Glossary / Health

First Aid Glossary

Abduction: Moving a limb away from the body.
Abrasion: A superficial wound in which the topmost layers of the skin are scraped off
Acute: A temporary condition that may be severe.
Acute Myocardial Infarction: Definition of a heart attack. Also known as an acute myocardial infarction.
Adduction: Moving a limb toward the body.
Advanced Life Support: A level of care provided by prehospital emergency medical services. Advanced life support consists o
Agonal Respirations: Irregular, gasping breaths often seen during cardiac arrest. In most cases, rescuers will see victim
Air Ambulance: Air ambulances are used when patients need to be transported over long distances more quickly than g
Airway: The passages which transfer air from the outside environment to the lungs: the tracha, bronchi, bron
Ambulance: A vehicle used to transport sick or injured people with medical needs. A prehospital emergency medic
Ammonium Nitrate: The active chemical in cold packs.
Anaphylactic Shock: Anaphylaxis resulting in a collapse of the circulatory system and a dangerous decrease in blood pres
Anaphylaxis: Severe, often life threatening, generalized allergic reaction. Unlike a typical allergic reaction, a
Anatomical Position: A basic position that all anatomical references assume. The subject is standing, looking straight ah
Anatomy: The study of the structure of the body.
Anterior: Front of the body.
Aphasia: Inability to create or understand speech. Aphasia is a disorder of the brain's speech center rather
Apnea: From the Greek a- (no or none) and -pnea (breathing or air), meaning the absense of breathing. In ma
Arachnoid Layer: The arachnoid layer acts as a cushion between the dura mater and the pia mater. Bleeding in the arac
Artery: A blood vessel carrying blood away from the heart: contains oxygen-rich, high-pressure blood in the
Arthritis: Inflammation of joints.
Asthma: Asthma is a medical condition that causes narrowing of the small airways in the lungs. Typically, as
Avulsion: Soft tissue injury where a flap of tissue has been removed or is barely attached. Avulsion also may
Basic Life Support: A level of medical care provided by prehospital emergency medical services. Basic life support consi
Behind-The-Counter Drugs: Behind-the-counter medications are not exactly over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Broken Bone: Some lay terminology needs definition and broken bone is such a term.
Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa, usually occurring in the shoulder or elbow.
Bystander: Any person, trained or untrained, who assists in an emergency situation, but not as part of a duty o
Camphor: Resin from the camphor tree
Capillary: The smallest blood vessels in the body: the skin is rife with capillaries
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): CPR, combines compressions of the chest with rescue breathing to keep blood flowing through the body
Cardiorespiratory System: The lungs, and heart and blood vessels in the body.
Cardiovascular System: The heart and blood vessels in the body.
Carotid Artery: The main artery providing blood supply to the head.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Compression of the median nerve caused by swelling tendons in the carpal tunnel. Symptoms of CTS inc
Causation: Determination of whether the defendant's actions are causally linked to any harm
Chest Compressions: Chest compressions are often used in conjunction with rescue breathing. Learn the full definition of
Choking: Choking is the blocking of an airway due to a foreign object lodged in the throat or windpipe. Choki
Chronic: As opposed to acute, a chronic condition is prolonged, or slow to heal.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) consists of two primary conditions: pulmonary emphysema
Circulation: The movement of blood throughout the body: performed by the heart
Circulatory System: The system that provides blood to the body. It includes the heart, arteries, arterioles, capillaries
Citronella: Oil derived from lemon grass (Cymbopogon nardus)
Closed Fracture: Closed and open fractures are treated exactly the same way, other than bleeding control.
Closed Head Injury: Closed head injury results in swelling or bleeding within the skull, which can lead to brain damage
Collapsed Lung: Collapsed lung is a condition that causes the lining of the lung to pull away from the wall of the c
Comfrey: European herb with small flowers.
Complete Fracture: Oblique fractures and comminuted fractures are good examples of complete fractures.
Compound Fracture: Compound fractures, open fractures and closed fractures are treated exactly the same, except for ble
Compression: The act of pressing or squeezing together.
Concussion: Concussions are common in combat operations, and more information about the consequences of concussi
Consciousness (Level Of): A state of awareness or lack thereof
Consent: A legal condition whereby a person can be said to have given consent based upon an appreciation and
Crepitus: The way crepitus feels depends on how it's created.
Cyanosis: The bluish coloration of the skin due to the presence of deoxygenated blood near the skin surface: o
Defibrillation: Delivering a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the affected heart with a device called a defi
Dehydration: Depletion of body fluids, to the point of illness.
Diabetes: A disease causing an inability to regulate the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood
Diaphoresis: Diaphoresis can come from pain, lack of oxygen or sugar in the bloodstream, or from fear.
Diphenhydramine: Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine sold over-the-counter. Diphenhydramine is also sold as a sleep a
Direct Pressure: Direct pressure is used when trying to address a wound. Learn the full definition of direct pressure
Disease: Cancer, diabetes, pneumonia, hepatitis, asthma and the flu are just some examples of diseases.
Dislocation: If the kneecap (patella) slides off the front of the knee, it is known as a patella dislocation.
Displacement: To push out of the normal position, such as a shoulder.
Distal: The point on a limb furthest from its point of attachment to the body
Dura Mater: Dura mater is latin for tough mother and refers to mom's protective duty.
Duty Of Care: A legal obligation imposed on an individual requiring that they exercise a reasonable standard of ca
Edema: A condition where fluid accumulates in spaces between cells, swelling tissues.
Elastic Bandage: Elastic bandages should only be used during the first two days following an injury along with rest,
Emergency Medical Services: Any part of a system designed to respond to medical emergencies and provide prehospital or in-hospit
EMT: A certified healthcare provider who is trained to treat and transport victims of emergencies. Emerge
Endothermic: Drawing heat inward, simultaneously cooling the environment around.
Epicondylitis: (Tennis Elbow, Golfer's Elbow) Injury from repeated movements in these sports. Symptoms include swel
Epidural Hematoma: Epidural hematomas may not show any signs of injury at first, then develop quickly into severe sympt
Epiglottis: Here, learn the definition of epiglottis.
Exothermic: Releasing heat outward.
Extension: Straightening a limb or a joint.
Fight Or Flight Response: Fight or flight refers to the two choices our ancestors had when facing a dangerous animal or enemy.
First Aid: Simple emergency medical care procedures intended for lay rescuers to perform before emergency medic
First Responder: Often, first responder is used as a general term for all emergency service personnel who are expecte
Flail Chest: These segments of broken ribs got the name flail chest because the segments flail back and forth opp
Flexion: Bending a limb at a joint.
Fracture: Any break in rigid body tissue, including bones, cartilage and teeth.
Greenstick Fracture: Kids commonly get incomplete fractures known as greenstick fractures.
Grindelia: A large genus of coarse, sticky herbs found across Western North America
Guayule: A natural substance similar to rubber, produced by plants in the aster or sunflower families.
Hematoma: Internal bleeding produced by a broken blood vessel causing a dome under the skin.
History: One of the 3 parts of a secondary survey
Hyperextension: Extend so the angle between bones of a joint is greater than normal.
Hypoxia: A condition in which insufficient oxygen reaches body tissue
Immobilize: Reduce or eliminate all motion.
Incision: A clean cut caused by a sharp-edged object
Incomplete Fracture: Incomplete fractures are common in kids and are known as greenstick fractures.
Inflammation: A reaction to injury that may include redness, heat and swelling.
Insulin: A hormone that allows glucose to travel from the bloodstream into the cells
Inversion: Turn inward.
Laceration: Irregular wounds caused by a blunt impact to soft tissue which lies over hard tissue: tearing of ski
Landmark: The location of compressions: on the midline of the chest, even with the nipples
Larynx: Learn the definition of larynx.
Lateral: To the side.
Latex: This material is made of the sap of many plants, which coagulates on exposure to air. It is also pro
Liability: A legal doctrine that makes a person responsible for the damage and loss caused by their acts and om
Ligament: A tough cord of tissue that connects bone to bone or cartilage to bone.
Lumbar: The lower back region.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Medical imaging technique (like X-rays and ultrasound) allowing physicians to see images of tissues.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): Any sheet that provides both workers and emergency personnel with information and procedures for han
Mechanism Of Injury: A low-speed fender-bender in a parking lot is much less likely to cause a life-threatening injury th
Medical Condition: A condition may also be a disease or a sign of a disease.
Meninges: An infection of the meninges is known as meningitis and can be life-threatening.
Moleskin: Soft material that reduces friction and protects skin.
Myocardial Infarction: Heart attack: bleeding or blockage cuts off blood flow to part of the heart muscle
Nailbed: The tissue under the nail: pinching the nail and observing the blood return to the nailbed is a good
Nasopharyngeal Airway: Learn the definition of nasopharyngeal airway.
Necrosis: Necrosis is common in crush injuries, burns, frostbite, infections and envenomation. A severe skin i
Nitrile: A synthetic rubber co-polymer of acrylonitrile and butadiene.
Oedema (Edema): Swelling in the lower legs and ankles. Oedema is caused by a fluid build-up in the body.
Online Medical Control: When taking care of a patient in the field, paramedics must sometimes communicate with a physician.
Open Fracture: Closed and open fractures are treated exactly the same except for bleeding control.
Oropharyngeal Airway: An airway adjunct placed in the mouth to help keep the pharynx open.
Orthopedics: The branch of medicine dealing with bones and the skeleton.
Orthotics: The science and technology of braces for weak or injured joints and muscles.
OSHA: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a federal body that inspects for and enforces fed
Over The Counter: What's the difference between a prescription and an over-the-counter medication?
Paramedic: Paramedics provide advanced life support to victims. Paramedics may work in the emergency department
Pharynx: Learn the definition of pharynx.
Physiology: Study of the function of the body.
Pia Mater: Pia mater is latin for little mother and refers to mom's protective duty.
Podiatry: The branch of medical science that deals with the feet.
Posterior: Back of the body.
Prehospital: The type of medical care provided at the scene of a medical emergency. Assumes the ultimate goal of
Prescription: Prescription medications are not available without an order from the doctor.
Proprioception: Sensory awareness of any singular part of the body.
Proximal: The point on a limb closest to its point of attachment to the body
Puncture: A wound caused by an object puncturing the skin
Rescue Breathing: Rescue breathing is often used as a compliment to chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscit
Respiratory Arrest: The absense of breathing or presence of agonal respirations. In most cases, victims of respiratory a
Rotation: Turning on an axis.
RSS: Repetitive stress syndrome, caused by any repetitive movement.
Rupture: Tearing apart of a tissue.
Scope Of Practice: It is in the paramedic scope of practice to give injections through muscle, under skin or directly i
Semi-Prone Position: A position which keeps the tongue from obstructing the airway and allows any fluids to drain from th
Sign: When driving along the highway, we rely on signs to tell us where to go. When conducting a medical a
Sodium Acetate: The active ingredient in hot packs.
Soft Tissue: All tissues in the body except bone.
Splint: When someone has a fractured limb, they may be advised to wear a splint. Learn more about how a spli
Sprain: Any injury where fibers of a ligament are stretched or torn.
Standard Of Care: The degree of prudence and caution required of an individual who is under a duty of care: the requir
Standing Orders: Paramedics and emts need to know how to handle medical emergencies. Standing orders are one way to d
Strain: Any injury where a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn.
Subcutaneous Emphysema: Subcutaneous emphysema can be a sign of collapsed lung (pneumothorax).
Subdural Hematoma: Subdural hematomas make take days or weeks to develop after an impact to the head.
Symptom: Asking the patient about his or her symptoms is the subjective part of a healthcare provider's asses
Synovial Fluid: The clear fluid that lubricates and protects a joint and its surface.
Syrup Of Ipecac: A vomit inducing agent. It is lowering in esteem in medical circles.
Tendon: The cord of fibrous tissue connecting a muscle with another part (e.g. Bone).
Tendonitis: Inflammation of tendons or muscles around a joint.
Trachea: Here you'll learn the definition of trachea.
Trauma: Any wound or injury to living tissue.
Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood toward the heart: most veins carry low-oxygen blood
Vertebrae: The bony segments of the spinal column.
Vertigo: Vertigo can be a sign of inner ear infection or a life-threatening loss of blood pressure.
Wheezing: Most of the time, wheezing is only heard with a stethoscope placed on the chest. In severe cases, wh
Witch Hazel: A small shrub found in the southern US used for antiseptic properties.

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