First Aid Myths: What Not To Do
There are a lot of first aid myths that cause people to administer first aid wrong.
It is important to be aware of these first aid myths in an emergency so that you can respond to a casualty effectively. Take a look at what not to do when you encounter a medical emergency and what you should do instead.
Tilt your head back to stop a nosebleed
There appears to be a lot of confusion about which way to tilt your head when you are having a nosebleed and the effects of which way you tilt your head. By tilting your head back, you encourage the blood down into your body which could cause you to swallow or choke on the blood.
What you should do
The best way to stop the bleeding is to pinch your nose and tilt forwards. If the blood continues to run for over 30 minutes, consult medical advice.
If you get a burn, put butter on it.
This long-term old wives tale was thought to cool the burn and ease the pain. Unfortunately, although it can do this for a brief while, the butter will seal off the air from the burn. By sealing off the air on a still quite warm burn, you keep the heat in and continue to burn the skin. It just shows that first aid myths could do more harm than help.
What you should do
The first thing you should do with a burn is cool it by running it under cold water for around twenty minutes. This will create both a cooling and numbing effect, which will stop the skin from burning and ease the pain. Once you have cooled your burn, cover it up with a sterile wrap and seek medical attention. See this link from the NHS for more here.
Chest compressions can be more harmful than helpful
CPR is one of the most important things you can do to keep someone is in cardiac arrest alive. CPR can be vital in maintaining a casualty until the emergency services take over.
The best way to fathom whether a casualty is breathing or not is through the primary survey or DRABC. To find out more about the primary survey, take a look at our blog here.
If you have conducted DRABC and are still unsure of the casualty breathing, continue with chest compressions anyway.
CPR doesn’t work unless you give both mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions
This one again is one of those first aid myths. To conduct CPR the standard way, you must do 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths. Repeat this until the emergency services arrive.
If you don’t feel comfortable giving rescue breaths, chest compressions help keep blood flowing to the brain and keep you stable. Although the breath helps to aerate the blood, any blood to the brain is helpful.
You should only shock someone with an AED if their heart has stopped
Firstly if you need some advice on using a defibrillator (AED), take a look at our guide here. AED’s are positioned in public places for everyone’s use. The machine will guide you through how to use the electric shocks; you don’t have to be trained professionals to use a defibrillator.
For more on how to use an AED, you can attend a First Aid Training Course with 3B Training.
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