HealthLinks Charleston Sept/Oct 2022

www. Char l es tonPhys i c i ans . com | www.Hea l thL i nksChar l es ton . com | 51 POISON IVY/OAK/SUMAC Oil from poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac plants can cause an allergic reaction when it comes in contact with skin. Most mild rashes cause discomfort from itching, burning or blistering and can be treated at home. Severe, widespread rashes require medical treatment. Signs and Symptoms: • A red, itchy rash that appears within four hours to four days after contact with plant oil; • Oozing blisters that have clear fluid; • Bumps and blisters that can take on different appearances and sizes and many times look like streaks; • A crusty look to blisters as the rash heals. Treatment: • Gently wash skin with soap and water as soon as contact is made, making sure to scrub under fingernails. • Remove any clothing that has come in contact with the oil of the plant or rash and wash all clothing that was worn recently. • Keep fingernails trimmed short to prevent breaking the skin when scratching. • Apply cool compresses on the skin, as needed. • For itching, add oatmeal to bath water, use calamine lotion – avoiding face or genitals – and, if needed, diphenhydramine – Benadryl. FALL INJURIES Anyone can fall, but injuries to adults are common problems, especially for those over 65 years of age. It has been reported that about 20% of adult falls result in a bone fracture or a severe head injury. Signs and Symptoms: Lacerations; The injured site is swollen; Bruises and contusions; Injury to the arms, legs and head; Fractures. Treatment: Minor: • Clean visible wounds with water. • Apply a wrapped ice pack to the injury to reduce swelling and pain. • Try to comfort the injured person and assess the reason for the fall. • With older adults, it is important to monitor them for the next day or two to ensure there are no other symptoms. Major: • Call 911 immediately if there is heavy bleeding from the injury site or bleeding from the nose, ears or mouth or if there might be a head, neck, back or hip injury, difficulty breathing, the person is unable to move or the person is unconscious. Factors to Consider: Age and gender of the individual; height of the fall; weight of the individual; overall health status.