How to Treat Common Medical Emergencies

Medical emergencies can be frightening and overwhelming. It is important to know what to do in the event of a medical emergency. Some common medical emergencies include heart attacks, strokes, seizures,choking, and broken bones. Knowing the signs and symptoms of these emergencies and what to do can help save lives.

5 Most Common Medical Emergencies

Heart Attack

common medical emergencies

Heart attacks can be deadly if not recognized and treated in a timely manner. The sooner a heart attack is identified, the less damage to the heart will occur. There are several ways to recognize a heart attack, and there are also treatments that can help minimize the damage to the heart.

One of the most common symptoms of a heart attack is chest pain. The pain can be described as pressure, heaviness, or tightness in the chest. It may also spread to the arms, neck, jaw, or back.

Other symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • nausea or vomiting
  • feeling lightheaded or dizzy.

When someone is having a heart attack, time is of the essence. The faster they receive medical help, the better their chances of survival. There are several things that can be done to help a person who is experiencing a heart attack.

  • Call 911 or healthcare providers that treat medical emergencies 24/7 immediately. Do not try to drive the person to the hospital yourself.
  • If the person is conscious, have them chew on an aspirin tablet. Aspirin helps to thin the blood and can reduce damage to the heart muscle.
  • If the person is not conscious, place one aspirin tablet under their tongue.
  • If you are trained in CPR, begin chest compressions until paramedics arrive.
  • Keep the person calm and comfortable until help arrives. Remove jackets, ties or vests, as they can constrict the person’s breathing 


A stroke is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate attention. It occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells to die. The earlier a stroke is treated, the better the outcome.

Some common symptoms of a stroke are:

  • confusion
  • trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • paralysis or weakness on one side of the body
  • difficulty seeing.

If you think someone is having a stroke, call 911 immediately.

There are three main things that need to be done in order to treat a stroke: 

  • restore blood flow to the brain
  • remove any clots
  • reduce swelling. 

One way to restore blood flow is by using tPA, which is a drug that dissolves clots. Another way to restore blood flow is by using a mechanical thrombectomy device, which is a type of catheter that can remove clots from blocked arteries.

Reducing swelling can be done with medication or surgery. Some of the medications used to reduce swelling include steroids and mannitol.


Choking is a leading cause of injury and death in young children. It can also occur in adults but is more common in children. 

Choking occurs when an object becomes lodged in the airway, preventing airflow. The most common objects to cause choking are small pieces of food, but toys and other small objects can also be a problem.

If someone is choking, they will usually be:

  • unable to speak or breathe 
  • clutch at their throat
  • may turn blue or red in the face

If you think someone is choking, you should first try to encourage them to cough out the object. If they cannot do this on their own, you should give them five back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.If this does not work, you should give them five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich manoeuvre). 

When performing the Heimlich manoeuvre, you should grab the person’s abdomen at the level of the navel and thrust your hand down between their belly button and their hip bone. You should not put any pressure on their abdomen.


Your brain controls your body by sending electrical signals through your nervous system. A seizure is a disruption of the electrical activity in your brain. Seizures can cause changes in your behavior, movement, emotions, or consciousness.

There are many different types of seizures, but the most common type is called a focal seizure. Focal seizures start in one specific area of the brain. Generalized seizures start in multiple areas of the brain at the same time.

Most seizures last for only a few seconds or minutes. However, some seizures may last for hours. Some people may have only one seizure in their lifetime, but others may have multiple seizures per day.

If you think someone is having a seizure, it’s important to know how to recognize the signs and symptoms as follows:.

  • A seizure may start with a change in mood or behavior, followed by a series of muscle contractions. 
  • The person may lose consciousness and experience rhythmic shaking or twitching. 
  • There may also be abnormal eye movements, drooling, or urinary incontinence.

If you think someone is having a seizure, it’s important to stay calm and keep the person safe.

Broken Bones

If you think you or someone else has a broken bone, it is important to know how to recognize the signs and symptoms. A broken bone can be very painful and may cause swelling, bruising, and limited movement.

There are several ways to tell if a bone is broken, including:

  • Checking for deformity
  • Feeling for bumps or depressions along the bone
  • Noticing if the area around the break is swollen

If you are not sure whether a bone is broken, it is best to seek medical attention.

When a bone is broken, the first step is to stop the bleeding. Apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If the bone is sticking out of the skin, do not touch it. Apply pressure to the surrounding area instead. If possible, elevate the injured limb above heart level.

Next, call for help. The broken bone may need to be set or repaired in a hospital. Until help arrives, do not move the person who was injured. This may cause more damage to the bone.

If you are able to set the bone yourself, use a clean cloth as a bandage to keep it in place. Do not use tape, as it will stick to the skin and pull off hair when removed.

Final Thoughts

It is important to know what to do in the event of a medical emergency. By knowing the signs and symptoms of common medical emergencies, you can be prepared to take action and help save a life. If you are ever faced with a medical emergency, remain calm and follow the steps outlined above. Remember, every second counts!

If you are an employer, you must give more information to employees on what they need to do during medical emergencies. You also need to make sure that the right technologies are in place to improve work safety at all times.