Top ten first aid misconceptions

1.     You should put butter or cream on a burn. The only thing you should put on a burn is cold water - keep the butter for cooking. Put the affected area under cold running water for at least 10 minutes.

2.     If you can’t move a limb, it must be broken/If you can move a limb, it can’t be broken. The only accurate way to diagnose a broken limb is to x-ray it.

3.     The best way to treat bleeding is to put the wound under a tap. If you put a bleeding wound under a tap you wash away the body's clotting agents and make it bleed more, instead push on the wound.

4.     Nosebleeds are best treated by putting the head back. If you put the head back during a nosebleed, all the blood goes down the back of the airway. Instead advise them to tilt their head forwards to allow the blood to drain out of the nostrils. Ask the person to pinch the end of their nose and breathe through their mouth.

5.     If someone has swallowed a poison you should make them sick. If you make someone sick by putting your fingers in their mouth, the vomit may block their airway. Also if the poison burnt on the way down, it will burn on the way up. Get medical advice and if possible find out what poison was taken, at what time and how much.

6.     If you perform CPR on someone who has a pulse you can damage their heart. The evidence is that it isn’t dangerous to do chest compressions on a casualty with a pulse.

7.     You need lots of training to do first aid. You don’t - what you mostly need is common sense. You can learn enough first aid in a few minutes to save someone's life.

8.     You need lots of expensive equipment to do first aid. You don’t need any equipment to do first aid there are lots of ways to improvise anything you need.



Training checklist

1.    How much does the training course cost?

2.    What are the trainer's qualifications?

3.    What experience does the trainer have?

4.    When and where will the training session take place?

5.    Will I get a certificate?

6.    Will there by a written part to the assessment or is it just practical?

7.    What happens if I'm not competent in any part of the training?

8.    How many people will be in my training session?

9.    What insurance does the trainer have?

10.                       What is the style of the course – very technical, will it lead to a medical qualification does it use lots of jargon?


  • Prioritise treatment of casualties according to severity of injury

  • Check response by asking casualties whether they are all right

  • Check airway

  • Check breathing

  • If a casualty isn't breathing, ask somebody to call 999 immediately and give 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths

  • Continue this sequence until emergency help arrives or the casualty starts to show some response

Further assistance to casualties

  • Aim to give all casualties early and effective help

  • Arrange for casualties to be taken to hospital where necessary

  • Remain with casualty until help arrives

  • Prevent cross-infection between yourself and the casualty

  • Take care of casualty's possessions and ensure they accompany the casualty to hospital

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