Devices that can save a life on board
In summer the density of recreational boats increases, as do water sports, celebrations and sometimes inexperienced crews. At sea there is more chance of an accident taking place because it is wild, unpredictable and can become hostile when you least expect it.
In our pharmacy we have started a nautical safety campaign as we feel committed to everything that can solve a health problem on a boat.
There are three basic pillars when faced with a health problem at sea: radio-medical consultation, health training for the crew and the condition and equipment of the first-aid kit. This is where we come in. Our specialisation in first aid kits has allowed us to have a series of products that help to take immediate action in the face of a vital risk when there is no time for a radio-medical consultation and speed will determine success.
One of these products is a defibrillator. The defibrillator emits a direct current shock and thus restores the heart's rhythm. In Spain there are about 30,000 cardiorespiratory stops per year. A cardiac arrest does not have to be the result of a disease or biological ageing, nobody is free to suffer from it. To make us aware of the importance of this, the Government is preparing a decree for the installation of defibrillators in public and private spaces. We encourage you to bring them on board, especially if you are going on long journeys or are responsible for a crew.
Another essential device is an anti-throat device. Choking is the third unnatural cause of death in Spain before road accidents, we can also say that deaths by choking are 25% more than in car accidents. It usually occurs immediately and this generates a lot of anguish to the people around. When we are faced with a situation like this, and the cough is ineffective because the obstruction is total, the person can become unconscious so the consequences can be very serious. The lack of oxygen to the brain can cause everything from brain damage (in just 4 minutes without oxygen) to brain death (in just 10 minutes). In this short time we depend on the health training and the serenity of the crew to be able to carry out the manoeuvre with skill. In a case of complete obstruction, and as long as the person is conscious, we would start the Heimlich manoeuvre; but if we do not know it or if it is a pregnant woman or a baby (always older than 12 months), an anti-trapping device can unblock the airways easily, quickly and effectively. It takes up little space and is so simple that anyone can use it.
And what can we do in the event of a respiratory emergency such as an asthma attack, inhalation poisoning, a diving accident or even a respiratory blockage? We must administer oxygen using a complete set of equipment, as we not only need an oxygen cylinder, but it is also useful to accompany it with a manual resuscitator (especially if we are faced with a respiratory blockage) in addition to the masks. Traditional oxygen systems are complicated to use and it can take time for crews to transport the bottles to the site of the accident. In the pharmacy we have an emergency team that has a lightweight oxygen cylinder accompanied by the manual resuscitator, it does not require special storage, it does not pollute the environment and most importantly, it can also save a life.
Carrying your first-aid kit, having the health guide provided by the marina's social institute at hand and having easy-to-use devices that can save lives are the tools that we recommend from the community pharmacy.
Lara Benito. Pharmacist.