First aid can mean the difference between life and death. While we all have a basic knowledge of first aid, there are many myths and lots of contradicting advice floating about that might actually be harmful in a real-life situation. Having the right information on hand is vital, and the more people who understand the dangers of first aid myths, the more people are saved. We take a look at a few of the most popular myths that really need to be debunked!
Myth 1: Forcing A Child To Vomit If They Have Swallowed Poison
While this may sound like a rational response, forcing a person to vomit may just make the situation worse. Depending on the substance injected, vomiting could cause burning of the airways or greater complications. It is best to phone an ambulance and get the child to drink milk or water to flush out the corrosive substance.
Myth 2: Tying A Tourniquet Around The Leg Of Someone Who Is Bleeding
Unless the main artery has been severed, tying a tourniquet around a limb can do more harm than good. The tourniquet will cut off the entire blood supply to the limb causing cell damage. It is best to apply direct pressure to the wound to stop the blood flow.
Myth 3: Putting Ice On A Burn
When we are burnt, our immediate reaction is to place ice on the burnt area. This is actually the wrong thing to do, as it will damage the sensitive skin. Minor burns should also not be wrapped or sealed with butter, honey or any other substance. It’s a burn, it doesn’t need basting! This will only trap the heat and cause the burn to become worse. Rather run the burn under cool water.
Myth 4: Never Move a Person In An Accident
This myth is based on the fact that a person might have a spinal injury. In an accident, a person might face more danger in their current location. If the person is safe and breathing properly, then they can be left alone. If they are not safe or not breathing, move them to a better location to provide first aid.
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Myth 5: Suck the Venom out of a Snake Bite
This is an old one, but people still believe it. This will never work as the toxin is already in the blood stream. No amount of sucking is going to help. Get the person to relax, breathe slowly and call the paramedics immediately.
Myth 6: Chest Compressions Can Do More Harm Than Good
People have often heard that incorrect chest compressions can harm a patient. The fact is that if a person’s heart is stopped, they won’t mind a cracked rib if they come out alive. Avoiding chest compressions is not reasonable in a life or death situation.
Myth 7: An Ambulance is Coming Right Away
While the response times may vary, it is always a matter of minutes before paramedics can arrive on a scene. If no first aid is administered in that time, a person’s condition may deteriorate and they may not be able to be saved when the ambulance does arrive. Always assess the situation and don’t rely on the EMT.
Myth 8: You Shouldn’t Use A Defibrillator If You Don’t Know If The Person’s Heart Is Beating
As many as nine out of ten people cannot find a pulse in a first aid situation. This will be even more difficult if the person has a slow or shallow heartbeat. If you think a person’s heart has stopped, a defibrillator will automatically detect if this is the case and administer shocks if required.
Myth 9: Place Something In The Mouth Of Someone Who Is Seizing
The aim here is to open the airway, but what can happen is that the person can bite down and break up the item, causing them to choke. Instead, roll them on their side and put a pillow under their head.
Myth 10: Urinate on a Jelly Fish Sting
Sorry folks, this one is wrong – and now all of you have been peed on are cringing just a little! We learned this little trick from the show “Friends”. In truth, the heat from the urine might just cause the stingers to release more venom, making the sting even more painful. Instead, rinse off the sting with cold seawater not fresh water, and tell your friends to keep their pants on!