Medical emergencies can happen anywhere, especially if you have a chronic illness. If you plan on traveling and plan on enjoying your travels, try to stay healthy:
Have a checkup at least yearly and more often if recommended by your physician.
Follow your doctor's order concerning medications and recommendations for medications and diet.
If you are overweight, ask your doctor for information on weight loss diets that are appropriate for your health status.
Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of conditions that require immediate medical intervention, such as heart attack and stroke.
Take a Red Cross first-aid class to help provide immediate aid on the spot for medical emergencies and accidents.
Wear a medical alert bracelet to notify first responders of any special medical conditions or needs.
If you are planning on camping in a remote area, do not do it alone. Use the buddy system to ensure that help can be obtained if an emergency should arise.
Heart Attack and Stroke
Heart attack and stroke are major medical emergencies and among the leading causes of death among adults over the age of sixty-five. Learn to recognize the symptoms that you or your travel companion may exhibit if you are suffering from either of these conditions.
Some or all of these symptoms may be observed:
Pale, sweaty skin
Cyanosis (blue discoloration) of the lips or nail beds
Complaints of chest pain or heaviness — it may be either sharp or dull
Pain on the inside of the left arm or left lower jaw
Shortness of breath
Pain that mimics indigestion but does not subside with antacids
If you observe someone with these symptoms, call for help (911 if available) and stay close to provide assistance. Help the person to a comfortable position as he or she wishes. Know CPR and be prepared to provide it if the condition progresses to a stopping of the heart.
Taking an aspirin at the first sign of a heart attack has been shown to decrease permanent damage to the heart by about 30 percent. Under no circumstances, should you give aspirin to someone suspected of having a stroke. Aspirin is a blood thinner and, in some cases of stroke, can cause more damage.
Stoke is a condition in which brain damage is caused by either blockage of a blood vessel by a blood clot, or by bleeding into the brain caused by rupture of a blood vessel. If treatment is initiated early in the event, full or near full recovery can be expected. If treatment is delayed, paralysis or death may occur.
Some of the symptoms that may be seen include the following:
Slurring of speech
Inability to move one side of the body
Call for help immediately or get the victim to an emergency room as soon as possible.