Common First Aid Mistakes to Avoid

Medical emergencies are inevitable in everyone’s life. From a first-degree burn in the kitchen to knee injuries while playing, we have all suffered a state for which first aid was essential. It also includes suffering from nosebleeds or eye irritation due to weather. When such occasions take place, everyone wants to help others and themselves. However, limited knowledge and unprofessionalism can do more harm than good. Negligent practices or minor mistakes can worsen the condition, sometimes even risking the patient’s life. Therefore, having basic knowledge about first aid rules is essential.

Given the importance, let’s look at common first aid mistakes and what to practice for such occurrences!

1. Choosing Wrong Postures With Bleeding Noses

Medicine bottles and home medical kit

Never lean back when suffering from nosebleeds. It is not only an outdated move but also the worst treatment. During a nosebleed, tilting the head backward will make the blood run towards the trachea, making it hard to breathe and triggering vomiting.

What To Do Instead: Pinch your nose bridge for 5-10 minutes and lean forward. Doing so will drain the blood out, and bleeding will stop eventually.

2. Sticking Ice or Butter to a Bruise

Ice cubes on a white surface

Putting ice or butter directly to the skin is an old standby. Practicing such remedies will trap heat within the burn or bruise and cause things to worsen. The aim is to return the bruise to body temperature. However, when you use the ice, the skin starts to freeze and damage instead.

What To Do Instead: Treat the wounded skin by running cold water on it. You place ice-covered in dressing to create a thin barrier as well.

3. Applying Heat to a Sprain or Fracture

Woman runner holding her twisted ankle after running exercise outdoors

Many people think using warm cloth in such conditions is a first-aid cure. However, putting heat on a sprain or fracture boosts the blood flow that will worsen the swelling.

What To Do Instead: Use a cold compress for an hour with 20 minutes off and on. It will reduce the pain. If the pain persists, patients should consult a doctor.

4. Drinking Soda for Dehydration

2 CocaCola can drink with Two glass of soda

Do you pick any drink to cope up with dehydration?

If yes, stop drinking soda and stick to water only because drinks such as cola, beers, and tea make the situation worse. They contain alcohol and Caffeine that increase dehydration. 

What To Do Instead: In such conditions, use water only or electrolyte drinks as a replacement. Drink any of them after every 20 minutes, even if it is two sips only. After such measures, if you still experience the condition, contact the doctor and stay under medical supervision.

5. Asking or Trying to Move a Seriously Injured Person

Car turned upside down, surrounded by ambulance, police officer and people

Ever witnessed a tragic sports injury or a car accident? 

You may have seen and may have tried to move the person to obtain the surety if they are okay. However, avoid doing such a thing again. Making the person move can result in permanent neurological damage or paralyze the patient.

What To Do Instead: Arrange EMTs as soon as possible for such issues. Call an emergency number like 911.

6. Giving a Fainted Person Caffeine

Instant caffeine coffee

According to many people, giving a fainted person a sip of Coffee is seen as a cure. However, this introduced remedy is a health risk. Using Caffeine drops the blood pressure levels and worsens the situation.

What To Do Instead: Hold the person’s leg up in the air for a few minutes. Doing so causes the blood to reach the head, and because of the legs held above, the patient will be unable to move to cause self-injury.

7. Giving Mouth-to-mouth After a Heart Attack

A man holding his chest due to heartache

Whenever you see a person having a heart attack, avoid puckering up. American Heart Association (AHA) in 2008 gave an update of CPR that stated to use the hand only in such situations.

What To Do Instead: Make sure the person is lying on a flat surface. Then kneel and place the heel of your hand on the person’s chest and push hard to move the chest two inches down. Then, lose your push and continue pressing it hard and fast according to the standard heartbeat rhythm.

8. Practicing Heimlich On the Choking Person

A middle-aged man choking on food

Carrying out the Heimlich maneuver on a choking person is not a piece of sincere advice. Furthermore, it should only be carried when the personal life may be a risk because of windpipe obstruction.

What To Do Instead: Stand behind the person and make him lean forward, then start to whack five times between the shoulder blades. After this, make him stand straight and use your fist push in and up five times. Continue doing it until the food comes out.

9. Using Spit To Clean a Cut

bleeding finger close up

Receiving cuts from an activity is a minor thing. According to many people using saliva to get rid of germs is the easiest and fastest way. However, unfortunately, this is not true. Our mouth is home to bacteria that are potentially harmful and can cause wound infection.

What To Do Instead: Clean such wounds using water or sterile saline water. Using these will remove harmful bacteria.

10. Removing Dirt From Injured Eyes

Woman rubs her eyes close-up

Having an eye infection or injured eye due to an accident is common these days. Many people believe that to recover fast, removing debris from the eye can help. Unfortunately, rubbing the eye to remove dirt can make you suffer from permanent damage.

What To Do Instead: Seek doctor’s help right away. Moreover, to protect your eye from further, germs cover it with a paper cup by placing tape over its top.

The Bottomline

Make sure to avoid these common mistakes whenever you are using first aid. These negligent practices may worsen the situation. We also recommend having a medical kit reserved for all emergencies. 

Make sure to check out our guide on natural remedies for first aid as well.