12 First Aid Techniques That Could Be Harmful and Make Things Worse

It is necessary to learn basic first aid for everyone because you don’t really know when you could be facing an emergency yourself or because of someone else such as friend or family. The problem is that many feel that they may know certain first aid procedures but these could also be wrong. Administering incorrect first aid could cause more damage than good and without knowledge of helping an injured person, things could get worse. Here is a list of the fairly common mistakes people make while trying to administer first aid.


1Make sure you or the patient is not in danger

Whenever an emergency warrants instant action, check a person’s pulse, breath and the size of the pupils in light and dark. A normal pupil will get smaller in light. Large dilated pupils indicate danger because of no response. A normal pulse rate is usually between 60-100. A drastic change beyond or below those points need emergency action. If there are no signs of life, perform a cardiopulmonary resuscitation immediately.

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2In case of severe bleeding

In the case of bleeding, immediately applying a tourniquet is not advisable.  The first thing to do to stop the bleeding is to clamp down on the artery which is closest to the wound. Once you have done this, apply a compression bandage from sterile wipes if possible. If the wound is too deep, stuff it with the wipes. Then when fixing the bandage apply a tampon along with it.

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When to apply a tourniquet

A tourniquet should only be applied when there is an emergency. The tourniquet should be applied as close to the wound and the skin above the wound. It is important to remember that you should loosen the tourniquet every 10 – 15 minutes every hour but when doing so, press the artery. After loosening, the tourniquet, tighten it again but never more than thirty minutes.

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3For nosebleed

The biggest mistake people make is keeping the patients head back. Even when you suffer from nosebleed, do not hold your head back. Instead, make the person sit and then tip the head slightly forward to allow the blood to flow. With your fingers, apply pressure on the soft part of the nose for upto 10 minutes and not more. The person should then spit out the blood to prevent vomiting.

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5Do not clog the nose

Never clog the nose with cottons and tampons.  You can do this only if the bleeding continues for more than 15 minutes in which case a doctor should be called immediately or rush the person to emergency.

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4In case of hypothermia

The main mistake people make when someone is experiencing hypothermia is rubbing the body with Vaseline, oil or even snow to increase the body temperature faster. A person should always be placed immediately in a warm environment or a room. The body parts that are frozen should be covered immediately. Make sure the person’s clothes are dry and then wrap them in a warm blanket. Keep supplying them with warm drinks and hot meals. A meal will also increase body temperature because of food oxidation.


In case of hypothermia, do not give a person alcohol as is the common perception. Alcohol expands blood vessels which will result in more loss of heat.

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