Loss of consciousness and coma, symptoms, diagnosis and first aid in extreme situations.

No trauma or illness in extreme situations does not cause others such confusion, unnecessary and dangerous actions as a sudden loss of consciousness to the victims. Any stage or form of loss of consciousness is indeed a very formidable symptom of a life-threatening injury or condition.. 

Loss of consciousness and coma, symptoms, diagnosis and first aid in extreme situations.

By itself, loss of consciousness can lead to an early death in the absence of emergency care. But at the same time, simple, calm and correct actions can save the life of such a victim. The causes of the development of an unconscious state in victims can be very diverse, and in decreasing order of importance they are as follows.

, mudflow, etc. phenomena in which the main danger is asphyxiation (suffocation), as well as with a lack of oxygen, especially at high altitudes.
Lightning strike, severe heat or sunstroke.
Loss of consciousness can be accompanied by severe forms of poisoning, infectious diseases in advanced stages. Due to lack of hospital care.
After seizures with an epileptic seizure, but after some time the unconscious state in this case goes into sleep, but you can still wake the person.
Consciousness is lost with fainting and collapse, but most often for a few seconds, possibly up to a minute. But if consciousness did not quickly recover, then there may be another reason..

It is very important to remember that loss of consciousness can be of different depths or go through several stages. From light to critical. This is all the more necessary to keep in mind in order to be able to recognize the onset of a terrible state in time, take appropriate measures and provide quick assistance, without waiting for the development of the late and most dangerous stage, which could lead to death.

Mild loss of consciousness.

Slight loss of consciousness (blow to the head, falling from a small height, overheating, poisoning) is expressed by the state of stunning. The victim, as it were, withdraws into himself, but the verbal contact with him is preserved. In order to get your question a slow, quiet monosyllabic (yes, no), and sometimes a slurred answer, you need to repeatedly and persistently repeat this question. The victim does not understand or follows the simplest instructions too slowly..

The question of pain often gives a negative answer. But with careful probing and checking movements in the joints in the presence of fractures, with other injuries, he reacts quite painfully to pain. With a further deepening of the disorder of consciousness, sharp drowsiness occurs, complete apathy, immobility. To a loud cry, the victim only opens his eyes, but his gaze remains blank and does not react to those around him. To pain reaction with a grimace or groan.

Deep loss of consciousness.

Deep loss of consciousness is called coma. This is a complete lack of response to external stimuli and even pain. This condition sometimes resembles a dream, but, however, it is almost impossible to wake such a person. In this stage, critical respiratory and cardiac disorders often develop. It should be especially remembered that early diagnosis in the earliest stage of loss of consciousness (in the stage of stunning) sometimes plays a major role in saving the life of the victim. First aid is primarily to prevent possible complications.

With a coma, paralysis of the muscles of the esophagus and entry into the stomach occurs. This leads to passive leakage of the contents of the stomach into the oral cavity. As a result, as with vomiting, the gastric contents with each breath enters the respiratory tract and lungs, which leads to suffocation. In such a difficult situation, very quickly, sometimes even within a few seconds, cardiac arrest and breathing may stop. In this case, both artificial respiration and indirect heart massage will not bring success and are practically useless..

This is due to the fact that the airways remain impassable for air. Therefore, prevention of possible suffocation is necessary in case of loss of consciousness. For this, the victim, who is in an unconscious state, must be given a stable or rigidly fixed position so that he cannot roll over onto his back or stomach even during transportation. In order to give the victim a stable lateral position, the following rules should be followed..

To the victim lying on his back, two people approach and kneel on the left and one person on the right.
Standing on the left carefully bring their right hands under the pelvis and under the shoulder blades of the victim.
Helping with his left hands, gently turn it on his right side.
Standing on the right at this time with two hands simultaneously turns his head.
Then, to give stability in this position, the left, i.e. upper, leg is bent at right angles in the hip and knee joints.
The victim’s right hand remains lying along the body, behind his back. His left arm is bent at the elbow and laid under the head with the palm down. Thus, the victim does not lie strictly on his side, but slightly with an inclination forward. The body in this position rests on several points: on the right half of the pelvis and thigh, left joint, right lower leg and foot, left elbow and head.

Particular care must be taken to ensure that the victim’s free breathing is not disturbed by a hand or other objects placed under his head. The face should remain open so that you can observe breathing and, if necessary, quickly clean the oral cavity when vomiting or flowing into it of the contents of the stomach. In this position, the victim must remain unconscious all the time with constant monitoring of freedom of breathing, pulse, skin color. In case of a sudden cardiac arrest or breathing, the victim is turned on his back in the same ways and resuscitation begins.

When transported on a stretcher, drag carrier, sleigh, sledges, etc., the injured person lying on his side is additionally fixed (but not tight) to the vehicle with straps or pieces of cloth, in the form of scarves, tying them in the pelvis, shoulder joints and lower leg . Do not give the victim a lateral position at the slightest suspicion of fractures of the pelvis, spine, upper or lower extremities. This can lead to the displacement of bone fragments. In this case, the victim is placed on his back, placing a roller under his neck and tilting his head slightly to ensure freedom of breathing.

Based on materials from the book Encyclopedia of Survival.
Chernysh I. V.

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