First Aid Glossary

A Complete Glossasry of First Aid Terminology.

First Aid Glossary

Key words, expressions, acronyms and abbreviations used in first aid.


  • ABC : airway, breathing, and circulation.

  • abdomen : the part of the body between the chest and the pelvis.

  • abrasion : a scraped area of skin.

  • abscess : a localized collection of pus, usually surrounded by inflamed tissue.

  • acclimatize : to adapt to a new altitude, climate, environment, or situation.

  • acidotic : in a state of abnormally reduced alkalinity; overwhelmed by acid; related to decreased pH.

  • acute : sudden in onset.

  • adrenaline : epinephrine.

  • AED : automated external defibrillator.

  • airway : passage for air into the lungs, including the mouth, nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi.

  • alkaline : having the properties of a base; related to high pH.

  • allergy : exaggerated reaction (sneezing, runny nose, itching, skin rash, difficulty in breathing) to substances that don't affect other individuals.

  • ALS : advanced life support.

  • alveoli : microscopic air spaces in the lung where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide.

  • ambulatory : able to walk.

  • amnesia : loss of memory.

  • amniotic fluid : liquid that surrounds unborn child within the membranes inside the uterus.

  • amputate : to cut from the body.

  • AMS : altered mental status.

  • analgesia : relief from pain.

  • anaphylaxis : hypersensitivity to substances following prior exposure, resulting in a severe allergic reaction.

  • anemia : deficiency in red blood cells.

  • anesthesia : loss of sensation.

  • aneurysm : abnormally dilated blood vessel.

  • angina pectoris : episodic chest pain caused by insufficient oxygen supply to the heart.

  • antibiotic : drug used to kill bacteria.

  • antibody : body substance, produced by specialized cells, that combines with and neutralizes foreign substances or toxins.

  • antiemetic : drug used to control nausea and vomiting.

  • antihistamine : drug used to inactivate histamine.

  • antiinflammatory : drug used to prevent or correct inflammation.

  • antiseptic : substance that limits or stops the growth of microscopic germs.

  • antivenom : drug used to inactivate the effects of animal or insect venom.

  • anus : posterior opening from the intestine to the outside world.

  • aorta : the large artery that carries oxygenated blood from the heart to be distributed to the body.

  • aortic : pertaining to the aorta.

  • appendectomy : surgical removal of the appendix.

  • appendicitis : inflammation of the appendix.

  • appendix : wormlike appendage of the bowel, located in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen.

  • aqueous : mixed with or related to water.

  • arachnoid : middle layer of membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

  • argasid : related to soft ticks.

  • arrest : sudden stop.

  • arterial : pertaining to an artery.

  • arteritis : inflammation of an artery.

  • artery : muscular- and elastic-walled blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the body.

  • arthritis : inflammation of the joints.

  • arthropod : invertebrate animal with jointed limbs belonging to the phylum Arthro-poda; insect, spider, or crustacean.

  • aspirate : to draw by suction; to inhale into the lungs.

  • asthma : labored breathing caused by narrowing of the smaller air passages (past the bronchi) in the lungs, associated with shortness of breath, wheezing, cyanosis, and coughing.

  • atherosclerosis : hardening of the arteries.

  • atrial : pertaining to the atrium.

  • atrium : one of two smaller chambers of the heart.

  • aura : a sensation of lights or sounds that occurs before a migraine headache or seizure.

  • barotitis : disorder of the ear due to increased or decreased atmospheric pressure.

  • BID : twice a day.

  • bile : green fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, where it is released into the duodenum to aid in the digestion and absorption of fats.

  • bilirubin : a pigment formed from the destruction of red blood cells.

  • biopsy : the process of removing tissue from living creatures for diagnostic examination.

  • blister : fluid-filled elevation of the epidermis.

  • BLS : basic life support.

  • borrelial : related to microorganisms of the genus Borrelia, which transmit diseases such as Lyme disease.

  • bowel : intestine.

  • BP : blood pressure.

  • brainstem : part of the central nervous system between the spinal cord and brain that controls certain critical functions, such as breathing.

  • breech : buttocks first, as in breech birth.

  • bronchitis : inflammation of the bronchial tree.

  • bronchoconstriction : narrowing of small airways, often caused by smooth muscle contraction.

  • bronchodilator : drug used to relax and widen the bronchi.

  • bronchus : main passageway from the trachea to the smaller air passages in the lungs.

  • bruise : injury that does not break the skin, with rupture of small blood vessels that causes blue or purplish discoloration.

  • bursa : fluid-filled sac that allows smooth motion of muscles or tendons over a bone or joint.

  • bursitis : inflammation of a bursa.

  • buttocks : the seat of the body; the rump.

  • calorie : the amount of energy necessary to raise the temperature of 1 g of water by 1 C; 1 food calorie ("kilocalorie") is equal to 1000 energy calories.

  • cancer : malignant tumor; uncontrolled growth of cells that invade normal body tissues for no reason and serve no purpose.

  • canker sore : small, painful ulcer of the mouth.

  • cannula : small tube for insertion of fluid or air.

  • capillary : microscopic blood vessel that connects an artery to a vein.

  • carbonaceous : rich in carbon; black like soot.

  • carbon dioxide : gas that combines with water to form carbonic acid; formed by the combustion and decomposition of organic substances.

  • cardiac : pertaining to the heart.

  • cardiopulmonary : pertaining to the heart and lungs.

  • carotid artery : chief artery that travels up the neck and carries blood to the head and brain.

  • carpal : relating to the wrist.

  • cartilage : elastic tissue that is transformed into bone.

  • cartilaginous : composed of cartilage.

  • cataract : opacity in the lens of the eye.

  • caustic : corrosive; capable of destroying by chemical action.

  • cellulitis : inflammation of tissue, such as the skin.

  • central nervous system : the brain and spinal cord.

  • cerebral : pertaining to the brain.

  • cervical : pertaining to the neck.

  • chilblain : inflammation, swelling, and blistering of the skin caused by exposure to cold.

  • cholecystitis : inflammation of the gallbladder.

  • cholelithiasis : condition of having stones present in the gallbladder.

  • chronic : of long duration.

  • CNS : central nervous system.

  • CO : carbon monoxide.

  • colic : acute pain caused by spasm, obstruction, or twisting of a hollow organ.

  • colitis : inflammation of the colon.

  • colon : the large intestine.

  • coma : a state of profound unconsciousness.

  • comatose : in a coma.

  • comminuted : in multiple pieces; shattered.

  • compound fracture : broken bone accompanied by torn skin.

  • conjunctiva : membrane that covers the insides of the eyelids and extends over the whites of the eyes.

  • convulsion : seizure; abnormal involuntary contraction or series of contractions of the muscles.

  • COPD : chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, caused by scarred lung tissue.

  • core : center; involving the abdomen and chest organs.

  • cornea : the transparent covering of the eyeball over the iris and pupil that allows light to enter the eye.

  • corticosteroid : one of a number of hormones produced by the adrenal glands.

  • costochondritis : inflammation of the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the sternum.

  • CPR : cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with artificial breathing and chest compressions.

  • cravat : triangular cloth bandage folded into a longitudinal strap.

  • crepitus : a crackling sound or feeling.

  • culture : to grow in a prepared laboratory medium.

  • cyanosis : blue or purple discoloration of the skin due to inadequate oxygen in the blood.

  • cyst : an abnormal sac containing gas, fluid, or solid material.

  • debridement : surgical removal of torn, contaminated, or devitalized tissue.

  • decompression : loss of pressure; contributes to diving-related bends.

  • DEET : active ingredient of many insect repellents; N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide.

  • dehydration : depletion of bodily fluids.

  • dermatitis : inflammation of the skin.

  • dermis : layer of skin just underneath the epidermis that contains sensitive nerve endings, blood vessels, and hair follicles.

  • diagnose : to identify a disease.

  • diaphragm : muscular wall that separates the chest from the abdomen.

  • dilation : stretching to normal or beyond normal dimensions.

  • dinoflagellate : marine plankton.

  • discharge : liquid released from an organ or tissue surface.

  • dislocation : displacement of bones at a joint.

  • disseminated : spread over a wide area.

  • distal : at the end of; in the area farthest from the center of the body.

  • diuretic : drug that promotes urination.

  • diverticulitis : inflammation of a diverticulum.

  • diverticulmn : small outpouching from a hollow organ such as the large intestine).

  • dressing : bandage; covering for a wound.

  • duodenum : first part of the small intestine.

  • ectopic : at a remote site; in the wrong place.

  • edema : swelling caused by the accumulation of fluid.

  • electrolyte : soluble inorganic chemical (such as sodium or potassium) found in bodily fluids.

  • embolism : sudden obstruction of a blood vessel by an embolus.

  • embolus : abnormal particle (such as a blood clot or air bubble) circulating in the bloodstream.

  • encephalopathy : disease of the brain that often results in abnormal mentation.

  • encyst : to completely surround with a membrane.

  • endemic : native to.

  • endotracheal : through the trachea.

  • envenom : to poison with venom.

  • epidermis : outermost layer of the skin.

  • epigastrium : area lying over the stomach; central upper area of the abdomen.

  • epiglottis : soft tissue pillar in the throat that covers the vocal cords and keeps food and liquid from entering the trachea during swallowing.

  • epiglottitis : inflammation of the epiglottis.

  • epilepsy : disorder associated with disturbed electrical discharges in the central nervous system that cause convulsions.

  • epinephrine : most potent hormone that stimulates increased heart rate and force of contraction, relaxation of smooth muscle in the airways that causes bronchoconstriction (during asthma or an allergic reaction), and constriction of microscopic blood vessels.

  • epistaxis : nosebleed.

  • eruption : a breaking out, particularly the appearance of redness, rash, blisters, sores, or other lesions of the skin.

  • erythema : redness.

  • esophageal reflux : return of food and acid from the stomach into the esophagus; major cause of heartburn.

  • esophagitis : inflammation of the esophagus.

  • esophagus : muscular tube from the pharynx to the stomach.

  • eustachian tube : a tube of bone and cartilage that connects the middle ear with the upper throat and allows equalization of pressure on both sides of the eardrum.

  • exhale : to breathe out.

  • expectoration : sputum, phlegm, or mucus; the act of spitting out saliva or mucus from the air passages via the mouth.

  • extend : lengthen; reach out.

  • extremity : arm and hand (upper extremity) or leg and foot (lower extremity).

  • facial : pertaining to the face.

  • fallopian tube : small tube that conducts the egg from the ovary to the uterus.

  • fascia : tough, fibrous tissue that surrounds muscle bundles.

  • fasclitis : inflammation of the fascia.

  • feces : solid human bodily waste discharged through the anus.

  • feculent : pertaining to or resembling feces.

  • femoral artery : large artery that carries blood to the leg.

  • femur : large bone of the thigh.

  • fetus : unborn young after it has taken form in the uterus.

  • fibrillation : unsynchronized quivering.

  • flagellate : possessing a flagellum.

  • flagellum : whiplike organelle (tail) for locomotion.

  • flail chest : series of detached ribs that cannot move properly to assist with breathing.

  • flatulence : the presence of excessive gas in the bowel.

  • flatus : gas generated in the digestive tract and discharged via the anus.

  • flex : bend; fold.

  • fluorescence : the reemission of light (usually lower frequency) following its absorption; this is usually most apparent when the absorbed light is in the (invisible) ultraviolet range and the reemitted light is in the visible range.

  • fluorescent : possessing fluorescence.

  • follicle : skin cavity in which a root of hair lies.

  • fracture : to break; a broken object.

  • frostbite : freezing of the tissues.

  • gallbladder : muscular, hollow organ that stores bile produced by the liver.

  • gangrene : tissue death due to loss of blood supply; may be caused by injury or infection.

  • gastroenteritis : inflammation or irritation of the stomach and intestine.

  • gastrointestinal : pertaining to the stomach and intestine; digestive system.

  • gauge : the diameter of a hypodermic needle expressed as a standard number.

  • genitals : external organs of reproduction.

  • GI : gastrointestinal.

  • gland : a specialized group of cells that selectively removes substances from the blood, concentrates or alters substances in the blood, and/or creates and releases special substances into the blood.

  • glaucoma : disease of the eye associated with increased pressure within the eyeball.

  • glucose : type of sugar used by the body for energy

  • gonorrhea : sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

  • graft (skin) : piece of skin taken from one area of the body to cover a defect or burn in another area.

  • grain : a measure of weight equal to 0.0648 g.

  • gram : a measure of weight equal to 15.432 grains.

  • grand mal seizure : convulsion manifested by violent generalized muscle contractions, clouded consciousness, and a period of confusion after the event.

  • GU : Genitourinary.

  • HACE : high-altitude cerebral edema.

  • hallucinate : to see visions or experience lack of reality

  • hallucination : imaginary perception.

  • HAPE : high-altitude pulmonary edema.

  • heartburn : burning discomfort behind the sternum related to irritation or spasm of the lower portion of the esophagus.

  • Heimlich maneuver : technique for removal of a foreign object caught in the upper airway.

  • helminth : intestinal worm-shaped parasite.

  • hemoglobin : iron-containing, oxygen-carrying pigment in red blood cells.

  • hemorrhage : bleeding.

  • hemorrhoid : dilated vein found at the anal margin.

  • hepatitis : inflammation of the liver.

  • hernia : protrusion of part or all of an organ through a wall of the space in which it is normally contained.

  • hiatal hernia : protrusion of part of the stomach through the diaphragm.

  • histamine : chemical compound that plays a major role in allergic reactions.

  • HIV : human immunodeficiency virus.

  • hives : raised red skin wheals associated with allergic reactions.

  • hormone : chemical substance formed in the body that is carried in the bloodstream to affect another part of the body; an example is thyroid hormone, produced by the thyroid gland in the neck, which affects growth, temperature regulation, metabolic rate, and other body functions.

  • HR : heart rate.

  • hydrate : to cause to take up water.

  • hygiene : the science or practice of preserving health.

  • hyper- (prefix) : excessive.

  • hyperbaric : pertaining to increased atmospheric pressure.

  • hyperextension : accentuated extension or straightening of a limb.

  • hypertension : elevated blood pressure.

  • hyperthermia : elevated core body temperature.

  • hypertrophy : enlargement of; excessive size.

  • hyphema : collection of blood in the chamber of the eye between the lens and the cornea (anterior chamber).

  • hypo- (prefix) : insufficient; underneath.

  • hypodermic : under the skin.

  • hypoglycemia : low blood sugar.

  • hyponatremia : low blood sodium.

  • hypothermia : low core body temperature.

  • ileum : the last (and longest) segment of the small intestine.

  • ileus : profoundly decreased physiologic activity (motility) of the bowel, characterized by dilation, abdominal pain, and vomiting.

  • iliac : pertaining to the ilium.

  • ilium : the upper bone that forms the side of the pelvis.

  • IM : intramuscular.

  • immobilize : to prevent freedom of movement.

  • immune : not susceptible to.

  • immunity : condition of being able to resist a certain entity or disease.

  • immunization : the process of developing immunity; often refers to an injection..

  • impetiginize : to involve with impetigo.

  • impetigo : contagious skin disease caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria characterized by weeping, crusting, and areas of pus formation.

  • incarcerate : to confine; to entrap.

  • infarction : area of tissue death caused by obstruction of blood circulation.

  • inflammation : response to cell injury that involves dilation of small blood vessels, redness, warmth, pain, and migration of white blood (pus) cells to the region; put of the healing process that removes noxious substances and damaged tissue; can be destructive as a primary disease process.

  • infrared : light that lies outside of the visible spectrum, with wavelengths longer than those of red light.

  • inhale : to breathe in.

  • inspiration : the act of breathing in.

  • intestine : the digestive tube that passes from the stomach to the anus; the small intestine (bowel) consists of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum; the large intestine (bowel) consists of the cecum (with attached appendix), colon (ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid), and rectum.

  • intoxication : state of poisoning.

  • intravenous : into a vein.

  • irrigate : to rinse.

  • ischemic : in a condition of lowered blood flow; lacking sufficient oxygen to sustain function.

  • itis (suffix) : inflammation of.

  • IV : Intravenous.

  • jaundice : yellow pigmentation of the tissues and bodily fluids.

  • jejunum : the segment of the small intestine that follows the duodenum and precedes the ileum.

  • ketoacidosis : condition of excessive ketones in the bloodstream, associated with increased systemic acidity; a life-threatening condition of diabetics.

  • ketone : acid by-product of metabolism.

  • kg : kilogram.

  • kilo- (prefix) : one thousand of something.

  • kilocalorie : 1 food calorie, or 1000 energy calories; the energy necessary to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water by 1 C.

  • kilogram : 1000 g; 2.2 lb.

  • lacerate : to tear or cut roughly.

  • larva : wormlike form of an insect that issues from the egg; e.g., grub, maggot, or caterpillar.

  • larynx : the portion of the trachea that contains the vocal cords; the voice box.

  • lateral : away from the midline; outer.

  • lb (abbreviation) : pound.

  • lethargy : drowsiness or aversion to activity, caused by disease.

  • ligament : fibrous connective tissue that attaches bone to bone.

  • liter : volume of water that weighs 1 kg; 1.0567 quarts.

  • localized : confined to a specific area.

  • lumbar : pertaining to the lower back.

  • lymph : amber nutrient fluid that contains white blood cells; it circulates in the lymphatic system and is involved with injuries, infections, and cancers.

  • lymphatic : related to lymph glands, cells, or fluid; small vessel that transports lymph fluid.

  • lymph node : collection of lymph cells that function as a gland; node (colloquial).

  • malleolus : rounded bony prominence, such as occurs on either side of the ankle.

  • mandible : lower bone of the jaw.

  • manipulate : to move mechanically, usually with the hands.

  • melena : dark-colored, tarry stools (feces), due to the presence of blood altered by intestinal fluids.

  • meningitis : inflammation of the covering of the brain and upper spinal cord.

  • menses : periodic hemorrhage from a woman's uterus that occurs most commonly at 4-week intervals.

  • menstrual : related to menses.

  • menstruation : periodic discharge of bloody fluid from the uterus.

  • mental status : condition of alertness and comprehension.

  • metabolism : the energy-producing and energy-using processes that occur in the human body.

  • mg : milligram.

  • micron : measure of length equal to one one-millionth of a meter.

  • microorganism : small life form that requires a microscope to be seen.

  • microscopic : very tiny; requires a microscope to be seen.

  • migraine : recurrent severe headaches generally accompanied by an aura (classic migraine), nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

  • milli- (prefix) : one one-thousandth.

  • milligram : 1/1000 of a gram.

  • milliliter : 1/1000 of a liter.

  • mL (abbreviation) : milliliter.

  • mononucleosis : infectious disease characterized by an abnormal increase in mottocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the blood, weakness, fever, sore throat, and enlargement of the spleen and lymph nodes in the neck.

  • mottled : covered with colored spots or blotches.

  • mucus : slippery secretion created by mucous glands associated with mucous membranes (such as those that line the nose, throat, and mouth) for lubrication and some protection against bacteria.

  • myocardial : pertaining to the heart muscle.

  • myoglobin : iron-containing, oxygen-carrying pigment present in muscle tissue.

  • myoglobinuria : condition of having myoglobin present in the urine.

  • nanometer : one one-billionth of a meter.

  • narcosis : altered mental status ranging from confusion to coma.

  • nebulize : to reduce to a fine spray.

  • neurologic : pertaining to the nervous system.

  • nm (abbreviation) : nanometer.

  • nonsteroidal : not containing steroids.

  • NSAID : nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug.

  • organ : part of the body with a specific function.

  • OTC : over-the-counter.

  • otitis : inflammation or infection of the ear.

  • ounce : measure of weight equal to 28.35 g; 1/16 lb.

  • ovary : one of two reproductive glands in a female that produces the female sex cells ("eggs").

  • ovulation : release of an egg from the ovary.

  • oxygen : colorless, odorless gas necessary for combustion and life.

  • oxygenate : to supply with oxygen.

  • oz (abbreviation) : ounce.

  • ozone : triatomic form of oxygen (03) that is formed by electric discharge through air.

  • pallor : pale skin color.

  • palpate : feel with the hands.

  • palpation : the act of feeling with the hands.

  • palpitation : abnormal beating of the heart felt by the victim.

  • pancreas : gland that produces and secretes digestive enzymes (juices) and the insulin hormone.

  • pancreatitis : inflammation of the pancreas.

  • parasite : an animal or vegetable that lives on or in another and that draws its nourishment from the host.

  • paroxysmal : sudden.

  • pediatric : pertaining to children.

  • pelvic : related to the pelvis.

  • pelvis : strong, basin-shaped bone structure that provides support for the spine, hips, and legs.

  • penile : related to the penis.

  • peptic : related to digestive fluids.

  • perineum : area of skin situated between the external genitalia and the anus; area between the thighs extending from the tailbone to the front of the pubis.

  • peristalsis : natural contractions of the muscular walls of the bowel that move bowel contents forward.

  • peritoneum : lining of the abdominal organs and cavity.

  • peritonitis : inflammation of the peritoneum.

  • petit mal seizure : form of epilepsy characterized by brief periods of confusion without major abnormal muscle activity.

  • pharyngitis : inflammation of the pharynx; sore throat.

  • pharynx : throat.

  • phlegm : mucus secreted in the respiratory passages.

  • photophobia : aversion to light.

  • photosensitivity : sensitivity to light, particularly to ultraviolet radiation.

  • pigment : coloring matter or stain.

  • placenta : organ implanted within the uterus that supports an unborn child, which is attached by the umbilical cord.

  • plankton : microscopic plant life found in natural bodies of water.

  • plantar : on the bottom.

  • platelet : cellular component of the blood that contributes to clotting.

  • pleura : lining that covers the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity.

  • pleural space : a small space between the pleura that covers the lung and that lines the inside of the chest wall; normally, this space is minuscule (cannot be seen) because it is filled with negative pressure, which allows the lung to expand with the chest wall.

  • pleuritis : inflammation of the pleura.

  • pneumonia : infection of the lung characterized by fever, cough, shortness of breath, and the production of purulent or bloody sputum.

  • pneumothorax : collapsed lung with air in the pleural space.

  • PO : by mouth.

  • potable : drinkable (preferably, disinfected).

  • prognosis : projected outcome.

  • prolapse : to fall or sink down.

  • prone : lying flat with the face down.

  • prophylactic : for the purpose of prophylaxis.

  • prophylaxis : measures designed to maintain health and to prevent disease.

  • protozoan : microscopic unicellular or acellular animal.

  • proximal : closer to starting point or center; nearest to central part of the body.

  • pubic : pertaining to the region of the pubis.

  • pubis : the lowermost and anterior bone of the pelvis.

  • pulmonary : pertaining to the lungs.

  • punctate : like a dot or small mark.

  • pupil : contractile round opening in the center of the iris of the eye through which light is transmitted to the lens.

  • purulent : foul.

  • pus : white, yellow-green, or beige creamy fluid that is formed by decomposing tissue, white blood cells, and tissue fluids.

  • pyelonephritis : inflammation of the kidney due to a bacterial infection.

  • QD : every day (daily).

  • QM : four times a day.

  • quadrant : one of the four quarters into which a region can be divided.

  • radial artery : the main artery that travels through the wrist to supply the hand.

  • radiation : emission of energy in the form of waves or particles.

  • radiation of pain : pain that travels from one region to another, such as from the hand to the shoulder.

  • rebound tenderness : pain in the abdomen that is worse on release of pressure than it is on creation of pressure (compression); often indicates peritonitis.

  • recompression : the method whereby increased atmospheric pressure is used to taw victims of air embolism or decompression sickness (diving-related disorders).

  • reflux : backward flow.

  • reflux esophagitis (heartburn) : inflammation of the esophagus caused by backward flow of acid from the stomach.

  • relapse : return of a disease after it has spent its course.

  • renal : related to the kidney.

  • respiratory : pertaining to the organs of breathing or the act of breathing.

  • resuscitate : to revive from death or unconsciousness.

  • retina : the posterior inside surface of the eye, which receives a light image refracted through the cornea and lens, and transmits it to the brain via the optic nerve.

  • rigor mortis : stiffening of the body that begins a few hours after death and that disappears from 1 to 5 days later, when decomposition begins.

  • RR : respiratory rate.

  • saline : salty (solution); normal saline (liquid compatible with most human tissues) is 0.9% sodium chloride in water.

  • saturate : to soak; to dissolve to the highest possible concentration.

  • sedate : to bring under the influence of a sedative.

  • sedation : the act of calming.

  • sedative : calming or quieting; a drug or other substances that decreases nervous excitement.

  • seizure : epileptic convulsion.

  • serum : the fluid component of blood after the cells are removed.

  • shock : a clinical state manifested by profound depression of all body functions, caused by insufficient blood and nutrient supply to the tissues; signs and symptoms include low blood pressure, cool and clammy skin, altered mental status, and collapse.

  • silica : silicon dioxide.

  • SL : sublingual (under the tongue).

  • soft tissue : body tissue that is not composed of bone or cartilage; generally refers to skin, muscle, and fat; generally excludes internal organs.

  • spasm : involuntary muscular contraction.

  • sphincter : muscular ring that serves as a junction between two tubes, such as the esophageal sphincter (between the esophagus and stomach).

  • spirochete : curled or spiraled microorganism capable of causing infectious disease.

  • sprain : incomplete stretching or tearing of ligaments.

  • sputum : phlegm composed of saliva and discharges from the respiratory passages.

  • SQ : subcutaneous (under the skin).

  • status : unchanging situation, such as status asthmaticus (severe, unchanging asthma), or status epilepticus (nonceasing convulsions).

  • STD : sexually transmitted disease.

  • sterile : uncontaminated by infectious agents.

  • stemocleidomastoid : prominent neck muscle that connects the mandible to the collarbone and sternum.

  • sternum : breastbone.

  • steroids : hormones, vitamins, body constituents, and drugs with a specific chemical structure.

  • strain : incomplete stretching or tearing of tendons or muscles.

  • stridor : harsh vibrating noise heard in the upper airway during breathing; commonly associated with an outflow obstruction during exhalation; may be inspiratory.

  • stroke : cerebral hemorrhage, thrombosis, vasospasm, or embolism characterized by some degree of paralysis; also called apoplexy.

  • sub- (prefix) : underneath.

  • subarachnoid : under the arachnoid.

  • subconjunctival : under the conjunctivae.

  • subcutaneous : under the skin.

  • sublingual : under the tongue.

  • supine : lying fiat with the face up.

  • supraventricular : above the level of the ventricles (lower chambers) of the heart.

  • suture : to sew with surgical thread or nylon; the thread or nylon used to sew a wound closed.

  • symphysis : a barely movable junction of two bone surfaces connected by a fibrous cartilage pad.

  • syndrome : a collection of signs and symptoms that, taken together, constitute a particular disease or abnormality.

  • synthesize : to create or compose.

  • syringe : device used to inject fluids into or remove them from the body.

  • systemic : affecting the entire body.

  • tachycardia : rapid heart rate (beat).

  • TBI : traumatic brain injury.

  • tendon : fibrous tissue that attaches muscle to bone.

  • tension pneumothorax : collapsed lung under pressure from air in the pleural space.

  • testicle : testis.

  • testis : one of two male reproductive glands located in the scrotum.

  • tetanus : an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani and characterized by severe muscle contractions and inability to open the mouth (lockjaw); the bacterium that causes tetanus.

  • thermal : pertaining to heat.

  • thermoregulatory : in control of temperature.

  • thrombophilia : increased number of platelets.

  • thrombophlebitis : an inflammation of the veins that causes the formation of blood clots.

  • thrombosis : formation of a thrombus.

  • thrombus : clot formed in a blood vessel or in one of the cavities of the heart.

  • TID : three times a day.

  • thmitus : noises, such as ringing, in the ears.

  • tissue : a group of cells that combine in the body to serve a specific function.

  • tourniquet : a device used to control blood flow by impeding or preventing circulation.

  • toxin : poisonous substance.

  • trachea : main passageway for air from the pharynx to the bronchi.

  • tracheostomy : surgical opening created in the neck into the trachea to allow breathing when the upper airway is obstructed.

  • trauma : mechanical injury.

  • traumatic : related to mechanical injury.

  • triage : sorting of patients by priority.

  • tubal : related to a tube.

  • tumor : abnormal growth of tissue that arises in the body without purpose; may be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

  • tympanic membrane : eardrum.

  • ulcer : erosion; open sore.

  • ultrasonic : beyond the normal range of sound waves.

  • ultraviolet : light outside of the violet end of the visible spectrum with a wavelength shorter than that of visible fight.

  • umbilical : relating to the umbilicus.

  • umbilicus : navel; belly button; pit in the center of the abdominal wall where the umbilical cord was attached to the fetus before birth.

  • unconscious : unaware; unarousable.

  • ureter : muscular tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.

  • urethra : passage that carries urine from the bladder to the external opening in the genital region.

  • URI : upper respiratory infection.

  • urogenital : genitourinary; pertaining to the urinary tract and genitalia.

  • urticaria : itchy, patchy, raised, and red skin rash, often associated with allergy.

  • uterus : muscular reproductive female organ in which a child develops; womb.

  • UT! : urinary tract infection.

  • UV : ultraviolet.

  • UVR : ultraviolet radiation.

  • vaccinate : to inject a special preparation for the purpose of achieving immunity from disease.

  • vaginitis  : irritation of the vagina.

  • varicose : abnormally swollen or dilated.

  • vascular : pertaining to the blood vessels.

  • vasospasm : contraction of a blood vessel, often caused by microscopic muscle contraction.

  • vein : blood vessel that carries blood from the body back to the heart.

  • venom : poison secreted from venom glands in animals and insects; usually introduced into the victim with a bite or sting.

  • venous : pertaining to the veins.

  • ventricle : one of two large chambers of the heart.

  • ventricular : pertaining to the ventricle.

  • vertebra : one of the bony segments that form the spinal column (backbone).

  • vertigo : -dizziness; sensation of whirling motion.

  • vessel : container; a blood vessel may be an artery, vein, or capillary.

  • VF : ventricular fibrillation.

  • vitreous : gelatinous fluid within the eye.

  • wheezing : labored breathing, usually noted on expiration, associated with lung disorders characterized by airway narrowing, such as asthma.

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