This weeks guest post is from Steven Jones…

Not everyone can be a medical expert. But all too often in common first aid situations, people make simple first aid mistakes that can make matters worse. So, to help you avoid trouble, we’re going to expose ten of the most common first aid myths – along with what you should actually do in that particular situation.


 Mistake: Putting butter/cream on a burn

Instead, treat the burn with cold water (preferably running) for around 10 minutes. Then, keep the area clean, dry and – if necessary – covered with a loose sterile dressing. If the burn starts to blister, make sure you see a doctor.


 Mistake: Tilting head back during nosebleed

Instead, sit the casualty upright and apply firm pressure to the bottom half of the nose using your thumb and index finger for 10 minutes. Encourage them to breathe through their mouth and do not allow them to blow their nose.


Mistake: Inducing vomiting in poisoning victims

Instead, wash any burning substance off the mouth and face with water and give no treatment by mouth. Save evidence of the poison and go to hospital.


Mistake: Head between legs for someone feeling faint

Instead, if someone feels faint, lay them flat and elevate their legs. Loosen any tight clothing and help then get plenty of fresh air until the feeling passes.


Mistake: Applying heat to a sprain injury

Instead, rest the sprained limb/joint and apply a block of ice or something ice cold rolled in a handkerchief or cloth until the swelling lessens. Then apply a compression to the area and keep it supported (e.g. with a cushion or stool).


Mistake: Using tourniquets for bleeding wound

A tourniquet should only be used in the event of life-threatening bleeding – e.g. a severed limb. Instead apply steady pressure to the wound with a clean towel, cloth or gauze – then wrap securely. Go to hospital if the bleeding doesn’t stop.


Mistake: Putting object in mouth during a seizure

Never put anything into someone’s mouth during a seizure. Instead, lay the victim on their side, make sure they’re not choking and call for help.


Mistake: Removing impaled/embedded object from the body

If someone is impaled by sharp object do not remove it – this could cause internal damage or increase the risk of internal bleeding. Instead, stabilise the victim and take them to hospital as soon as possible.


Mistake: Moving car accident victim from the scene

Moving a car accident victim risks further injury or paralysis. Instead call for help and stabilise/stay with the victim until emergency services arrive. Only move the casualty if there is a threat to life (e.g. the car is on fire/could explode).


Mistake: Attempting to put dislocated joint back into position

Do not try to put a dislocated joint back into place without medical supervision.

Instead, apply icepacks directly over the joint. Rest and support it. If the blood flow has stopped, move the affected limb gently to try and restore it.