In a medical emergency on campus, activate the emergency medical services (EMS) system by calling the University Police at 617.627.6911 (x66911 from a campus phone).
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 across the university.
First aid tips are available for popular smartphones free of charge from the American Red Cross.
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.*
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.
If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse:
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 effective barrier against outside contagions, it is recommended that any bystander avoid contact with the body substances of another person. Keep in mind that you can be exposed by touching, splashing, spraying (i.e. a sneeze or cough), and that exposure may occur by 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, for a victim that may have a spinal injury could be paralyzed if moved improperly. There are, however, a few notable 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 will stop on their own after a few seconds, but not all will. 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 victims with diabetes.
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 which the victim may be prescribed.
Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink if they are unable to swallow or have slow responsiveness. Call 617.627.6911 (x66911 from a campus phone) to activate EMS.
Injuries sustained at the workplace may require the victim’s supervisor to file certain reports with Environmental Health & Safety and the Office of Risk Management & Insurance Worker’s Compensation Program. These reports, as well as additional information, are available at publicsafety. tufts.edu/accident/.
Control of bleeding is a first aid action by which you 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.
Burns Caused by Heat
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, do loosely cover them 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.
Burns Caused by Electricity
Electrical burns are usually internal, and only a small outside burn may mask a large area of damage inside the victim.
Burns Caused by Chemicals
If you see someone spill chemicals on themselves:
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 any symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headache, confusion or memory loss, you should immediately:
Hypothermia is the lowering of body temperature. The 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 long period of exposure. Usually affecting extremities such has hands, feet, nose, ears, frostbite 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 there is no general recommendation that 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 (x66911 from a campus phone) to activate EMS. If uninjured, place the victim on their side and reassure the victim until help arrives. Ensure 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 impacting large numbers of people. Likewise, other campus-wide incidents such as pest infestations or failure of the sewage system also have the potential to result in disease or injury that would be significant to communities. Actions will be taken to notify the Tufts community of these conditions as soon as Tufts University becomes aware of an outbreak of such an emergency.
The following types of outbreaks or epidemics represent public health emergencies:
Student Health Service, Public and Environmental Safety 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.
In case of emergency call 617.627.6911 (x66911 from a campus phone). Fire on the Boston health sciences and SMFA campuses call 911. Visit the University Police website for a complete list of campus-specific phone numbers.