4 Facts You Didn’t Know

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1. Up to 20% of elderly die due to rib fractures.

Death occurs as a result from underlying lung, splenic, or vascular injury or development of pneumonia due to splinting, rather than the rib fractures themselves. Rib fractures are also often missed on Chest X-Rays.
“Most complications result from concomitant injuries. Isolated rib fractures are painful but rarely cause complications. However, inspiratory splinting (incomplete inspiration due to pain) can cause atelectasis and pneumonia, especially in the elderly or patients with multiple fractures. As a result, elderly patients have high mortality rates due to rib fractures. Young healthy patients and those with 1 or 2 rib fractures rarely develop these complications.”
Treatment usually requires opioid based medication, although opioids can also depress respiration and worsen the partial or total collapse of the lung. Some physicians prescribe ibuprofen or aspirin simultaneously.

2. If your body takes the impact of a supersonic blast wave,
Your nails would bleed.

Within the primary blast radius, preferentially hollow or gas-filled structures are affected. Which means that it would blast your lungs, blow your ear drums, middle ear and eyes. It would rupture your stomach and cause holes in the intestines. However, the brain would experience mild to traumatic injury. A side effect of the pressure is that it also ruptures the skin underneath the fingernails.
Dependent on the proximity to the blast, there are cases, in which the injuries are mainly internal with minimal fractures, however death due to multiple organ failure is almost instantaneous.

3. Electrical field strength, is a new concept to predict electrical injury severity more accurately.

Kouwenhoven’s factors:
“AC changes direction frequently; it is the current usually supplied by household electrical outlets in the US and Europe. DC flows in the same direction constantly; it is the current supplied by batteries. Defibrillators and cardioverters usually deliver DC current. How AC affects the body depends largely on frequency. Low-frequency (50- to 60-Hz) AC is used in US (60 Hz) and European (50 Hz) households. Because low-frequency AC causes extended muscle contraction (tetany), which may freeze the hand to the current’s source and prolong exposure, it can be more dangerous than high-frequency AC and is 3 to 5 times more dangerous than DC of the same voltage and amperage. DC exposure is likely to cause a single convulsive contraction, which often throws the person away from the current’s source.”

Low-voltage 60-Hz AC traveling through the chest can cause cardiac arrest. Tissue damage due to electrical exposure is caused primarily by the conversion of electric energy to heat, resulting in thermal injury. The absence of external burns does not predict the absence of electrical injury, and the severity of external burns does not predict the severity of electrical injury. The electrical field effect can cause cell membrane damage (electroporation) even when the energy is insufficient to cause any thermal damage.

“For both AC and DC, the higher the voltage (V) and amperage, the greater the ensuing electrical injury (for the same duration of exposure). Household current in the US is 110 V (standard electrical outlet) to 220 V (used for large appliances, eg, refrigerator, dryer). High-voltage (> 500 V) currents tend to cause deep burns, and low-voltage (110 to 220 V) currents tend to cause muscle tetany and freezing contact to the current’s source. The maximum amperage that can cause flexors of the arm to contract but that allows release of the hand from the current’s source is called the let-go current. Let-go current varies with weight and muscle mass. For an average 70-kg man, let-go current is about 75 mA for DC and about 15 mA for AC.”

4. CO poisoning is one of the most common fatal poisonings

CO exposure caused by house fires, improperly vented automobiles, gas heaters, furnaces, hot water heaters, wood- or charcoal-burning stoves, or kerosene heaters results in a surprisingly large amount of casualties per year. They are often mistaken for flu due to the presentation of similar symptoms.

“Hyperbaric O2 therapy may decrease the incidence of delayed neuropsychiatric symptoms.” However, this therapy may cause injuries due to the change in atmospheric pressure, especially in the lungs and eardrums.

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