Learning how to treat a fracture at library

Alzena Hart demonstrates how to splint an arm fracture using magazines. Pictured with her is La-eeq Enaadien from Belgravia.

About 30 people learnt how to treat fractures during a workshop at the Athlone library on Saturday.

It was presented by emergency medical technician Samantha Adams and first aid instructor Alzena Hart.

Here are a some of the things they dealt with:

There are three types of fractures: an open fracture, where the bone is exposed through the skin; a closed fracture, where the bone is not visible; and a complicated fracture, where the bone is broken in multiple places.

Signs to look out for are swelling, bruising, and lots of pain in the area of the fracture.

Use something cold to reduce swelling, but never apply ice directly to the skin as it can cause ice burn.

To reduce swelling in the foot place pillows under the foot and make sure it is higher than the heart.

When splinting the fracture (the process of straightening the joint), keep the affected limb in line to prevent inflammation which will prolong recovery.

The body tends to get cold when in pain so keeping the patient warm with a blanket is important.

Household items, such as magazines, broomsticks and towels can be used to splint a fracture.

To check that circulation hasn’t been cut off, make sure the limb is not cold or press down hard on the area until it turns white; after two seconds, it should turn red if the blood is still flowing.

When splinting a pelvic fracture, check the pelvis with the palms of your hands to feel for any broken bones.

Wrap a towel or piece of cloth around the pelvis. Pack pillows around the sides of the body including the legs to prevent movement.

When splinting an ulna (arm) fracture, use a square scarf as a sling or hold up the arm with another hand. Knot the scarf on the other shoulder to release pressure on the affected arm. If the arm is broken in more than one place, secure planks on either side it with a bandage.

To splint a femur (thighbone) fracture, tie broomsticks on either side of the leg with rope or bandages. Put one hand on the heel of the foot and another on the top of the foot and pull. This will align the bone.

A fracture is not always painful and swollen. The pain can occur at a later stage.

For more information, contact Samantha on 060 418 7482.