Emergency Department

202 S. Park St.
Madison, WI 53715

Current Estimated Wait:

First Aid for Adults

UnityPoint Health - Meriter hospital Emergency Services: (608) 417-6206 (Entrance on Brooks Street)

  Symptoms Treatment
Appendicitis Pain in right lower abdomen. Nausea, possibly vomiting, low fever, constipation Call doctor immediately. While diagnosis is uncertain, don't give anything to eat or drink. Don't use laxatives or pain medications.
Minor Burns Redness, pain and swelling. Moist, oozing blistered skin appearing within several hours Remove clothing if not stuck. Flush in cold water or apply cold cloths. Don't use butter/ointment. Cover burn with sterile bandage.
Chest Pains Chest pain or heaviness often radiating to left arm. Breathing with difficulty. Sweating. Call 911 right away - wait no longer than 5 minutes. Loosen clothing and have victim rest comfortably. If victim collapses, call 911 and begin CPR.
Choking Inability to breathe, cough or speak. Grasping neck. Bluish lips, nails or skin. ASK: Are you choking? If victim can't breathe, cough or speak, have someone call 911 and then begin Heimlich maneuver (Age 1 year to adult):
  • Stand behind the choking victim.
  • Wrap your arms around the victim's waist and lock your hands into a fist.
  • Place the thumb side of your fist against the victim's abdomen, slightly above the navel and below the rib cage.
  • Press your fist into the victim's abdomen with a quick inward and upward thrust. Do not apply pressure to the rib cage.
  • Repeat thrusts as necessary.
  • If the victim becomes unconscious, call 911 and begin CPR.
Convulsions Unconsciousness. Body stiffness followed by uncontrolled jerking movements. Catch falling victim. Clear space. Don't put anything in mouth or try to stop jerking. Loosen tight clothing. Get someone to call 911.
Croup In young child: barking, croaking cough. Difficulty breathing, bluish face. Call doctor if 1st attack, if breathing is labored or lips/fingers are blue. Have child breathe moist air in steamy bathroom. Follow doctor's orders.
Cuts and Bruises Cuts: Injuries to skin with bleeding and pain. Bruises: redness on impact, then black and blue Cuts: Stop bleeding with direct pressure; clean with soap/water; cover with sterile bandage. Bruises: apply cold packs; elevate limb
Dog Bite Deep, bleeding, painful wound. Major danger is rabies, which can be fatal. Stop bleeding by direct pressure. Wash with soap/water. Capture animal if it can be done safely; notify animal control to check for rabies. Call doctor.
Drowning Unconsciousness. Not breathing, possibly no heartbeat. Cold exposure. Shock. Remove from water. If victim is not breathing, begin CPR immediately. Call 911. Elevate feet, keep warm.
Earache Pain, discharge from ear, possible fever, hearing loss. In baby: pulling ear. See doctor immediately for diagnosis. Report fever and/or discharge. Use prescribed medication as directed. Keep ear dry during bathing.
Electric Shock Unconsciousness, breathing difficulty, burns at contact points, muscle spasms, seizures Call 911. Disconnect electric source. If victim is not breathing, begin CPR. Treat for shock and burns if necessary.
Eye - Object In Watery, irritated, painful eye. Reluctance to open eye, foreign object visible et eye tear, don't rub. If loose, object may dislodge itself, or dab eye gently with a clean cloth. If embedded, cover both eyes and get help.
Fainting Temporary unconsciousness. Sometimes blurred vision, nausea, paleness, sweating Lay on back, elevate feet or bend over with head at knee level. If unresponsive or symptoms do not pass quickly, call 911. If not breathing, begin CPR.
Fever Body temperature or 100°F measured orally or 101°F measured rectally Increase fluid intake, sponge with warm water and give acetaminophen. Call doctor if temperature is over 102°F (orally) or persists.
Fractures & Dislocations Sever pain, swelling or bruising. Loss of motion. Protruding bone or deformity. Don't move if unconscious or if back/neck injuries suspected. Treat breathing/bleeding/shock first. Immobilize injury before moving. Call 911.
Frostbite Area (usually extremities) becomes red, then gray, then white. Numbness. Don't rub. Slowly warm by immersing in tepid (not hot) water. Give warm drinks and wrap in blankets. When rewarmed, call doctor.
Head Injury Unconsciousness, pale skin, vomiting, sleepiness, uneven pupils, dazed look Treat any head injury as an emergency. Get someone to call for help. Stay with victim. Monitor closely for unconsciousness.
Insect Bites & Stings Pain, itching, swelling, redness. If allergic: difficulty with breathing, swallowing Scrap off stinger with fingernail, don't squeeze. Wash with soap/water. Apply compress, then calamine lotion. Get help IMMEDIATELY if allergic.
Nosebleed Blood coming from nostrils after blowing, sneezing, picking, injury or illness Keep head forward. Squeeze nose closed. If bleeding does not stop, apply cold compress and reapply pressure. If bleeding continues, call doctor.
Poisoning Vomiting or diarrhea, difficulty breathing, sweating, convulsions, unconsciousness If symptoms are serious, call 911. Otherwise, call poison control center (1-800-222-1222 in U.S.) Report status, follow orders, collect vomit/urine.
Shock Pale, clammy skin. Weakness. Fast breathing. Rapid, weak pulse. Confusion. Lay on back with feet raised - unless you suspect head/back injuries. Check for breathing /bleeding difficulties. Call 911.
Stroke Headache, paralysis, difficulty with speech or vision, unconsciousness Call 911. Have victim rest comfortably. Don't let victim eat or drink. If victim collapses, call 911 and begin CPR.
Sunburn Red, painful, swollen skin. Blisters if severe. Chills and fever. Apply cold compress or bathe in cool water. Give acetaminophen for pain. Call doctor is symptoms are severe or if feverish and ill. Give fluids.
Toothache Sensitivity to heat, cold and sweets. Pain. Facial swelling. Call dentist. Give aspirin or acetaminophen for pain. After dental treatment, call dentist for fever, pain or continued sensitivities.

Your actions save lives! In an emergency, follow these procedures:

  1. Ensure that the scene is safe.
  2. Check the victim for life-threatening conditions, such as unresponsiveness or lack of breathing.
  3. Call 911 and begin CPR if necessary.
  4. Check for bleeding. Stop bleeding by applying direct pressure.
  5. Check for head, neck or spinal injuries. Do not move the victim unless necessary.
  6. Look for medical ID tags of prescription medications that may indicate any special health problems.
  7. Do not give fluids. The victim may not be able to swallow and could suffocate if unconscious.
  8. Stay calm. Continue to aid the victim until medical help arrives.

CPR for Victims Age 8 and Older:

  1. Shake victim's shoulder and shout "Are you OK?" If no response, have someone call 911.
  2. Tilt victim's head back, lift chin. Check 5-10 seconds for normal breathing.
  3. If breathing is not normal, give 2 rescue breaths, then start compressions.
  4. Compress chest firmly and quickly 30 times (about 2 times a second). Give 2 breaths, then resume compressions.
  5. Continue cycle of 30 compressions/2 breaths until normal breathing resumes or help arrives.

If you are untrained, unwilling or not confident enough to provide rescue breaths, it is better to perform chest compressions only than to do nothing at all. Push hard 100 times a minute in the center of the victim's chest. Continue until medical help arrives or the victim begins to breathe normally.

This guide is not intended to replace a physician's guidance or services. The publisher disclaims all responsibility for the use or misuse of the information contained herein.

First Aid Guide for Adults