World Trauma Day is observed on the 17th of October every year. This day emphasizes the increasing rate of accidents and injuries that cause death and disability across the world, and the need to prevent these mishaps. World Trauma Day aims at spreading awareness on the different ways to prevent accidents and the precautions one can take to keep safe.

The word “Trauma” refers to any physical injury to the body. There may be several causes of the injury such as road accidents, falling, violence, and abuse inflicted by another person, burns caused due to fire breakouts, and more. However, among the many reasons mentioned above, Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) are the major cause of trauma across the globe. About 5 million people die from trauma across the world every year. Most of these injuries even cause permanent disability or death. Having a road/fire accident can significantly impact one’s life and bring about a drastic change in their attitude and behavior.

How does an accident impact and alter one’s life?

An accident can have severe repercussions on a person’s life, and they go beyond just the obvious external injury. Some of the ways in which an accident can alter the victim’s life are:

  1. Mental health issues:

Several accident victims struggle with mental health issues in the aftermath of an accident. Most victims go through a condition known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This occurs when the victim fails to recover after a traumatic event. Apart from PTSD, they may face other mental health problems too. These issues may vary from severe stress, sleeplessness (insomnia) to anxiety. Victims who have had a permanent disability from the accident may also struggle with depression.

  • Strained relationships:

After undergoing a traumatic event, several victims have reported that it has put a strain on their relationships – parents, spouse, children, and friends. This may happen due to the stress and other mental health problems that occur after the accident.

  • Negative impact on professional life:

An accident can also have a negative impact, not just on the victim’s personal life, but on their professional lives as well. This problem might stem from the anxiety of returning to the workplace after a traumatic event. It may also affect the punctuality and the ability to perform at the workplace, leading to strained relationships with their manager and even their colleagues.

  • Fear of commuting:

If the victim has been involved in a car or bike accident, they might fear commuting by those means again, due to the trauma faced earlier. The idea of commuting may also trigger their anxiety and forbid them from doing so.

  • Long-lasting physical impact:

This is one of the most common factors that will impact the victim. Serious accidents can leave behind a lasting physical impact that may persist for years after the mishaps have taken place. This can include traumatic brain injuries, fractures that may require surgeries to fix it, spinal injuries, permanent disabilities, and in extremely severe cases, an amputation.

How can one recover from an accident?

After suffering an injury during an accident, complete recovery takes a lot of time, patience, and care. Depending on the severity of the injury, the recovery may take several months or even years. Though you cannot get a definitive time of recovery, there are certain things you can do to ease out the process.

  1. Seek medical help immediately:

In several cases of accidents, though the injuries may not be visible immediately, it is important to seek medical attention. Signs of concussions, pain and damage to the spine or limbs may take hours to appear. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of the injury worsening.

  • Thoroughly follow the treatment plan:

Depending on the severity and location of the injury, the treatment plan would differ. The most effective way to ensure complete recovery is to follow the treatment plan prescribed by the doctor, with utmost care. In cases involving fractures and broken bones, the doctors will prescribe surgery to fix the bones with the help of implants.

  • Rest:

Giving your body the rest it needs plays a crucial role in the recovery process. After a severe injury, it is important that your body slows down and gets the time to heal. Getting a good night’s sleep will impact your body positively and keep your energy levels intact. The level of stress hormones in the body also drops while you sleep, and blood flow also increases, allowing your muscles and tissues to repair.

Surgery after accidents

In cases of severe injuries that result in bone fractures and damage, the doctor usually recommends surgery to fix them. During the surgery, the surgeon may use surgical implants to replace a biological structure that has been damaged due to trauma in an accident or provide structural support.  Some of the most common implants used in surgeries to treat damage caused by an accident are:

  1. Plates:

The function of plates is to hold the broken pieces of bones together. They are attached to the bones with the help of screws. The plates also work to control and nullify all the forces in the bone such as compression, bending, and more.

  • Screws:

The primary function of a screw is to produce compression in the bone, which is required to mend the injury/fracture. The screw converts the force that arises from the bone movement into compression and distributes it evenly to the surface of the injured bones.

  • Intramedullary Nails:

Intramedullary Nailing is a procedure used to fix broken bones and keep them stable. In this procedure, a metal rod  (intramedullary nail) is placed in the center of the bone to provide support for the fractured bone. This procedure is most commonly used to fix the thigh, shin, upper arm, and hip.

  • Prosthesis:

A prosthesis is an artificial substitute or a replacement of a body part such as an arm, a leg, a facial bone, a hip joint, or even a breast implant. A prosthetic implant can be used when a certain part of the body has to be removed or amputated. Prosthetics are removable.

These surgical implants should be resistant to chemical reactions and completely biocompatible, to not cause infections. Implants should also be able to resist wear for a long time, which is why the materials to make the implants must be chosen carefully. Some of the most common materials that are used to make implants are:

  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel has been used in surgical processes for a very long time due to its properties. Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant, and this property is extremely in implants as they are placed inside the body, and may come in contact with biological fluids. This prevents the chances of an infection occurring.
  • Titanium Alloy: Compared to stainless steel, the use of titanium in implants is a relatively new practice. However, titanium implants are now most sought-after as they retain as much strength as stainless steel and are comparatively lighter.

How can we prevent road accidents?

Road accidents are the leading cause of most injuries across the world. Though there are many treatments and recovery options available to reverse damage caused by an accident, it is also important to work towards preventing accidents from taking place. During an accident, several things aren’t in our control. However, there are certain precautions we can take from our end, to avoid accidents as much as possible.

  • Develop the right attitude: Several road accidents are a result of factors like over-speeding, jumping the signal, and irresponsible driving. It is extremely necessary to develop a responsible attitude towards driving and be in complete control of the vehicle.
  • Wear your seat belt:  Wearing your seat belt while sitting in the vehicle is a norm – whether you are seated in the driver seat or the passenger seat.
  • Avoid drinking and driving: This goes without saying. Alcohol may dim your senses and impairs your visual functioning, leading to difficulty in steering the vehicle and poor control. Follow safe driving practices and avoid driving under influence (DUI).

Though there may be several factors that are out of our control in an accident, we can do our bit to stay careful and ensure the safety of others. In case of an accident, make sure that you call the emergency helpline number immediately to get assistance. Stay mindful of the traffic guidelines and follow road safety to prevent unnecessary accidents!

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