The first aid measures taken before a patient arrives at the ER can make all the difference in a medical situation. Below are the top 10 most common first aid mistakes some of us do. Also learn how to respond correctly in a medical emergency and what you should do instead.
1. Knocked-out Tooth
Don’t scrub the knocked-out tooth hard even if it’s dirty. Just a gentle rinse will do.
Do place the tooth in milk and go to the ER immediately. There’s a good chance the tooth could be re-implanted.
2. Ingestion of Poison
Don’t induce vomiting with syrup of ipecac. If someone swallows a poisonous substance. Do not give anything to eat or drink unless a medical personnel instructed you to do so.
Do call the Poison Control Center or your doctor for advice if someone ingested a substance. Bring the ingested substance with its container to the ER.
3. Sprain, Strain or Fracture
Don’t apply heat to a strain, sprain or fracture. Heat can actually increase swelling and hinder the injury from healing as quickly as it could.
Do apply ice to reduce the swelling for about 20 minutes. Go to the ER if it is very painful to bear as you might have a fracture.
Don’t put butter, ice or any type of grease to burns. Also don’t cover a burn with blanket or towel, because loose fibers might stick to the skin. If you are dealing with a serious burn, always be careful not to break any blisters or pull off clothing that is stuck to the skin.
Do treat a burn with cool water. If it is severe and starts to blister, see a doctor immediately. Always keep the affected area clean and loosely covered with a sterile and dry dressing.
Don’t use tourniquets, as this might cause permanent tissue damage.
Do apply steady pressure to the wound using a gauze pack or clean towel, and wrap the wound securely. Go to the ER if the bleeding does not stop. To prevent shock, keep the victim warm.
6. Foreign Substance in the Eye
Don’t rub your eye if a foreign substance gets into your eye. It could cause a serious abrasion or scratch to the eye.
Do rinse the eye with tap water.
7. Reducing fever
Don’t sponge or rub alcohol on the skin to reduce a fever. Alcohol may be absorbed by the skin, that can cause alcohol poisoning, especially in young children.
Do lower a fever by taking ibuprofen. If fever continues for several days, see a doctor immediately for treatment.
Don’t lean back. After the bleeding has stopped, don’t bend over or blow your nose.
Do lean forward and sit upright and pinch your nose steadily, just below the nasal bone, for at least 5-10 minutes. If the bleeding persists for 15 minutes go to the ER.
Don’t put anything in the victim’s mouth.
Do put and lay the victim on the ground if possible, in an open space and roll the victim onto his/her side. Call the Emergency Hotline or go to the ER immediately.
10. Scrape and Cuts
Don’t apply first-aid ointment, cover the wound with a bandage and leave it untended to heal for a few days. The quickest way to let the wounds heal is exposure to fresh air. It is generally best not to apply ointments or creams, since it will keep the wound moist.
Do wash the wound first with soap and water. Change the dressing at least twice a day. When sleeping, the bandage should be replaced with a looser dressing so air can circulate around the wound. In the morning, a slightly tighter bandage should be applied, just tight enough not to cut off the circulation. Try to keep the wounded area dry.