Karl Henry: What To Do In An Emergency

I thought I would bring you a guide to treat those injuries so that you can get back training as soon as possible. But while writing this I got thinking, how many people know what to do in the more serious situations? Or would you know what to look for? Well I thought I would give you a quick and simple guide to show you what to look out for and what to do. Remember you and I are not doctors but this guide will give you a good idea what to look for and what to do.

But first let’s look at the more common injury:

If you strain a muscle, ligament or tendon, here is what you need to do:

Rest: Rest is essential to protect the injured muscle, tendon, ligament from even further damage. Resting the injured body part is essential as the more movement you place upon that area the worse your injury may become.

Ice: When icing an injury, choose a cold pack, crushed ice or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel to provide coldness to the injured area. This provides short-term pain relief and also limits swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area. Another great tip for reducing swelling is arnica cream or tablets too. When icing injuries, never apply ice directly onto the skin and never leave ice on an injury for more than 20 minutes at a time as you can damage your skin with ice burn. Every 2 minutes take the ice pack off the skin and check for soreness or extreme redness as these can be signs of ice burn.

Compression: Compression helps limit and reduce swelling around the area, which may delay healing. Some people also experience pain relief from compression. You can apply the compression yourself or pick up a support from your local chemist. It’s important to remember if you feel throbbing, or if the wrap just feels too tight, remove the bandage and re-wrap the area so the bandage is a little looser. If it is too tight you will be reducing blood flow to the area which will slow down the recovery process dramatically.


Elevation: Elevating an injury help control swelling by improving circulation to the area. It's most effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart. So, if you injure an ankle, try lying on your bed with your foot propped on one or two pillows to get the leg elevated and the blood flowing back towards the body. If it is an arm injury then try to keep the arm up above chest level, even in small intervals as it will reduce initial swelling quite quickly.

After a day or two of treatment, many sprains, strains or other injuries will begin to heal and get better. But if your pain or swelling does not decrease after 48 hours, make an appointment to see your GP or go straight to the hospital if you are really worried.

These simple tips will get you back on track as fast as possible, now let’s take a look at some more serious conditions, what should you look out for:


• Face: Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

•  Arms: Can they raise both arms and keep them raised?

• Speech: Is their speech slurred?

• Time: Time to call 999 and get the emergency services.

Heart Attack

• Symptoms include:

• Discomfort, pressure, heaviness, or pain in the chest, arm, or below the breastbone

• Discomfort radiating to the back, jaw, throat or arm

•  Fullness, indigestion, or choking feeling (may feel like heartburn)

•  Sweating, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness

• Extreme weakness, anxiety or shortness of breath

•  Rapid or irregular heartbeats

If you feel or see any of these symptoms you should get to your local hospital immediately.


• Protect the person from injury - (remove harmful objects from nearby)

•  Cushion their head

• Look for an epilepsy identity card or identity jewellery

• Aid breathing by gently placing them in the recovery position once the seizure has finished

• Stay with the person until recovery is complete

• Be calmly reassuring

Karl Henry is one of Laya Wellness' Health & Wellness Ambassadors. Karl is well known for his role as the leading Expert in RTÉOne’s Operation Transformation. Karl is a self-professed Fitness Fanatic. His interests include Hill walking, Cycling, Triathlons,Swimming, Surfing, Kite Surfing and anything that gets his pulse rate up. Read Karl's full bio here