Emergencies Rooms should be just that: EMERGENCY rooms. Visited only in times of dire need. This is crucial to limit the influx of patients attending the ED for small mishaps that can be managed at home or the workplace with a little bit of insight. You can’t predict when an emergency will occur, but you CAN be prepared to deal with it. Below we list the common not-emergencies that you dont need to attend the hospital for. You can thank us later for saving you money and time!


Nosebleeds are a common occurrence, but can be frightening, especially in persons with underlying medical problems, or people who experience sudden, severe bleeds. The first step is to NOT PANIC. Take a deep breath and try and gauge is the bleed is coming from your nose or your mouth. When you feel the blood trickle in your throat, or out of your nares, sit up as straight as is possible at that time, and tilt your head slightly forward. Firmly pinch the soft part of your nose shut, so that if there is any small blood vessel that is bleeding spontaneously or due to minor trauma, it can be closed by the pressure applied. Keep the pressure on for at least 10 minutes. If you are feeling unwell, ask someone else to do it for you. During this time, also apply an ice pack to your nose and surrounding areas of forehead and cheeks. This will also help seal the blood vessel that might be bleeding.

Rest quietly, breathe through your mouth, and keep applying the pressure. Most nose bleeds will stop within 20 minutes. Once the bleeding has stopped, do not blow your nose for at least 24 hours. If the bleeding keeps occurring intermittently, see your doctor at your earliest convenience.


Kitchens are the commonest places to get a burn, and scalds are the most common type of burn injury, with more than 80% occurring at home due to hot liquids and steam. By all means take steps to avoid a burn, by keeping items such as dish towels, microfiber cloths away from the stove, and trying to be present in the kitchen while cooking. Don’t encourage children to play in the kitchen.

If a family member or yourself experiences a burn in the kitchen, quickly run cold water/tap water over the burn for 10-15 minutes at least. This will prevent the heat from reaching deeper layers of the skin. Alternatively, soak the burnt area in cold (not ice) water. Cover the burn with a clean piece of cloth as soon as you can. If need be, as might be the case with children, tie the cloth or bandage loosely around the burnt area to protect it from friction and exposure. DO NOT apply adhesive bandages, cotton, butter, banana peel, or any other home remedies to a burnt surface. If the burn seems too severe, or signs of infection (redness, swelling, itching, fever, general unwellness) seem to be developing, contact your doctor.


Within the younger age group, bleeding after falls is a common occurrence, but one to be mindful of. If, after a fall, the arm/hand/leg is very painful to move, and child seems loathe for you to touch it, and pain seems out of proportion to the level of injury, visit an ED to rule out a a fracture. For minor/manageable pain level with a bleeding wound, apply pressure directly to the bleeding area with clean cloth, or gloves if available. Keep the pressure on until bleeding stops, then clean with water and antiseptic, and apply bandage. If the bleeding is too severe, visit your doctor.


Head injury are uncommon but not rare. they may range from a small butt against a hard surface, to those resulting from significant trauma. The first thing to be mindful of is the person’s mental status. Try to engage the person in conversation, and give them something to drink. Most minor head injuries do not cause any significant trauma, but some may result in concussion. A concussion is the result of the brain banging against the skull, which may cause slight swelling. A person with a head injury, specially small children who may not be able to communicate the pain or discomfort, should be monitored for changing mental status, irritability, poor feeding, nausea or vomiting. Headaches are very common after head injury, and may be managed with over the counter pain medications such as paracetamol. If the patient is very unsettled, it is wise to attend the ED.


It is always a good idea to attend the ED, unless you live in an area where you know the snakes are not poisonous, and you are sure of the poison status of the snake. Stay calm; a majority of snakes are non-venomous. Observe the snake carefully; you will be asked to identify it. Move the person away from the scene and keep the wound site stable without moving it above the level of the heart. Remain as still as possible to prevent the venom from spreading. Cover the wound site with a loose, sterile bandage, and remove any shoes and tight jewelry etc from the affected area. DO NOT cut the area, or try to suck the venom out. DO NOT apply ice, or give the person caffeinated drinks. Be aware of the patient’s tetanus status, as they may require a booster.



Dr. Annie

Physician, mom and wife

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