(armpit), and aural (ear) temperatures. In emergency
situations, taking a traditional body temperature may
not be indicated, so a relative skin temperature may be
A relative skin temperature is a quick
assessment of skin temperature and condition. To
assess skin temperature and condition, feel the
patients forehead with the back of your hand. In doing
this, note if the patients skin feels normal, warm, hot,
cool, or cold. At the same time, see if the skin is dry,
moist, or clammy. Also check for goose pimples,
BASIC LIFE SUPPORT
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Recall basic life
s u p p o r t t e c h n i q u e s f o r u p p e r a i r w a y
obstruction, respiratory failure, and cardiac
Basic life support is the emergency technique for
recognizing and treating upper airway obstruction and
failures of the respiratory system and heart.
primary emphasis should be on the ABCs of basic life
support: maintaining an open airway to counter upper
airway obstruction; restoring breathing to counter
respiratory arrest; and restoring circulation to counter
UPPER AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION
The assurance of breathing takes precedence over
all other emergency measures. The reason for this is
simple: If a person cannot breathe, he cannot survive.
Many factors may cause a persons airway to
become fully or partially obstructed. A very common
cause of obstruction with both adults and children is
improperly chewed food that becomes lodged in the
airway (an event commonly referred to as a cafe
coronary). Additionally, children have a disturbing
tendency to swallow foreign objects while at play.
Another cause for upper airway obstruction occurs
during unconsciousness, when the tongue may fall
back and block the pharynx (fig. 4-1). When the upper
airway is obstructed, the heart will normally continue
to beat until oxygen deficiency becomes acute.
Periodic checks of the carotid artery must be made to
ensure that circulation is being maintained.
Partial Airway Obstruction
The signs of partial airway obstruction include
unusual breath sounds, cyanosis, or changes in
Conscious patients will usually
make clutching motions toward their neck, even when
the obstruction does not prevent speech. Encourage
conscious patients with apparent partial obstructions
Figure 4-1.Tongue blocking airway.