A bone fracture is a medical condition wherein the continuity of the bone is damaged. Although a fractured bone is not life threatening, it is a major bone trauma that requires immediate treatment.
Signs of a Broken Bone
The most common signs of a broken bone are an intense pain at the injury site, swelling, inflammation, and numbness, as well as deformity of the limb or joint (for fractured legs and arms). Other symptoms and signs include broken bone protruding through the skin, bluish, discolored skin, and heavy bleeding.
Treatment Tips for Fractures and Broken Bones
Tip 1: Call the Medic
If the person is unconscious and/or not breathing or moving, call 911 immediately. Check for a pulse and begin CPR if the patient stopped breathing. Once connected to the emergency hotline, let the 911 rep guide you through basic first aid for treating bone fractures.
Tip 2: Stop Bleeding
If the fracture caused a cut that goes all the way to the skin, causing profuse bleeding, you need to stop the bleeding immediately. With a sterile bandage, clean cloth, or a clean piece of clothing, apply pressure to the bleeding wound. The pressure will help the blood coagulate, stopping the bleeding.
Tip 3: Treating Shock
Watch out for signs of shock such as clammy hands, shortness of breath, weakness, and severe dizziness. A racing heartbeat and shallow breathing could cause the blood to be routed away from the vital organs. The shock could lead to organ damage and massive blood loss, especially for open fractures.
If the patient is in shock, do not move his body but keep his feet elevated to about 12 inches. Cover the patient with a blanket to keep the body warm. If at some point, the patient lost consciousness, open the airways and check the patient’s breathing.
Tip 4: Immobilize the Broken Limb
Do not try to move the victim unless it is necessary to avoid further injuries. Never move the victim is the back or neck is fractured. Doing so could lead to life-long disability.
You want to immobilize the injured area, especially if you have no choice but to move the victim. You can make a splint by folding a piece of newspaper, magazine, or cardboard. Carefully place the makeshift splint under the fractured limb and secure gently with a piece of cloth.
Tip 5: Apply Cold Compress
If you can, apply a cold compress to the injured area. The ice pack will reduce swelling and numb the pain. However, do not apply the ice pack directly on the fractured bone. Instead, wrap the ice in a towel and place a piece of thin fabric under it to place the ice pack.
Tip 6: Painkillers
If the paramedics are taking longer to arrive or you are anticipating a long wait, consider giving painkillers to the patient to reduce pain. However, do note that some painkillers can thin out the blood, causing massive bleeding. Tylenol and ibuprofen are ideal for adults with broken bones. But for kids with broken bones, give only Tylenol.