We believe that first aid can be life saving, and that good first aid training is central to this, but there is more than one way to save a life. We now donate to Malaria No More making every delegate that attends our First Aid in Remote Locations course a life saver. So whilst they are learning the skills to save a life, we feel that they are actually saving the life of someone in sub-saharan Africa at the same time.
The work of charities such as Malaria no More is an essential part of the fight against this deadly disease. On our First Aid in Remote Locations courses the delegates are learning and practicing how to deal with catastrophic wounds, but also how to care for a sick colleague, so it’s in keeping that we are so concerned about Malaria.
On the latest course run in the first week of May, our donation allowed testing and treatment to be offered to 100 people, so with 11 delegates on the course that works out at just under 10 lives saved each! Not bad going, especially when you add on the number of times they saved our “casualties” on their #trainforreal first aid training. “Calamity Claire” and “Suffering Sam” [our live role players] had a total of 14 accidents across the course.
If you would like to know more about the work of Malaria No More follow this link, if you would like to know more about our First Aid in Remote Locations course then [again] follow the link, or give us on a call on 0800 242 5210.
Many of our training team travel regularly and have become used to seeing their GP or the travel health clinic for their pre-trip health needs. But a pharmacy for anti-malarial tablets? No “interview” with the doctor or nurse? This has got to be good news.
Now we should say here and now, that you must always seek professional medical advice if you have any doubts about your general health before travel. But for people in good health, with simple requirements, that advice could now be from many pharmacies in the UK.
This has got to be good, less appointments at the doctors, less prescriptions going backwards and forwards [and according to our local pharmacy- cheaper as well].
When people talk about malaria the idea of taking anti-malarial tablets [chemo-prophylaxis if you prefer] has suffered some controversy over the years. However for people traveling from the UK, or returning to malaria areas after a gap of years, it must be seen as a central part of the strategy to prevent the spread of malaria.
This strategy has often been summed up as the ABCD approach.
A-Awareness: be aware if you are traveling to a malaria area. Consider the possible seasonal effects and that people who have lived away for more than 5 years may lose their “immunity”.
B- Bite prevention: This has got to be a major part of the strategy, long clothing, repellents etc
C-Chemo-prophylaxis: Just so there is no doubt, we see this as a central part of the battle. Take the tablets. Take the full course. Continuing after you have returned home. For many parts of the world there is more than one option, so if you are concerned about the one offered ask.
D-Diagnosis: If you have been in a malaria area for more than two days and develop a fever, or have visited one in the last two years, malaria is a possibility. Seek advice about being tested. Malaria testing kits are becoming cheaper and more accessible.
Something we recommend our on First Aid in Remote Locations and similar training is to write a “bragging” list of places you have traveled. Keep it saved online, probably on your email or on an online storage plan [dropbox or googledrive], but give access to someone who could advice the medical staff if you become ill.
But what ever you do, if you’re in the UK consider getting your anti-malarial tablets from the pharmacy next time.
Malaria kills. Figures from many of the charities working in the fight against malaria suggest that the death rate could be higher than 500,000 annual. As the more vulnerable members of communities suffer the most, this is often equated to the death of one child per minute.
Many organisations are working to find a “cure” for malaria, whilst others are working to protect or mitigate the effects to the population. It is this second approach in which Lazarus Training is trying to make its own modest contribution.
We run a series of first aid training courses for media staff, including for those traveling to remote environments. On these first aid in remote locations courses we discuss travel health including malaria [and other vector borne diseases] with our delegates. We discuss the risks, signs and symptoms and preventative strategies including the use of bed nets. The routine use of bed nets whilst in “malaria areas” is only part of the preventative measures we recommend, but it is a simple option available to media workers visiting these areas. Sadly all too often it is not an option for people living in the region.
A number of charities, such as Malaria No More, have started campaigns to raise funds to purchase bed nets and get them to people who are otherwise unprotected. Lazarus Training is supporting this campaign, for each delegate successfully completing our First Aid in Remote Locations training course we will donate the money needed to purchase a bed net.
We encourage our delegates to see bed nets as only one part of their protection, considering the use of repellents, clothing and anti-malarial tablets to give a fuller picture, but providing a bed net to a local person or family is one practical step we can take whilst the multimillion dollar research is conducted into finding a cure.
So from now delegates on our First Aid in Remote Locations training courses are not just learning to save a life in a traumatic emergency, but can save that they have saved a life just by attending our courses.
Dehydration is defined as when the body loses more fluid than it is taking in. It is easy to imagine this happening with someone is exercising hard, or is in a hot environment, but can you get dehydrated in the normal workplace?
The body sheds fluids in a number of ways, including the obvious toilet stuff, such as sweating but also in your breath [but only tiny amounts]. So even in the office or workplace it is likely that our fluid levels are decreasing, additional factors such as air-conditioning or heaters can accelerate this process. As long as the fluid levels are regularly topped up this is fine, but if for any reason our fluid intake drops [or stops] then we can begin to become dehydrated.
Repeated studies have failed to reach clear answers on recommended fluid intakes, as the physical characteristics of the individual are key, but the UK Food Standards Agency recommend drinking 1.2 litres each day. This is based on the the “average” person, living in the UK, during “normal” weather. People traveling or working in hot environments, or in other situations which increase the speed where fluid is lost, need to increase their fluid intake. Some militaries working in hot environments have increased the individual fluid intake to around 11 litres per day.
How to recognise dehydration
Two of the earliest signs of dehydration are thirst and dark urine. Thirst is probably the easiest [and more pleasant] one to monitor in the office, but it also has a flaw: the thirst sensation is removed before the required amount of fluid has been replaced. Knowing this we can ensure that we continue to take fluids on board past the point of quenching our thirst.
Symptoms of dehydration may include:
dizziness or light headedness
confusion and difficulty with concentration
dry mouth, eyes and lips
passing small amounts of urine infrequently- this means less than three or four times daily
If the dehydration becomes severe it can result in:
not passing urine for eight hours
dry skins that slowly returns when pinched upwards
rapid, weal pluse
Treatment of dehydration
Individuals with have their favourite “fluids”, but the recommended fluids to help treat or prevent dehydration are: water, semi-skimmed milk, diluted squash or diluted fruit juices. In the case of treating dehydration, there are commercially available re-hydration solutions which work to replace not just the fluids lost but the additional salts and minerals.
You should resist the temptation to gulp the fluid, no matter how thirsty, as this can lead to a reflex form of vomiting, which will further dehydrate. People planning to carry out long periods of physical activity in hot environments should plan breaks and their fluid intake. For those on the move, products such as water bladders which can be worn on the back or carried in bags are recommended.
Treatment of babies and children
Plenty of fluids is the treatment of choice in dehydration, but with babies it is often wise to avoid fruit juice as this can make diarrhoea and vomiting worse. In children it is often helpful to supplement water with diluted fruit juices or squash. Giving water alone could further dilute already low levels of minerals in the child’s body.
Most cases of simple dehydration can be simply dealt with by re-hydrating, but a visit to the doctor or hospital may be required if you see signs of severe dehydration [as outlined above] or if symptoms continue. If a baby has six or more diarrhoeal stools or vomits three or more times in 24 hours you should contact your GP or out of hours medical advice provider.
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