Automobile accidents can be stressful, confusing and painful. Unfortunately, while some injuries are impossible to ignore, the symptoms of others do not always appear immediately. As such, if you are ever in a car crash, you must seek medical attention. Often, a full medical examination is necessary to rule out injuries.
A recent Georgia Governor’s Office of Public Safety report found that in a three-year period, an average of more than 150,000 Georgians sustained some type of injury in an automobile collision each year. While these injuries range from small cuts to compound fractures, punctured lungs are not exactly rare. As such, following an accident, you must watch for signs that you may have one.
Your lungs are vital organs. To protect them, you have a rib cage and spine. During a car wreck, though, your seat belt or another object may cause blunt-force trauma, breaking your ribs. If a broken rib happens to move backward and into your lungs, it may puncture one or both of them.
Your body only has so many ways to tell you there is a problem. Unfortunately, a punctured lung may mask itself as a heart attack, indigestion or fatigue. Still, you should watch for the following symptoms:
- Bloody sputum
- Irregular or labored breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest or back pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Pale or bluish skin
A punctured lung is generally not a minor medical condition. As mentioned above, you should always ask a doctor or another healthcare professional to examine you after a car accident. If you notice any of the above symptoms, though, you likely need emergency medical treatment.
While seat belts save lives, they may also contribute to broken ribs. Because a broken rib can easily puncture vital organs, such as your lungs, you must not ignore the warning signs of lung damage.