Test Your ER IQ

As many of our regular readers know, I spend most of my spare time working as a volunteer EMT. The long hours and sacrificed sleep are a small price to pay for the camaraderie, sense of community service and the knowledge that you’re helping people during their worst moments.

Not to mention it satisfies the needs of my inner adrenaline-junkie!

Not knowing what the next call is going to be is both exciting and challenging. Not knowing who or what you’re going to find when you arrive on scene keeps things interesting.  From minor toothache to major trauma, you just never know.

It’s not always high drama. Many calls are probably unnecessary and leave us thinking “You called 911 for that?!?”  Sometimes we may even toss in the odd silent expletive or two!

But we never say it out loud. We’re trained to accept that it’s an emergency to the patient / family even if we don’t regard it as such.  And we accept that sometimes people just don’t know better.

New parents especially, seem to find it difficult to decide whether to take their child to the emergency room in the middle of the night or to wait until morning to see their child’s doctor, or even to recognize that something like crying, in a newborn, is perfectly normal.

Not surprising then that children under 4 account for about 10% of the 115 million emergency room visits a year.  Which is why we welcome a recent initiative by ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital.

Through a series of interactive videos, doctors and nurses guide parents through several common medical scenarios including ear pain, asthma attack, ankle pain, allergic reaction,  laceration, sore throat, abdominal pain  and mosquito bites.

In each video, you make the decision to go or not to go to the ER. The expert then explains which choice makes the most sense .  Click on the links above to see if you would make the right decisions.

Should this be mandatory viewing for all parents?  Let us know what you think.

Back-to-school lesson on food allergies

According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), nearly six million children across the United States suffer from food allergies. Of those, more than 300,000 were admitted to hospital in the last year alone. To help ensure your food allergic child doesn’t suffer the same fate, SRxA’s Word on Health offers some simple Back-to-School tips for parents. The key to preventing allergic reactions and anaphylaxisis preparation:

  • Contact the school well in advance of the first day of class and let your child’s teachers, coaches and school nurse know about their allergies
  • Provider the school with a copy of your Child’s Anaphylaxis Action Plan
  • Find out about field trips, parties, and special events such as Halloween or Valentine’s to ensure that allergens don’t sneak in along with other treats
  • Meet with key personnel that will take care of your child if a reaction occurs
  • Find out what plans are already in place for children with food allergies and what steps will be taken if an allergic reaction occurs at school
  • Ensure that any medication, such as an EpiPen, on that plan has a physician’s order to cover it at school and that medication is readily available to personnel if it needs to be administered
  • Teach your child what foods are off limits
  • Teach your child to recognize symptoms and let an adult know immediately if they think they might be suffering an allergic reaction.
  • Make sure your child understands not to trade food with others or eat anything with unknown ingredients.

Schools and teachers can also prepare themselves for the food allergic children in their class.  FAAN produces some excellent resources as part of its Safe@School campaign. For example, they offer expert in-service training to school districts to prepare staff to confidently CARE™ for students with food allergies by teaching them how to: In addition, FAAN provides training presentations, suitable for elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities. So whether you’re a child, parent or teacher dealing with food allergies, be prepared, be safe and CARE this back-to-school season.