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Paramedic Math Conversions

There a few different conversions we need to know how to do in order to keep the values in the formula the same or convert pounds to kilograms to fit the order we have been given… There are some short cuts to converting pounds to kilograms which we will cover in the short cuts section, but here I am going to teach you the correct way to convert those values.

Here in the good old USA we use the standard system – which makes us fairly unique in all the world. I like that we march to the beat of our own drum (Ok we are too stubborn to change… same thing isn’t it?)

The metric system is based on factors of ten – all measurements are based off some fraction of the root measurement

The root measurements are gram, liter, and meter

Grams measure weight

Liters measure volume

Meters measure distance

For our purposes we are going to focus on gram and liter

There are several different breakdowns of those roots but we only need to focus on a few

  • micro (mc) = one millionth of the root or .000001
  • milli (m)= one thousandth of the root or .001

 

SO to convert milli to micro we add three zeros to the right of the milli value

Examples :

  • 3 mg = 3000 mcg
  • 10 mg = 10000 mcg
  • 100 mg = 100000 mcg

 

To convert from the root value to micro we have to add six zeros to the right of the root value

Examples:

  • 1 g = 1000000 mcg
  • 10 g = 10000000 mcg
  • 100 g = 100000000 mcg

 

To convert from the root value to milli we add three zeros to the right of the root value

Examples:

  • 1 L = 1000 ml
  • 1 g = 1000 mg
  • 10 g = 10000 mg

Those are enough to get you through all the equations needing those types of conversions but to be fair you can also do all the above in reverse by adding to the left – I know confusing – but here we go

To convert from micro to mili we can add three decimal places  to the left of the micro value

Examples:

  • 3 mcg = .003 mg
  • 10 mcg = .01 mg
  • 100 mcg = .1 mg

To convert micro to the root we add 6 decimal places to the left of the micro value

  • 100 mcg = .001 g
  • 10000 mcg = .01 g
  • 1000000 mcg = 1 g

To convert milli to root we add 3 decimal places to the left of the milli value

  • 100 mg = .1 g
  • 50 mg = .05 g
  • 1000 mg = 1 g

Either one of those methods will work, I suggest you pick one method for all your conversions and use it all the time to avoid confusion. I prefer the top set of conversions, but feel free to choose whichever works best for you

 

POUNDS to KILOGRAMS

There are a few shortcut ways to get this conversion done, but for now let’s focus on the correct and most accurate way to do it.

1 pound = 2.2 kg

So to convert from pounds to kilograms you can divide the pounds by 2.2 OR you can multiply by 0.453 whichever you prefer

Examples:

  • 25 lbs = 11 kg (dividing by 2.2 gives you 11.36 – multiplying by 0.453 gives you 11.325)
  • 187 lbs = 85 kg (dividing by 2.2 gives you 85 – multiplying by 0.453 gives you 84.7)
  • 250 lbs = 113 kg (dividing by 2.2 gives you 113.6 – multiplying gives you 113.25)
  • 475 lbs = 204 kg (dividing by 2.2 gives you 204.5 multiplying gives you 203.85)

As with the other conversions either way works and as you can see the results are extremely close, I suggest picking one way and using it all the time, but feel free to choose whatever works for you. I personally prefer multiplying by 0.453

 

Yes your instructors will give you conversions that aren’t listed on this page from some draconian unit that hasn’t been since the early 1900’s – but you aren’t going to have to know those to practice (other than to get through class). Why do they make you wrestle through those conversions… because their instructors made them do it so it’s only fair that they make you do them.

Once you feel you have a handle on this it’s time to move to our first formula : calculating dosages.

 

 

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