Session 5 - Explain and Manage Shock
Session 6 - Conduct Secondary Assessment of the Sick and/or Injured Person and Provide Appropriate Primary Emergency Care within the Workplace
2 of 3

Lesson 22 – Illness common to the workplace are recognized and described according to current accepted protocols.




There are some employees in the workplace who have chronic illnesses. These conditions are mostly controlled, however, sometimes there might be a flare-up during work, and thus results in an injury or first aid requirements.

It is important that a person who suffers from one of these ailments, declares it to the employer. This is so that should something happen at the workplace, the employer knows how to react and treat the condition

Some common illnesses could be:

Diabetes – a condition where someone is unable to adequately regulate their blood glucose levels. 

How you can help:

1.    If the patient is unconscious: Support the patient on their side and call for an ambulance.

2.    If conscious, give the patient some sugar: If the patient is still fully conscious and able to swallow, give a sweetened drink, chocolate or glucose sweets to suck – an improvement usually occurs within minutes. When the patient is more alert, offer a more substantial carbohydrate meal of a sandwich or several sweet biscuits.

Give frequent reassurance during recovery because the patient may be confused until fully recovered.

3.    Obtain medical advice: If the patient has improved with the intake of carbohydrate, medical advice is still necessary because a further deterioration may occur at any time. The patient should see a doctor.

If the patient does not improve after swallowing the sweet food or drink, or if further deterioration occurs and swallowing becomes difficult – call for an ambulance.

Epilepsy – A disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures.

How you can help:

  1. Stay calm and assess the situation (scene survey), and call for help (ambulance)
  2. Note the time that the seizure started
  3. Cushion their head with something soft, and don’t hold them down
  4. Don’t put anything in their mouth
  5. If the seizure hasn’t stopped after 5 minutes, call again for help
  6. After the seizure has stopped, gently put them into the recovery position and check that their breathing returns back to normal.
  7. Stay with them until fully recovered, or handed over to medical experts.

Asthma – a common condition in which the airways go into spasm and cause tightness of the chest and severe difficulty breathing when someone is exposed to something that irritates their airways.

How you can help:

  1. Sit the person upright comfortably and loosen tight clothing. Call for help
  2. If the person has asthma medication, such as an inhaler, assist in using it.
  3. Continue using the inhaler if breathing is still a problem until breathing is calmed down
  4. If there is no inhaler, help the patient take long deep breaths, and help calm them.
  5. Monitor the person until help arrives


Stroke – a condition wherein the blood flow to the brain is interrupted. When this happens, the brain is deprived of oxygen, leading to cell death and brain damage.

How you can help:

1. Carry out the FAST test: 

Strokes usually happen because of a blockage of the blood supply to the brain. This damages part of the brain, which can affect people’s appearance, bodily functions, speech and sight.

2. Call 082 911 as soon as possible, or if you can’t, get someone else to do it.

A stroke needs immediate attention. The faster a person having a stroke gets medical help, the less damage there will be.

3. Reassure them while you wait for the ambulance.

Heart attack – usually occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the heart. Without blood, tissue loses oxygen and dies.

How you can help:

  1. Have the person sit down, rest, and try to keep calm.
  2. Loosen any tight clothing.
  3. Ask if the person takes any chest pain medicine, such as nitroglycerin, for a known heart condition, and help them take it.
  4. If the pain does not go away promptly with rest or within 3 minutes of taking nitroglycerin, call for emergency medical help.
  5. If the person is unconscious and unresponsive, call 911, then begin CPR
  6. If an infant or child is unconscious and unresponsive, perform 1 minute of CPR, then call 911.


  • DO NOT leave the person alone except to call for help, if necessary.
  • DO NOT allow the person to deny the symptoms and convince you not to call for emergency help.
  • DO NOT wait to see if the symptoms go away.
  • DO NOT give the person anything by mouth unless a heart medicine (such as nitroglycerin) has been prescribed.