Everybody has their go-to first aid remedies. Things like gargling salt water for a sore throat, or inhaling steam to relieve congestion are fairly commonplace. What most don’t realize is that some of those old remedies do more harm than good! Here are 5 things that you didn’t know you were getting wrong:
Apply first aid ointment to a cut
Your little one has scraped his knees, so you plop him up on the counter and lather up his knees with Neosporin, slap on some bandaids, and he’s good to go! Right? Wrong! First aid ointment can actually impede the healing process. Instead of keeping the wound dry, and exposing it to air, we are keeping it moist. Moisture is bacteria’s favorite place to grow! Next time he falls down, clean his knees well with soap and water, and just use bandaids. Change them twice a day, and at night make sure the dressings are loose so the wound gets exposed to plenty of air.
Putting butter on a burn
You grabbed a hot pan, so you run to the fridge and grab a stick of butter. Stop right there buddy. Butter has the same effect on your burn that ointment does on cuts. It traps everything in the skin and gets in the way of the healing process. The only thing you need to do for a burn is rinse with cool water and then keep it dry so it can heal. Remember, your body is designed to heal itself. Let it do its job.
Tourniquets to stop bleeding
Tourniquets should only be used in an emergency. By cutting off the blood supply to the injury, you’re also cutting off circulation to the rest of that limb. You could cause severe tissue damage if the limb is blood deprived for too long! Instead use lots of clean bandages and firm pressure to stop bleeding. If you cannot stop the bleeding, it’s a gaping wound, an animal bite, or dirty, seek medical attention.
Putting heat on a sprain/strain/fracture
Heat increases swelling – which gets in the way of healing big time. To reduce swelling, and the pain that goes along with it, you want to use cold. Make sure there is a barrier between your skin and the surface of your ice pack, and do twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off. Too much cold can damage your skin, so be careful!
Inducing vomiting when poison is involved
If any contaminant has been ingested – do NOT induce vomiting. Some chemicals can cause more damage coming out than they do going in. The first thing you ALWAYS do when anything harmful has been swallowed is call the Poison Control Center ((800) 222-1222)! They will walk you through what you need to do.