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How to Respond to an Asthma Attack

A lot of people know someone who has asthma but many of us don’t know exactly what to do when they suffer an attack right before us and they are struggling to breathe.

How you react to such situations can have a huge impact on the victim’s health and well-being and that is why we have penned this post so as to enlighten you on what asthma is and how to respond to an asthma emergency.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a common chronic respiratory condition that is potentially life-threatening. It affects about 10% of young children although there are adults still suffering from the same.

Most patients find it difficult to control their asthma at certain times of the year with the cold weather responsible for the most severe attacks.

Those with asthma experience tightness in their chests and the lining of their airways get inflamed which makes them produce phlegm. This makes it difficult to breathe and the patient could be found gasping for breath.

The Triggers for Asthma

There are various triggers for asthma with pollen, pollution and cold weather chief among them.

Most asthma patients are aware of what triggers their asthma attacks but sometimes there is nothing they can do to avoid them. Most trees and grass species release their pollen during spring and this is the time when most asthma cases are reported.

The Symptoms of Asthma

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of asthma to look out for.

  1. Coughing.
  2. Shortness of breath.
  3. Wheezing.
  4. Tightness in the chest.
  5. Production of mucus and phlegm.

Some people may not exhibit all these symptoms at once but if several of them are present, then that person is very likely suffering an asthma attack.

How to Help Someone Suffering an Asthma Attack?

When you notice the symptoms of asthma as they have been highlighted above, then it is time to act so as to help the individual recover from the attack.

Training in First Aid with CPR C and AED will give you the confidence to respond appropriately to the attack and prevent the emergency from escalating any further. Here is what you need to do in the event of an asthma attack;

  1. Remain calm and encourage the victim to remain calm as well.
  2. Get the patient to sit down and loosen their clothes. Ask them to take slow and steady breaths as they settle down.
  3. If they are still not feeling better, get their reliever inhalers and ask them to inhale the medication.
  4. Call emergency medical services and give your exact location. In the meantime, the patient should keep using the inhaler.
  5. If the symptoms don’t improve and you suspect that the attack is as a result of an allergic reaction, then ask the person if they have an epinephrine auto-injector. Read the instructions on how to administer the injection and if you are not sure of how to go about it, let emergency medical services guide you on how to do it.

NOTE: It’s not advisable to take the victim outside for air as the cold could make the symptoms worse.

The post How to Help Someone Experiencing an Asthma Attack appeared first on SOS First Aid.

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First Aid Following a Skiing Accident

Skiing is a lot of fun and it makes for a great outdoor activity. Families can head out for a skiing trip during the holidays as a way of bonding and spending time together. Love birds can also use the trip to connect and get to know each other as they enjoy the best that nature has to offer.

The adrenaline rush brought about when one hits the slopes is, however, not without risk as one could get injured when an accident occurs high up on the mountains. This, however, is not to scare you from your favorite outdoor adventure as with the right precautionary measures, you can safely enjoy your skiing trip.

To be on the safe side, however, one needs to prepare for such eventualities and this is what you need to do when you come across an accident or when get involved in one yourself while you are on the slopes.

Clear the danger

When you come across a skiing accident, the first thing you need to do is to try and warn other skiers that an accident has just happened in the area.

Without doing so, you could put yourself and the injured person in danger as other skiers unaware that an accident has occurred will be approaching the area at full speed and they could hit you and harm you.

You should, therefore, try and alert approaching skiers of the accident by placing crossed skies or planting a snowboard near the injured person.

Respond quickly

Skiing injuries can be fatal and as such, you need to respond quickly and offer first aid to the injured skier. Those trained in Standard First Aid are best-placed to provide the needed attention to those who get injured when skiing as they wait for rescue services.

Check if the injured person is breathing by tilting the head and lifting the chin and if they aren’t, send a bystander to call 911 and start CPR. If the injured skier is breathing properly, then monitor and stay with the injured person and as you wait for rescue services. Check for signs of bleeding and apply direct pressure on the injured part so as to stop the bleeding.

Call Emergency Services

You have to alert rescue services and EMS and let them know that an accident has occurred and someone has been injured. Clearly state if the person is responsive and breathing and the number of people who have been injured so as to help the emergency services prepare adequately for the rescue operation.

Give them your exact location so as to help them get to you in the shortest time possible. It is for this reason why you need your phone with you when skiing so as to make it easy to get help when you get involved or when you come across an accident on the slopes.    

The post What you Should do When you Have an Accident When Skiing appeared first on SOS First Aid.

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What You Should Do in the Event of a Stroke

A stroke is a medical emergency characterized by an attack on the brain. It happens when blood flow to the brain gets interrupted by a clot or when blood vessels in the brain bleed resulting in the damage or death of brain cells.

The symptoms for these two types of stroke are the same and they can happen to people of any age, including babies, although they are more common in older people. This is because the arteries get narrow and accumulate fat deposits and clots as people age and this increases the chance of one suffering a stroke.

Lifestyles choices such as drinking too much alcohol and smoking and medical conditions such as high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol are other risk factors for stroke.

What Are the Symptoms of a Stroke

A stroke can be quite fatal and this calls for quick action if the victim is to survive with lesser long-term effects.

It is, therefore, advisable to have prior training in Standard First Aid so as to be able to offer the rapid response and treatment needed to save the life of someone suffering a stroke.

Here are the signs of stroke that you should be on the lookout for:

What Does F.A.S.T Stand For in Relation to a Stroke Face

Check the face for signs for numbness. Can the victim smile and show his or her teeth? Does the face droop on one side?

Arms

Check for numbness in one or both arms? Can the victim raise both arms and hold them up for a while or does one arm remain low when the victim tries to raise both arms.

Speech

Can the victim speak properly or is the speech garbled or slurred? Can the victim repeat phrases that you have just uttered?

Time

If you notice any of these three symptoms, then the victim may be suffering a stroke and it is time to act. Remember that time is of the essence in this case and you need to act quickly and help the victim access the needed medical attention. Call the emergency medical services in your area and clearly state the symptoms of the victim.

Before the EMS arrive at the scene, there are a few things that you need to do so as to increase the chances of survival. Make sure that the affected person is comfortable and out of danger.

The victim may be out of balance so it’s advisable to lay them down and make sure that they are breathing properly. Perform CPR on the victim if you assess that they are not breathing.

In addition to CPR, use an AED for defibrillation if one is available until EMS arrives and takes over at the scene.

The post How to Help Someone Who is Having a Stroke appeared first on SOS First Aid.

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The Benefits of Learning First Aid

First aid saves lives. This is one thing we are all aware of but quite worryingly, 8 parents out of 10 admit that they don’t know the basic first aid procedures needed to save the lives of their children in case something bad happens.

With children exposed to all manner of dangers such as cuts, falls, electric shocks, and burns as a result of their playful nature, it is quite alarming that most parents wouldn’t know what to do when such hazards befall their kids. Most parents live in the hope that such accidents will not happen to them or their kids but the reality is that medical emergencies are not that far off where kids are involved.

It is, therefore, imperative that parents find the time to learn Standard First Aid so as to be able to offer the right medical response when an emergency strikes. Here are some of the reasons why you need to do that.

To Save a Life

First aid could be the difference between life and losing those you love. Statistics from the Red Cross indicate that about 60% of deaths from injuries could be prevented had first aid been offered before emergency services arrived at the scene.

Emergency services can delay arriving at the scene of an accident as a result of different factors such as traffic snarl-ups and first aid offered to the victims could be what is needed to keep the injured person holding on till they arrive.

It Reduces Recovery Time

First aid offered promptly and in the right manner helps reduce the amount of time one needs to recover after an accident. It also reduces the likelihood of one suffering permanent disability following an accident.

It Prevents Medical Situations from Deteriorating

Understanding the basic first aid procedures can help prevent a medical emergency from getting worse. The victim of an accident could be choking on something he or she was chewing and with your knowledge of first aid, you will be able to check his or her airway and clear the obstruction.

An accident victim could be injured and bleeding profusely but with your first aid training, you will be able to stop the bleeding and prevent the situation from deteriorating any further.

It Reduces the Pain Experienced by the Casualty

An accident victim could be in a lot of pain but your knowledge of basic first aid procedures will allow you to stay calm and offer the casualty the needed emotional support which helps relieve the pain.

You will also know how to move the victim and bandage up their injuries which greatly reduces the pain they are experiencing.

It Empowers You

Knowledge in first aid empowers you to act confidently and appropriately when an accident occurs. It makes you understand that it is important to act on life-saving injuries fast before you get to your phone and call for emergency services.

The post 5 Reasons Why You Need To Learn First Aid appeared first on SOS First Aid.

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What You Need to Know about Commercial Drivers’ Hours of Service?

Following the government’s hours of service (HOS) regulations is a must for every commercial driver in North America.  Specific rules will vary in Canada and in the US; however, these rules must be followed in the respective country regardless of the carrier’s or driver’s origin.

These rules govern how much drivers can work and how much rest is required to conduct driver duties safely. HOS rules are not difficult to follow but they must be followed!

What is HOS (Hours of Service)?

Commercial drivers are regulated by law to follow standards related to driving, working and sleeping while on duty. These regulations also cover activities related to off-duty hours as well.

The terms driving, on-duty, off-duty, & sleeping refer to regulations that describe the driver’s daily activities.  The term on-duty is defined as the time that is directly spent performing work-related activities, other than driving activities. Non-driving tasks can include loading and unloading cargo, pre-trip inspections or waiting for a cargo load.

The term off-duty is the time that is spent on activities not related to the work.  Off-duty pertains to any activities that are performed when relieved of all duties and responsibilities for the vehicle and cargo or passengers. The term driving is when a commercial driver is physically rolling a vehicle on the road.

HOS regulations require drivers to complete and sign daily activities in a logbook and also complete a trip inspection report.  The logbook contains daily activities including date, driving hours, total km/miles driven, sleep hours, on-duty and off-duty hours, the truck/trailer/tractor number, carrier’s name, and if applicable, co-drivers name.

A logbook is not required for city drivers rolling within a 160km radius of their home terminal each day followed by 8 hours of off-duty. In this case, a daily trip inspection is always required.

Canadian Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations can be found here.

Why is this Regulation so Important?

Safety should be the number one priority when driving a vehicle for everyone.  This is especially important for people driving a large commercial vehicle because a small error can not only harm the driver but can cause devastating effects to many people impacted by an accident.

In order for commercial drivers and those around them to stay safe on the road, they should obey the Hours of Service rules and regulations.

What Happens if a Commercial Driver does not Meet these Standards?

Commercial drivers that do not comply with motor vehicle transport regulations, including the hours of service rules, can face very steep penalties.  This can include:

  • large monetary fines against the driver and/or carrier,
  • Ministry of Transportation driver and/or carrier audits,
  • a downgrade in the safety rating for the carrier, or
  • the truck can be declared out-of-service  

There have been some disastrous and traumatic accidents that have caused many deaths and affected entire communities because a driver did not comply with hours of service requirements. Accidents are preventable. Follow the regulations and you can prevent accidents from occurring.

The post Why are Commercial Drivers’ Hours of Service Important? appeared first on SOS First Aid.

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The WSIB will audit high risk industries.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is focusing their health and safety audits on high risk businesses.  According to a March 8th editorial in the Toronto Star, Tom Bell, Chief Risk Officer at WSIB, stated they will re-focus their resources on business categories that tend to not be in compliance and are at a higher risk of being in breach of health and safety standards.

The current WSIB business audit selection team selects random businesses for audit, and WSIB inspectors find that over half of these business fully comply with the Ministry of Labour health and safety standards.  Mr. Bell stated this is not a good use of their audit team resources. The decision to implement a risk-based audit approach will drive a more effective use of these audits and uncover more businesses that are not in line with standards.  For example, temporary employment agencies are considered high risk in this area; therefore, WSIB will perform more audits with these businesses.

Ontario businesses need to ensure their employees are protected and kept safe from harm. Should an injury occur, appropriate incident management and reporting procedures need to be followed. Health and Safety compliance is the obligation of all Ontario businesses.  A large majority of Ontario business adhere to these standards; however, businesses that struggle and fall short on compliance should contact external consultants or the WSIB for assistance. The Board will gladly educate the company on where their risks are in the operation.

Not only is health and safety an obligation, but many clients include “Safety” as a key business benefit in their mission statement. A workplace that is safe and healthy not only protects the employee from harm and illness, but also lowers company injury and illness costs, reduces absenteeism and increases the corporate retention rate.  Having a safe and healthy workplace will also improve productivity, quality of work, morale and ensures that employees go home every night to their families.

There are so many business and more importantly ethical benefits by keeping employees safe!

The post WSIB refocuses Ontario’s Health and Safety Audits appeared first on SOS First Aid.

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The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has found a much deeper link between heart disease, stroke and cognitive decline than medical experts previously thought.

New groundbreaking research looked at hospitalizations from 2007 to 2017 and revealed that people who have one vascular condition are at a much higher risk for developing multiple vascular conditions. A full 40% of these patients were admitted at least one or more times for a related illness.

Some of the findings include a higher risk of vascular cognitive impairment for patients with heart failure, congenital heart disease, and atrial fibrillation.

According to the Report:
  • People with heart failure are 2.6 times more likely to experience vascular cognitive impairment
  • Congenital heart disease may triple the risk of early onset vascular cognitive impairment (under age 65) and increase the risk of late-onset vascular cognitive impairment by 30 percent
  • People with atrial fibrillation are 1.4 times more likely to experience vascular cognitive impairment
  • People with heart valve disease have a 25 percent increased risk of vascular cognitive impairment
  • Thirty percent of people who experience a second stroke are at risk of developing vascular cognitive impairment

The study also highlights significant gaps in our current medical system which favours a system based on one-discipline medical professionals. Specialists of related fields need to work better together to help Canadians prevent health conditions that are inter-connected like vascular dementia.

Canadians also need to be more proactive about their health by ensuring doctors check for other conditions now known to be related and linked. Canadians should also prioritize prevention and know the risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

There are several risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Some can be controlled while others cannot.

Uncontrollable Risk Factors Include:
  • Gender (males are at greater risk)
  • Age (the older you get, the higher your risk)
  • A family history of heart disease
  • Post-menopausal women (heart disease increases after menopause)
Risk Factors That Can be Controlled Are:
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes and high blood sugar levels
  • Stress and anger

Making some lifestyle changes can reduce your chance of having heart disease, stroke, and dementia and it’s never too late to start. First aid courses can help Canadians become more knowledgeable about risk factors and learn how to help a person having a heart attack or stroke.

The post Heart and Stroke Foundation Reveals Link between Heart Disease & Dementia appeared first on SOS First Aid.

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Psychological first aid participants build the case study.

SOS First Aid and Safety Training is excited to offer Psychological First Aid training to members of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. PFA courses will be provided as early as Spring 2019 at the Chamber’s head office on Kerr St. in Oakville Ontario. SOS is a long-time Chamber member, former Small Business of the Year award winner and Red Cross Training Partner for 15 years. With funding from Bell Let’s Talk, the Canadian Red Cross launches Psychological First Aid as part of its first aid certification and training programming for the workplace and the general public.

People who suffer from high stress levels, burnout, trauma and suicidal thoughts (and actions) are at an all-time high in the workplace, at schools, in indigenous communities and among professional responders. Supporting the emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing of communities is a top priority for SOS First Aid and the Canadian Red Cross.

Who better than the Red Cross to develop a program that supports people suffering from life’s challenges and that promotes first aid for mental health to people in need? The Red Cross has a long-standing history of helping vulnerable people.

The Canadian Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross Movement – the world’s largest disaster preparedness and response network. The humanitarian movement has been helping communities and individuals prepare, respond and recover from disasters since the mid 1800s. Part of its mandate is to help identify physical and emotional risks among vulnerable populations, identify gaps and educate people on how to develop an emergency plan. Helping to develop a plan that supports people suffering emotionally or from mental illness and educating people on how to implement the plan are part of the Psychological First Aid curriculum.

What is Psychological First Aid?

PFA is a framework for action that guides helpers to promote safety and assistance to vulnerable people suffering from various types of stress, trauma, grief and loss. Participants learn and apply the Red Cross Look, Listen, Link, Live support model through case studies.

What is the role of a PFA provider?

  • To ensure people’s basic needs are met (safety, food, water, shelter, etc.)
  • To provide accurate information and dispel rumours and myths
  • To connect those in need to the appropriate supports and resources
  • To promote safety, calm, connectedness, self/community efficacy, and hope.

Who should take Psychological First Aid?

This course is for anyone looking to acquire knowledge and learn techniques to recognize and assist people in crisis after experiencing loss, grief, trauma, and stress. The course is also for people looking to develop a prevention and action plan for building resiliency and supporting mental health issues in the workplace, at home or in the community.

What is the difference between mental health first aid and psychological first aid?

Mental health first aid teaches learners how to help someone experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis, Red Cross Psychological First Aid is a resiliency-building program that teaches participants prevention and coping strategies for dealing with different types of stress resulting from trauma, grief and loss.

For more information, please contact SOS First Aid and Safety Training at info@sosfirstaid.ca or 905-844-9813. To register for the program, click here.

The post Psychological First Aid: Building Resiliency and Coping Strategies appeared first on SOS First Aid.

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The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has found a much deeper link between heart disease, stroke and cognitive decline than medical experts previously thought.

New groundbreaking research looked at hospitalizations from 2007 to 2017 and revealed that people who have one vascular condition are at a much higher risk for developing multiple vascular conditions. A full 40% of these patients were admitted at least one or more times for a related illness.

Some of the findings include a higher risk of vascular cognitive impairment for patients with heart failure, congenital heart disease and atrial fibrillation.

According to the report:

  • People with heart failure are 2.6 times more likely to experience vascular cognitive impairment
  • Congenital heart disease may triple the risk of early onset vascular cognitive impairment (under age 65) and increase the risk of late onset vascular cognitive impairment by 30 per cent
  • People with atrial fibrillation are 1.4 times more likely to experience vascular cognitive impairment
  • People with heart valve disease have a 25 per cent increased risk of vascular cognitive impairment
  • Thirty percent of people who experience a second stroke are at risk of developing vascular cognitive impairment

The study also highlights significant gaps in our current medical system which favours a system based on one-discipline medical professionals. Specialists of related fields need to work better together to help Canadians prevent health conditions that are inter-connected like vascular dementia.

Canadians also need to be more proactive about their health by ensuring doctors check for other conditions now known to be related and linked. Canadians should also prioritize prevention and know the risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

There are several risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Some can be controlled while others cannot.

Uncontrollable risk factors include:

  • Gender (males are at greater risk)
  • Age (the older you get, the higher your risk)
  • A family history of heart disease
  • Post-menopausal women (heart disease increases after menopause)

Risk factors that can be controlled are:

  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes and high blood sugar levels
  • Stress and anger

Making some lifestyle changes can reduce your chance of having heart disease, stroke and dementia and it’s never too late to start. First aid courses can help Canadians become more knowledgeable about risk factors and learn how to help a person having a heart attack or stroke.

The post Heart and Stroke reveals link between Heart Disease and Dementia appeared first on SOS First Aid.

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North Oakville is home to the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre (OPNC), a community-based, charitable agency that first opened its doors in 1999. The Centre is located at 2200 Sawgrass Drive, just west of Trafalgar, off Glenashton Dr. Everyone is welcomed at this vibrant community centre. People of all abilities can find supports and programs here, regardless of background, race, age, beliefs or income.

Safety programs for adults and children are offered on weekends at OPNC. SOS First Aid training services align with the centre’s goal to support, connect and contribute to the community. The centre offers multicultural programs, a food bank, a community garden, and support for families with disabilities, to name a few of its offerings.  For more information about programs for adults, seniors and children, please visit OPNC’s website at http://opnc.ca/programs-b/

Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre has programs for children five days per week, including the Learn, Share, Giggle and Care drop-in program, a child development resource centre, social skills programs, Baby Rhyme Time, children’s reading and tutoring club, speech therapy, a homeschooling club, parenting support and workshops and an after-school program for Grades 4-9.

Other agencies providing programs at the centre include:

The centre is run by Executive Director Michelle Knolls, dedicated staff and many caring volunteers. If you are interested in dedicating some time or if you want to connect with the Oak Park community, get in touch with the centre. They need volunteers throughout the year and have many opportunities.

The Centre relies on donations, grants and fundraising. Members who are able to afford it are asked to contribute $60 per year to help offset expenses.

Be sure to visit OPNC’s facebook page: www.facebook.com/oakparkneighbourhoodcentre.

The post Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre offers First Aid courses appeared first on SOS First Aid.

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