Common first aid myths that could make you sick

First aid myths

When it comes to organising a camping holiday, a road trip or a vacation abroad, a trusty first aid kit is one of the must-pack travel items. But what if you were to learn that some of the first aid treatments you’d heard about were completely wrong and inspired by myth and old wives’ tales? Well, St Johns Ambulance have thankfully come forward to dispel some of those myths and legends to keep you safe the next time you spend some quality time in the great outdoors.

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1. Sunstroke

Myth: Sunstroke only happens in hot conditions during or after heavy physical exertion

You might have heard that sunstroke only happens in hot conditions during or after heavy physical exertion, but that’s simply not the case. Heatstroke occurs when the body is no longer able to cool down the body, which can occur in a variety of situations including after long exposure to direct sunlight, but can also happen after becoming severely dehydrated or also after taking drugs. Symptoms can include a high body temperature, dry skin, dizziness and a headache. 

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2. Dehydration

Myth: Dehydration is uncomfortable but not dangerous

Think that dehydration isn’t dangerous? It absolutely can be and especially with children and elderly. It occurs when there’s not enough water in the body to function properly and can be caused by anything like diarrhoea, drinking too much alcohol, doing strenuous activities in hot weather and not drinking enough water. Avoid becoming dehydrated in the first place by drinking plenty of water and visit the doctor if you’re concerned.

Read more: How to stop your legs from swelling on a long flight

3. Snakebites

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Myth: The venom from a snake bite needs to be sucked out of the wound

There’s a common thought that if someone is bitten by a snake, the venom must be sucked out of the wound. Not only is this a wives’ tale but it’s also potentially dangerous for both the person bitten by the snake and the one doing the sucking. St Johns Ambulance warns people on their snake bite fact sheet not to suck venom out of the wound but to instead apply pressure to it. More than 345,000 Australians are bitten or stung each year, which makes these type of injuries the most common in the country, making it more important than ever to understand what to do when you find yourself in that situation.

4. Campfire burns

Myth: Use butter, toothpaste or aloe vera gel on a burn

You may think that lathering toothpaste, aloe vera gel or even butter on a burn will do you good, but actually, that’s a wives’ tale, too. Instead, cool the burn under running water for 20 minutes and cover the burn with a non-stick dressing like aluminium foil or plastic wrap until you are able to seek medical attention.

Have you heard of any more common wives’ tales that you’ve learnt are untrue? Share them with us in the comments section below. 

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