The Surrey Advertiser: Arm yourself with key information

If you are being treated for an illness or injury, the last ting you need is to be treated with a medicine that will give you a setback.

That's exactly what happened to Fetham first aider Malcolm Cole and now he is keen to prevent it happening to other people.

Mr Cole discovered he had a penicillin allergy 20 years ago after a nasty reaction to a doctor's treatment.

He has been a voluntary first aider for 25 years and delivers paediatric instruction for Surrey First Aid Training, so he is aware of the importance of making medical staff aware of all allergies and conditions.

I am very conscious of the importance of understanding the history of any incident where first aid may be required, and how crucial it is to make the correct diagnosis, he said. In this respect, I always ensure that my students make a careful examination of a casualty, especially an unconscious one, and to look for medical bracelets, necklaces or wallet cards.
The 61-year-old promotes Medibands, which come in wristband and wallet cards and which he himself wears.

One of the first things I will ask someone is if they are allergic to anything or have any medical conditions.

But if they are unconscious they can't tell you, or if a child has a severe allergy they can go into shock, and children are not as good at communicating these things as adults.

And with things like diabetes, which is increasing, certainly among young people - it does help if they have a wrist band and you know about it straight away.

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