These days, there are countless resources to turn to for medical information and advice. By means of the Internet, magazines, television and more, almost anyone can publicize their remedy for any ailment with little to no regulation. So, when seeking out health and safety recommendations, it is important to be able to identify the credible sources and disregard popular myths. Weíve listed some of the most common first aid mistakes below, along with the correct response methods. Take a look to find out if you have your first aid facts straight! And, donít forget to enroll in a first aid class to learn how to respond correctly in an emergency situation.
Myth: Soothe a burn by applying butter.
Reality: If you apply butter or an oily substance to a serious burn, you could make it difficult for a doctor to treat the burn later and increase risk of infection.
The right approach: Treat a burn with cool water. If a burn is severe and starts to blister, make sure to see a doctor. Keep the affected area clean and loosely covered with a dry, sterile dressing.
Myth: If a child swallows a poisonous substance, induce vomiting with syrup of ipecac.
Reality: Inducing vomiting is not recommended for certain poisonous substances and may be harmful.
The right approach: Never give anything to eat or drink unless directed to by the Poison Control Center or a medical professional. If an accidental poisoning occurs, immediately call the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222) or your doctor for advice.
Myth: The best way to treat a bleeding extremity is by applying a tourniquet.
Reality: Tourniquets stop the flow of blood, which could cause permanent damage to a limb. They should be used only as a last resort in the case of severe bleeding.
The right approach: Pad the wound with layers of sterile gauze or cloth, apply direct pressure and wrap the wound securely. Seek medical help if the bleeding doesn’t stop or if the wound is gaping, dirty or caused by an animal bite.
Myth: Apply heat to a sprain, strain or fracture.
Reality: Heat actually increases swelling and can keep the injury from healing as quickly as it could.
The right approach: Apply ice to reduce swelling for about 20 minutes. Place a thin barrier between the ice and the bare skin.
Myth: You should move someone injured in a car accident away from the scene.
Reality: A person with a spinal-cord injury won’t necessarily appear badly injured, but any movement could lead to paralysis or death.
The right approach: Move an injured victim only if
The scene becomes unsafe (the vehicle is threatened by fire or another serious hazard)
You have to reach another victim who may have a more serious injury or illness.
You need to provide proper care (CPR needs to be performed on a firm, flat surface.
Otherwise, it’s best to stabilize the victim, and leave the person in place until paramedics arrive.
Myth: Rub your eye when you get a foreign substance in it. Tears will wash the substance out.
Reality: Rubbing could cause a serious scratch or abrasion to the eye.
The right approach: Rinse the eye with tap water.
Myth: Use hot water to thaw a cold extremity.
Reality: Avoid any extreme temperature change- hot water can cause further damage.
The right approach: Gradually warm the extremity by soaking it in lukewarm water.
Myth: To reduce a fever, sponge rubbing alcohol on the skin.
Reality: Alcohol can be absorbed by the skin, which can cause alcohol poisoning, especially in young children.
The right approach: Lower a fever by taking ibuprofen. If a high fever continues for several days, see a physician or go to a hospital emergency room for treatment.
Myth: Allergic reactions to bee stings can be treated at home.
Reality: Delaying professional treatment to a respiratory allergic reaction to a bee sting could be fatal.
The right approach: For symptoms such as breathing problems, tight throat or swollen tongue, call an ambulance immediately.
Myth: If you get a cut or scrape, apply first-aid ointment, cover it with a bandage, and leave it untended to heal for a few days.
Reality: Exposure to fresh air is the quickest way to allow wounds to heal, and thus it is generally best not to apply creams or ointments, since they keep the wound moist. Bandages should also be changed to keep the wound clean.
The right approach: The first and best thing to do with a wound is wash it with soap and cool water. All dressings should be changed twice a day. At bedtime, the bandage should be replaced with a looser dressing so air can circulate around the wound. Upon waking, a slightly tighter bandage should be applied, but not so tight that it cuts off circulation. Bandages should be changed even if it means pulling off a part of a scab that’s forming, experts say. Also, try to keep the wounded area dry.
A link to information about the new CPR guidelines (Compression - Airway- Breathing) may be found here.
A presskit with media materials, statements from experts, and real life stories may be found here.
- The 2010 AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC update the 2005 guidelines.
- When administering CPR, immediate chest compressions should be done first.
- Untrained lay people are urged to administer Hands-Only CPR (chest compressions only).
DALLAS, Oct. 18, 2010 — The American Heart Association is re-arranging the ABCs of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in its 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Recommending that chest compressions be the first step for lay and professional rescuers to revive victims of sudden cardiac arrest, the association said the A-B-Cs (Airway-Breathing-Compressions) of CPR should now be changed to C-A-B (Compressions-Airway-Breathing).[Editor Flahiff's emphasis]
“For more than 40 years, CPR training has emphasized the ABCs of CPR, which instructed people to open a victim’s airway by tilting their head back, pinching the nose and breathing into the victim’s mouth, and only then giving chest compressions,” said Michael Sayre, M.D., co-author of the guidelines and chairman of the American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Committee. “This approach was causing significant delays in starting chest compressions, which are essential for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body. Changing the sequence from A-B-C to C-A-B for adults and children allows all rescuers to begin chest compressions right away.”
In previous guidelines, the association recommended looking, listening and feeling for normal breathing before starting CPR. Now, compressions should be started immediately on anyone who is unresponsive and not breathing normally.
All victims in cardiac arrest need chest compressions. In the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest, victims will have oxygen remaining in their lungs and bloodstream, so starting CPR with chest compressions can pump that blood to the victim’s brain and heart sooner. Research shows that rescuers who started CPR with opening the airway took 30 critical seconds longer to begin chest compressions than rescuers who began CPR with chest compressions.
The change in the CPR sequence applies to adults, children and infants, but excludes newborns.
Other recommendations, based mainly on research published since the last AHA resuscitation guidelines in 2005:
- During CPR, rescuers should give chest compressions a little faster, at a rate of at least 100 times a minute.
- Rescuers should push deeper on the chest, compressing at least two inches in adults and children and 1.5 inches in infants.
- Between each compression, rescuers should avoid leaning on the chest to allow it to return to its starting position.
- Rescuers should avoid stopping chest compressions and avoid excessive ventilation.
- All 9-1-1 centers should assertively provide instructions over the telephone to get chest compressions started when cardiac arrest is suspected.
Vinnie Jones’ hard and fast Hands-only CPR (British Heart Foundation)
ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2011) — Study participants who viewed a brief hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) video were more likely to attempt CPR, and perform better quality CPR in an emergency than participants who did not view the short videos, according to research reported in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
- How to Help a Heart Attack Victim (everydayhealth.com)
Longer CPR extends survival in both children and adults (EurkAlert, January 2013)
CPR is less effective than we think (KevinMD.com, June 2012)
- Mayo Clinic: Man survives 96 minutes without pulse (news.cnet.com)
- Should I Get a Home Defibrillator? (everydayhealth.com)
- City tells 911 callers to start CPR if needed (dispatch.com)
- Hands-Only CPR Saves More Lives (zocdoc.com)
- Quality of CPR Varies Among EMS, Hospitals Hurts Survival (medindia.net)
- New ABCs of CPR are CAB (redding.com)
- Passengers can practice CPR at DFW airport kiosk (arkansasonline.com)