Think about taking a first aid and CPR course. Contact the American Heart Association or your local chapter of the American Red Cross for information on CPR and first aid training in your community. Courses are periodically run on Tufts campuses and are generally advertised throughout the university. Free first aid tips are available for popular smartphones from the First Aid by American Red Cross app, available in the Apple App Store or through Google Play.
First aid includes assessments and treatments that can be performed by a layperson (the victim or a bystander) with minimal or no medical equipment. First aid should never delay the activation of the emergency medical services (EMS) system or other medical assistance, if needed. This first aid guide is derived from the 2015 American Heart Association and American Red Cross Guidelines for First Aid.
CALLING FOR HELP:
In a medical emergency on campus, activate the emergency medical services (EMS) system by calling the University Police at 617-627-6911.
If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse:
CPR can more than double a person’s chances of survival. Learn more about hands-only CPR at Heart.org/HandsOnlyCPR.
Some infections can be transferred by a victim’s bodily fluids. While intact skin is a generally an effective barrier against outside contagions, bystanders should avoid contact with the body substances of another person. Keep in mind that you can be exposed by touching, splashing, and spraying (i.e., a sneeze or cough) and that exposure may occur through skin contact or contamination in the eyes, mouth, or nose. Body substance isolation refers to the practice of wearing or using barriers such as medical gloves or a CPR mouth-to-mouth barrier device to reduce the risk of transmitting an infection.
It is best to allow only trained rescuers to move a victim who may have a spinal injury, because the victim could be paralyzed if moved improperly. There are, however, exceptions:
Difficulty breathing may be caused by a number of medical problems, including an asthma attack or an allergic reaction. Any difficulty breathing is a serious emergency and requires the immediate activation of EMS.
A victim of an allergic reaction may experience swelling (especially of the face), breathing difficulty, an itching rash, shock, and even death. The victim may have a history of allergic reactions and may carry an epinephrine auto-injector (also known as an EpiPenTM), or the allergic reaction could be the victim’s first.
If you suspect an allergic reaction:
The objectives of providing aid during a seizure are to prevent further injury and to help maintain an open airway. Most seizures, but not all, will stop on their own after a few seconds. Stay calm, and:
A heart attack is normally characterized as severe chest pain, but may be indicated by a number of other, more subtle signs. Heart attacks affect men and women of all ages. Learn to recognize the signs and activate EMS immediately if you suspect someone may be suffering from a heart attack.
The signs of a heart attack might include:
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to primarily complain of other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
If you suspect someone is having a heart attack:
Learn to recognize the signs of a stroke and activate EMS immediately if you believe someone may be suffering from a stroke. Remember FAST:
Diabetic emergencies happen when a victim has dangerously low or high blood sugar levels. Although this type of emergency can happen to anyone, it is more common for diabetics.
Symptoms of a diabetic emergency include:
If a person with diabetes reports having low blood sugar, you may assist by providing them with sugars such as juices, sugar tablets, or glucose gel, for which the victim may have a prescription.
Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink if they are unable to swallow or have slow responses. Call 617-627-6911 to activate EMS.
Injuries sustained at the workplace will require the victim’s supervisor to file certain reports with Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health, the Office of Risk Management, and Insurance Workers’ Compensation. These reports, as well as additional information, are available at viceprovost.tufts.edu/emergencies-accident-reporting.
Controlling bleeding is one thing you can do that can have a major positive effect on outcome.
It is best to apply manual pressure on a gauze bandage or other piece of cloth placed over the bleeding source. If bleeding continues, do not remove the gauze; add more gauze on top and continue to apply pressure. If the victim complains of feeling light-headed or seems to be confused, make sure that EMS is on the way.
Clean the wound with clean, running tap water with or without soap for at least 5 minutes. Application of an antibiotic ointment and a dressing after cleaning has been shown to help wounds heal better. However, do not apply an antibiotic ointment if the victim has known allergies to the antibiotic. Call for EMS or seek medical attention if the wound becomes discolored or swollen, or if the victim develops other symptoms such as lightheadedness.
Immediately cool the burn in cold running water and continue at least until pain is relieved. Do not use ice, as this may freeze skin and cause more damage. Do not pop burn blisters but do cover them loosely with a sterile dressing. Call for EMS or seek medical attention if necessary. Always activate EMS for burns of a large area or for burns affecting the face, hands, or genitals.
Electrical burns are usually internal, and a small external burn may mask a large area of damage inside the victim.
If someone injures a muscle, joint, or bone:
Dental injuries include chipped teeth or a tooth that is knocked out.
Head injuries are very dangerous and should be handled with caution. If the victim has hit their head and has symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headache, confusion, or memory loss, you should immediately:
Just like medical emergencies, mental health emergencies can be life-threatening. A mental health emergency exists when people are at risk of imminent harm to themselves or others, or their judgment and ability to care for themselves is so compromised that they may not be able to function safely.
Signs of a mental health emergency include:
What to do in a mental health emergency:
Do not leave the person who is in crisis alone, even for a moment. Call the University Police immediately at 617-627-3030.
Hypothermia is the lowering of body temperature. Its seriousness depends on the length of the victim’s exposure and their body temperature. If someone appears to be severely hypothermic:
Frostbite is damage to the skin caused by extreme cold or a long period of exposure. It usually affects extremities such has hands, feet, nose, and ears; is characterized by discoloration of the skin; and may include numbness or intense pain. If you suspect frostbite:
Illnesses brought on by heat may include heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Most heat-related emergencies can be prevented by drinking water often during hot weather and staying indoors during the hottest parts of the day. If you suspect someone is having a heat emergency:
Poisons may be ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through parts of the body. Treatment for different types of poisons varies, and no general recommendation can be made other than activating EMS and contacting the Poison Help hotline of the American Association of Poison Control Centers. If you believe someone has ingested poison or see them do it :
Alcohol emergencies may occur when a victim ingests alcoholic beverages. Symptoms of an alcohol-related emergency include:
If a victim shows any signs of an alcohol emergency, call the University Police at 617-627-6911 to activate EMS. If the victim is uninjured, place them on their side and offer reassurance until help arrives. Ensure that the victim remains stationary in a safe location until EMS arrives.
A public health emergency exists when campus air, drinking water, or food is contaminated with one or more hazardous agents such as chemicals or pathogens that could or will result in disease or injury affecting large numbers of people.
Likewise, other campuswide incidents—such as pest infestations or failure of the sewage system—could also cause significant disease or injury to communities.
Actions will be taken to notify the Tufts community of these conditions as soon as Tufts University becomes aware of an outbreak emergency.
The following types of outbreaks or epidemics represent public health emergencies:
Student Health Services, Public Safety, Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health, and Facilities Services each have a responsibility to be aware of the public health significance of utility failures, reports of unusual diseases or injuries, or an unusual frequency of certain diseases and injuries. Tufts University will work closely with local and state agencies such as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to respond quickly and effectively to public health emergencies that occur at Tufts University or in the neighboring community.