To find out the needs of a sick person, first you must ask important questions and then examine him carefully. You should look for signs and symptoms that may help you tell how ill the person is and what kind of sickness he may have.
Always examine the person where there is good light, preferably in the sunlight-never in a dark room.
There are certain basic things to ask and to look for in any one who is sick. These include things the sick person feels or reports (symptoms) as well as things you notice on examining him (signs). These signs can be especially important n babies and persons unable to talk.
SOME QUESTONS TO ASK
Start by asking the person about her sickness. Be sure to ask the following
What bothers you the most right now?
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What makes you feel better or worse?
How and when did you your sickness begin?
Have you had this same trouble before or has anyone else in your family or neighborhood had it
Continue with other details in order to learn the details of the illness.
More examples, let’s assume the person has a pain, you could ask
Where does it hurt?
Ask her to point to the exact place with one finger
Does it hurt all the time or off and on?
What is the pain like? Sharp, Dull or burning?
Can you sleep with the pain?
If the sick person or baby who still does not talk looks for sign of pain. Notice his movements and how he cries. For example a child with earache sometimes rubs the side of his head or pulls at his ear.
GENERAL CONDITIONS OF HEALTH.
Before touching a sick person, look at him carefully. Observe how ill or weak he looks, the way he moves, how he breathes and how clear his mind seems.
Notice whether the person looks well-nourished or poorly nourished. Has he been losing weight? When a person has lost weight slowly over a long period of time, he may have a chronic illness.
Also note the color of the skin and the eyes. Healthy black skin can hide color changes behind it, so look at the parts where the skin is paler, e.g. the palm of the hands, he finger nails the inside of the lips or lining of the eyelids
Paleness may be sign of Anemia.
Blueness may mean serious problems with breathing
Yellow color may result from disease in the liver. It may also occur in new born babies and children born with the weakness of blood.
The color of a person’s skin depends on the color of her parent’s skin. The color sometimes changes when the person is sick. It may get darker with starvation but with kwashiorkor, the skin and hair color go lighter.
Look at texture of the skin when a light is shining across if from one side. The earliest sign of measles rash on the face off a feverish child will be seen this way. An early sign of onchocerciasis on the back of a farmer may be areas of skin looking like the skin of an orange.