5 Common First Aid myths. And a rat.
If popular legend is to be believed, we’re never more than six feet away from a rat. I guess this all depends on which pub you choose to frequent, or whether or not you’ve recently shared a football pitch with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. But seriously, is there any truth in this commonly-held belief about rodents?
Apparently not. The BBC recently conducted a statistical survey to provide estimations of rats living outside and around houses, as well as in drains and sewers, and found rats to be living near 3% of homes. In turn this results in an estimation of 3.1 million rats living in urban areas in the UK, which when correlated with the corresponding land mass, results in 5,000 square metres for each rat.
So what does all this mean in Layman’s terms? In a nutshell, you’ll be delighted to know that you are actually more likely to be within 164ft of a rat whilst you are reading this. Unless you are reading this in a sewer, of course…
So now that we’ve dispelled that myth for you, let’s move on to first aid. First Aid is an extremely delicate area – after all, we’re talking about the first help given to a sick, ill or injured person. You would think, therefore, that the subject would be immune from the curse of the dreaded myth. Unfortunately not; here are 5 of the most common myths associated with first aid:
1. When someone is having a nosebleed, they should tilt their head back…
After all, this will make sure the blood stays in their body, so this must be a good thing. Right? Wrong! Tilting a casualty’s head back when they are having a nosebleed may actually cause feelings of nausea, and can also induce vomiting. Whichever way you look at it, nausea and vomiting is a not a trendy look in 2013, so instead consider the correct method:
Sit the casualty down with head tipped forward, tell them to pinch their nostrils shut (on the soft part of the nose) and tell them to breathe through their mouths. If they are still bleeding after 30 minutes, the casualty will need to go to hospital
2. Someone who is having a heart attack should lie down…
I’m afraid not. Lying down can actually make it more difficult for the casualty to breathe. Instead, assist the casualty into a half-sitting position – ideally with their head and shoulders supported, and reassure them whilst emergency services are sent for.
3. If someone is choking, the best thing to do is get my fingers down their throat…
No chance! If you do this, you could push the obstruction further down the casualty’s throat. Instead, try to get the casualty to relax and encourage them to cough. If that doesn’t work, you may have to try back blows with the palm of your hand - no more than x 5 between the shoulder blades. Still not cleared the obstruction? Okay, now it’s time to try abdominal thrusts (again, no more than 5). Be mindful, though – abdominal thrusts can cause damage to underlying organs, so anyone who’s been on the receiving end should be advised to have a check-up afterwards.
4. If someone is feeling faint, they should sit with their head between their legs…
No. Doing this is just increasing the likelihood of the casualty falling forward – which is not advisable! Instead, if someone faints allow them to lie down. Raise their legs to encourage blood-flow to the brain, and if possible let them have some fresh air.
5. The ambulance will be here now, in a minute…
The reality is that it doesn’t take one minute for an ambulance to arrive on the scene. Maybe if the paramedics were, by pure miracle, parked around the corner eating their packed lunches it could be a remote possibility – but let’s face it, what are the chances.
In Wales the target response times for Category A emergencies (the most serious kind of incidents) is 8 minutes, so this is what your ambulance will be aiming for. The most recent statistics show that in April, this target was met in only 57.2% of cases in Wales, with 90% of Category A incidents being met by the ambulance service within 20 minutes.
At Menter we regularly run first aid courses of all variety. Looking for a basic half day? No problems. Looking for a bit more in-depth, but not too full-on? Relax, we do one-day accredited emergency first aid courses, too!
Okay, so you’re looking for something a bit more in depth? That’s fine, we run accredited 3-day first aid at work programmes.
Ahh, you’d like to be able to deliver first aid training yourself? Maybe for your staff, or maybe you’re looking to become a freelance trainer? No sweat – just check out our 5-day train-the-trainer course, it could be just what you need.
Right, you work with children – can Menter help? Can Menter help?! Pfft!! …of course we can!! Sounds like an accredited paediatric first aid course could be just what you’re looking for.
Either way, if you choose to train with us then you can guarantee there won’t be a myth in sight. Nor any rats for that matter.
Upcoming First Aid Courses
Level 3 First Aid At Work
15 - 17 July 2013
£100+VAT per person
First Aid Train The Trainer
07/08/09/10/18 October 2013
£415+VAT per person