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First Aid myths – Busted


One colleague listening to another to depict what mental health first aid may look like
“Top Five First Aid Myths: Busted. As trainers, on a day to day basis we hear some crazy and wonderful ideas of how to treat certain first aid issue.”


Top Five First Aid Myths: Busted

As trainers, on a day to day basis we hear some crazy and wonderful ideas of how to treat certain first aid issues. We enforce knowledge and enhance confidence and with that comes a responsibility to bust a few myths along the way.

Below are a few of our favourite things to correct people on.

Putting toothpaste on a burn

Surely putting toothpaste on a burn soothes it?!

Trust us, we understand that you feel this is extremely soothing and that it takes the pain away. However, that pain relief will be short-lived and here’s why.

Toothpaste is menthol which is why if you apply it to your skin it feels cold. The toothpaste itself, however, is not a cooling agent.

Essentially what you’ve done by applying this treatment is seal in the heat of the burn. This can cause it to burn further into the skin potentially making it worse.

If you follow this blog regularly you would have seen a few weeks ago our blog on how to treat a burn. Cool, running water for a minimum of 10 minutes.

This treatment extracts the heat out of the burn cooling it down effectively.

Don’t forget. Keep it simple. We bet you’ll find a water source much easier than a tube of toothpaste…even if you are in your bathroom!

Putting something in the mouth of someone having a seizure

This is something that comes up daily as a long time ago this was the treatment advised. However, why do you think your workplaces send you on refresher courses?! First aid is updated all the time and it’s important you know the most current information.

When someone is having a seizure we need to let it play out.

In the meantime we clear the area so it’s safe for them and we try to protect their head by placing something soft underneath it.

By putting something in their mouth we could cause them more harm than good. Something soft? They may choke on it. Something hard? They could break their teeth.

Somebody having a seizure has an unbelievable amount of strength that they are not in control of. Imagine them clamping their teeth down on a block of wood. Doesn’t sound ideal does it!

Keep them as safe as possible and try and time the seizure. The ambulance will be grateful for that information.

CPR restarts the heart

It’s very common for people to believe that it’s the chest compressions in CPR that restart the heart.

Actually, what we are really doing is keeping the blood and oxygen pumping around the body to keep it alive. We’re essentially buying time until the ambulance arrive with a defibrillator.

When CPR is needed, the heart is not working properly. So we manually become the heart. We become the force behind pushing everything around the body to keep it going.

Now, you may not see the effects of CPR as you are doing it (should you ever need to!) but it’s important to understand that even though you can’t see what you are doing, you’re making a huge difference.

Without you, that oxygen can’t be pushed around the body to keep it alive. If you’re in a situation where you need to start CPR, have faith that you are making a difference and keep going. The ambulance will be with you soon.

Sucking out a bee sting

Surprisingly, people seem to be very willing to do this! Yet again though, it’s much simpler…and a more pleasant treatment for you to partake in should you have to.

A bee sting does need to be removed from the body if it is still there, however sucking it out is not advised nor is pinching it out with fingers or a pair of tweezers. By pinching it, if there’s any poison left in the sting it will be pushed into the system.

All we want you to do in this situation is brush the sting out with a credit card or a straight edged item. The sting is only small and it will easily be knocked out without having to put your mouth anywhere near it!

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