Medical Injury or Illness
- Do not move a seriously injured person unless they are in a life-threatening situation.
- In the event of a serious injury or illness, immediately call USI Public Safety at 812-492-7777 or ext. 7777.
- Give as much information as possible regarding:
- Nature of the illness or injury
- Victim's name
- Victim’s location
- Building name
- Floor and room number
- Whether victim is conscious, breathing, bleeding
- Victim's injuries
- Chemicals or radioactive materials involved
- If possible, send someone to the building entrance to meet the Public Safety officers and emergency responders.
- The following steps may be taken to aid the victim until help arrives:
- Identify yourself to the victim and let them know you are there to help.
- Ask victim, "Are you okay?" and "What is wrong?"
- Do a head-to-toe exam for injury.
- Control serious bleeding by direct pressure on the wound.
- Check breathing and pulse and give CPR if necessary, and if you are qualified.
- Treat for shock, if necessary, and keep victim still/comfortable. DO NOT MOVE VICTIM unless they are in a life-threatening situation.
- Public Safety dispatchers are trained to talk you through CPR.
- Locate the nearest Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
- Continue to assist the victim until help arrives.
- Look for emergency medical identification, question witnesses, and give all information to Public Safety.
- For injuries that do not require urgent attention, recommend victim visits a local clinic or the University Health Center.
Suspected Drug Overdose
Drug and alcohol overdose symptoms vary widely, depending on the specific drug used, but may include:
- Abnormal pupil size or pupils that don't change size when light is shined into them
- Convulsions, tremors
- Delusional or paranoid behavior, hallucinations
- Difficulty breathing
- Drowsiness, coma
- Nausea and vomiting
- Staggering or unsteady gait (ataxia)
- Sweating or extremely dry, hot skin
- Violent or aggressive behavior
Drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms also vary widely, depending on the specific drug used, but may include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Agitation, restlessness
- Cold sweat
- Convulsions, shaking
- Delusions, hallucinations
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Check the person's airway, breathing, and pulse. If needed, begin CPR. If unconscious but breathing, carefully place the person in the recovery position by rolling the person toward you onto their side. Bend the top leg so both hip and knee are at right angles. Gently tilt their head back to keep the airway open. If the person is conscious, loosen the clothing and keep the person warm, and provide reassurance. Try to keep the person calm. If you suspect an overdose, try to prevent the person from taking more drugs. Call for medical help right away.
- Treat the person for signs of shock. Signs include weakness, bluish lips and fingernails, clammy skin, paleness, and decreasing alertness.
- If the person is having seizures, give first aid for seizures.
- Keep monitoring the person's vital signs (pulse, rate of breathing, blood pressure) until emergency medical help arrives.
- If possible, try to determine which drug(s) were taken, how much and when. Save any pill bottles or other drug containers. Give this information to emergency personnel.
Things you should not do when tending to someone who has overdosed:
- Do NOT put your own safety in danger. Some drugs can cause violent and unpredictable behavior. Call for medical help.
- Do NOT try to reason with someone who is on drugs. Do not expect them to behave reasonably.
- Do NOT offer your opinions when giving help. You don't need to know why drugs were taken in order to give effective first aid.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Drug emergencies are not always easy to identify. If you think someone has overdosed, or if you think someone is having withdrawal, give first aid and seek medical help.
Try to find out what drug the person has taken. If possible, collect all drug containers and any remaining drug samples or the person's vomit and take them to the hospital.
If you or someone you are with has overdosed, call Public Safety, 9-1-1, or the Poison Control hotline at 1-800-222-1222. This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Mental Health Concerns
If you are concerned about a member of the University community, call one of the following departments:
- Counseling Center
- The Counseling Center is not a 24-hour facility. Please contact Public Safety for 24-hour assistance.
- Students: Counseling Center provides professional mental health services for students.
- Staff and faculty: The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all full-time employees and members of their household.
- Human Resources
- Dean of Students Office
- Public Safety
- Situations requiring immediate attention should be directed to Public Safety.
The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office has Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officers who can be requested for assistance with individuals needing advanced mental health care not available on campus.
The Campus Action Response and Engagement (CARE) Team is designed for early intervention regarding behavioral issues of students who appear to be troubled. The CARE team can be contacted by calling the Dean of Students Office or submitting a CARE Team Reporting Form.
Automated external defibrillator (AED) overview
An automated external defibrillator or AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy that stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.
AED Locations on Campus:
- Physical Activities Center (public with instructions)
- Recreation, Fitness, and Wellness Center (public with instructions)
- Dental Clinic (trained personnel only)
- University Heath Center (trained personnel only)
- Broadway Intramural Complex (public with instructions)
- Public Safety Vehicles and Office (trained personnel only)
Public Safety personnel should follow prescribed medical protocols.
Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms — such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They are normally harmless or even helpful, but under certain conditions, some organisms may cause disease. Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors global outbreaks and pandemics and is a good resource for prevention, preparedness and managing outbreaks.
If you believe you or someone you know may be affected by an infectious disease, notify Public Safety and the University Health Center. (Reporting is confidential.)
The University’s influenza (also called "the flu") plan focuses on continuity of services and functions, and provides guidance for decision-making based on the severity of the situation and recommended actions to be taken by USI to ensure the well-being of faculty, staff and students.
Prevention through good health habits:
- Avoid close contact: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay home when you are sick: If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose: Cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm, and/or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Clean your hands: Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth: Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
Watch for these symptoms: fever, sore throat, cough, body aches and, occasionally, vomiting and diarrhea. If you have these symptoms, contact your health provider for evaluation.
Seasonal (common) Flu
A respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Most people have some immunity. A vaccine is available from your healthcare provider or contact the University Health Center for vaccine information.
Avian flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. The H5N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl and can be transmitted from birds to humans. No vaccine is available. There is no human immunity.
Pandemic flu is virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic of serious illness.
PUBLIC SAFETY IS TO BE NOTIFIED OF ALL ACCIDENTS OCCURING ON CAMPUS. CALL 812-492-7777 OR EXT. 7777.
Accidents happen. It is important to know when to call for help. While waiting for help to arrive, you may be able to save someone's life. The following suggested first aid care is designed to prevent further injury and to sustain life until emergency responders arrive. Public Safety personnel should follow the department’s medical protocols issued by the department's director.
- If a patient is not breathing and/ or has no heartbeat, initiate ventilations first, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
- If you have been trained to do rescue breathing and CPR, proceed as trained.
- Public Safety dispatchers can walk a first provider through CPR if the caller is comfortable with providing CPR.
- If you have not been trained, seek someone who is trained.
- Ask the person if he or she is carrying an epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen, Auvi-Q, others) to treat an allergic attack.
- If the person says he or she needs to use an auto injector, ask whether you should help inject the medication. This is usually done by pressing the auto injector against the person's thigh.
- Have the person lie still on his or her back.
- Loosen tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket. Do not give the person anything to drink.
- If there is vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking.
- If there are no signs of breathing, coughing or movement, begin CPR. Do uninterrupted chest presses — about 100 every minute — until paramedics arrive.
- Get emergency treatment even if symptoms start to improve. After anaphylaxis, it is possible for symptoms to recur. Monitoring in a hospital for several hours is usually necessary.
If you are with someone showing signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, do not wait to see whether symptoms get better. Seek emergency treatment right away. In severe cases, untreated anaphylaxis can lead to death within half an hour. An antihistamine pill, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), is not sufficient to treat anaphylaxis. These medications can help relieve allergy symptoms, but work too slowly in a severe reaction. The following are symptoms of anaphylaxis:
- Skin reactions, including hives, itching, and flushed or pale skin
- Swelling of the face, eyes, lips or throat
- Constriction of the airways, leading to wheezing and trouble breathing A weak and rapid pulse
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Dizziness, fainting or unconsciousness
Some common anaphylaxis triggers include:
- Foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish
- Insect stings from bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, and fire ants
- Exposure to some animals
Fainting, Unconsciousness, and Shock
- If a victim has lost consciousness or is showing signs and symptoms of shock (low blood pressure, disorientation, pale, cool, and clammy skin), treat for shock:
- Have victim lie down.
- If victim is nauseated or vomiting, have victim lie on left side.
- If the face is pale, raise the feet, unless the victim has suffered a head injury with bleeding.
- If the face is red, or if the victim is having difficulty breathing, raise the head.
Burns: Thermal, Electrical, and Chemical
- First-degree burns:
- Red and painful, with slight swelling, these burns turn white when you press on the skin. The skin over the burn may peel off after 1 or 2 days.
- Soak the burn in cool water for at least 5 minutes. The cool water helps reduce swelling by pulling heat away from the burned skin.
- Second-degree burns:
- These are thicker burns that are very painful and typically produce blisters on the skin. The skin is very red or splotchy, and may be very swollen.
- Soak the burn in cool water for 15 minutes. Cover the burn with a dry nonstick dressing (for example, Telfa) held in place with gauze or tape.
- Third-degree burns:
- These burns cause damage to all layers of the skin. The burned skin looks white or charred. These burns may cause little or no pain if the nerves and tissue in the skin are damaged. Victim needs to go to the hospital right away. Do not remove any clothing stuck to the burn. Do not soak the burn in water or apply any ointment. If possible, raise the burned area above the level of the heart.
A person who has an electrical burn (for example, from a power line) should immediately be transported to the hospital. Electrical burns often cause serious injury to organs inside the body. This injury may not show on the skin.
A chemical burn should be flushed with large amounts of cool water. Take off any clothing or jewelry that has the chemical on it. Do not put anything on the burned area, such as antibiotic ointment, or this might start a chemical reaction that could make the burn worse. You can wrap the burn with dry, sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
Burn victims are susceptible to hypothermia.
Severe Bleeding and Wounds
First aid procedure until medical assistance arrives:
- Use a clean cloth and apply direct pressure over wound.
- Elevate body part.
- If severe bleeding continues, use pressure over the closest artery (pressure point) above the wound.
- Add more cloth if blood soaks through. Do not remove soaked compress.
- Be prepared to treat patient for shock.
Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air, Young children often swallow small objects. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, administer first aid as quickly as possible.
The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat. If the person does not give the signal, look for these indications:
- Inability to talk
- Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
- Inability to cough forcefully
- Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky
- Loss of consciousness
If choking is occurring, the Red Cross recommends a "five-and-five" approach to delivering first aid:
- Give 5 back blows. First, deliver five back blows between the person's shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
- Give 5 abdominal thrusts. Perform five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver).
- Alternate between 5 blows and 5 thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.
To Perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Someone:
- Stand behind the person. Wrap your arms around the waist. Tip the person forward slightly.
- Make a fist with one hand. Position it slightly above the person's navel.
- Grasp the fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust, as if trying to lift the person up.
- Perform a total of 5 abdominal thrusts, if needed. If the blockage still is not dislodged, repeat the five-and-five cycle.
To Clear the Airway of an Unconscious Person:
- Lower the person onto his or her back on the floor.
- If the blockage is visible at the back of the throat or high in the throat, reach a finger into the mouth and sweep out the cause of the blockage. Be careful not to push the food or object deeper into the airway, which can happen easily in young children.
- Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if the object remains lodged and the person does not respond after you take the above measures. The chest compressions used in CPR may dislodge the object. Remember to recheck the mouth periodically.
Fractures and Sprains
- Keep victim still
- Keep injured area immobile
Once accident victims have been cared for and transported, normal student/employee injury reporting procedures should be followed.