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First Aid

Absorbed Poisons
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Fractured Ribs

The chest protects the heart, lungs and major blood vessels, so chest injuries may affect breathing and circulation and result in serious internal bleeding.

Fractured ribs

The sharp end of a fractured rib may pierce the lung (even when the chest wall is intact, in which case it is called a closed rib fracture), causing part or all of the lung to collapse, and bleeding into the pleural cavity (space around the lungs) to occur. Fractured ribs may also be associated with open chest wounds.

Signs and symptoms

  • pain, worse on breathing or coughing
  • tenderness over the injured area
  • difficulty in breathing
  • if there is internal injury, frothy blood coughed up

First aid treatment

  1. If the injured person is unconscious, place in the lateral position, check the airway, breathing and pulse and begin expired air resuscitation (EAR) or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if necessary.
  2. Rest the conscious casualty in a half-sitting position, leaning towards the injured side.
  3. Pad the injured side, then bandage the upper arm and padding to the injured part to 'splint' it. Support the arm with a collar-and-cuff sling.
  4. Seek medical aid urgently.

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