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The signs suggesting possible fractures, sprains or strains are swelling, discoloration, deformity and pain. The person may not be able to use the part of the anatomy in question. It is not possible, ascertain whether it is a fracture, sprain or strain, so treat all as a fracture.

There are two types of fractures, open and closed. With an open fracture the bone brakes through the skin and bleeding is present. At this stage do not try to clean the wound or push the bone back under the skin. Do not move the person in question. Keep them warm, still and treat them for shock if necessary. Dial 999 for an ambulance.

It is important to try and immobilise the affected limb. Boards, cardboard, magazines, pillows and rolled up newspapers can make very good splints.

Place the splint above and below the fracture so that the splint extends beyond the fracture site.

Tie the splint to the fracture carefully, leaving the knot tied on the splint. If the fracture is on the arm, put the arm in a sling.

Broken Back or Neck
The signs of a broken back include pain, numbness and or an inability to move the legs or toes. In the case of a broken neck the person may experience numbness around the shoulders, inability to move the fingers and complete or partial paralysis of limbs. Perform necessary CPR if the person fall unconscious or has difficulty breathing. The person must be completely immobilised. Never move the person, unless they or you are in immediate danger. Keep the person warm and still. Keep the person lying flat and hold the person’s head in a straight, neutral position until the ambulance arrives.

Head Injuries
In the case of head injuries or skull fractures, the victim may bleed from the mouth, nose or ears. They may be unconscious, vomiting, feeling very drowsy, confused, suffering from loss of balance, have incoherent speech, ringing in ears, nausea and have severe headaches. The person should lie down and keep their head as still as possible, like with broken neck. If the person is bleeding or vomiting from the mouth, they should be gently turned on to their side. Ensure their head and neck are in line and their airway is open.