September’s here and it’s back to school time. That means kids, especially those involved in fall sports, will see plenty of opportunities for scrapes and bruises. All you fearless grown-up athletes just might overdo it too. We all love playing outdoors in the fall in Central Texas and being prepared to treat any minor injury can be one less thing to worry about.
Prevention is always the best defense, which means good strength and conditioning programs, and sensible stretching before and after a workout. Our local football teams take time before every practice and every game to stretch and “get loose”. Even for those of us not on the team, stretching daily keeps the body more flexible and less injury prone. You can find some basic tips online or ask your doctor for suggestions. A yoga class can also be a good place to find out what stretches work for you under the supervision of a professional instructor.
Being aware of your surroundings can also keep injuries from happening. Many accidents occur when we’re just not focused on what we’re doing. Slowing down and being more deliberate with your movements can help avoid any slip ups. Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden wasn’t even on the field when he broke his elbow earlier this summer – He was trying to catch his falling cell phone. In hindsight a cracked phone is better than a cracked elbow, and these types of accidents can sometimes be avoided with just a little extra focus on your actions.
Even with precaution, unfortunately accidents still happen so here are a few tips that might help, especially when that toddler or child in your care comes to you crying, pointing to a injury… or injured person of any age.
Freeze a couple of damp washcloths and store them in separate quart sized zip bags in your freezer. They work great in an emergency, especially when the wound is dirty or bleeding. For example, when the wound is on a person’s head or other super-sensitive area like a kneecap or elbow, the instant application of that clean, cold cloth not only helps stop any bleeding, it numbs the area slightly and lets you start cleaning up the situation as the washcloth softens from the heat of the wound.
This is also a good time to take inventory of what else you should keep on hand in your home. For sure, a variety of Band-aids, a soothing cleanser such as Bactine, and an antibiotic cream or ointment and sterile pads. We’ll help you select just what you should always have at the ready.
Whether young or old, after any game or race, when it’s clear that something’s gone wrong, such as a pulled muscle or twist in the ankle, remember the old “I.C.E.” defense. The “I” reminds you to apply ice (or a frozen compress) to the stressed area as soon as possible. Those reusable blue Ace packs work especially well and come in various sizes. The “C” is for “compression.” If the stressed area is on a limb, after icing the area for about 20 minutes, wrap it firmly in an elastic bandage. The “E” is a reminder to elevate the stressed limb throughout the process. If there’s noticeable swelling, repeat the process frequently. Keep the elastic compression bandage on all night. You (or your patient) will feel much better in the morning. If not, it’s probably time to see your doctor.
Remember the old medical joke “take two aspirin and call me in the morning”? The truth is, not all pain relievers are the same. It’s best to have personalized advice on what kind of pain reliever is right for you and those in your care. Stop by and we’ll chat about what pain relievers and other non-prescription medications you might want to keep handy in your medicine cabinet at home, when and if someone takes a wrong leap at the wrong time.
In Case Of Emergency
What if it’s a major injury? Here in and around Brady, we now have a cadre of excellent emergency response teams, available 24/7 by simply calling 911. Each of our rural areas have well-trained VFD first responders, working under the Brady Fire Department and EMS (emergency medical service). You see the city ambulance present and ready at every football game. If you’re interested in helping out our VFDs, they’re always looking to train more people to become volunteers. Just contact your local fire station.
Our Heart of Texas hospital is nearby and at the ready, but if it’s an especially serious injury, and weather permitting, remote rural communities like ours now have access to emergency helicopter ambulances. If appropriate, they’ll be summoned by the Brady EMS team right at the scene of the emergency, or by the hospital after the patient has been stabilized. Air Evac’s helicopter (pictured) is stationed at the Brownwood hospital, and Air Med 1 is stationed at Shannon in San Angelo. Airlifts can be expensive and are often not covered by normal medical insurance so their annual $65 membership, which covers the entire family, can be a form of “helicopter insurance”.
Enjoy more of our lovely fall weather, by staying smart, and hopefully injury free.