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Sudden Death Emergencies and Others 

What they are, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and Prevention

Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart function, which can easily lead to death id CPR isn't performed. This can happen to people diagnosed with heart disease, or people not diagnosed. It is the Leading cause of death in the United States, and there are over 350,000 emergency cardiac arrests outside of hospitals every year. 

Causes: The usual cause of cardiac arrest is the abnormality of the heartbeat. If a person's heart starts to beat too fast, slow, or irregularly, they may go into cardiac arrest. 

Symptoms: Losing consciousness, loss of pulse and breathing, and sudden collapse. 

Treatments: When this occurs, someone in the immediate area needs to call 911, then perform CPR, and if that doesn't work, use an AED (Automated External Defibulator) until the person starts to breathe, or gets a pulse.  

The only prevention is to stay away from drugs and try to keep a healthy heart, through exercise and healthy eating. 

Heart Attacks

Heart attacks are frequently confused with cardiac arrest, but they are very different. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating, but a heart attack is when blood clots in the hearts main arteries and the muscles in that area die from the lack of oxygen. Over a million Americans experience heart attacks every year. 

Causes: Too much cholesterol and fat in the bloodstream may cause the clots that form in the main arteries. 

Symptoms: A person that is having a heart attack may experience tightness in the chest, and pain and aching. They also may experience lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and fatigue. 

Treatments: A doctor may give you aspirin to help the reduce the blood clotting. Pain relievers also may be used to ease the discomfort. Surgery may be necessary to save the patient.

To prevent these episodes, keeping your heart healthy is very important.  


Drowning is when the respiratory system doesn't get air because of being submerged in water. 

Causes: Most infants drown in bathtubs, most children drown in pools, and most teens and young adults usually drown in natural bodies of water. The person could have drowned because of a neck/back injury that happened in the water. They could also have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs prior to swimming. 

Symptoms: The person rarely thrashes, for they are using all of their energy to keep their head above the water. Death or severe brain damage is caused if the brain doesn't get air for a certain amount of time. 

Treatments: The patient needs to have 100% oxygen pumped into lungs. 

A way to prevent drowning is to learn how to swim, swim with a partner, don't drink alcohol before swimming, and don't leave infants in a tub without supervision. 


Electrocution is when a person comes into contact with an electrical source. The electrical energy flows through a portion of their body. Only around a thousand people die each year because of electrocution. 

 Causes: Lightning, appliances, outlets, other electrical energy sources.

Symptoms: Electrocution may be fatal and can cause burns, muscle damage, but shocks also may not cause any damage. 

Treatments: If the person stops breathing, CPR is necessary, and at the hospital, they will treat the burns, and look for other injuries. 

To prevent shocks, staying away from open electrical sources, and not using appliances while wet or near water. 


Asphyxiation is when the body doesn't receive oxygen or too much carbon dioxide. Choking is an example of this. 

Causes: Choking, lung collapse, gas poisoning, suffocation, strangling, hanging, or a severe asthma attack. 

Symptoms: Difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, convulsions, swollen veins, paralysis, brain death, or death. 

Treatment: The immediate treatment would be CPR, or possibly performing the Heimlich maneuver. 

To prevent this, staying away from dangerous gases, not choking, and keeping an inhaler in case of asthma.  

  • Strokes, Diabetic Emergencies and Allergic Reactions

  • Strokes, diabetic emergencies, and allergic reactions are all emergencies with different symptoms and cause. Strokes are when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. Diabetic emergencies are when a person with diabetes blood sugar gets much too high or too low. Allergic reactions are when and allergen affects a person. 

Symptoms: Stroke- Muscle weakness, drooping face, inability to speak, can cause death. Diabetic emergencies- Anxiety, Nausea, fatigue, shakiness. Allergic reaction-  swelling, trouble breathing, hives/bumps.

Treatments: CPR may be needed for any of the following. For strokes, blood thinners to stop blood clots may be needed. Diabetic emergencies may need insulin injections or candy/sugar to get blood sugar up. For allergic reactions, epi-pens are needed.  

To prevent strokes, use blood thinners, for diabetic emergencies, always carry insulin and/or candy, and for allergic reactions, carry an epi-pen. 


Burns are the result of heat on the skin. There are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree burns, 3rd being the worst. 

Causes: Fire, Hot water/steam, Radiation, hot metal, the sun

Symptoms: First degree burn only affect the outer layer of the skin. 2nd Degree burns affect the first and second layers of skin and 3rd-degree burns affect nerves and fat as well. The burns may make the skin look waxy or charred. 

Treatments: Skin grafts may be used, aloe for minor burns, and burn creams and ointments. 

Being careful around boiling water/oil, fire, and other hot objects is a great way to prevent burns. 

Bone injuries

Bone injuries is when someone breaks, or bruises a bone. 

Causes: There are many causes for bone breaks, such as falls, vehicle crashes, bike crashes, or various sports. 

Symptoms: Severe pain at the point of injury, possible bleeding (if bone stuck through skin), and a funny look to the bone. There may be muscle damage around the sight of the break as well.

Treatment: An immediate response would be to leave the bone how it is, and not trying to put it in place, and after words, a cast may be used to set the bone in place and let it heal. 

To prevent brakes, being careful in vehicles and on bikes, and wearing safety gear in sports will help prevent bone breaks. 


There are many dangerous and even fatal situations that can arise. While there are many ways to respond to different injuries, always remember, before you help someone, check your surroundings so you won't be put into danger. Then call 911 and care for the person to the best of your ability. Things can happen to anyone, and if you see somebody in need, do your best to help them, even if it's a complete stranger. Do the right thing!

Created by Davis Cary

Block 2B

Sept. 29, 2017