Your Guide To Help Sick People Feel Better
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Sickness weakens the body. To gain strength and get well quickly, special care is needed. The care a sick person receives is frequently the most important part of his treatment.
Medicines are often not necessary. But good care is always important. The following are the basis of good care.
|Cold||runny nose, sneezing,coughing,strep throat, vomiting|
|Flu||runny nose ,sneezing coughing,strep throat,vomiting|
1. Why should you care for sick people Edit
A sick person needs love and constant encouragement. A person who is sick should rest in a quiet, comfortable place with plenty of fresh air and light. When they're sick, you can spoil them a little bit, like giving them a healthy treat, a new movie or a story book to keep them active. The person should be prevented from getting too hot or cold. If the air is cold or the person is chilled, cover them with a sheet or blanket. If the room is hot, or the person has a fever, they may need only a light sheet over them. Fever is the body's way of fighting infection- germs don't like hot temperatures any more than people do! However, if fever is causing discomfort it can be controlled with NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or herbal remedies. You can tell if a person is sick by a thermometer or if they have a hot forehead.
Caring for a sick person at home is less costly and one can focus on the patient more. This is the idea of telemedicine that Richard Kimball of HEXL advocates. At home, patients are more comfortable and are able to regain good health. Everyone just needs to learn the basics of home care.
2. Liquids Edit
In nearly every sickness, especially when there is fever,or diarrhea, the sick person should drink plenty of liquids.
|Water||Lollipops (If they have an upset stomach)|
|Soup||Soda (Particularly Coca Cola or other dark carbonated drinks)|
|Crackers||Pasta with Marinara|
3. Personal Cleanliness Edit
It is very important to keep the sick person clean.The person should be bathed every day. If they are too sick to get out of bed, wash them with a sponge or cloth with lukewarm water. The sick person's sheets, clothes, and covers must also be kept clean. If the patient is infectious and defecates, bleeds, or vomits on sheets, they (the sheets) should be washed with bleach to stop the spread of viruses.
4. Good food Edit
A sick person should drink plenty of liquids and eat a lot of nourishing food. If the sick person feels like eating, let them. Most sicknesses do not require special diets. Chicken noodle soup would be better because it does not fill the sick person so then they still have an appetite. But over all, any type of soup that won't give the specific person a allergic reaction is good. medicines should given at time.
If the person is very weak, give them as much nourishing food as they can eat, many times a day. If necessary, mash the foods, or make them into soups or juices. If needed, blend the food so that the sick person doesn't need to chew, if the person is VERY sick.
Soups seem to be a good way to give the person liquids as well as nutrition. A sick person might not have appetite so delivering as much nutrition as possible in as small a portion as possible is important.
Make nutritionally fully-rounded soups. This means with carbohydrates and fats, and very important, soluble and insoluble fiber. Protein can be animal protein (meat including red meat: fish, white meats such as pork, chicken or turkey, and eggs or egg substitute) or vegetable protein. Protein is always important- according to webmd.com, the average person needs around 50 grams of protein per day, regardless of whether they have the flu or not. They recommend lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dairy, eggs, and nuts and seeds as good sources of protein. Soy-based products such as tofu are also high in protein. Keep in mind that some of your clients will be vegetarian or vegan- meat eaters can eat vegetables, but vegetarians/vegans will not eat meat or animal products. Pasta is also good for carbohydrates, and can be turned into a complete protein by combining the grain pasta with nuts, legumes, or seeds. Pasta alone is only a low to medium provider of protein. Vegetables are good for fiber, especially peas, broccoli, and corn (three high fiber foods according to the Mayo Clinic). There are good fats and not-so-good fats. Fish like salmon and tuna, as well as certain nuts such as flax seeds (in the form of flaxseed oil) and walnuts have Omega-3, a good fat. Minimize saturated fats such as butter, bacon, things that are solid at room temperature. They are hard to digest.
A quick and easy way to make a good, nutritiously well-rounded soup is to combine frozen vegetables, pasta and a meat or vegetarian/vegan protein source like tofu with broth (chicken, beef, mushroom, or vegetable stock). If the sick person prefers thick, creamy soups, add milk or yogurt, or dissolved cornstarch, or mashed potatoes to change the texture. Or use a blender to turn the mixture into a thick soup. Minimize spices -- some spices might upset their stomachs and cause intestinal distress. Do not overcook -- heat breaks down vitamins. A daily multi-vitamin can't hurt, either.
Another good all-around food for sick people is oatmeal. It is nutritious and has soluble fiber. Use unsweetened oatmeal. It lets you or the sick person control the flavor. Often, sick people's taste buds gets dead and ability to smell are affected so they might like a different level of sweetness and other flavors. You can vary how oatmeal tastes by adding flavors like cinnamon, or nutmeg, a banana, or raisins, brown sugar, or syrups such as maple or chocolate to make it more interesting.
If a patient is very ill, they should be somewhere that they can be managed by people with far more training than you will find in a wiki article. The mainstream medical establishment is very good at is dealing with acute illness. Find patients professional help if they need it.
With that disclaimer, here are a few things that medics should know about caring for the very ill.
A simple phrase to remember to help you quickly determine if a patient is seriously ill: Air moves in and out (in a healthy person).
If air doesn't seem to easily move in and out of the lungs, the person should be checked for serious illness.
In order for a person to breath, there must be a path for air from the outside of the body to be drawn into the lungs. When a person breathes in, air normally travels through the nose and mouth, through the vocal cords, and into the lungs. When a person breathes out, air normally travels from the lungs, through the vocal cords, and out the nose and mouth.
The position of the head, neck, and torso can affect the ability of the airway to allow air to pass. When someone's head is bent very far forward with their chin against thier chest, or very far back, the airway can narrow. If someone has a large belly, and lays flat on their back or on their belly, the contents of the abdomen can push on the lungs and airway in the neck, making it hard to breathe. Snoring and trouble getting restful sleep can sometimes be linked to airway problems. COUGH COUGH KEITH COUGH COUGH Sometimes the airway, the path for air, can become blocked. Injury to the face or neck can cause the airway to collapse. This is a life threatening situation. Only someone trained to create an artifical airway can correct this problem safely. Paramedics, and in some places EMTs, have the training and supplies needed to create an artificial airway, and should be called right away.
Fluid, such as water, mucus, and blood, can fill the airway and prevent air from moving into and out of the lungs. The face is very vascular (there are many blood vessels that bleed readily), so injury to the face can cause a great deal of blood to enter the airway. If the person with a face injury does not have neck pain or a neck injury, consider tilting the head down (chin toward the chest) so blood can drain out of the nose and mouth instead of down into the lungs.
Sometimes an object can become stuck in the airway, preventing air from moving in and out of the lungs. When an object gets stuck, blocking the airway, this is called choking. If a choking person loses consciousness, you should lay them flat on their back and start CPR.
One of the things the body must do to stay alive is breathe. Breathing involves taking oxygen (a gas in the air) into the lungs, and releasing carbon dioxide (also a gas, produced by the body) by breathing out.
When someone exercises, it is normal for their rate of breathing to increase. When someone is resting, it is normal for their breathing to slow. One important thing to look for when helping someone who is ill is whether this person is breathing fast or slow, and whether their speed of breathing makes sense to you.
For example, at a protest (where there has not been a march) you meet a person who is sitting on a bench breathing very fast with very deep breaths. This person tells you they have not been running, biking, or yelling (activities which would normally increase your rate of breathing). This person is breathing faster than their activity (sitting down) would require. This person may be more ill than they appear, and would benefit from care by a medic.
A good piece of information to collect is the number of breaths a person takes in one minute. This information can be used to help identify very ill people. Healthy people tend to breath 12 - 16 times per minute. Someone who breathes less or more than that range may be ill. When you see someone who is breathing slower than 12 times per minute, or faster than 16, think about whether or not their speed of breath makes sense to you (have they been very physically active?).
You can count someone's breaths for 60 seconds, or if you need to decide quickly if this person is breathing too fast or too slow, count their breaths for 15 seconds, and multiply by 4. For example: A person breathes 4 times in 15 seconds. We multiple the breaths, 14, by 4 to get the number of breaths in 60 seconds: 4 breaths x 4 = 16 breaths in 60 seconds. When unsure, you can always count breaths for 60 seconds.
One type of unusual breathing which medics can address directly is anxious hyperventilation: breathing very fast because of worry or fear. When someone becomes very afraid, the body responds by breathing very fast, which can make the person dizzy, nauseated (upset stomach), weak, have numbness and curling of hands and feet. If someone hyperventilates for a long period of time, they can lose consciousness (pass out). Usually when someone passes out from hyperventilation, their breathing returns to normal and they soon wake up. It is important to help someone with hyperventilation avoid passing out. When someone passess out, they are not able to protect themselves, and may injury themselves by collapsing against something hard.
Medics can help someone who is hyperventilating by guiding them away from a dangerous situation (which may be causing fear) and reassuring the person they are not in danger. Medics can use a calm, confident voice and look directly at the person, reminding them that the medic is there to help them and that they are safe. Educate the person about how their fast breathing can make them feel worse (dizziness, nausea, numbness in arms and legs), and coach them on slowing their breathing. Medics can breath slowly and deeply themselves, and ask the person to try to slow their own breathing to match the medic's breathing. Praise the person for any success they have in slowing their breathing, and encourage them to continue focusing on their breathing.
A simple phrase to remember to help you quickly determine if a patient is seriously ill: Blood goes 'round and 'round (in a healthy person).
When the heart beats, blood with oxygen is sent from the heart (in the chest) out to all parts of the body to provide nutrients to feed all the organs. Blood that has dropped off nutrients picks up waste and brings it to the kidneys and lungs to be expelled from the body, then returns to the heart. With each beat of the heart, blood pulses out to the extremities (head, arms, legs) and this pulse can be felt against the skin in the neck, wrists, and tops of the feet.
If the heart doesn't beat, blood doesn't go 'round and 'round, and a person dies. If a person loses their heart beat (when you can't feel a pulse in someone's neck), someone who has training should start CPR right away. Call for an ambulance, and do not stop CPR until an ambulance crew can take over CPR. CPR is most effective when it is uninterrupted.
Just like the lungs, there is a normal range for how many times the heart beats in one minute. Counting heart beats in one minute can help a medic determine if a person is very ill. A normal heart beat when a person is resting is 60-80 beats per minute. Very healthy people sometimes having a resting heart rate in the 50's. People with long term health challenges sometimes have resting heart rates in the 80's or 90's. People who are very active may have heart rates around 120-130 beats per minute when active (running, bicycling, yelling).
Because some people have irregular heartbeats, it is important to count heart beats for 60 seconds (unless your environment is dangerous to you or the person you are helping and you can only count for 15 seconds). If you feel the pulse speed up and slow down when you are counting heart beats, make sure to share that with anyone else caring for this person.
It is important for the health of a person to have good circulation.
Signs of good circulation include:
- dark, sometimes pink, color under finger and toe nails
- dark, sometimes pink, color to lips
- room temperature or warm fingers and toes
Signs of poor circulation include:
- pale color under finger and toe nails
- pale color to lips, sometimes ash or grey color
- cool or cold temperature fingers and toes
Environment can affect the ways someone's circulation appears. In very hot weather, or when the body tempurature is very high, the skin may be flush (very red and/or hot to the touch). The body is trying to give heat to the air by increasing blood flow to the skin. Remove them from the hot environment if possible, place them indoors or in the shade, give them cool (not cold) fluids, consider misting them with water (which will act like sweat and evaporate, cooling the person). A cool bath is a good way to cool the body, but do not use ice water. Always cool someone slowly (unless that person is having a heat emergency).
In cold weather, you may see signs of poor circulation (pale color, hands and feet cold to the touch). The body is restricting blood flow to the skin and arms and legs to keep heat from escaping through the skin. It is important to warm this person using blankets (or other layers of fabric), remove them from the cold if possible, and give them warm (not hot) fluids (warm water, broth, hot chocolate). Look for improving skin color and warming of hands and feet. Always warm someone slowly.
The brain controls the body, and we can learn things about the health of the brain by looking at the behavior of the body.
Note: There is great diversity in the behavior of a body from one person to another. Without already knowing ior is worrisome. When possible, ask the person or others who know the person if a behavior you see is something normal for this person, or something new.
In a person who doesn't have a history of a brain injury or other change in function, you would expect to see the following behaviors:
- The person's eyes both look at the medic when the person and the medic are talking.
- The movements of the person's face are the same on each side of the face (symmetric).
- The person's speech sounds clear (not muffled or slurred, or absent).
- The person's speech makes sense to you (providing you speak the same language as the person).
- The person's arms can reach for something in front of them and touch the object successfully.
- The person can perform a task with both arms at the same time with the same amount of strength.
One life threatening medical problem that medics can screen for is a stroke. A stroke happens when blood flow to part of the brain is stopped. Someone who has a stroke usually has sudden changes in neurological function, and should recieve hospital treatment within one hour of the start of changes in neurological function to have the best outcome. Anyone with new neuro changes should see a doctor, even if it takes more than one hour to get to the doctor.
A tool for easily detecting a stroke that medics can use is F.A.S.T. When caring for someone who is very ill, you should suspect a stroke if:
- F: The person's Face is not symmetric when they smile or speak (usually one side of the face droops or doesn't move)
- A: The Arms don't equally squeeze the medic's hands (one grip is weaker). When the person closes their eyes and holds their arms out in front of them, one arm drops down to their side while the other remains held up.
- S: The Speech of the person is slurred, confused, or the person can no longer speak.
- T: The changes to neuro function have happened within the last hour.
Remember, when considering neurological status of a person, try to understand the person's baseline (normal) behavior. Some people have slurred speech their whole lives. Others have weakness in one arm from an old stroke. Learning (as best you are able to) a person's baseline will help you to understand if the person's behavior reflects a worrisome new problem which requires your help.
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