Common First Aid Mistakes to Avoid
Emergencies can happen anytime and anywhere, which is why one’s best defense against it is preparedness. Adopt the Boy Scout motto and see if the things you know are real first-aid practices or duds.
- Tilting/Tipping Back Head During a Nosebleed
It may seem like common sense to tip your head back when your nose is bleeding but you could be doing yourself more harm than good. By doing this, you could end up swallowing blood (and vomiting it out afterward). Instead, sit upright, lean forward, and pinch the bridge your nose. Most nosebleeds should stop after 10 minutes of doing this. However, if it lasts longer, pack your nose with something absorbent (say, a tampon), and go to the ER.
- Putting Ice or Butter on a Burn
You’ve probably heard or even witnessed your grandma put butter on burns. However, grandma may not always be right, so save the butter for the bread. Putting ice or butter on a burn right away could trap the heat, making the burn worse. Should you suffer a burn, you should place the burned area under cool running water for at least 10 minutes. After that, apply a burn ointment. If the burned area is larger than your hand or near sensitive areas, get medical treatment right away. If blisters form, make sure not to pop them.
- Inducing Vomiting When a Poisonous Substance is Swallowed
Again, this is age-old advice that is best forgotten. Yes, it also seems like common sense to throw up whatever poisonous substance was swallowed but ERs now go with activated charcoal. This is because it binds to the poisonous substance in the stomach, preventing it from entering the bloodstream.
- Applying Heat on a Sprain or Fracture
Cold should always be initially applied to a sprain or fracture. There is a temporary relief given by a hot compress but heat can increase blood flow, making the swelling worse.
- Washing a Knock-Out Tooth
We can’t grow a tooth back but it may still be re-implanted if taken care of right away. To avoid damaging its roots, don’t wash the tooth. Instead, pick it up by the crown (the area used for chewing) and place it in a cup of milk. Go to your dentist right away.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can prevent an injury from worsening. What other first aid mistakes do you know? Tell us in the comments below.