on the back and her face should be in an upward position. This is referred to as supine position wherein the chest compresses effectively and hence resuscitation is more likely to be effective. It is imperative for the process to be initiated as soon as possible and whoever is carrying out the procedure must ensure there is no interruption during the compressions. A person giving first aid should aim for at least a hundred compressions in a minute. These can be split into cycles of thirty compressions with at least two breaths in the interim. The process is always chest compressions first, working the airway and trying to facilitate breathing.

If there are two people available or someone can be called in immediately then one person must carry out the compressions and the other person should carry out left uterine displacement. This is usually required for women who are twenty weeks pregnant or in later stages. Left uterine displacement helps to restore the blood flow to the heart. This process reduces aortocaval compression. It is not very difficult. If the compressions begin to work and there is a visible effect, tilting the woman to her left would increase blood flow and it may help in reviving her. However, giving the compressions in such a tilted position is not always possible or easy. The effect may also vary. So begin with a supine position and do the resuscitation and then go for the tilt to the left for uterine displacement.

First Aid for a Pregnant Person Choking

The same first aid method for choking is used for a pregnant person as for other adults. The only difference is that you should wrap your arms at the chest, above the breast and not around the belly or lower. You must generate a force by sudden collapse of the lungs instead of abdominal thrust that is more commonly given to adults. Wrap your arms under the armpits of the pregnant person. Clasp your hands at the centre of her chest, between the two breasts but above them. Lock one leg between her two legs from behind. Make sure your knuckles are aimed upward. Generate the thrust as rapidly as you can. Extremely sudden and effective thrusts are only possible when the lungs are forced to collapse substantially. A pregnant person may have her airway cleared or she may lose consciousness. If the latter happens, then the immediate next step is cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Breast Screening Information for Australia

BreastScreen Australia is a breast cancer screening program of the Department of Health. The nationwide program offers free mammograms once every two years to all women aged fifty up to seventy four. BreastScreen Australia is an initiative of the federal government to facilitate early detection of breast cancer so deaths can be prevented. Breast cancer is treatable in its early stages and the risk of fatality is reduced to almost nil if a woman is diagnosed at the nascent phase of a malignant tumor.

The Breast Screening Process in Australia

Mammograms are a reliable diagnosing method. Health professionals who perform mammograms are known as radiographers. They are trained to operate the diagnostic equipment and can also help interpret the images, thereby identifying tumors. BreastScreen Australia is a systematic process. Women can sign up for the free mammogram anytime in two years and they would be provided all the information by the radiographer at the time of the scheduled appointment. The mammogram is performed in an enclosed private room. It is necessary to remove clothes but only till the waist.

A radiographer will perform mammogram of one breast at a time. The machine has two plates that would press the breast from either side firmly but not in a manner that causes any pain and the process takes around ten seconds. Once the picture is taken, the same process is repeated for the other breast. Then the plates are placed atop and beneath the breasts, one at a time, to get another pair of pictures. Two pictures of each breast would be taken for a comprehensive diagnosis. The entire process usually takes much less than half an hour but you should keep aside thirty minutes for the complete appointment, right from the time you arrive at one of the facilities till the time you leave.

Mammogram is a completely safe process and there is absolutely no serious side effect. It is not unusual for women to experience a little discomfort when the plates press against the breasts but it is transient. If you feel substantial discomfort, then you must inform the radiographer and the exerted pressure can be reduced, even released. Although mammogram uses radiation, the exposure is about the same as a few weeks exposure to natural radiation in the environment.

Should you choose BreastScreen?

The most common type of cancer among women in Australia is breast cancer. Men may have breast cancer too but incidence is rare in comparison. Breast cancer has become increasingly common around the world but it is completely curable. The abnormal cells in the tissues of the breast tend to multiply and they transform into an invasive tumour. An invasive tumour is deemed as malignant. A noncancerous tumour is benign. Noninvasive or benign tumours do not call for any treatment or cure. Invasive or malignant tumours must be surgically removed and steps should be taken to stop the spread and further recurrence of breast cancer.

There are many steps you can take to be more aware of the health of your breasts. You can conduct a physical self exam to know if there are lumps, possibly tumours and then you can go for BreastScreen. You can check if you have any lumpiness in your breasts, if there is any noticeable change in the shape or size of either or both your breasts, if there is any ulcer or crusting around the nipples, any puckering or redness, dimpling or other physical anomaly on your breast. You may also feel pain but not all tumours are painful so a painless breast is not an indicator of the absence of a tumour.

There is no reason why you should not go for a free mammogram once every two years if you think there is a lump or tumour in your breast. Women aged fifty to seventy four are at greater risk of breast cancer and the condition turns worse rather swiftly, which is why the program is aimed at this age bracket. Women who have had breast cancer and have been cured should always be proactive with follow-ups as a recurrence can be prevented. Even if the recurrence cannot be prevented, it can be contained from getting worse.

Breast Screening in Australia

You can always consult an oncologist if you have a tumour in your breast. The oncologist will recommend all the necessary tests to diagnose if it is breast cancer. The size and shape of the tumour would be observed and changes would be tracked. There would be proactive supervision and that would lead to the recommended course of treatment. Surgery is often recommended and then chemotherapy may or may not be necessary depending on the stage of breast cancer. BreastScreen is not applicable for women younger than fifty so consulting an oncologist is the only option.

More than fourteen thousand women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the country. The risk of breast cancer is directly proportional to age. Older women are more likely to develop breast cancer and that is where the free mammogram becomes useful. Survivors of breast cancer would already have a thorough medical follow-up plan and that would include a mammogram once every year but they can also sign up for the BreastScreen program. You can contact 13 20 50 and find out everything about the initiative, where you must go, how you should schedule an appointment and the recommended steps after the mammogram.

Putting Together the Best First Aid Kit for your Home

There should be at least one first aid kit in every home. There are first aid kits available in stores but they do not always have all the essentials you may need from time to time. You can always consider the readymade kits or you can make one yourself. The latter lets you personalize the first aid kit depending on your needs and what you may perceive as possible emergencies you will have to deal with. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you put together the best first aid kit for your home.

The first requisite is the box or container. It is not necessary for you to choose the typical metal or plastic box that you find in the stores. You can use a sizeable zipper closure or plastic container that is water resistant. You can choose a translucent one if you would want the essentials inside to be visible and easily identifiable. You can use an old lunchbox too. If you are aiming for a large first aid kit, you could use a duffel bag or backpack. No matter what you choose, it should be durable as you may have to handle the container roughly during emergencies. Do not opt for a container that would be difficult to carry or include in your luggage. Choose a container that would not be an issue at security checks of airports and other places.

You should clearly mark the container, box or bag as first aid kit. You can write the very words or you can draw a red cross. Use permanent markers and not colors that would fade. You may have more than one first aid kit, especially if you require different kinds of essentials to be kept handy for the distinct needs of your loved ones. You may want to use different types of containers or you must use appropriate labels to distinguish the two kits. Do not choose any container that complicates access. Keep the kit somewhere you can easily access. People tend to forget where their first aid kit is when one needs it the most. Always keep the kit at the same place.

Let us now talk about the essentials for your first aid kit. You would need bandages. Do not opt for only one type. Have different sizes and varying qualities including materials as injuries are not identical. You would need gauze pads, adhesive tape, sterile dressings, roller or ace bandage, cutting bandage, small but sharp scissors, non latex gloves, tweezers, oral thermometer, cotton balls & swabs, instant cold compress, hand sanitizer, wipes and medical tools based on the specific needs of a family. A first aid kit may have eye protection gear, warming blanket, duct tape, aluminum finger splint, sewing needles, petroleum jelly, safety pins, gels and lotions, laxatives, medicines for diarrhea, antihistamines, antacids, hydrocortisone cream, pain relievers, medicine for cough & cold and epi-pen for allergies.

A first aid kit can be solely about health or it can include essentials for other possible emergencies. Your first aid kit can have batteries, a flashlight or two, waterproof matches, crank or solar charger, insect repellant, sunscreen, poison control, important phone numbers, whistle, a medical consent form and other stuffs that you think are important. It is not necessary to include these essentials in the medical first aid kit. You can always have a separate kit. Some people keep a stocked toolbox that has batteries, flashlights and other such useful items.

A distinction should be made between different types of first aid kits that you may need at distinct times. For instance, a travel first aid kit is not as inclusive as the one you may have at your home. A camping first aid kit needs some more relevant items, especially if you are planning to indulge in some adventurous activity. A survival first aid kit is a completely different premise. You would have to stock up on water, food and many other essentials and these are not the ordinary goods that you must and can restock every few weeks. They should have a longer shelf life. In any case every first aid kit needs to be timely restocked, mostly medicines as they should never be consumed past their expiry date.

It is futile to have a first aid kit if you cannot easily find it and use the items you need. It is also futile if most members of your family are untrained and unfamiliar with the first aid kit. You should ensure that all adults are aware of what is in the first aid kit. It is not uncommon for only one person in the family to know every item in the kit and hence others cannot help themselves in her or his absence. Also, some tools would need specific training. Adhesive bandages are rather easy. Wrapping a bandage or attending to a bleeding wound is a different task and one has to be handheld the first few times.

Kids should be made aware of what they can find in the first aid kit but they should not have unmonitored access to medicines and the tools. Kids can unknowingly harm themselves with scissors and other sharp tools. They may also consume medicines and topical medications that should never be ingested. Keep first aid kits away from very young kids but gradually help to become familiar with the various items.

What Cures are there for Cancer?

There are different types of treatment for cancer. The specific cure and subsequent treatment to prevent the spread of malignancy and recurrence would depend on the type of cancer. The stage of cancer will also determine the scope of the treatment. Some types of cancer are completely curable while others need to be regulated and that warrants long term treatment. Some advanced cases of cancer cannot be cured. Let us explore the different types of cures available for cancer.

Surgery is a common treatment for cancer. There are different types of surgery and all of them effectively remove the cancerous tumor or cancer cells from the body. Surgery can completely remove a tumor or de-bulk it and also ease the various symptoms of cancer. Surgery is by definition invasive but it is not always an open operation as was the case till a few decades back. There are minimally invasive and noninvasive surgeries that use alternatives to scalpels. The common surgical procedures for cancer are cryosurgery, laser surgery, hyperthermia and photodynamic therapy. Surgery is not always the first recommended treatment but it is often a more surefire cure. In some cases of cancer, surgery is the first recommended cure, for instance breast cancer wherein there is one malignant tumor or more.

Radiation therapy is another common cure for various types of cancer. There are two types of radiation therapy. These are external beam radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy. High but controlled doses of radiation are used to kill the cancerous or cancer cells. Radiation therapy is also used to shrink tumors. External beam radiation therapy is presently recommended for several kinds of cancer. Internal radiation therapy is usually recommended for cancers of the neck, head, breast, eye, cervix and prostate. Some thyroid cancers are also cured with internal radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy is the most common cure for cancer because it is recommended alongside other treatments. Whether a patient undergoes surgery or is recommended other methods of treatment, chemotherapy is usually required to prevent the spread of cancer and to keep the cancer in remission. Chemotherapy kills the cancer cells, much like radiation. Chemotherapy can treat cancer and also ease the various symptoms of different types of cancer. Chemotherapy can be oral, intravenous, injections, intra-thecal, intra-arterial and intra-peritoneal. There is topical chemotherapy too that is recommended in some types of cancer, mostly skin cancer.

Other treatments for cancer include immunotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, precision medicine and stem cell transplant. Immunotherapy uses various triggers to strengthen the immune system so it can fight the cancer cells. Immunotherapy may use checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cell transfer, monoclonal antibodies or treatment vaccines.

Targeted therapy uses small molecule drugs and monoclonal antibodies to address changes in cancer cells, such as when they grow and spread or advance a stage. Hormone therapy can be oral or involve injection. It may also include a surgery. The purpose of hormone therapy is the same as immunotherapy and chemotherapy. It aims to help the body prepare itself to fight cancer cells. It is also recommended to ease the symptoms of certain types of cancer.

Precision medicine is a very specific type of treatment devised on the basis of the genetics of a person. It is not applicable to all types of cancer and it is also not for every patient suffering from cancer. Precision medicine is expected to get better in due course of time and perhaps more applicable as new researches lead to better understanding of its scope and effects.

Stem cell transplant is a specific procedure to restore the stem cells that have been destroyed due to radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Stem cells are also sometimes referred to as blood stem cells because they determine the production of blood and maintain healthy counts of different types of blood cells. Bone marrow transplant is effectively a kind of blood stem cell transplant. Stem cell transplant can be autologous, allogeneic or syngeneic.

All cures for cancer have side effects. Some side effects are more manageable than others. For instance, surgery requires extensive preparation and a patient will be vulnerable to some aftereffects but they can be completely predictable and easily managed with proactive planning. Likewise, chemotherapy and radiation therapy also have side effects but they may not be completely avertable or manageable. Patients have to endure some of the pain, discomfort and other known side effects of such procedures. Treatments for cancer are usually combined. Any one type of cure may not be effective at treating cancer and it is often incapable of averting a recurrence. Some cancers have to be persistently kept in remission and hence long term treatments become unavoidable.

Patients or families should not speculate about treatments for cancer. We have come a long way from the time when cancer was incurable. There is no immediate cure or surefire treatment that would provide an assurance that a cancer would not recur or stay confined to where it has occurred. Cancer is a fatal disease and it is still complicated, despite the advancements in diagnosis and treatment. Only an oncologist should determine the appropriate treatment for any type of cancer. It is quite possible for a cure to work differently in a particular case. Cancers are diagnosed at different stages and not everyone has the same immune system or cellular activity. There are plenty of variables so any cure for cancer has to be chosen after extensive considerations.

How to Check for Lumps in your Breast

Breast self exam is an easy way to detect tumors in their earliest stages. The tumor may not be malignant, in other words cancerous. It could be benign and hence no treatment may be necessary. It is also possible for the lumps to be something other than tumor. The lumps could be cysts, abscesses, adenomas, intraductal papillomas, fat necrosis or lipomas. None of these are cancerous but they can be painful and there can be other issues, such as discharge or dimpling of the skin at the specific part of the breast. There are several ways to check for lumps in your breast but you should not consider any of the methods to be conclusive. A self exam should be considered as a preliminary check, just to be aware of the unexplained developments in the breast.

Easy Ways to Check for Lumps in your Breast

The simplest method is observation. You can look at your breasts in a mirror and try to spot any aberration. The room should be well lit and the mirror should be large enough for you to get a proper view. You must stand upright with your arms alongside and shoulders stretched appropriately so the chest is broadened. Do not slouch or bend in any way. Make sure your spine is absolutely upright when you conduct this self exam. Only then would you get a true picture of any aberration or the lack of it. However, you should not stretch your back in any manner that is clearly unnatural and not a correct posture.

The aberrations you must be looking for are basically any type of anomaly. There could be some swelling. Some part of your breast may not be its natural shape or form. You may find a visible lump, kind of protruding under the skin. You may not see any such protrusion or bulging. It is possible some parts of your breast would appear to have a different skin tone. It is also common for breasts to vary in size if there are lumps. Dimpling, puckering and bulging are common signs of lumps in breast. The exact position and form of nipples may change if the lumps are in the areola. Redness, rash, soreness and swelling are also common symptoms of lumps in breast.

There is no specific part of the breast where you may have a lump. It could be anywhere in your breast. Hence, you should not only observe the obvious posterior side but also the lateral sides. This is not easy to observe if you simply turn and look at your breast sideways. You must raise your arms and check for signs of aberration. Make sure your posture remains natural and upright when you raise your arms. Do not bend or lean. Do not stretch your arms excessively. Be normal as you would stand straight and check the sides of your breast. You should look for the same anomalies mentioned in the previous step.

A visual self exam may fail to indicate anything if the lump is too subtle. It is quite possible for a lump to develop without any effects on the skin or at the epidermal levels. A physical exam is necessary to locate such lumps. You should use your index, middle and ring fingers joined together and move them circularly from one small part of your breast to the next till you cover the entire organ. You should be gentle but not too subtle with the pressure that you cannot feel anything other than the skin or what is on the surface. You should exert a gentle pressure in a sustained manner. Think of a massage and how you would relieve tension in the muscles with gentle pressures. Use small circular motions so you can focus on every part of your breast without missing even a millimetre. This self exam should not be confined to the breast but must extend sideways, upwards to the collar bones and downwards to beneath the breasts. The motions should cover your cleavage and armpits.

The comprehensive visual and physical exams should be able to infer if there are any lumps. It is possible for tiny lumps to go unspotted in both these inspections, which is why an ultrasound is recommended. You can also perform the physical exam while lying down on the bed or a yoga mat. You can also sit down and perform this exam. It is best to perform the physical exam while standing up, sitting and lying down. Some lumps can be felt while you are standing while some can be felt only when you lay down. Some symptoms are more forthcoming, such as yellowish, watery or milky discharge from one or both nipples. There may be a tinge of blood discharged. Such symptoms warrant immediate medical intervention.

Exercise Caution during the Physical Self Exam

If you think there is a lump or more in your breasts, then you must exercise caution. You would not know if it is a tumor or caused by an infection. You do not know its exact form and state. Hence, it is quite possible exerting too much pressure would worsen the lump. Do not use excessive pressure. Also, do not be alarmed and avoid panicking if you feel something. Lumps are common and not just in breasts but various parts of the body. Only a thorough medical diagnosis should infer what the lump is and you must opt for the appropriate remedies subsequently.