Common First Aid Myths
First aid over the years has changed, this is evident when someone comes in to a class who has either been certified for years, like myself or who was previously certified and let it lapse. From butter on burns to urinating on jelly fish stings we have heard so much mis-information. Here are some of the most common first aid myths – hope they help you sort out fact from fiction.
Common First Aid Myth #1
Urinating on Jelly fish stings to relieve pain and speed recovery.
Okay I have to ask – who thought this was a good idea. Contrary to popular belief urine is not sterile so please do not pee on your friends. Rinse with vinegar, everyone might want fries but at least things won’t be weird with your friend!
Common First Aid Myth #2
A shot of alcohol can warm a hypothermic patient.
In fact alcohol and caffeine cause heat loss. Your best bet when dealing with a hypothermic patient – is a space blanket and a big mug of hot chocolate. The hot chocolate contains sugar which will give the body energy and let’s face it hot chocolate is cozy and makes you feel good. So skip the JD and indulge in some hot chocolate!
Common First Aid Myth #3
Rub frostbitten parts vigorously or rub snow on them
This myth has long been around – and what makes it a good common first aid myth is the thought process is that friction is a good source of heat! True if you are two pieces of wood trying to start a fire – bad for frost bitten by parts. By rubbing the affected parts you are actually moving the small ice crystals under the skin and causing micro-tears to the flesh beneath the skin – ouch. The best way to re-warm frost bitten body parts is to place them in warm water -increasing it gradually until the skin is warm and red – this could take up to 45 minutes and your patient will be very uncomfortable.
Common First Aid Myth #4
Treat hyperventilating patients by having them breath in to a paper bag.
This was an old protocol, it was then realized that when someone is hyperventilating-their oxygen and CO2 levels are inverted-so by breathing into the paper bag they were in fact causing more problems. The best thing you as a first aider can do for someone hyperventilating is to first remove them from the stressful situation if possible and then help them slow their breathing – in thru the mouth out thru the nose – ask them to tell you about what caused them to hyperventilate. This is all that needs to happen.
Common First Aid Myth #5
Apply Butter, Grease or Oil to a Burn
This is another long time myth-in fact by applying oily dressings to a burn you are trapping heat which will cause a burn to increase in intensity – essentially deep frying the tissue. Please when dealing with burns never apply oily dressings – use cool water or cloths to cool the burn – there are some great commercial burn dressings out there that can be used for 1st and 2nd degree burns, if it’s a 3rd degree burn – seek medical attention,
For more on First Aid Myths come join us for a fun filled First aid course!