From myths about inducing vomiting to questionable practices like using ice or butter on burns, we will eliminate these misconceptions in this blog and equip you with the essential skills to respond effectively when the unexpected strikes.
In Australia, more than 80% of cardiac arrests occur in the home, making it essential for individuals to be well-versed in first aid to respond effectively during such emergencies. However, according to Special Broadcasting Australia, a survey by the Australian Red Cross in 2017 estimated that only 5% of Australians are trained in first aid, and even fewer knew the correct steps to assist in common first aid situations. This lack of first aid knowledge underscores the importance of addressing and rectifying common first aid mistakes during emergencies to save lives across the country.
In this article, we uncover the first aid knowledge that everyone should possess and, perhaps even more importantly, the mistakes that everyone should avoid.
Common First Aid Mistakes and Advice!
In an emergency, knowing what not to do can be as crucial as knowing what to do. Taking First aid training courses and staying informed about proper procedures can make a significant difference in ensuring the well-being of those in need. Remember, getting emergency medical aid as quickly as possible is often the best course of action in critical situations! Join Bright College for First Aid Training today and empower yourself with the knowledge to save lives.
Let’s explore 8 common first-aid mistakes and then delve into the expert advice below.
Misusing a First Aid Kit
Explanation: Many households have a first aid kit, but someone who doesn’t know better may not use its contents correctly. It’s essential to seek medical advice or enrol in first aid courses to understand what each item is for and how to use them effectively.
Expert Advice: Enroll in First aid courses or consult with medical professionals to understand the purpose and proper usage of each item in your first aid kit. Proper knowledge can significantly improve your response in times of crisis.
Mistake: Inducing Vomiting in the case of Vomiting
Explanation: Some people believe in using syrup of ipecac to induce vomiting when someone swallows a poisonous substance. However, this practice is outdated and can cause more harm than good, as it may not effectively remove the toxin and can lead to further complications.
Expert Advice: In cases of poisoning, contact your healthcare provider or the National Poison Control Center (800-222-1222) immediately for guidance. Ipecac syrup is no longer recommended. Do not keep old bottles of ipecac syrup in your home, as they can be mistakenly used in emergencies.
Mistake: Applying Heat to an Injury
Explanation: Heat is often considered soothing for aches and pains. However, applying heat to a sprain or fracture can exacerbate swelling and tissue damage, delaying the healing process.
Expert Advice: Use the RICE treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) during the first 24 hours after an injury to promote healing. Apply ice or an ice pack for about 20 minutes, making sure to wrap it in a clean, thin towel or cloth to protect the skin. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
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Mistake: Treating Burns with Ice or Butter
Explanation: It’s a common misconception to cool a burn with ice or apply butter to it. These actions can worsen the burn, as ice can damage the skin, and butter can trap heat inside.
Expert Advice: Instead, run the burn under cool water for at least 10 minutes to stop the burning process. Afterwards, cover it with a clean, non-stick bandage to protect the area. Seek medical attention if the burn blisters, changes colour, or appears infected.
Mistake: Giving Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation
Explanation: While it’s widely believed that giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is necessary, the American Heart Association recommends hands-on CPR (chest compressions) for bystanders without formal CPR training. This can be less effective and pose potential risks.
Expert Advice: Focus on providing hands-on CPR by performing chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 per minute. This approach is safer and more effective in emergency situations.
Mistake: Nosebleed Myths
Explanation: Myths, such as tilting the head back to treat a nosebleed or using tap water to stop the flow, can lead to incorrect treatment and prolonged bleeding.
Expert Advice: Lean forward slightly and pinch the nostrils together to stop the flow of blood. Use a clean cloth or gauze to absorb the blood. These steps are more effective in managing nosebleeds.
Mistake: Using a Tourniquet
Explanation: In an attempt to stop severe bleeding, some individuals may use a tourniquet around an arm or leg. However, leaving it on for an extended period can lead to serious damage and complications.
Expert Advice: Apply direct downward pressure on the wound using sterile gauze or cloth to control bleeding. If the bleeding cannot be controlled with direct pressure, use a tourniquet (at least 3 inches wide) just above the wound, pull it tightly, and seek immediate medical attention. Do not leave the tourniquet in place for an extended period.
Mistake: Improper Foreign Object Removal
Explanation: When someone has a foreign object in their eye or throat, attempting to remove it incorrectly, such as rubbing the eye or trying to swallow, can worsen the situation and lead to further harm.
Expert Advice: Rinse the eye with clean tap water to remove foreign objects. If the problem persists, seek medical care. In cases of a foreign object stuck in the throat, call emergency services and follow their professional guidance for a safer and more effective approach.
Also Read: Assessment principles of first aid
Mistakes in Treating A Burn: Ice or Butter?
The way we treat burns can either alleviate pain and promote healing or, unwittingly, cause more damage. One of the most prevalent misconceptions is the belief that using ice or butter on a burn can provide relief. However, this approach can actually make a burn worse and delay the healing process.
Applying ice can lead to frostbite and further tissue damage, while butter can trap heat and bacteria, increasing the risk of infection. When it comes to burn injuries, it’s crucial to follow the guidance of emergency medicine providers, get medical care, and seek professional assistance if you don’t know the correct steps for effective treatment.
First Aid Myths: Giving Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation
In the arena of first aid myths, few are as deeply ingrained as the belief that giving mouth-to-mouth respiration is the definitive response to a cardiac arrest or a situation requiring immediate CPR. Contrary to this long-held notion, experts now recommend a different approach: hard and fast chest contractions. It can even cause more harm than good in certain situations, potentially disrupting the flow of blood and causing serious damage.
It’s essential to stay updated on the latest guidelines, as swift chest compressions are often the most effective way to sustain vital blood flow and address the cause of an emergency. So, the next time you encounter a medical crisis, remember that tilting your head toward modern, evidence-based techniques can make all the difference.
You might be keen to learn about Bright College’s HLTAID009 Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation with face-to-face and online learning, which provides you with a Nationally accredited Statement of Attainment.
First Aid Misconceptions: Putting Heat to a Sprain or Fracture
understanding the correct first aid response for injuries like twists or fractures is paramount. One of the common mistakes often made in such situations is the misguided application of heat. It’s a misconception that heat can alleviate the pain associated with these injuries, but it could make it harder for the affected area to heal. Applying heat can increase the swelling, potentially resulting in making the situation worse.
In cases of sprains or fractures, it helps to know that using cold packs or ice can be more effective in reducing pain and inflammation. Dispelling such first-aid mistakes is vital to ensure that injuries are managed properly, promoting a quicker and smoother path to recovery.
First Aid Knowledge with Bright College!
In moments of crisis, when every second counts, having a basic understanding of first aid can make the difference between life and death. But while many of us aim to be prepared for emergencies, misinformation and misconceptions can lead to common first-aid mistakes that may inadvertently make things worse.
Equip yourself with the lifesaving skills you need. Join Bright College and become a reliable first-aid provider. Contact Us to take the first step toward mastering basic first aid and making a real difference when it counts!