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MEDICAL EMERGENCIES

Medical problems and emergencies you may be faced with include breathing problems, severe bleeding, and shock.

Breathing Problems

Any one of the following can cause airway obstruction, resulting in stopped breathing:

  • Foreign matter in mouth of throat that obstructs the opening to the trachea.
  • Face or neck injuries.
  • Inflammation and swelling of mouth and throat caused by inhaling smoke, flames, and irritating vapors or by an allergic reaction.
  • "Kink" in the throat (caused by the neck bent forward so that the chin rests upon the chest) may block the passage of air.
  • Tongue blocks passage of air to the lungs upon unconsciousness. When an individual is unconscious, the muscles of the lower jaw and tongue relax as the neck drops forward, causing the lower jaw to sag and the tongue to drop back and block the passage of air.

Severe Bleeding

Severe bleeding from any major blood vessel in the body is extremely dangerous. The loss of 1 liter of blood will produce moderate symptoms of shock. The loss of 2 liters will produce a severe state of shock that places the body in extreme danger. The loss of 3 liters is usually fatal.

Shock

Shock (acute stress reaction) is not a disease in itself. It is a clinical condition characterized by symptoms that arise when cardiac output is insufficient to fill the arteries with blood under enough pressure to provide an adequate blood supply to the organs and tissues.

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