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Broken bone first aid: Do these things

A broken bone requires medical attention, as this isn't the type of injury that will heal properly on its own. If you break a bone, such as the result of a workplace accident, you shouldn't hesitate to administer first aid.

The most common symptoms of a broken bone include:

  • Bone protruding through the skin
  • Pain in the injured area, typically worsening when you touch it or move it
  • Numbness
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Swelling and/or bruising

While these symptoms don't always point toward a broken bone, there's a very good chance that this is the type of injury you're dealing with.

First aid of a broken bone should include the following:

  • Stop the bleeding: If there is any bleeding, elevate the area and apply gentle pressure with a sterile bandage or piece of clean clothing. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can cause extreme pain and discomfort.
  • Immobilize the area: This is important, as attempting to move can cause additional damage. For example, if you suspect a broken bone in the back or neck, any movement can result in paralysis.
  • Apply ice to the area: Doing so for 10 minutes at a time can reduce pain and swelling.
  • Watch for symptoms of shock: This can include heavy breathing, turning blue and/or shaking. If you experience one or more of these signs, it's important to relax.

Along with the above, it often makes sense to call 911 for help. This is particularly true of a severe injury or if symptoms of shock are present. Paramedics will quickly arrive at the scene, administer the necessary treatment and transport you to a local hospital for a diagnosis and additional treatment.

What's next?

Discuss your diagnosis, treatment strategy and prognosis with your medical team. Doing so will give you a better idea of what's to come in the future.

If your doctor suggests time away from work, to help your injury heal, heed their advice. Pushing yourself when you're injured often results in additional trouble, which will only keep you out of work for a longer period of time.

As you start your recovery, don't wait to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. The money you receive can help you financially until you're able to return to work.

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