Technology has advanced so much that it is now quite easy to gather important information about our bodies. Whenever we go to a physician’s chamber or hospital, there are always some devices used to help in the diagnosis and management of our condition. A lot of things are now portable and compact, and very simple to use.
Many medical devices are now being marketed to be used at home. There are a few things we should keep close for our own benefit. A thermometer, blood pressure measuring device and a first-aid box are three things we all should have.
Thermometer is not actually that uncommon in our homes. Even a decade ago many households had a thermometer to check the temperature of the children if they ran a fever. Those were mercury thermometers, the so-called analogue ones where the tester needed to look at the level of mercury to determine the temperature.
Needless to say, not everyone was fond of that method.
However, in this digital age, there are modern thermometers that will give us the temperature on a screen. We do not need to check mercury level or anything, we just have to use it as per instructions and voila, the temperature will be shown to us. They are not that expensive and we should keep them close, especially during these COVID times.
Another important piece of equipment all of us should have is the blood pressure measurement device. There are two versions available, a manual one and a digital one. In the former, we have to manually inflate the pressure cuffs and then listen with a stethoscope to determine the blood pressure.
In the digital versions, we just need to press a button and the cuff will be inflated automatically. The screen will display the pressure measures and as a bonus the pulse rate. However, the measurements of the manual one, if done correctly, are usually more accurate than the digital one. So even if we have digital blood pressure devices at home, it is advisable to learn how to use the manual device as well.
The third thing is the first-aid kit or box. Now, this does not come pre-filled with anything, we have to customize it based on our needs. This is an empty box where we will keep things for emergencies.
We can store different types of bandages, gauze, cotton, tourniquet, adhesive tapes, disinfectant, sanitisers, antibiotic ointments, burn ointments, soap, antiseptic wipes, scissors, safety pins, disposable non-latex gloves etc. We can even put the thermometer and blood pressure devices in there.
Apart from these, some households may need additional devices for specific conditions. For example, if anyone in the family is diabetic, we must have a blood glucose monitoring device.
The doctors usually ask diabetic patients to buy such a device and keep track of their blood glucose levels with that. Some families may need to buy a pulse oximeter if they have someone with an oxygen saturation problem. With COVID, this has become a must-have thing at the house.
Last but not the least, there is something we all should know. That is not medical equipment. It is, in fact, first-aid training.
We must take some time out of our busy schedule to learn this. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has a very standard first-aid program which can be organized at the school or offices as well. Learning first-aid can save lives, and make us better equipped to handle medical emergencies.
Dr Imtiaz Ahmed completed his MBBS from Dhaka Medical College.