10 Life-Saving Facts Everyone Should Know
10. Heimlich Maneuver
The Heimlich Maneuver, also known as abdominal thrusts, is one of the most well-known first-aid procedures out there. It’s used to save someone from choking by forcing foreign objects out of the body.
But what do you do if you start choking and there’s no one around to perform the maneuver on you? Well, there is actually a version of the Heimlich that you can perform on yourself.
- First, as is always the case with choking, you should try and cough the obstruction out.
- If that doesn’t work, form a fist with your strongest hand and place it just below your rib cage and just above the naval.
- Then, place your other palm over the fist so you can push more firmly.
- Forcefully, drive your fist in and up. Repeat several times until the object that’s stuck gets dislodged.
You have to be careful, though, because incorrectly performing the Heimlich Maneuver carries risks of bruising bones or damaging internal organs.
9. Shark Attack
Ok, I’ll admit it, this one is not that likely to come up in your day-to-day life, given that the odds of being killed by a shark are 1 in 3.8 million. But, still, there’s a misconception about what you’re supposed to do if attacked by a shark that I feel we need to address.
You may have heard the notion that, when face to face with a hungry Great White, your best bet is to punch the shark on the nose. Don’t do this. It would only stun the creature for a fraction of a second and would aggravate it more than distract it.
Instead, go for the eye. Sharks only have relatively thin eyelid-like barriers, meaning a finger to the eye should be enough to stop it in its tracks and, most likely, send it swimming away to sulk for a bit.
In 2012, this technique worked for Californian surfer Scott Stephens, causing the shark to immediately let him go and swim away. After surgery to his leg, Scott made a full recovery.
8. Pregnancy Tests
Pregnancy tests work by detecting the presence of the hormone beta human chorionic gonadotropin, which is produced during pregnancy.
However, the hormone is also present in the bodies of those suffering from testicular cancer. This means that the tests can be used to detect such cancer in men, as was discovered by one Reddit user, who tried a pregnancy test as a joke, only to find it coming back positive.
When he mentioned the result on the social news site, another user told him to go immediately to a doctor. Lo and behold, a small tumor was found.
However, according to the American Cancer Society, the hormone is only present in specific types of testicular cancer, meaning that pregnancy tests do not offer an infallible method of testing for the disease.
There are an estimated 372,000 drowning deaths in the world every year, meaning that it’s pretty essential that people know what to do should they find themselves in trouble.
One particular life-saving method may seem a little bit bizarre… if you’re wearing jeans, take them off. This is because denim jeans make a surprisingly effective floating device.
- Take them off, zip them up, knot the ends of the legs and wave them over your head, filling them with as much air as possible.
- Then, knot up the waist as quickly as possible and – voila – you’ve got yourself a float.
One important thing to note if you ever almost drown is that you need to go to a hospital, even if you feel absolutely fine afterward.
If you’ve gotten to the point of throwing up water or nearly passing out, your lungs could be filling up with fluid over the next few hours without you even realizing. This is called ‘secondary drowning’ and it happens when water has irritated the lungs and the body releases bile in response, causing severe breathing difficulties.
6. Stab Wounds
If you are around someone who has been stabbed or impaled by a sharp object, the worst thing you can do is to pull the object out. Only do this if it’s blocking an airway, which would leave you with no choice but to do so.
When someone gets stabbed by, say, a knife, the weapon immediately severs the blood vessels. If you were to pull the knife out, you would cause them to bleed out. Furthermore, the act of pulling an impaled object out could cause further damage by cutting more tissue on the way out.
Instead, you need to get them to a hospital, where doctors can extract the item in surgery.
Also while we’re on stab wounds and injuries… if ever you receive a superficial wound that requires stitches but are unable to get to a medical professional, super glue works as a temporary emergency suture. It can quickly bind minor lacerations, which would otherwise become infected.
However, it will always be advisable to still seek medical attention, as super glue could cause a reaction if in contact with the skin for prolonged periods of time.
5. Falling From Height
If ever you find yourself in the admittedly unlikely situation of falling off a high building or cliff-ledge, there are a series of steps that you should perform.
First of all, if you are falling next to a building or hill, try and break up the fall into segments by hitting a ledge, a tree or another object. This will break up the momentum of your fall, increasing your chances of survival.
Easier said than done, but secondly, just relax. If your joints are locked and your muscles rigid, the impact of the fall is more likely to damage your vital organs. In particular, make sure your knees are slightly bent.
Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has shown that having your knees bent will reduce the magnitude of the impact force 36-fold.
When you land, try and land feet-first, which will concentrate the impact force on a small area. Utilizing this technique is one of the reasons why cats are able to fall from impressively great heights with minimal injury, as well as the fact that their muscular legs effectively act as shock absorbers.
4. Red Eye
Did you know that your family snaps could be a crucial way of detecting cancer?
If you have notice how the flash has only made one of the eyes of a kid with the disease turn red and the other has a strange white glow instead.
This is a typical symptom of retinoblastoma, a rare type of eye cancer that affects young children, generally under five years of age.
The explanation for this effect is that a tumor has grown on the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye, which has caused it to reflect light differently.
Treatment for the condition is usually very effective, and retinoblastoma carries a 98% survival rate.
Perhaps surprisingly, condoms are some of the most useful items to have around in an emergency. Not only are they the most popular form of contraception and STI barriers, they can help you out in a whole host of situations, to the extent that some outdoor companies even sell non-lubricated ‘survival kit’ condoms.
For example, if handled properly, condoms can hold a ludicrous 2 liters of liquid, making them useful compact water containers.
However, you have to be careful. What a condom gains in flexibility, it loses in durability. Even a blade of grass could be enough to burst it open when it’s at full capacity.
What you should do, therefore, is wrap the condom in a sock or t-shirt before you fill it, to give it an extra layer of protection.
Furthermore, you can use a condom to keep essential items – like matches, electronics or food – dry in an emergency.
2. Sinking Car
Being trapped in a sinking car is one of the most terrifying situations you could ever find yourself in, but the important thing is not to panic. The majority of cars remain afloat for between 30 seconds and three minutes, meaning you should have time to escape.
Immediately upon impact, you only have a few second when it would be possible to open the car door before the water pressure outside becomes too powerful.
Therefore, your first response should be to open the window to escape through there. Cars’ electrical systems should continue working for up to 4 minutes in water, so it should still open. If it doesn’t, many vehicle’s headrests are designed to be removable and are hard enough to force through the glass.
Another option would be to roll down your window just a little bit, so the water can come into the car slowly. Eventually, the water pressure inside and outside the car should equalize so you can open the door, but this could take precious minutes that you might not have.
When you’re being electrocuted, your muscles tense up and you are physically incapable of letting go of the live wire. If anyone were to grab hold of you to try and pull you to safety, they too would end up stuck and unable to let go.
Ideally, the best thing to do if you see someone in this situation is to turn off the source of electricity, but that isn’t always safe or possible to do so.
You, therefore, need to find some other way of breaking the circuit, for example finding a hard, non-conducting object – like a stick – and giving the person a firm whack.
This may sound weird but this is exactly how English workman Mark Bradley’s life was saved in 2015. Bradley received an 11,000-volt shock after the metal lamp post he was installing hit overhead power cables. He was badly burned in the incident, but – thanks to his colleague hitting him with a wooden plank – managed to escape with his life.
So, next time you find yourself in a sinking car, falling off a multi-story building or face-to-face with a shark, hopefully, you’ll know what to do now.