Common First Aid Myths, Part 1

This is a follow-up from our Common Myths about CPR.  Check those out if you have not already.  We are in the age of misinformation and it is even worse than ever with the ability to share so much information so quickly.  Some of these treatments are life-threatening if not dealt with properly so be aware.

#1  Butter or any topical on a burn

Skin that is burned is so precious and if taken care of can many times be saved.  The key is to cool the skin with running water for about 10 minutes to cool all the layers.  You never want to put something like butter, cream, or a spray immediately on the burn.  It can push the burn deeper into the tissue.  Remember this the next time you get a sunburn.  Just go take a cool shower for 10 minutes to lessen the burn.  Never put ice on a burn.

#2  Lean the head back with a nosebleed

This is a recent change so don’t be surprised by learning this one.  It isn’t dangerous but it doesn’t make the person feel good by having blood pool in the stomach.  One thing you will learn about medicine if you look into its history of it, that it takes us a while to admit mistakes and make a change.  This is a great example of that—lean your head forward while pinching just under the nasal bone.  If you can not get it to stop after 15 minutes, please go to the doctor.

#3  Suck on a snake bite

This is something shown in movies and has never been suggested medically.  Think of it like this….if you put food coloring in a glass of water, could you then suck out the food coloring?  NO.  That is the same for venom.  In Minnesota, it’s possible but very rare for us to come in contact with anything poisonous so generally we just wash it with soap and water and put ice on it if it is swelling.  If you think it is poisonous or if basic washing and ice are not helping and it is burning badly, turning red, or creating a hole, seek medical treatment immediately.

#4  Put something in the mouth of a person having a seizure

Remember that a human can bite off another person’s finger like a carrot.  They have powerful jaws and very sharp teeth.  It is unsafe for you and unsafe for the seizure patient to put anything in the mouth.  If you think they are choking, put them on their side and call 911.  We used to do this 30 years ago so it is a change also.

#5  You can get sued if you help someone with first aid

First, if the person can communicate correctly, ask if you can help.  If they say no, do not help.  If they go unconscious, you are covered by the Good Samaritan Law to help within your scope of knowledge.  If you are acting in good faith as a bystander, there should be no liability to you even if there is further injury to the person. No law covers everything so only do what is within your training or realistic for a bystander.

#6  Always induce vomiting with a poison

Poisons consist of medicine (prescription or over-the-counter), plants (inside and out), flowers, cleaning supplies, and known toxins like gas, oil, etc.  Many times the object that has gone down the throat is too dangerous to have come back up.  Always call the national poison control number at 1-800-222-1222 so they can direct you to the appropriate steps to your specific poison exposure.  Sometimes it is only drinking water or milk.  You can also call for pets as well. Check out the new poison control app to download on your phone.

#7  Don’t move a person who has a suspected head, neck, or spinal injury

Though this is typically true, move them to a hard flat surface if you need to begin CPR because they are unresponsive and are not breathing.

Read Part 2 (will be live on February 7th, 2024) to learn more…..