It’s the moment everyone dreads. That pavement that looked wet turned out to be black ice. And so now it’s a battle against gravity. Your limbs move in different directions, making you look like a poor Bruce Lee tribute and suddenly become aware that your feet are level with your eyes and it’s as if time stands still. There’s that moment when you seem to hang in mid air and then like Wiley Coyote your eyes stay in mid air as the body falls towards the ground. But, of course rather than lie still you bounce up like you hit an invisible trampoline and pretend you meant to do it and everything’s fine. The trouble is the next day you are black and blue! And worse still your kids have posted the video on social media and you are an internet sensation!
That’s the problem with falls, the adrenaline kicks in, fake push ups begin and combined with embarrassment you don’t perhaps think of the damage you could have done falling or sometimes getting up afterwards.
So, here’s a quick guide to help you to work out how bad a fall is and whether someone needs hospital treatment after a fall. A First Aiders guide to a fall.
- First, don’t be too quick to help someone up or get up yourself. That’s sounds cruel but you need a moment to work out if you are hurt. Keep still and just get yourself together. Can you feel you fingers and toes? Do you have tingling in them? This could be a sign of serious back injury.
If you are helping some one after a fall here’s a quick check you can do.
- Ask them if they have pain anywhere. As you talk to them check their face for bruising. A serious head injury can often be seen by bruising under the eyes or behind the ears. It doesn’t just mean a blow to the face.
- Ask if it hurts when they breathe, before they get up ask them to take a couple of deep breaths. Pain whilst breathing might be a bruise but could be damage to the ribs.
- Now be discreet about this one, if someone has wet themselves after a fall this could indicate a potential spinal injury. If they have it is also worth looking to see if one leg is longer than the other. This is a way we can tell if the pelvis is damaged.
- If limbs are at unusual and normally impossible angle then we will assume a fracture. You can learn more on how to deal with fractures on any of our First Aid courses in London.
If the answer is yes to any of these checks, according to one of our best London First Aid course instructors, encourage the patient to keep in the position they landed and call 999 for assistance.
After the fall, here’s a little thing to keep an eye on, bruises usually heal and change colour after two weeks. If a bruise after a fall hasn’t started to change colour or shrink after a couple of weeks its usually best to seek professional advice.
Fortunately, most falls are not so serious, it’s a brush down and afternoon of watching CBeebies to put us back together. But hopefully this quick guide can help you to look after yourself and others this winter when the bad weather comes. Oh and one more thing, check the kids phones so you don’t go viral!