An orangutan looking confused

Knowing a thing or two about first aid is handy. But do you know the facts from the fibs?

Let us help you dispel the myths. April Fools’ Day may be a time for tomfoolery, but you don’t want to be fooled when it comes to first aid.

Myth: “You can put butter on a burn”

A goat eating bread and butter

Keep your butter for spreading on bread, not burns. It may look creamy but it will not sooth a burn. Like all oils, it will instead retain heat.

Plus if a burn is serious and involves a trip to hospital, anything you’ve put on top of it may need removing. And this can hurt. A lot.

Don’t be fooled. Here’s what to do
  • Cold running water is your best friend.
  • Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes then cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag.

Watch our video on treating burns.

Myth: “Hold a child upside down if they’re choking”

A sloth hanging upside down in a tree

Refrain from dangling a choking child by their ankles. It’s not effective and may even cause further injury. The object you’re trying to dislodge may embed further – or you might drop the child altogether. They won’t thank you for that.

Don’t be fooled. Here’s what to do
  • If a child is choking, you should give up to five firm blows on their back.
  • If back blows don’t dislodge the object, give up to five abdominal thrusts.
  • Call 999 if the object hasn’t dislodged and continue with cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts.

Watch our video on how to help a choking child.

Myth: “I’ve seen people tilt their head back for a nosebleed”

A cow sniffing the camera lens

Tilt that bloody nose forwards. If someone is having a nosebleed, tilting their head back may cause blood to enter their airway or stomach. This can lead to choking or at least make someone feel quite sick.

Don’t be fooled. Here’s what to do
  • Get them to pinch the soft part of their nose and lean forwards.
  • Continue to pinch the soft part of the nose for ten minutes.
  • Seek medical advice if the bleeding continues for more than half an hour.

Watch our video on treating a child with a nosebleed.

Myth: “If someone’s having a seizure you put something in their mouth”

A chipmunk with full cheeks

You may have heard tales about putting an object in someone’s mouth if they are having a seizure so they don’t bite their tongue.

The truth is by trying to put something in their mouth you could cause further injury. Leave their mouth alone.

Don’t be fooled. Here’s what to do
  • Do not restrain the person having a seizure.
  • Use a blanket or piece of clothing to protect their head from injury.
  • After the seizure, help the person to rest on their side with their head tilted back.

Watch our video on first aid for seizures.

Myth: “Make a person sick if they’ve swallowed something harmful”

A pug dog licking his lips

If a person has swallowed something harmful, it is certainly not better out than in.

Making this person sick may cause more damage to their throat or block their airway.

Plus if they have swallowed something corrosive, the liquid will burn their throat on the way back up causing more pain and distress. Ouch.

Don’t be fooled. Here’s what to do
  • Find out what they’ve taken, when and how much.
  • Then call 999.

Watch our video on helping someone who has swallowed something harmful.

Want to learn more about first aid?

Images from iStock